Quality Assurance is one of the most important components of the ‘Bologna’ process. When discussing quality assurance, it is crucial to be clear about the various types of quality assurance. In general, the definitions used by the AEC in its work on this theme are the following:
- Quality assurance: the collective term for the systems by which courses, qualifications and the institutions which run them are monitored to ensure reliability, consistency and the maintaining of fair, rigorous practices and high standards
- Quality assurance system: the organisational structure which sets out the responsibilities, processes, procedures and establishes the means to carry out the quality assurance
- Internal quality assurance: the systems that are set up and operated by the institution itself (these may include annual monitoring, the use of external examiners, periodic major review of courses, etc)
- External quality assurance: a system operated by others (such as governments, accreditation agencies).
In its effort to develop knowledge and expertise in the European professional music training sector on all important ‘Bologna’ issues, the AEC has addressed both internal and external quality assurance in various projects:
- Internal quality assurance has been addressed in the ERASMUS Thematic Network Project for Music ‘Polifonia’ by the working group on Quality Enhancement, Accreditation and Benchmarking. Among their outcomes, The WG produced step-by-step guidelines, including case studies, aimed at promoting the use of benchmarking as a quality enhancement tool and to assist those who are planning a benchmarking project within a higher music education setting:
|Guide on benchmarking- Learning from each other||English|
|Guide on benchmarking- Learning from each other:||French|
|Guide on benchmarking- Learning from each other:||German|
- External quality assurance has been addressed in the EU/USA project ‘Music Study, Mobility and Accountability’ and the SOCRATES project ‘Accreditation in European Professional Music Training’. A range of external quality assurance services tailored to the needs of higher music education institutions is offered by MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement, the external review body established by the AEC.