13 November 2014 | EQAF Paper

Students’ role in quality enhancement – a reflection of functional stupidity or an implication of “Quality as Practice”?

Hannele Keränen, Elina Holm


This paper deals with students’ role in quality enhancement in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). The main focus is on student feedback, where the discourse fluctuates from “absolutely necessary” to “waste of everyone’s time” extremity. The consensus discourse emphasizes the importance of measuring students’ satisfaction and perceptions of the quality of study programs. The dissensus discourse points out that feedback is rarely helpful, because formal questionnaires are designed by administrators and are therefore perceived as inappropriate for evaluating quality.

The paper  concludes that student feedback can provide important perspectives for assessing quality, but more importantly, the everyday commitment and involvement to the continuous improvement through the “Quality as Practice” –approach ought to be promoted. This approach challenges the rational – and quantitative - paradigms, which still dominate the strategies for the management of quality. It also celebrates the involvement of the key stakeholders of quality in higher education: students and teachers.


This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

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