Quality Assessment, Assurance & Enhancement

Our Policy Position


This area is usually split into two aspects – Quality and Standards.

Quality looks at the learning opportunities and how these might be enhanced. The Quality Code is a key mechanism for this.

Standards describe the threshold level for the award of a qualification or academic credit. HE Providers with their own degree awarding powers set and maintain these standards within national and international frameworks including the Framework for HE Qualifications, Subject Benchmarks and the requirements from Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs).

There are two live issues relating to standards at the moment, Grade inflation and essay mills.

GuildHE is currently working with QAA and UniversitiesUK on a project exploring grade improvement/inflation. The project builds on the Oct 2017 report on degree algorithms that we produced with UUK.

Essay Mills has recently been an issue in the press, with 45 university vice chancellors (17 of whom at GuildHE member institutions) wrote to the Minister to tackle the problem.

Quality is assessed and assured through a number of internal and external processes. Most institutions will have their own quality procedures which includes mapping qualifications against external reference points, drawing on external expertise such as External Examiners and PSRBs accreditation as well as arrangements with national regulators such as the OfS and the designated quality body, QAA.


Useful Resources

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)

UK Quality Code for Higher Education

UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment

Office for Students – Regulatory Framework, Quality and Standards

Links to our work


GuildHE Reports and Consultation Responses

Degree Classification: Transparent, Consistent and Fair Academic Standards (with UUK) (Nov 2018)

Consultation Response: OfS Regulatory Framework (Dec 2017)

Understanding Degree Algorithms (with UUK) (Oct 2017)


GuildHE Blogs

Recognising achievement, not putting a quota on success (Alex Bols, Feb 2019)

Quality Code – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (Alex Bols, Nov 2017)

Future of Quality Assessment (Alex Bols, Sept 2015)

GuildHE runs a network for quality managers and quality related staff within members. It usually meets three or four times a year, including a joint meeting in September with the students’ union network.

The next meeting will be 11th January 2019, Woburn House London.

Chair: Jon Renyard, University Secretary and Registrar, Arts University Bournemouth

For more information contact: Alex Bols

Who to contact

Alex Bols
Deputy CEO