The project’s aim was to serve national and international quality assurance requirements, and support local quality enhancement. An inclusive, reliable, and efficient model was developed; one that was suitable for adoption by other business disciplines—and potentially disciplines outside business. Additionally, the project provided valuable professional development for academics, leading to collective improvements in teaching quality.
Obtain reliable external peer-reviewed evidence of accounting academic outcomes in all types of higher education providers, benchmarked against the accounting learning standards.
The standards are intended to help assess the following key skills and attributes identified in the Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement for Accounting.
- Application skills
These learning standards have assisted curriculum renewal efforts across the higher education sector.
Develop a model process for assessing learning outcomes satisfying external quality assurance needs and motivating continuous improvement.
External peer review is an additional assessment step; one that requires buy-in from multiple levels within a business school, as well as from professional bodies, to ensure that the learning standards are applied consistently across higher education providers. In essence, this process amounts to sector-wide changes in both assessment practice and standards.
Already, many aspects of the model have been refined, including:
- Collection and allocation of raw sample assessment data.
- Development of a series of online and face-to-face activities to support reviewer calibration efforts.
- Using an online tool to collect, aggregate and interrogate the feedback of external reviewers.
- A process for resolving conflicting reviews.
- A communication strategy for promoting engagement, and managing relationships and expectations of key stakeholders.
The model process that has been developed to date is outlined in Assessment Process.
Provide professional development around assessment for participating academics.
The calibration workshops have allowed practitioners and academics to meet and work together, and share their views about the standard of actual student work. Opportunities to share views of industry professionals and academics together about minimum acceptable standards for graduates is closing the expectations gap and assisting with other project aims. This ensures continuous improvement of assessment practice and industry-wide dialogue about the standards.
The ability of the project to get industry professionals and academics working on a common problem is indeed unique. As a result, peer reviewers have redesigned assessment tasks to be more authentic, and also to obtain more suitable evidence of a student’s ability to meet the standards. This interaction did not exist previously, and has resulted in practical, actionable feedback.
Enhance understandings in the external environment of the developed model.
External communication has included thought-leadership forums, research, conference presentations, publications and submissions.