It has become important that both internal and external quality assurance systems be properly functioning to assure the quality of higher education. Institutions are therefore required to make efforts to improve their actions based on external quality assurance results in addition to self-assessments. The concept that institutions attach their own value to the information obtained through quality assurance actions and then choose their next actions accordingly is referred to as `quality assurance culture'.
The National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education (NIAD-QE) supports Japanese higher education institutions’ initiatives to constantly improve quality, with the aim of firmly establishing the quality assurance culture in higher education. In view of the developing globalization of higher education, we also work closely with overseas partners to increase internationally the value of the Japanese quality assurance in higher education. Through debating key factors in enhancing the effectiveness of our activities so far, we have recognized that it is essential for us to first enhance mutual understanding of the features and background factors of the quality assurance system with institutions and collaborative partners. We hope NIAD-QE can act as a center for the provision of information on quality assurance issues so that institutions and partners can access accurate and appropriate information.
The glossary (the third edition of which was published in October 2011) serves as a means for providing basic information on Japanese higher education and its quality assurance system. However, as the quality assurance system for higher education in Japan was introduced fairly recently and the definitions of the terms may be subject to change as time passes, the overall revision of the first edition was inevitable. This fourth edition has been produced taking into account the progress of Japanese higher education and the comments and suggestions we have received from users of the third edition. Terms appearing in the debate on higher education policy in recent years as well as newly introduced systems have been added as new terms. Also, the means of appraisal in higher education quality assurance as well as the differences between certified evaluation and accreditation and national university corporation evaluation have been included in the appendices.
NIAD-QE has created an Information Package as a tool for the quality assurance community to further mutual understanding and increase efficiency in collecting information. The package consists of the glossary, overview guides of the Japanese and overseas quality assurance systems and NIAD-QE’s basic review materials. We hope full use is made of this glossary within the various fields of quality assurance endeavors.
We would like to thank the many people whose instructive comments and suggestions have been of great assistance in the production of this glossary. In particular, we would like to express our deep gratitude to Peter Williams, the former president of the United Kingdom’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), for his great assistance.
National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education