Fresh from the press: The student voice in quality assessment and improvement in Handbook on quality, performance and accountability in higher education

August 19, 2018


Abstract: The trend in liberal higher education is to afford students enhanced capabilities to intervene in their higher education environments, especially in quality assessment, accountability and performance. This development is premised on the acknowledgement that students have valuable insights on educational processes. Scholarship based on stakeholder theories explains student involvement in promoting quality through their contribution to the efficiency of decisions regarding quality. Scholarship based on student engagement theories conceives student involvement as part of building inclusive higher education communities and fostering student self-formation. This chapter discusses, first, the areas and pathways for student involvement in promoting quality. Next, it addresses both the rationales and student motivations for such involvement. In the conclusion, more controversial questions concerning student participation in quality assessment and improvement are addressed: acceptance of students as “peers”, tokenistic involvement of students in decision processes, and the “domestication” of students. Finally, the chapter argues that research has not caught up with the developments in practice. Several questions are identified for future exploration.

Keywords: student voice, student engagement, student governments, student belonging, student feedback