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QAPA: BCIT case study

As Langara College begins our work on our Quality Assurance Process Audit (QAPA), it may be helpful to take a look at how QAPA has worked at other local institutions who share some of our educational offerings. This case study is from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) who underwent QAPA on May 24, 2017.

Each QAPA review contains three areas of assessment: commendations, affirmations and recommendations. Commendations are areas where the institution has shown exemplary practice. Affirmations are areas where the institution has identified weaknesses and intends to correct them, and Recommendations are areas that have been identified as needing improvement. As a QAPA participant, BCIT received feedback in all three areas.

BCIT’s QAPA review identified that BCIT had successfully established many school-level (i.e. Faculty-level) committees to assess the quality of their educational offerings. They also commended BCIT’s requirement that their Deans report the status of their implementation of their review recommendations to the school’s Education Council within one year of the plan’s approval.

BCIT was given the affirmation that their academic plan should be more strategic, and that  their academic plans should be developed in conjunction with strategic objectives.

Following the QAPA review process, BCIT was given a series of recommendations to implement. These recommendations identified that programs needed to clearly state their learning objectives and that a student’s academic accomplishments needed to be measured against the stated objectives. The review process also recommended that teaching excellence should be defined at the program level, and following this, then benchmarked to BCIT standards for program excellence. Additionally, it was requested that BCIT develop their own standards for key performance indicators (KPIs) to enhance quality.

The review process identified that the person or office responsible for implementing recommendations arising from external reviews should be clearly identified in the status report. BCIT should also include the bios of external reviewers within their review documentation – doing so would allow the school to demonstrate the expertise of those conducting the reviews

BCIT’s QAPA review process noted that quality assurance and accreditation reviews often serve different objectives, and while some of the work necessary to prepare for accreditation reviews might be relevant to a quality assurance review, they cautioned against concluding that positive accreditation is a signal of quality that BCIT should rely on for evaluating program quality.

Curious to read the full report? You can access the BCIT report, and all other past QAPA reports within BC via the Government of British Columbia’s website.

Sunita Wiebe
QAPA Project Director

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