Q Project Phases Model  

The literature and practice offers you plenty of quality models and approaches.

Many of them are useful in a range of contexts and situations. On the other hand all of them will not be appropriate for all the potential surroundings and challenges. Therefore, you will need to make a decision of the model you want to use. It may be one of the models available or a model you want to tailor for your own needs.

This part of the tool analyses the theme of different quality models project. The main question that you should answer in this section is:

Which model should be chosen?

For answering this question you have a collection of resources. These include a list of supportive questions in "Planning Questions", a description of the relevant "Issues", some "Recommendations" based on previous experience and some "Evaluation Questions".

You can use some or all of them to clarify your thinking. You will probably find a certain order and emphasis between the resources that will suit your way of thinking.

After having a look at the resources, you will have a chance to write down your ideas in the "Wrinting Page" and to remind yourself of the most important items in "To Remember" .

You can use a "Writing Page" and "To Remenber" in every phase and they will be available to you next time you enter with the same login.

You can go to the "Making It an Entirety" and print the whole plan (constructed with the Writing Page from every phase) at the moment you decide.

Planning Questions

interno: Writing PAge

interno: toremember

  1. Is there a national quality system for universities?
  2. Is there a quality system in your university?
  3. How could the quality system at your university be better described, as a top-down or as a bottom-up process?
  4. Have different quality systems been used in your university?
  5. Given the context of your project, do you have to restrict yourself to an already existing quality model(s) or are you free to define your own model?
  6. Does there exist within the university a clear definition of the concept of quality for adult education?
  7. Why can your project be called a "quality project in adult education"?
  8. How could your project be best described, as a form of accreditation, an audit, a review, an assessment, an evaluation, or something else?
  9. Are you clear about the different characteristics of the main existing standard models.
  10. Have you looked for other projects similar to yours?
  11. Are the criteria considered in your project clearly identified?
  12. Have you considered the advantages and disadvantages of the different models?
  13. Would some type of certification (ISO, for example) be valuable for your project?


The Issues

The question of the choice of methodology needs to come as early as possible in the consideration of the project. At some point, you may find yourself wondering:

Will any of the existing models of quality suit my own project?, or

Which one (if any) is the best quality model in the education of adults?, or perhaps

How do I go about making an appropriate decision?.

Basically, a model is a set of elements (some of which appear to represent the highest or optimum attainable value/expression), which are used as a reference (sometimes in order to make comparisons). As object of imitation, an existing model may be followed or "reproduced". Alternatively, a model can also serve as inspiration for further developments.

Most of the existing quality models were not developed for higher education but for other sectors such as industry, management, manufacturing and so on. For instance, ISO 9000 appears to be a set of standards for quality management, assurance and systems to be used in contractual supplier-customer relationships, while TQM is an organisational strategy aimed at the continuous improvement of effectiveness in achieving customer satisfaction.

In recent years different adaptations have been developed. However, there is no such thing as a universal genuine quality model for education. Most of these adaptations consider education as a service and are more focused on the administrative and organisational aspects rather than on the quality of the teaching and learning processes. Some types also include output measures to allow for comparison such as statistical data, performance indicators and so on.

Basically, the following types of activity (affecting the adoption of the model) can be identified in a project:

accreditation, awarding, certification

audit, peer review, visit/inspection

assessment, evaluation, reporting

Also, the environment in which the project takes place will possess characteristics (institutional, organisational, resources, methodologies and so on) that may influence the adoption of the model to be implemented.

In practice, most cases appear to be "ad-hoc" models and, according to our experience, very diverse, ranging from the adoption of a ready-made model to the development of a completely "tailor-made" model.

In some cases different models were adopted for the same evaluation project by different sections within the same institution.



  1. Promote a debate with the different individuals involved in the project to find out what they think.
  2. Do a comparative study of different models and identify which ones consider the criteria included in your project.
  3. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the alternatives.
  4. When necessary, do not hesitate to develop your own model (the "home-made" option) by selecting those aspects from different models that best suit the particular character of your project.
  5. Allow for some degree of flexibility, so as to be able to adapt to changes and unpredictable situations.
  6. Try to involve the top level of management and other key actors in the adoption of the model.
  7. Evaluate the consequences, impacts and risks that may arise from the implementation of a given model.

To know about the advantages and disadvantages in using a model, see:

EQUIPE Case Study: Belfast (UK)

About the model meeting a strategy, you can see:

EQUIPE Case Study: Timisoara (Romania)

Evaluation Questions

Evaluation Questions

  1. What do you think about your model?
  2. How would you describe your model?
  3. Why did you decide to use your model?
  4. Were you able to accommodate your quality requirements with other, national and/or institutional, quality requirements?
  5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the model?
  6. Is your model consistent with the objectives of your project?
  7. Does your model allow for your project to be effective (considering available resources etc.)?
  8. Have you reviewed the model in an attempt to improve it, in the light of both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms?
  9. Could your working process be extended to other universities?