|Vet Quality Management: Approaches to Self-Evaluation Methodology (Republican Institute for Up-Grading Qualification of Academic and Administrative Staff of the System of Education, Kazakhstan, 2002, 72 p.)|
|5. Methodology Basics of Primary Vocational Education and Training Institutions Self-Evaluation|
As mentioned above, quality is becoming of a special importance during the periods of dramatic social and economic changes. Ensuring high quality of education meeting the contemporary requirements and the spirit of changes, establishment of the efficient quality control system for education is one of national key priorities.
The global monitoring and quality control is developing fast. The entire process being represented as a number of consecutive stages of development, the two distinct periods of development can be identified known in the theory of management as a detective and preventive approaches. The detective approach is also known as a fire-extinguishing method since the problem is being addressed after the imperfection has occurred - this way of problem resolution is not efficient. Sustainable and continuous improvement can be achieved through targeting the very root of the problem - i.e. preventive model. The latter allows for quality assurance and comprehensive quality control system.
Transfer from a detective to a preventive model requires not just certain tools and instruments, but creation and development of a new management philosophy as well where the objective of the control is to motivate the staff and the institution as a whole to attain common goals based on the transparency of the control, orientation to the set objective for the institution, rewarding the good performance.
Managing the quality of education is a special type of management arranged and targeted to attain preliminary determined specific outcomes of education forecasted in advance as precisely as possible. The comprehensive quality control system (CQCS) is a continuous uninterrupted improvement able to provide education facilities with practical instruments to meet and to anticipate both existing and future needs, wishes and expectations of consumers. CQCS does not mean working in line with somebodys program unless this is the program developed by consumers/clients themselves. Its not something produced by the authorities and imposed for implementation. CQCS requires all and every member of the institution be involved into continuous uninterrupted improvement. Within the CQCS system every member of the institution irrespective of his/her status, duty position and role bears responsibility for his/her actions. As already mentioned, establishment of a culture of a continuous uninterrupted improvement implies delegating many aspects of decision-making authority to appropriate levels of management allowing them to act within jurisdiction with certain freedom and clear and precise common objectives.
The CQCS philosophy is broad-scale and comprehensive, but its practical implementation represents minor, practical targeted steps and changes. And the baseline concept is that sound sustainable changes should be based on a number of smaller and achievable projects - process by process, point by point. The CQCS requires changing the culture, the attitude and methods of work. Changing the culture is not just changing the management of the institution. It requires changing the environment, the social climate in the institution. It requires creating conducive external working environment - i.e. convenient and helpful working systems and procedures. It also expects each and every member of the institution to implement and to advocate changes. Good performance should be rewarded and recognised. Edward Sallis points out the following attributes of a well performing institution:
· Unit optimization - every program, every unit and section should work efficiently. Every unit should have precise, desirably written, quality standards to pursue;
· Vertical adjustment - every member of the institution should know and understand the strategy, the mission and main objectives of the institution;
· Horizontal adjustment - there should be no rival between units, programs and sections, instead they all should understand the objectives and requirements to be satisfied by the structural units.
· Uniform requirements for every process - key processes (whether its a training program, education or administration) should be developed and arranged to connect every process into the overall action plan. Planning should be based on analysis whish starts with the question - who are consumers and clients of the process, what are their needs and expected standards.
A characteristic feature of the European quality assurance system is a combination of external and internal controls. Internal audit is performed by the staff itself and aims to self-evaluation of the work performed so far, its consistency with the objectives set forth for the personnel team. Its based on both the documented data (reports, minutes, statistical data) and on targeted surveys (questionnaires, meetings, discussions, monitoring the training process). And this ability is enabled by precise and measurable objective criteria applied for performance evaluation and by transparency of the audit itself. External audit is conducted by external (outside of the given institution) experts properly trained and selected through a competitive procedure. The objective of the audit is to identify strong and weak features of the education facility, to study its targeting to implement its mission. In the higher education the audit should cover the administration of the facility, organization of the training process and research. In the secondary education - the school administration and efficiency, quality of education, compliance with the education standards. According to Prof. Jesson, in some parts of the UK the school performance evaluation includes measuring the added value of education. The similar approach was tested in Kazakhstan through a TASIC pilot project and eventually commended rectors of the largest higher education facilities in Almaty.
In Australia the quality assurance system pursues the internationally implemented logics of this methodology. This approach allows to manage the development process and to direct it to the desired rout. For instance, if the central authorities want to ensure real mobility of graduates, this intention should be formulated in appropriate fundamental documents, objective measurable evaluation criteria need to be developed. Thus it will be convenient and beneficial not only for education facilities, but for central and regional education authorities as well.
New management philosophy requires changing the managers attitude towards both individual and the entire team teachers performance. Not only efficiency should be evaluated, but effectiveness as well; not only the end results, but how they are accomplished; not only teachers theoretical background and methodological skills, but his/her communication, social and partnership skills, ability to learn.
Students and teachers evaluation should be person-centered. First personal characteristics should be evaluated, and then professional skills or learning achievements. The students level of development should to a certain extent be a measure of quality of performance of an individual teacher and the entire team of teachers staff of the education facility. New evaluation policy requires diversified individual students evaluation tools instead of using the five-grade (points) knowledge, skills and attitude evaluation scale as the only instrument for individual evaluation.