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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Quality Enhancement Review

Quality Enhancement Review (QER) is the review method that will be applied to Welsh higher education providers from 2017. It provides a distinctive approach to institutional review, developed to address the particular context of the Welsh higher education sector. It draws upon the experience of external review in Wales and on QAA's experience of methods used in other parts of the UK and beyond.

QER enables providers' governing bodies to provide assurances about quality and standards as part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales, developed by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). QER aims to provide quality assurance and support quality enhancement, informing students and the wider public whether a provider meets the requirements of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales.​

In order to have their Fee and Access Plans approved by HEFCW, providers must be reviewed at intervals by a body registered on the European Quality Assurance Register. QER assesses providers against the European Standards and Guidelines and agreed baseline regulatory requirements.

Aims and objectives

QER has a range of objectives.​

  • It provides a suite of assurances, commendations and recommendations for governing bodies.
  • It provides a review structured around the strategic priorities of the provider and the nature of its student body, placing a stronger focus on the student-provider partnership.
  • It is efficient, cost-effective and flexible, maximising the benefits of engaging with review and minimising the burden on providers.
  • It promotes evidence-based self-evaluation by providers and opportunities for discussion with a team of peers.
  • It enables whole-sector enhancement and developmental activity, drawing upon strengths and challenges identified through review.

Key developments for QER

QER marks a significant cultural change in the review of Welsh higher education providers. In summary, the four main areas of change are that:

  • the method is grounded in the needs of higher education in Wales
  • it seeks to confirm rather than re-test baseline requirements
  • it places greater emphasis on enhancement and the impact of initiatives in practice for students
  • it has better negotiated elements to meet the particular needs of individual providers.

Handbook and guidance

Quality Enhancement Review Handbook

Welsh language provision

In planning, conducting and reporting on reviews in Wales, QAA is committed to treating the Welsh and English languages as equal, and taking into account the requirements and expectations of Welsh Language Standards. For further information, see Annex 3 of the Handbook and QAA's Welsh Language Scheme.

Publishing information about reviews

QAA subscribers with a judgement of 'meets requirements' in both judgement areas may display the Quality Mark on the homepage of their website, and on other documents, as a public statement of the outcome of their review. Further information about the Quality Mark is provided here.

Key reference points

Key reference points used in this review method are the European Standards and Guidelines (PDF, 622KB) and the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. UK-wide oversight of the baseline regulatory requirements is provided by the Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (PDF, 332KB).