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Niels P. Louwaars and Hans J.M. Dons

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Ben Jongbloed, Hans Vossensteyn, Frans van Vught and Don F. Westerheijden

Pressure for more transparency and accountability in higher education comes from multiple stakeholders. This chapter analyses three important instruments of transparency and accountability: accreditation, university rankings and performance contracts. These tools are interpreted from the viewpoint of three competing governance paradigms, that is, traditional (bureaucratic) public administration, new public management and networked governance. All transparency tools in one way or another provide information on the quality and relevance of the education services provided by a university and its contribution to the public good. Some of the transparency tools have recently been redesigned as responses to the wish to empower higher education’s clients and better communicate various dimensions of quality/performance/public value to its stakeholders, in particular the quality of the learning experience. Illustrative examples of new transparency tools are taken from new instruments and current debates in the US and in European countries.