Chapter 25: The student voice in quality assessment and improvement
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The trend in liberal higher education is to afford students enhanced capabilities to intervene in their higher education environments, especially in quality assessment, accountability and performance. This development is premised on acknowledging that students have valuable insights into educational processes. Scholarship based on stakeholder theories explains student involvement in promoting quality through their contribution to the efficiency of decisions regarding quality. Scholarship based on student engagement theories conceives student involvement as part of building inclusive higher education communities and fostering student self-formation. This chapter discusses, first, the areas and pathways for student involvement in promoting quality. Next it addresses both the rationales and student motivations for such involvement. In the conclusion, more controversial questions concerning student participation in quality assessment and improvement are addressed: acceptance of students as ‘peers’, tokenistic involvement of students in decision processes, and the ‘domestication’ of students. Finally, the chapter argues that research has not caught up with the developments in practice. Several questions are identified for future exploration.

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