Framework for the External Quality Assessment of ONESQA
Section 49 of the Chapter 6 on the Education Standards and Quality Assurance of the National Education Act B.E. 2542 (A.D. 1999) requires that the Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment (Public Organization) or ONESQA to be established. Subsequently, there are two amendments of the National Education Act, namely; the Amendment (No. 2) of B.E. 2545 (A.D. 2002), and the Amendment (No. 3) of B.E. 2553 (A.D. 2010), mandates ONESQA to develop the criteria and method for external quality assessment (EQA), as well as to conduct assessment of educational management results, in order to inspect quality of education institutions by taking into account the purpose, principles and guidelines for education management at each level of education. EQA is an important tool to confirm success in the implementation of the quality development of education institutions in accordance with the internal quality assurance (IQA) standards. It also provides the goals for the development of quality and identity of learners that corresponds to the objectives of the establishment of education institutions. EQA will reassure quality of education to beneficiaries of educational service and to all stakeholders. In addition, the policy framework of the reform of quality assessment and quality assurance system of all levels of education institutions has been formulated with key principles for the development of EQA standards and criteria. Therefore, implementation of EQA is in connection with IQA system of education institutions by avoiding workloads of paperwork and redundancy between the two systems. The new EQA system is designed in consistent with the context of assessed education institutions to reflect the quality of the institutions, as well as reflecting their IQA results together with their management results. It is expected that accurate and transparent data and information on performances of the assessed education institution will be disseminated to the public. Consequently, EQA will render the development of standards and quality of assessed education institutions as a whole.
The development of the EQA framework sets assessment goals with a focus on assessing the results of quality assurance of education institutions. The new EQA will analyze key factors that affect the results of the operation, leading to useful suggestions for the development of assessed education institutions. EQA will not deliver judgment for the assessment as "certified” or “not certified", but will provide confirmation on the performances of the assessed education institution in order to improve the quality of the education institution and the quality of education in accordance with the needs and strategies of the country. It will lead to strengthening socio-economic development; encouraging people in the society to tolerate diversity, differences; and to live happier together depending on their potential. The development of the EQA framework has been jointly developed in cooperation with the parent organizations in order to integrate with the policies of the Ministry of Education and the concept of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA). Therefore, ONESQA has the concept in harnessing EQA mechanisms to encourage education institutions to develop the quality of their education in accordance with the expectations of the country. It encourages and incentivizes education institutions to continue to develop and to uplift the quality of their education in a sustainable manner.
EQA of education institutions is a judgment of the level of quality according to the principle of external expert judgment. These external assessors will use their thoughtful judgment to make decisions by looking into evidences and observable data generated from the continuous development of assessed education institutions. The panel of external assessors will review their assessment results. In this regard, external assessors must be well round with their knowledge, together with sound analytical skill to be able to deliver their judgment with other assessors to determine the required quality level, which will not rely on ratings based on one's opinions. The emphasis is placed on qualitative assessments that consider both internal factors, external factors of the assessed education institutions. EQA focuses on assessments for development and reflect the results of education institutions’ performances, it is, therefore, a holistic approach to covering all relevant elements.
In term of formulating the goals of operation, education institutions will set up their own goals, as well as assessment criteria depending on the context of the education institutions. These goals will serve as tools to monitor and assess their performances depending on their mission. Education institutions will adhere to the principles of development to manage their institutions that will reflect the quality of their operations in accordance with their standards. EQA method depends on collection of observable data from authentic operation of assessed institution by selecting to gather appropriate data and information that clearly reflects the quality of the assessed institution's standards. The assessment’s goal is for development, as well as for diminishing unnecessary storage of information and documentations which are burdens in the assessment process. As a result, authentic assessment will be reliable and will be able to verify the assessment results according to the context of the assessed institution.
Key principles and concepts
There are two main principles for the EQA as follows:
EQA must be linked with IQA system of the assessed education institutions, as well as their parent organizations. The two parties will be responsible for achieving their goals of educational management and jointly be accountable for the results of their performances.
EQA must be challenging and encouraging development and uplifting of quality of the institutions up to international standards in accordance with the national's education reform policy in achieving national and international standards.
Based on the key principles of the development of EQA standards and criteria, it is formulated into four main concepts as follows:
Harnessing the EQA mechanisms to stimulate and incentivize the development and uplift of quality of education in accordance with the needs and the national strategies.
Emphasizing the assessment to confirm the quality of the assessed institution's IQA system to encourage education institutions and their parent organizations to take joint responsibility in developing the quality of education in accordance with the national education standards and the curriculum's objectives to enhance the country’s international competitiveness.
Focusing the assessment on sustainable development to promote students' competencies and skills necessary for living in the future, and to increase high-performance of education institutions, that will be able to continuously improve in the future.
Opportunity should be provided to education institutions that strive for outstanding quality to stand out and serve as model for regional, national and international development.
Definition of terms
The External Quality Assurance defined its terminology as follows:
Propriety/Feasibility refers to as setting up goals/criteria. The successes of learners are suitable with the context of the institutions and has the possibility of practicality, economical and cost-effectiveness.
Systematization refers to as administration and management processes of education institutions. Learning management is a product of systematic thinking process based on examples such as the “5W1H” principles as follows:
“Who” is responsible; who is involved; who is affected; and who is related.
“What” are we going to do; what are being done.
“Where” is the place to do it; where is the event; where to do it.
“When” to do it and until when; when the event will take place on date, month, year.
“Why” we need to do it and for what reason.
“How” can we know that we can do to achieve it. How can be a PDCA process, namely plan, do, check, and act.
Validity/Credibility refers to as the quality assessment process conducted by relevant persons or stakeholders. Reliable analysis derives from the use of a variety of data collection tools by using evidences or empirical information, or obtaining information from multiple sources to determine results of operation. This includes digital information or empirical evidence, that is available in a database system that is easily verifiable, or information that may not be available in the database system but can obtain from occurs in actual condition. Result of quality education assessment in different aspects must be able to be verified by using observable evidences that will be acceptable as authentic, transparent and appropriate.
Effectiveness refers to as the consequences of the operation in compliance with an operational plan together with its objectives and goals. This is the results that will benefit learners, education institutions, and early childhood development institution, and academic community. The results are considered as outcome of continuous development and production of innovation as good example.
Innovation refers to as concept or method that is used in practice to solve problems or for development that affects absolute of noticeable changes in mindset, processing, or organizational changes. This is a positive development that extend into new horizon, and increases the value. Criteria for the consideration of innovation include: creativity (C: Creative); novel in that context (N: New); valuable and useful (V: Value-Added); and suitable adaptivity (A: Adaptive).
Best practice refers to as the patterns of practices or procedures that bring success to education institution or to achieve academic excellence for its goals acceptable to academic and professional community. There must be evidence of success that can be produced as visible evidence or can provide documentation that summarized procedure and process of the operation. Traces of knowledge and experiences should be provided as empirical evidence. Dissemination to internal or external agencies for practical use should also be provided.
Framework for the External Quality Assurance
The External Quality Assurance can be categorized into two categories as follows:
Category 1: “Basic Standards” quality assessment is an assessment of the mission and context of the assessed institutions in connection with IQA and issues requested by parent organizations or supervisory authorities.
Category 2: “Par Excellence” assessment is EQA with the approach to promote academic excellence of the assessed institutions. Education institutions can choose to be assessed with their outstanding features depending on their potential and their voluntary spirit.