Newspaper article

Beyond the conceptual maze. Approaches to quality in education

Publication date2011

Discussions relative to the quality of education often remain blurred by the lack both of clarity, as well as of a common understanding of what is actually meant by the term quality. Arguably, this has to do with the fact that, rather than an operational concept, quality in education is a notion which commands a seemingly intuitive understanding. As such, there is no single definition or approach, but rather, diverse possible conceptualizations and multiple approaches, each based on widely differing assumptions. This paper thus proposes to take stock of some of the conceptualizations of the notion of quality in education, as well as of possible analytical approaches, and their underlying assumptions. This appears crucial to UNESCO‟s support to Member States as the notion of quality frames the organization‟s efforts in the development of education worldwide. While the paper shall focus on conceptualizations developed within the framework of monitoring progress towards the Education For All (EFA) goals, it shall also refer to other approaches proposed to better understand and examine the quality of learning and the performance of education systems. In reviewing these approaches, the paper proposes three categories of models including what might be called (i) the Learner-centered Model, (ii) the Inputs-process-outputs Model, and (iii) the Multidimensional Interaction Model. The purpose of this paper is not to propose yet another model to conceptualize quality in education, but rather, to chart a way through the conceptual maze by reviewing the array of approaches that exist.

Citation (ISO format)
TAWIL, Sobhi, AKKARI, Abdeljalil, MACEDO, Beatriz. Beyond the conceptual maze. Approaches to quality in education. In: UNESCO Education Research and Foresight. ERF Discussion Papers, 2011, n° 2.
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