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Making the benchmarks explicit through programme specification

Norman Jackson (Norman Jackson is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and a Senior Professional Adviser to the Generic Learning and Teaching Centre.)
Geoff Parks (Geoff Parks is University Lecturer in Nuclear Engineering and Director of Undergraduate Education at the Cambridge University Engineering Department.)
Margaret Harrison (Margaret Harrison is a Principal Lecturer at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education and course leader for degree courses in Environmental Management, Geography, Human Geography and Physical Geography.)
Chantal Stebbings (Chantal Stebbings is Reader in Modern Legal History, Principal Lecturer in the Law of Trusts and Director of Teaching Development in the School of Law at the University of Exeter.)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 1 December 2000


The article introduces the concept of benchmarking as a referencing process to support self‐regulation of quality and outcome standards in higher education programmes. It examines the potential for exploiting the product of programme specification to explain which institutional and external reference points or benchmarks have been used to inform the design of programmes. It provides practitioner commentary on the process of benchmarking based on the worked examples provided in the Quality Assurance Agency guidelines for preparing programme specifications and offers an emergent practice model. It concludes by identifying key development issues that will need to be addressed.



Jackson, N., Parks, G., Harrison, M. and Stebbings, C. (2000), "Making the benchmarks explicit through programme specification", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 190-202.




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