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Rankings, accreditation, and the international quest for quality: Organizing an approach to value in higher education

Gerardo Blanco-Ramírez (Department of Leadership in Education, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Joseph B. Berger (Educational Policy, Research and Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 28 January 2014




This paper seeks to analyze the internationalization of quality practices in higher education. In light of insufficient theorization about quality in the global dimension, the paper presents a model for value construction in higher education.


The authors reviewed different models for quality in higher education vis-à-vis emerging international quality practices in higher education.


After reviewing quality models and international quality practices, the authors argue that, in order to evaluate and improve quality in higher education, a model of value in higher education that connects quality with relevance, access, and investment is necessary.

Research limitations/implications

Thus far, quality in higher education has been explored in isolation from access, relevance, and investment. The integrative approach suggested here may prove generative for researchers and help address complex educational interrogations.

Practical implications

Higher education leaders are faced with decisions about quality; these leaders may benefit from connecting quality decisions with the demands on relevance, access, and investment that their local settings dictate.


The concept of value is largely absent from conceptual discussions about quality in higher education; additionally, many discussions about quality in higher education seem to be isolated from their context. This paper addresses both these issues.



Blanco-Ramírez, G. and B. Berger, J. (2014), "Rankings, accreditation, and the international quest for quality: Organizing an approach to value in higher education", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 88-104.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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