Accreditation and assessment of learning in the UAE

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Quality Assurance in Education


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – This paper aims to focus on the successful efforts made at a university business school in the Gulf region to develop an assessment tool to evaluate the communication skills of undergraduate students as part of satisfying the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation requirements. We do not consider the validity of establishing learning outcomes or meeting these according to AACSB criteria. Rather, we address ourselves solely to the design of a testing instrument that can measure the degree of student learning within the parameters of university-established learning outcomes. Design/methodology/approach – The testing of communication skills, as opposed to language, is notoriously complex, and we describe our identification of constituent items that make up the corpus of knowledge that business students need to attain. We discuss our development of a testing instrument which reflects the learning process of knowledge, comprehension and application. Findings – Our work acted as a valid indicator of the effectiveness of teaching and learning as well as a component of accreditation requirements. Originality/value – The challenge to obtain accreditation, supported by appropriate assessment procedures, is now a high priority for more and more universities in emerging, as well as in developed, economies. For business schools, the accreditation provided by AACSB remains perhaps the most sought after global quality assurance program, and our work illustrates how the required plotting and assessment of learning objectives can be accomplished.

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