Quality Assessment

College wide quality assessment occurs in a five-year cycle. Academic programs review and assess results annually, as well as within a six-year program review cycle. It is critical to Niagara College to have input from all stakeholders, internal and external, to ensure quality on ongoing improvement in our programs. Both practices and processes ensure standardized and regular quantitative and qualitative data from stakeholder is gathered to inform plans and actions with regards to continuous improvement.

Stakeholder Input

Niagara College receives stakeholder input from industry through Program Advisory Committees and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) surveys, from students through course feedback surveys, curriculum meetings, and KPI surveys, from graduates through Job Centre graduate surveys, and KPI surveys, and faculty and staff through regular and annual departmental meetings and annual curriculum review.

Back to Top
Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicator surveys conducted annually with students, employers and graduates provide vital feedback on program quality delivery from the stakeholders involved. Quantitative data is collected and analyzed to determine area for attention and improvement, both annually and throughout the six year program review cycle.

For information and KPI results, Key Performance Indicators.

Back to Top
Program Advisory Committees

All College programs, or clusters of programs, have a Program Advisory Committee, comprised of a broad representation of employers, associations and other stakeholders, who provide a vital link between the community at large and the College. These committees play a key role in program quality assurance, providing essential advice and input on the currency and relevance of curriculum and other aspects of the program, and feedback on the knowledge and skills of graduates when they enter the workforce.

Back to Top
Student Feedback
Student Feedback

Feedback from students is gathered in a variety of ways:

Student Satisfaction data is gathered annually by survey as a Key Performance Indicator. Results of this survey are reviewed and analyzed annually for indications of the need to make changes in a program, and are also incorporated into the program review process. Program satisfaction is analyzed by program, by school, by Division, across the college and across the system, and changes implemented as appropriate.

Course Feedback is an essential component of all courses offered for credit at Niagara College, and provides a systematic and consistent mechanism for gathering and responding to input from students. A Student Course Feedback survey for each course each term is used to measure students’ perceptions of the learning context. It assists in the identification of areas of strengths and areas needing improvement in college course offerings.

Curriculum Committees held annually with students provide more qualitative information. Faculty meet at least once each academic year with students in each program give them an opportunity to make recommendations regarding curriculum and course objectives. These meetings provide a forum in for a joint discussion about curriculum and course objectives of the program, with the aim of continuous improvement in the quality and relevance of the program. Results from Curriculum Committees are incorporated into the program review process and recommendations for changes made as appropriate.

Back to Top
Annual Curriculum Review

Program Co-ordinators and Faculty review and revise program and course curriculum, incorporating input from recent Student Course Feedback and KPI surveys, curriculum meetings with students and advisory committee meetings. Textbooks and course materials are updated as appropriate to meet program and course outcomes. Evaluation methodologies are aligned with learning activities and specific course learning objectives on the Course Outline to ensure their relevance to course content and design.

Back to Top
Program Review and Renewal

Program review and renewal follows a continuous improvement cycle with 4 key steps:

  1. Programs are assessed (evaluated) using program review and other quality tools
  2. The self study action plan identifies continuous improvement actions as a result of the program review
  3. The program report monitors activity, trends and implementation of continuous improvement actions
  4. Curriculum is formally mapped to ensure ongoing compliance with the MTCU Framework for Programs of Instructions and accomplishment of program outcomes
A diagram of process
  • Quality Assurance Program Review is a comprehensive process occurring on a six year cycle at which time a program conducts an in depth review of data for the previous five years.

    (Diagram above shows the continuous six year cycle for program reviews consisting of arrows forming a circle. The steps in order are: Self Study, Action Plan, Program Report, Curriculum Mapping, and Evaluation)

  • Program review and renewal is a mandatory activity, which must be undertaken to satisfy requirements of the Colleges and Institutes Act.
  • At Niagara College, programs undertake regular reviews in order to recognize the valuable work already being done to promote and support student success. Regular reviews also assess services and practices in the context of how well they support and contribute to student learning and make recommendations for changes that promise to improve student success.
  • Program Review is a collaborative, team activity. The Dean, Chair, program coordinator, faculty and support staff plan and participate in the program review and renewal process in consultation with service areas, students and the Program Advisory Committee.
  • A program review helps answer the questions:
    • Are students learning what they need to learn for today’s world and within the context of their program or discipline? 
    • Are we using the most effective teaching/learning/assessment strategies to promote student learning in relation to the identified program outcomes? 
    • Are we making learning opportunities adequately accessible to students? 
    • Are the learning opportunities sustainable?
  • Program Review is meant to:
    • Enhance the quality of education offered by the program.
    • Demonstrate the extent that the program conforms to the provincial standards and/or program outcomes
    • Gain an understanding and appreciation of the program’s strengths and a clearer sense of its direction.
    • Encourage discussion and dialogue among faculty and service areas, creating a shared purpose
    • Assure that all program/course changes are based on adequate information and discussion
    • Plan for the systematic evaluation of the curricula, equipment, and the use of materials, financial resources, and space/facilities.
    • Plan for the systematic evaluation of program policies, procedures, services, and records.
    • Develop a sense of cohesiveness among the program’s administrators, faculty, staff, and students that results from the participation of all stakeholders in the self-study process.
  • A thorough Self Study is developed which includes recommendations for continuous quality improvement.
  • Two external assessors conduct an audit by reviewing the documentation and through an on-site visit including interviews with representatives of all stakeholders. They issue an External Assessor Report, commenting on and providing additional recommendations.
  • A Continuous Improvement Action Plan is developed for the program based on the recommendations in the Self Study and the External Assessor report. This plan addresses short and long term program improvements to be implemented through the six year cycle.
  • Actions from Continuous Improvement Plans are followed up annually through Educational Pathways, Development and Quality, in conjunction with Deans and Chairs, until all actions have been addressed.
  • Each year of the cycle provides an opportunity for program continuous improvement:
    • Years 1 and 2 following the program review allow for immediate improvement actions to be implemented.
    • In Year 3, a quantitative analysis “Program Report” is documented to ensure the program is on track and trends are as expected.
    • In Year 4 of the cycle, the program undergoes formal curriculum mapping to ensure it remains compliant with degree level outcomes and relevant to changes in industry requirements. Mapping also ensures both congruency between course learning outcomes, learning activities and evaluations methods, and addresses any gaps or redundancies that may have developed.
    • Year 5 allows for curriculum modifications from mapping to be implemented before the Program Review Self Study is conducted again in Year 6.
  • The results of program reviews and reports are presented in an Annual Quality Assurance System Report to the Board of Governors, as a strategic board issue
  • The PDQ Office is responsible for planning, organizing and monitoring the six-year program review cycle. It also acts as a resource and liaison to the Academic schools and divisions, by providing relevant data for reports and Self Studies, facilitating communication and organizing logistics, assisting with the development of Continuous Improvement Action Plans, and monitoring action plan implementation.
Back to Top
College Quality Assurance Audit Process (CQAAP)
What's New with the CQAAP

Updated: September 22, 2017

The audit panel has submitted their final report to the OCQAS (Ontario College Quality Assurance Service) Management Board for their review and approval at their October meeting.

Once every five years, Niagara College participates in a provincially legislated College Quality Assurance Audit Process (CQAAP). The CQAAP involves the regular and cyclical external review of the college's program quality assurance processes at an institutional level, culminating with a report that documents the degree to which those processes conform to the quality criteria defining exemplary quality assurance processes, and in recommendations aimed at improvement and enhanced consistency with the quality criteria. 

For more information, College Quality Assurance Audit Process (CQAAP)


Introduction to CQAAP:



Standard One:


 Standard Two:



 Standard Three:



Standard Four:



Standard Five:



Standard Six:

Back to Top
Back to Top