|dc.description.abstract||In 2004, the Saudi Higher Education Supreme Council (HESC) established the
National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment (NCAAA).
According to the Secretary General of the NCAAA, introducing this system at the
national level was essential for economic and social development in Saudi Arabia.
The emergence of the NCAAA represents the central focus of this thesis,
specifically in relation to the NCAAA’s role in improving the educational process
in Saudi higher education institutions (HEIs). The overarching objective was to
explore and describe the present engagement within Saudi higher education with
the recommendations made by the NCAAA directed towards the enhancement of
the quality of student learning, with the intention of identifying whether the
attributes of the Saudi higher education system were consistent with these
recommendations. This overarching objective was further divided into the
following three more specific objectives:
a) To explore administrators’ (i.e. faculty deans’) perceptions of the extent to
which the recommendations made by the NCAAA have been adopted in two
public Saudi universities.
b) To explore teachers’ perceptions of their practice, considering comparisons
between the two institutions.
c) To explore the students’ experiences, again considering comparisons between
the two institutions.
The above objectives drove the data collection process, and these data
constituted the empirical base of the study. The research was conducted in two
public universities located in two geographically distinct provinces of Saudi Arabia.
Data were collected from three groups of stakeholders, including senior
administrators, teachers and students. This was done by means of individual
interviews with 11 senior administrators and the collection of survey data from 78
teachers and 430 students, who were recruited from 11 faculties across the two
institutions. Semi-structured interviews with senior administrators focused on their
personal views and opinions of the educational process with respect to student
learning, in order to identify the extent to which their faculty/unit was engaged with
the NCAAA recommendations. The questions in the teacher and student surveys
were derived from the recommendations published by the NCAAA with regard to
the improvement of the educational process, and focused on their teaching practice
and learning experiences respectively. The qualitative analysis of the
administrators’ data suggested some differences in terms of how the two
institutions engaged with the NCAAA’s recommendations and thus I adopted a
comparative approach to the analysis of the teachers’ and students’ responses. A
factor analysis was carried out to further clarify the themes present in the surveys
from the perspectives of both teachers and students, and descriptive analyses were
then used to explore the extent of resonance with the recommendations of the
NCAAA. Inferential statistics were applied to investigate any differences between
the two institutions against the outlined themes.
The administrators’ responses at both institutions indicated that there was
room for improvement in adopting the NCAAA’s recommendations. While the
perceptions of teachers at both institutions seemed to suggest compliance with these
recommendations, the statements of the students were more congruent with those of
the administrators. The findings of the study indicate that there is yet some way to
go towards the realisation of the aspirations of the NCAAA. They further suggest
the desirability of a greater degree of student involvement in the evaluation of the
quality of the educational process. Finally, the transformation of a series of
recommendations for quality enhancement into a culture of quality within an
individual institution is a process that can be expected to take some time. The study,
while indicating a degree of commitment to, and espousal of, the recommendations
of the NCAAA, suggests that there is some considerable way to go before this will
be seen to impact directly and significantly on the student experience.||en