Quality Assessment and Accreditation System (QAAS)

The National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment NCAAA has been established by the Higher Council of Education in Saudi Arabia with the responsibility to establish standards and accredit institutions and programs in post-secondary education.
The system for quality assurance and accreditation is designed to support continuing quality improvement and to recognize publicly programs and institutions that meet required quality standards. The objective is to ensure international good standards in all post-secondary institutions in all programs offered in Saudi Arabia.

Students, employers, parents and members of the community should be able to have complete confidence that what has been learned by students, the research conducted, and the services provided are equivalent to international good practice. Accreditation of an institution or a program will give public recognition that these standards have been achieved. Saudi Arabian qualifications should be accepted without question anywhere in the world.
There is considerable variation of experience that higher education institutions have had with quality assurance processes and the system of higher education is expanding rapidly. In recognition of this, the system for accreditation is introduced progressively over a transition period of several years. During this time, programs may be considered for accreditation in institutions that are well advanced with the introduction of quality assurance systems, and others will be evaluated and accredited as their internal quality assurance systems are put in place.

The National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment in Saudi Arabia has developed a set of standards for quality assurance and accreditation of higher education institutions and programs in eleven general areas of activity
  • Mission Goals and Objectives
  • Program Administration
  • Management of Program Quality Assurance
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Student Administration and Support Services
  • Learning Resources
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Financial Planning and Management
  • Employment Processes
  • Research
  • Relationships With the Community
These standards are based on what is generally considered good practice in higher education throughout the world and adapted to meet the particular circumstances of higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The standards are described with several levels of detail. First, there are general descriptions for each of the eleven major areas of activity. Second, these are broken down into sub-standards, dealing with requirements within each of the major areas. Third, within each of those sub-standards there are some good practices that are carried out in good quality institutions. To evaluate performance in relation to the standards, a college or department should investigate whether these good practices are carried out and how well this is done. A set of self-evaluation scales has been prepared to assist in this process.
In that process, the groups carrying out the evaluations within the institution are asked whether the particular practices are followed, and to rate the quality of these practices in the institution on a five-point rating scale. Their judgments of quality MUST be based on appropriate evidence including at least some comparisons with other comparable institutions or programs on important items.

The development of internal systems to provide that evidence is an essential requirement for an institution’s quality assurance system. Unless adequate sources of evidence are available in an institution a program cannot be considered for accreditation. To be granted accreditation it is necessary for evidence of good quality performance to be provided about all the eleven general standards and with all of the subsections of those standards
It is not expected that a program will achieve a high rating for every “good practice” described in the sub-sections of the standards. They are not a simple check-list, and are not equal in importance. Their importance will vary according to the mission and objectives of the institution or program and its stage of development.

The judgment about whether accreditation should be granted will be an overall assessment by an experienced peer review panel taking account of the mission, objectives, and stage of development of the institution and the program and the priorities identified by the Commission.
IT-Blocks Quality Assessment and Accreditation System QAAS has been developed specially to meet the NCAAA requirements for accreditation. It does not only include all the eleven general areas, the standards, and sub-standards but also extends to cover all the best practices recommended by NCAAA for both institution and program accreditation.

The following is a description of QAAS modules:

Organization chart

The organization chart of each university is added. QAAS allows a unlimited number of levels and units in the organization chart. Each level may also include a unlimited number of units. Besides, QAAS provides the facility to add programs to the organization chart rather than institutions. Programs have their best practices and assessment levels as Universal Accreditation standards and the NCAAA

User Management

QAAS provides two types of user management, system users, and Panels members users. System users are divided into administrators, operators, and higher management. Administrators are responsible for administrating the main functions of the system. Operators are those users who are responsible for managing committees and data entry of ratings and weights. Higher management users are those users who are allowed to view the scorecards and details of ratings.

Panels management

Assessment Panels are built for assessing the best practices in each unit in the university. Details of each Panel including its manager, scope of work (units and best practices) and duration span are recorded in the system. Details of members of those Panels are recorded in the system to give them access to the corresponding units and the best practices included in their scope of work. Each member is allowed to report his assessment and the weight of each best practice as long as the Panel work span has not ended

Ratings & weights management

QAAS is designed such that Panels responsible for assessment advise their ratings of each and every best practice to the system. Moreover, QAAS introduces another factor which is the weight or importance of each best practice, sub-standard, standard and general area according to each Panel member


Using different statistics methods Panel's cumulative ratings and weights are calculated. QAAS also reports standard deviations of ratings to show the accuracy

Summing up ratings for best practices, QAAS automatically calculates the ratings for super-levels such as sub-standards, standards and even the general areas.


QAAS helps comparison with other benchmarked institutions and programs, besides trending comparison between oneself to show improvement or degradation of performance. Each unit may be benchmarked to a corresponding unit in either the same university or in any other university. Benchmarked units can change benchmarks over time

Scorecard user interface

Providing a comprehensive user interface for users to enter their ratings or assessments, QAAS also provides a simple user interface built of the Scorecards concepts to illustrate the results of the assessment. Scorecards do not only show the ratings of each level but also indicates how many sub-levels have any deficiency in Ratings.

Integration with kpis and survey systems

To include proves of assessment, QAAS allows users to include different types of attachments to every assessed best practice. Those types include documents, spreadsheets, results of surveys, scorecard and dashboards from the KPIs system. QAAS users may simply click on any of the attached proves to link to other supporting materials.

Drill down & drill through

Users may drill down any level to its lowest level, to view details of evaluation and ratings. In the meantime, users may just click on any other unit in the organization chart of the university to drill through to this unit. Users may also elect to compare two units by drilling through to a new separate window

Bilingual user interface

Developed in both English and Arabic interfaces, QASS is a bilingual application that may serve both Arabic-speaking natives and international consultants as well