Students Institutions

QS I-GAUGE is a brand incorporated in India as an independent private-sector initiative specialised in rating colleges and universities. It brings together the global expertise, experience and reputation of UK based (QS) Quacquarelli Symonds, along with deep local knowledge of luminaries from Indian higher education.

Based on the globally recognised QS STARS University Rating System developed by QS, QS I-GAUGE has been adapted to capture the reality of the dynamic Indian higher education sector, while at the same time maintaining the strict quality standards that are synonymous with the QS brand.

QS I-GAUGE is a comprehensive and independent rating system for Indian colleges and universities. Consisting of six core criteria and eight advanced criteria, ranging from Teaching and Learning, Employability and Social Responsibility to Research and Innovation. QS I-GAUGE rating provides a unique 360-degree perspective for Indian institutions of higher learning.

QS I-GAUGE as a Tool for Institutional Advancement

The strategic and systematic management of quality improvement in higher education requires comprehensive and tangible performance data and ideally, reliable benchmarks for peer-group comparisons. This is exactly what the QS I-GAUGE ratings process delivers.

By conducting what amounts to an institutional audit based on global standards but benchmarked against the performance of Indian peers, the leadership of a university or college gains concrete data on its performance through QS I-GAUGE. Sometimes that data does not match with managements’ expectations, and sometimes it highlights hidden strengths that the institutional leadership was initially unaware of. But in all cases it provides a foundation for further institutional transformation and upgrading.

QS I-GAUGE can function as an institutional score card, and institutions receive a detailed and confidential report on their strengths and weaknesses, providing a roadmap for their further development. As the QS I-GAUGE rating is re-assessed every 2 years it is an invaluable tool for institutional research and planning.

QS I-GAUGE as a Tool for Institutional Branding

The QS brand is synonymous with quality and independence. It is trusted globally by students, their parents and a diverse set of other stakeholders, including government, the corporate sector and other universities. Therefore institutions that undergo the QS I-GAUGE rating send a strong signal to their various audiences: that they take their performance seriously and that they are open and transparent about their data, allowing an external evaluation by QS. Although many institutions will not gain top scores in every category, the QS I-GAUGE process allows institutions to highlight the categories in which they are particularly strong.

Institutions that successfully complete the QS I-GAUGE rating are licensed to use the rating results (and its various registered and trademarked logos) for a period of 2 years on all their websites and publications. This allows institutions to communicate their ratings in a highly effective way, building credibility for their own brand while informing their target audiences. Institutions will also be listed on the QS I-GAUGE website.

The QS STARS rating has been used by institutions in many creative ways, including in magazine ads, bus ads and billboards, as well as on websites, business cards, recruitment brochures, etc. We anticipate similar usage of the QS I-GAUGE logo.

QS I-GAUGE is operated by QS-ERA India Private Limited, formed as a revolutionary joint venture between (QS) Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd of the United Kingdom and India’s ERA Foundation.

QS maintains complete operational control and supervision of the processes. Each rating produced is strictly monitored for quality control by the QS Intelligence Unit in London. This is the same team that produces the authoritative QS World University Rankings (since 2004) and related regional and subject rankings, as well as the globally recognised QS STARS University Ratings System. Close supervision by QS (IU) ensures the independence, quality and integrity of the ratings, leading to their global recognition.

The rigor and integrity of our ratings are guided by an International Advisory Board, which comprises of luminaries in the higher education field – from both India and overseas. The advisory board comprises of individuals with impeccable credentials that will envision and lead the setting of global best standards in evaluation. This advisory board meets periodically and forms the roadmap for the progress of QS I-GAUGE. They also review the progress of the ratings, and comment on any enhancements and improvements which should be incorporated to make this system truly India- centric. Click here to view the advisory board list.

After completing the paperwork, following is the typical workflow.

  • QS I-GAUGE analyst based at our office in Bangalore will provide the institution with all the required data submission guidelines, forms, links etc
  • Submission timeline of 6 weeks is provided, with a possibility for an extension
  • After successful submission, QS I-GAUGE requires 8 weeks to process, verify and authenticate the submission. Participating institutions can seek clarifications on criteria and sub-criteria from the analysts at QS I-GAUGE
  • Institutions are requested to submit appropriate evidence(s) for respective criteria and sub-criteria to audit and validate institutions’ self-reported data. In select instances, additional evidence(s) will be requested from the participating institutions.
  • The entire process would be handled by full-time QS I-GAUGE analysts, with significant experience in handling data, who have been through a stringent hiring process and thoroughly trained by QS Intelligence Unit - London
  • All the audits will be verified by the QS Intelligence Unit - London to ensure the highest quality of data validation

As per standard operating procedure, once you decide to proceed with this audit, you will need to complete the questionnaire along with submission of evidence. We will aim to verify, and revert on your certification within 20 business days.

Institutions that secure minimum of 120 points will be given "E-Readiness" (E-LEAD) certification along with their profile listing on our website to enhance institutions’ brand on excellence.

The certification is valid for 1 year from issuance.

This (E-LEAD) certification only checks on the readiness of the institution to offer online courses. Institutions can use this certification to inform stakeholders that the institution is E-Ready in the eventuality that the need for social distancing is extended or in case of a future pandemic like situation. This certification does not confer QS I-GAUGE rating for an institution.

If your institution does have the e-readiness you will be able to access this system from home, and hence the purpose of this audit (on a minimum scale) is achieved. Hence you should be able to provide evidence and data to support your e-learning systems.

The institution must be either a UGC recognised university or college, or an affiliated college, or a Government institution, operating within the Republic of India.

That is great! Please reach out to our Client Relations team at +91 93531 07612

Yes, the methodology has been developed keeping in mind the global best practices and is not focussed on the curriculum followed by different boards. Hence the methodology can be applied to any school board.

Specialised criteria are designed keeping in mind the fact that it is a conscious decision taken by the school to highlight their expertise in any two out of the four options. Including stakeholder response is not needed as the specialised criteria will assess whether the school has the required infrastructure and resources.

As per our privacy policy, we do not share the details of the respondents with the school, nor do we ask the respondents their personal details like contact number, address etc. The detailed scorecard shared along with the rating badges includes an aggregate result of stakeholder response indicating their satisfaction with the school across various indicators.

At QS IGAUGE, data privacy and confidentiality are of utmost importance. Once the school is on-board for the audit, there is a dedicated research analyst allotted for the audit and even the sales team is not involved in audit related communication to ensure an honest and unbiased audit process. The client/institutions’ data is stored in a secure business cloud storage space and only the analyst team has access to the data. The contractual obligation between QS IGAUGE and the client/institution includes a ‘’confidentiality clause’’ in the agreement that ensures complete data privacy. For survey privacy details refer to Question 3.

We understand that a significant number of activities could not take place during remote teaching and learning and there are various indicators in the methodology that require evidence of such activities in the last 12 months. Therefore, for institutions signing up with us this year, there is an exception wherein data and evidence of such activities conducted in 2019 are also acceptable. However, if the school conducted those activities in an online mode, we encourage you to submit the latest evidence.

The purpose of school ratings is to conduct a 360-degree holistic quality assessment and provide detailed insights regarding the performance in the indicators and recommendations for improvement. There is also a continuous digital promotion and access to curated events in the education domain that the rated institution can access on priority. We do not provide any specific assistance to secure international collaborations but as part of the rating exercise, the institution is enabled to be better equipped for such collaborations.

The QS IGAUEG School Rating Scorecard is a detailed document, highlighting the performance of the school in each criteria and sub-criteria along with an indicator-wise and overall summary that includes the recommendations from the data analyst for areas that require further interventions for continuous improvement.

The audit takes about 4-6 months to complete. The audit timeline begins once the formalities are completed and an orientation is scheduled with the QS IGAUGE Research Analyst and the point of contact from the school to explain the methodology, data collection and data submission process in detail. The institution gets 6-8 weeks to work on data collection and once the data is submitted, the analyst team takes about 10-12 weeks to work on validating all the evidence, survey analysis and preparation of the detailed scorecard along with peer and QA reviews and a final senior management review before releasing the audit results. In this duration, the analyst will reach out to the point of contact for any clarification/additional evidence. The audit timeline is also dependent upon the data submission and the time taken by the school for submitting additional evidence during the audit process.

The audit result licence is valid for a duration of two years from the date of results declaration. However, if the school wishes to undergo the audit within a year, they can do so with the entire audit process being followed. Audit for specific indicators only is not allowed.

QS IGAUGE Ratings have always been an online audit process. We consider integrity as one of our core values and hence, physical visits are not a part of the audit process to ensure that there is no perception-based bias from the audit team. The analysis is completely evidence based and data driven.

There are various checks and balances in place through which the audit team ensures the authenticity of the data that is submitted. For example, photographic evidence, policy documents etc. are accepted only if they carry the school’s authorised signatory’s details on the institution’s letter head. If there are any discrepancies in the data, the school is also responsible for the same as the agreement requires a commitment from the institution to submit authentic and genuine data for accurate results.

Ratings or audit exercises are conduction for a specific campus. If a group of schools sign up, each campus will be audited as a separate entity and the results will also be per campus. Hence, the rating for one campus belonging to the same group of institutions cannot be applied to the entire group.

Once the final review with senior management is complete and the ratings are finalised, the results are shared with only the point of contact and the school authority. Results are published on the website and other social media platforms only after receiving consent (via email) from the institution.

Yes, there is a re-appeal period of 15 days from the date of result declaration if the institution is not satisfied with the audit results. However, the audit results will be considered accepted if there is no response from the institution within this period. We advise the institutions to thoroughly examine the scorecard which explains the audit results before requesting for re-appeal.

One of the unique features of QS IGAUGE School Ratings is continuous communication between the point of contact and the analyst. Any clarifications regarding the evidence or methodology can be addressed to the analyst during the audit process.

There is no provision for pre-assessment. The institution is given a detailed methodology presentation before signing up, based on which they can take a decision whether to proceed with the audit. The methodology presentation is also available on YouTube.

QS IGAUGE School Ratings were launched in August 2020. As of now, we have multiple audits under progress with schools from Maharashtra, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. As per our agreement policy, we cannot reveal the names of the institutions that are currently undergoing the audit as we require their consent to publish the results. The results of certified schools are available on our website https://www.igauge.in/schools/ratings

The overall emphasis of the rating process is to assess the school’s performance in globally benchmarked areas and best practices. Hence, there is no specific focus on the differences between residential/non-residential schools. However, there are certain indicators with differentiated evidence required from residential schools like students’ contentment with on-campus food quality.

Yes. Please reach out to the sales team on for further discussion on pricing.

QS IGAUGE School Ratings provide an in-depth and holistic quality assessment to schools that enable them to understand the functioning and areas that need further intervention. Post the audit results release, there is continuous engagement with the school through our digital media via social media posts highlighting the results/ratings of the school, a dedicated profile page on our website for the rated school and priority access to curated educational events by QS IGAUGE.

QS is the parent organisation for QS IGAUGE in India. QS IGAUGE adheres to the same core values, processes, and global standards that QS follows internationally. The methodologies for various audits offered by QS IGAUGE have been reviewed and approved by QS.

QS IGAUEG School Ratings methodology has a been developed with a ‘Glocal’ (Global-Local) approach wherein the product development team has conducted an extensive research study to understand the global benchmarks of world-class school education and integrated them with the key recommendations of the Indian National Education Policy 2020. Over 30 years of education domain experience carried by QS has aided in further enriching the methodology to ensure that there is a holistic and robust mechanism in place for the audit.

The school should have up to grade 10 or 12 to be eligible to participate in the rating process. For any new school, it takes about 3-4 years (approximately) to receive an approval by their respective board to offer classes to higher grades.

Yes, if the school offers classes up to grade 10, they can enrol in the rating process.

Eliciting stakeholder feedback is an important aspect of the rating exercise. Hence, the school is encouraged to circulate the survey to all its stakeholders. The audit team will communicate to the school when the responses meet the defined threshold.

QS IGAUGE administers the survey using an advanced survey analytics platform. However, QS IGAUGE does not circulate the survey to stakeholders. The analyst from QS IGAUGE will share the survey links with the POC of the school to circulate surveys. Surveys are anonymous and the survey questions are not disclosed or discussed.

QS IGAUGE uses an advanced survey analytics platform and has incorporated certain steps to filter incorrect and inaccurate responses. However, we expect all survey respondents to be fair and honest in their responses to support the quality initiative undertaken by the school. Schools undergo rigorous and exhaustive quality assessment processes to conduct self-evaluation and to be transparent to their stakeholders on their journey towards excellence. By submitting genuine and authentic responses, stakeholders play an important role in supporting the school’s initiative for better outcomes.

The validity of badges ceases to expire on the last day of the license expiry date. Schools will not be able to continue the usage of badges in their promotional material, website, and any other collaterals. Schools are required to contact QS IGAUGE sales team to renew the license. The renewal involves the complete process of re-audit.

The dominant drive for ratings is to provide a framework for institutions to understand their strengths. Thus, ratings do not compare one institution with the other. Ratings have a broad range of categories. The objective of rankings is to provide a hierarchical list of institutions.

Schools have complete autonomy in using the rating badges. When the school gives consent to QS IGAUGE to make results public in their website, QS IGAUGE will publish all badges (both overall and category badges). QS IGAUGE will use the complete rating outcomes in their digital promotion. QS IGAUGE is committed to provide transparent results to their stakeholders – students.

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