Quality control (QC) is a set of activities for ensuring quality in products. The activities focus on identifying defects in the actual products produced. Quality Control aims to identify, and correct, defects in the finished product, and is therefore, a reactive process. The goal of quality control is to identify defects after a product is developed and before it is released.
Quality assurance (QA) is a set of activities for ensuring quality in the processes by which products are developed. Quality assurance aims to prevent defects with a focus on the process used to make a product. It is therefore, a proactive quality process. The goal of quality assurance is to improve development and test processes so that defects do not arise when the product is being developed.