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The quality assurance system in Sweden Håkan Hult Linköping University Gdansk March 13, 2009
The Swedish Higher Education System HE 48 institutions 15 universities Appr 300 000 students
The previous systems 1 When quality was taken for granted (until app 1990) 2 The political context from the 90’s: Neoliberalism New public management Decentralisation National/international competition
The purpose of quality assurance Individual students have the right to demand that their course is of a high standard Employers have a need for highly trained graduates The general public is entitled to be assured that high levels of taxation result in high standards In a global world Swedish HE must retain a high standard
The quality system -2008 The focus was on the evaluation of subjects and programmes, and assessment of entitlement to award degrees. The aim was mainly to assure fundamental quality.
The result Nearly all the recommendations have been taken into account and the quality has improved The universities are now much better equipped to assume the responsibility for their own quality assurance and quality development
Points of departure for the new system Greater emphasis on the quality procedures of the higher education institutions themselves External quality appraisal based on risk assessment A greater degree of international participation in the evaluations Distinction to centres of excellent quality in higher education
The new quality assurance system Audits of the quality procedures at the higher education institutions Programme evaluations Appraisal of entitlement to award degrees Thematic evaluations and thematic studies Distinction to centres of excellent quality in higher education
International approaches in the quality assurance of HE HE institutions take greater responsibility for assuring the quality of their offerings through their own quality assurance procedures Accreditation and organisations for accreditation The Swedish model contains elements of both (audits with focus on quality procedures of the HE institution and the right to withdraw entitlement to award degrees)
Audits of quality procedures Central functions, faculties and departments 2-6 areas for in-depth study at each university Self-evaluations, quality procedure plans, evaluations and material requested by the panel of assessors The assessment will be based on the 7 aspects recommended by ENQA The audits will focus on the outcomes of the quality assurance procedures
The methodology used for audits Every university will be audited once during a six-year cycle Universities where circumstances are similar will be audited in the same year A panel of external assessors, self- evaluations, site visits and written reports
Evaluation of quality assurance procedures Continuous quality assurance Systematic monitoring & revision Assessment & examination of students Qualifications of staff & opportunities for their enhancement Learning environment & student support Collecting & use of key data Information for the general public
The University Chancellors judgement The Swedish national Agency for Higher Education - has confidence - has limited confidence - has no confidence in quality assurance procedures at university X
Programme evaluations The National Agency will compile an overall national survey of the major subject areas that describes the programmes to be evaluated A selection of programmes will be made on the basis of these surveys The programmes selected will undergo in-depth appraisals
Aim and methodology The programme evaluations will take place in accordance with a six-year plan The evaluations will cover all major areas and programmes that lead to the award of at least a bachelor’s degree The aims are: - to provide information about the educational areas evaluated - to provide the basis for the in-depth evaluations
Aspects & criteria for programme evaluations Circumstantial factors (teaching resources, educational setting, infrastructure) Organisation of the programme (regulatory documents, teaching, reading lists and examinations) Outcomes (attainment of degree outcomes, quality assurance of the programme)
Appraisal of entitlement to award degrees Appraisal of entitlement to award degrees is an important element in the quality assurance system The method used will resemble an in-depth programme evaluation with a panel of external assessors, a site visit, expert opinion and a decision by the University Chancellor The same aspects & criteria as for the programme evaluations
Thematic evaluations & thematic studies The aim is to provide a national overview of how certain aspects of quality are being dealt with, and examples of good practice to be highlighted. Focus on probing, analysing and explaining rather than just describing Important themes to evaluate are gender equality, student influence, examinations, internationalisation, and the working conditions of academic teachers
Centres of excellence An incentive for educational organisations that already maintain high standards to seek further improvement Offering examples of good practice Applications are voluntary and universities themselves decide which educational organisations they want to nominate Evaluations by a panels of international experts 2 of 7 centres at Linköping University!
The application for Centres of excellence must indicate: That there is an educational setting & organisational structure that function exceptionally well That there is a competent management & committed teachers with relevant knowledge, experience & skills That the organisation is underpinned by an explicit & robust scientific foundation That student learning is fostered in an eminent manner That the students attain exceptional results
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