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Quality Procedures in European Higher Education Findings of the 2008 Survey Achim Hopbach Managing Director German Accreditation Council.

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Presentation on theme: "Quality Procedures in European Higher Education Findings of the 2008 Survey Achim Hopbach Managing Director German Accreditation Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality Procedures in European Higher Education Findings of the 2008 Survey Achim Hopbach Managing Director German Accreditation Council

2 Background QPP 1 in 2003: Major progress towards convergence despite varying national priorities Major developments since then: Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) in 2005 Common understanding of quality assurance Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (FQEHEA) in 2005 Common understanding of learning outcomes

3 Goals of the survey to update the 2003 survey to assess the agencies opinion on their compliance with Part 3 of the ESG to survey agencies external review plans to survey agencies attitudes towards the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR)

4 Method Development of online questionnaire 2 nd half 2007 Responses by 31 st January st analyses: Division of 71 questions into seven sections (by May 08) Final analysis, draft report (by August 08) Organisation Project run by HETAC and QAA Steering group Project group (9 members responsible for different chapters)

5 Responses 51 responses from 30 EHEA countries (2002: 36 from 23) 29 full member agencies (out of 34) 7 candidate member agencies (out of 11) 11 Associates 5 Affiliates

6 Findings: Agencies

7 Scope, remit and domain of agencies Agencies predominantly cover both universities and other types of HEI (28 in 24 countries), and all fields of learning 35: (whole) country 7: part of a country (6: Spain, Belgium) 4: international agencies by definition 42: All HEI subject to compulsory external QA

8 Scope, remit and domain of agencies Agencies predominantly cover both universities and other types of HEI (28 in 24 countries), and all fields of learning 35: (whole) country 7: part of a country (6: Spain, Belgium) 4: international agencies by definition 42: All HEI subject to compulsory external QA One QA framework in national HEI systems

9 Status of agencies 44 out of 49 agencies based on law or recognised by public authority only one responsible agency per country (except for federal systems of Spain and Germany) QA as main task which is carried out regularly (42 out of 46)

10 Status of agencies 44 out of 49 agencies based on law or recognised by public authority only one responsible agency per country (except for federal systems of Spain and Germany) QA as main task which is carried out regularly (42 out of 46) Legally based agency with sole responsi- bility as widespread European pattern

11 Function of agencies Functions Responses % (very) important Quality assurance Quality enhancement External QA of programmes Collecting/Diseminating information on quality External QA of institutions Recognition/licensing of institutions Development/Maintenance of discipline standards Development/Maintenance of NQF Deciding on the funding of iunstitutions Recognition of national diplomas

12 Funding Government funding is the main source of funding for agencies SourceAverage % No. of agencies Government HEIs (fixed subscriptions only) Fees (for specific activities) Grants (other than government) Other

13 Findings: Quality Procedures

14 Activities Most frequent types of QA: Evaluation, accreditation, audit 65% programme approach 40% institutional approach Either regular or never (very seldom occasionally) 90% are not confined to only one approach

15 Reference frame (1) What defines the reference frame for the external quality procdure? % of agencies Legal regulation74.5 Stated goals of the institutions57.4 Guidelines of good practice57.4 National Qualifications Frameworks55.3 European (Bologna) Qualifications Framework44.7 Standards defined by professional organisations34.0 Subject benchmarks27.7

16 Reference frame (2) Notion of criteria and standards as a common feature in European quality assurance (2003 survey: emerging feature) What specific criteria and standards are used for your agencys external quality procedure? % of agencies Agencys own published criteria and standards87.2 European Standards and Guidelines83.0 National criteria and standards66.0 OECD/UNESCO Guidelines on Quality Provision in Cross-boarder HE 14.9

17 Areas addressed in the quality procedures The five highest impacting items programme level procedures: qualifications of staff; curriculum/syllabus; facilities and resources; internal QA procedures; mission/goals. institutional level procedures: internal QA procedures; management, organisation; mission/goals; qualifications of staff; facilities and resources.

18 Areas addressed in the quality procedures The five highest impacting items programme level procedures: qualifications of staff; curriculum/syllabus; facilities and resources; internal QA procedures; mission/goals. institutional level procedures: internal QA procedures; management, organisation; mission/goals; qualifications of staff; facilities and resources. Isnt one item missing?

19 Areas addressed in the quality procedures The five highest impacting items programme level procedures: qualifications of staff; curriculum/syllabus; facilities and resources; internal QA procedures; mission/goals. institutional level procedures: internal QA procedures; management, organisation; mission/goals; qualifications of staff; facilities and resources. Addressing learning outcomes in (external) QA is only at the beginning.

20 Consequences of QA External QA leads to formal consequences (approval, funding) in more than 75% of cases. e.g. approval in 90% of accreditations approx. 80% of evaluations and audits All the common procedures are applied for these purposes

21 Consequences of QA External QA leads to formal consequences (approval, funding) in more than 75% of cases. e.g. approval in 90% of accreditations approx. 80% of evaluations and audits All the common procedures are applied for these purposes Consequences of external QA are taken independently of QA-type

22 Stakeholder involvement: Responsibilities 66.7% External stakeholders may influence neither the conclusions nor the recommendations in reports 78.7% External stakeholders have no share in responsibility for the operations Others: Influence mainly in way of participation in agencys body, panels, etc.

23 Stakeholder involvement: Responsibilities 66.7% External stakeholders may influence neither the conclusions nor the recommendations in reports 78.7% External stakeholders have no share in responsibility for the operations Others: Influence mainly in way of participation in agencys body, panels, etc. Stakeholder involvement is a common feature; it does not necessarily compromise independence of the agencies

24 Stakeholder involvement: Specification of processes and criteria In more than half of all respondent agencies government, quality assurance agencies and student representatives are involved; industry and labour market (36%) and professional organisations" (32%). In 4 cases also government. The final decision on the specification of processes and criteria is likely to be made by the relevant agency (79%). In two cases it is the government alone.

25 Panels: responsibility WHO PERFORMS THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS IN THE EXTERNAL QUALITY PROCEDURES Panel No. of respondents Agency No. of respondents Choice of basic methodology applied1244 Preparation of the guidelines for the self- evaluation 442 Preparation of the external quality procedure concept 1142 Contact with the institution1141 Planning of the site visit2336 Preparation of the guidelines for the site-visit1638 Writing of the report4117

26 Panels: membership Who are members of the external expert panel? % of agencies (2003) National experts representing area of focus76.1 International experts73.9 Professional practitioners63.0 Students National experts representing institutions32.6 Employers Staff members of the agency Other26.1 Professional organisations19.6 Graduates15.2

27 Panels: training Duration: 1.5 days on average Characteristics and circumstances of briefing/training provided to panel members % of agencies Training/briefing is compulsory for all panel members75.0 Training/briefing is compulsory for all panel chairs50.0 Training/briefing provided is matched to the experience of each panel members 42.5 Training outcomes are assessed by the agency27.5 Training is requiered before a person may be nominated to a panel 25.0 Training is provided using distance learning22.5 Other17.5

28 Findings: Future developments

29 Future developments Expected developments in the QA sector by January 2010 Response % Revision of external quality procedures57.4 Establishment of National Qualifications Framework48.9 Introduction of different methodologies for external quality procedures 46.8 Commencement of new higher education legislation31.9 Reorgamnisation or merging of the agency out of 48 agencies changed their approach recently or are about to do so; 27: significant changes (8 referring to ESG, 3 switching to another approach, 16 adding another approach)

30 Future developments Expected developments in the QA sector by January 2010 Response % Revision of external quality procedures57.4 Establishment of National Qualifications Framework48.9 Introduction of different methodologies for external quality procedures 46.8 Commencement of new higher education legislation31.9 Reorgamnisation or merging of the agency out of 48 agencies changed their approach recently or are about to do so; 27: significant changes (8 referring to ESG, 3 switching to another approach, 16 adding another approach) QA in flux

31 The register 78% planning to apply 66% think its a useful tool Expected benefitsResponse % International recognition85 Credibility82 International recognition59 Accountability56 National recognition26

32 Concluding remarks

33 National QA systems and role of agencies legally based and well developed Methodology well developed (but 4-stage-model not applied everywhere, due to national context) ESG as major reference frame Convergence continues but national context matters! Still: QA in flux (1)

34 Developing external QA in a changing world: Student centred learning, LO, stakeholder involvement, accountability to society Demands on QA get diverse Purpose of QA gets diverse QA in flux (2)

35 Final question: Is there a gap between direction/stage of development of QA methods and function/ purpose of QA? Is the purpose of external QA compromised by different usage of results? What does it mean for the type and design of methods applied?

36 Thank you for your attention! Achim Hopbach


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