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INQAAHE Conference 2009 30st March – 2nd April 2009 Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates. Quality Assurance for Enhancement: a case study of ANECA (Spain). Gemma Rauret Director. Table of contents. Tensions and challenges in the evaluation process

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INQAAHE Conference 2009

30st March – 2nd April 2009

Abu Dhabi, UnitedArabEmirates

Quality Assurance for Enhancement: a case study of ANECA (Spain)

Gemma Rauret



Table of contents

Tensions and challenges in the evaluation process

Simple vs. diversified models for assuring quality

The Spanish model for quality assurance

The new quality assurance approach


Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

  • Is it feasible the evaluation enhancement-oriented model?
  • Is it possible to harmonize an evaluation enhancement-oriented to another accreditation-oriented?
  • How to integrate an evaluation for accreditation with an evaluation for enhancement?
Accountability vs. Quality Enhancement

Governmental Regulation vs. Self-regulation

Performance Indicators vs. Expert Opinion

Accreditation vs. On-going Quality Enhancement

Can both approaches be integrated?

Purist perspective vs. Practical position

Stakeholders’ claims

Accreditation legitimacy

Integration in a supra-national framework : the EHEA

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

Tensions in the two approaches in the evaluation

Higher Education Institutions:

HEIs are responsible for the quality of their educational offer

HEIs must be able to show quality both at the national and International level

A quality culture within HEIs must be promoted

Quality of academic programmes for students must be developed and enhanced

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

Basic principles that rule the ESG

  • Society:
    • Society’s interests concerning quality of higher education must be assured and safeguarded

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges


  • Quality assurance accountability-oriented is compatible with enhancement
  • Processes should be compatible with diversity and innovation
  • Transparency and external experts are significant within the quality assurance processes
  • Processes allowing HEIs can show their responsibility concerning accountability for both public and private funds received should be developed

Scope and Goals of the Evaluation:

  • National Higher Education Academic Rules
  • Programme and/or institutional accreditation
  • Users’ protection
  • Public access to the information about programmes and institutions
  • Quality improvement and enhancement

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

Simple or different evaluation models?

  • External and internal determining factors
    • Reality and evaluation culture of the system
    • Complexity, volume, tradition and legal frameworks
    • Problems to be undertaken
    • Potential of the organization to accomplish the evaluation
      • Internal quality units in the HEIs and
      • quality assurance agencies involved in the process
  • Common aspects of both models
    • An agency that co-ordinates the process
    • A self-evaluation report
    • A peer site-visit
    • A public final report

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

Stages where different problems will be undertaken/ the role played by the quality assurance/nature of the external review

  • Doubts regarding educational standards/ identification of programs placed under that threshold/ accreditation
  • Doubts regarding the efficiency of either the Higher Education system or the HEIs / Public accountability and creating awareness in institutions/ranking or report to state

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

  • Doubts regarding Innovation capacity and QA capacity / stimulate self-regulation capacity of institutions. Public accountability/Audit to the institution
  • Need to stimulate sustainable Quality Culture in Institutions/ Improvement based on self regulation or public accountability /audit report to the institution
  • Decreasing Comparative Transparency across HE Systems/stakeholder information/ publication of performance indicators
What kind of agency can provide responses to the challenges set up?

The nature of an agency :

learning organization

shared know-how

critical and independent thought

The technology of the agency:

Guides, standards and benchmarks

The process

Interaction with the HEI: moment and type of interaction

Ensuring the presence of different stakeholders

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges


Highly qualified

Trained on the evaluation model to be applied

International experience

Agency’s staff

Highly qualified staff

On-going training: networking with other agencies’ staff

Network of collaborating experts

Evaluation Process in QA: tensions and challenges

  • What kind of profile, training and role place the experts and agency’s staff in evaluation?

Spanish Higher Education System


75 universities all over Spain

(50 public – 25 private)

Total number of students enrolled 1.461.477

Public universities – 1.326.734

Private universities – 134.743


The Spanish model for QA

The Spanish Setting

  • Programme evaluation for improvement was introduced but without consequences (1985-2005).
  • The initial reaction was very stimulated although due to the lack of consequences the impact was rather unequal.
  • A stage without consequences is useful but cannot be extended for an indefinite period.
  • This stage led to the creation of QA agencies at the regional and the national level and QA units in HEIs.

The Spanish model for QA

The Spanish Setting (2)

  • The EHEA and the quality assurance (2007 onwards). Problem to be undertaken and evaluation model
    • Ensuring that all official programs fulfilled the standards established in the legal framework.
    • Adopting the accreditation model with a few elements enhance-oriented
    • Adopting a national evaluation model for the teaching staff
    • Mandatory for bachelor and master programs
    • Implies funding and recognition of degrees for the public service
    • ANECA and other regional agencies are responsible for the external evaluation

The Spanish model for QA

The programme accreditation process


Fulfilment evaluation

Programme design

Ex – ante Evaluation







Council Univ.

Council Univ.


ANECA and regional Agencies


The Spanish model for QA

  • How ANECA has undertaken the new challenge?
    • ANECA as a learning organisation
      • Innovation Area
      • Involvement at the International level
      • Taking part in innovative projects
    • ANECA’s technology
      • What Tools?
        • Guide for universities
        • Guide for evaluation
          • Methodology, standards and benchmarks
      • How are they created?
        • Innovation Unit
        • Technical Committee for validation
        • Approval by the Board of Directors

The Spanish model for QA

  • The methodology: An evaluation procedure in three stages
    • Provisional Report oriented towards the fulfilment of the standards and improvement
    • Response of universities and enhancement
    • Final Report on the fulfilment of the standards
  • ESG Fulfilment
    • External reviewed in 2007: ENQA full membership
    • Included in the European Register for Quality Assurance Agencies (EQAR): December 2008

The Spanish model for QA

Profile and training of the agents involved in the evaluation

Experts profile

  • Academic peers: expertise in QA, in programme evaluation,

in International teams and members of the university staff

  • Professional Experts in the discipline specific field
  • Students coming from the discipline specific field at the

suggestion of student unions

  • Experts in quality assurance


  • Specific training sessions in the agency
  • On the university system of Spain
  • On the running of the evaluation procedure

The Spanish model for QA

Profile, training and role of the technical staff

  • Profile
    • Expert in quality assurance
    • Young academic staff with experience in quality assurance of higher education
  • Training subjects
    • On the university system of Spain
    • On the running of the evaluation procedure
    • On quality assurance Systems and the application of standards
    • Data processing
  • Role played by the technical staff of ANECA
    • Secretary of the committee
    • Improve the reference book to be used by the Experts in the committees
    • Co-ordinates the organisation of the meetings
The main features:

Strengthening the internal QA systemof HEI

A public information system

To give importance to improvement plans

Evaluation agencies should adopt a consultancy role

Funding as an incentive for on-going improvement

The new QA approach


The new QA approach

The internal QA Systems of the institution

  • Internal systems of the HEI are the only element really sustainable
  • Based on on-going improvement
    • Towards international quality levels
      • Best practices for benchmarking
    • Reporting on progresses
  • Improvement of teaching quality
    • Quality system core
    • Staff involvement at all levels

Public information system

  • Characteristics of the programs
  • Planning and implementation of the learning process
  • Performance indicators

The new QA approach

Quality improvement plan

  • Characteristics
    • Focused on learning quality enhancement
    • Built up from self assessment
    • Relevant actions for achieving the improvement goals
    • Feasible: human and material resources
    • Adequate time
  • Institutional commitment
  • Accountability of results


Conclusions remarks

  • The evaluation approach improvement- and voluntary-oriented creates COMMITMENT
  • The evaluation approach accountability- and mandatory-oriented only creates FULFILMENT
  • Both are necessary components for generating a quality culture