EQAR, the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education, has launched a survey on a database of external quality assurance reports and decisions.
EQAR’s mission is to enhance trust and confidence in European higher education by increasing the transparency of quality assurance. Thus, facilitating access to reports and results of external quality assurance procedures by registered agencies is at the core of its mission. As part of its 2015 Self-Evaluation Report and subsequent work plan, EQAR decided to study the feasibility of a database of higher education institutions and programmes that have been subject to quality assurance by registered agencies.
Objective and envisaged coverage: The objective of the database would be to allow users to identify whether a specific higher education institution has been subject to external quality assurance by any EQAR-registered agency (either at institutional level, or at one or more of higher education’s programmes) and to easily access the corresponding report(s). The database would include all external quality assurance reports by EQAR-registered agencies on higher education institutions and programmes in the EHEA, including all types of external quality assurance activities within the scope of the ESG (e.g. evaluation, accreditation, audit, review). For external quality assurance processes resulting in a formal decision (e.g. accreditation) this includes both cases with a positive or a negative result. Since both scenarios are covered by the ESG and thus by EQAR, the database would include both external quality assurance procedures that are part of the obligatory national external quality assurance system (e.g. accreditation linked to official recognition) and other, voluntary external quality assurance procedures (e.g. additional evaluation at the institution’s own initiative).
Functionality: In order to represent all higher education institutions in a comparable and fair way, irrespective of the external quality assurance system they are subject to, the starting point would be the institution. That is, the database would allow to search for an institution (by name, country or location), but not for individual programmes. The user would then be presented with a list of external quality assurance procedures which might be at institutional or programme level (incl. joint programmes). For each external quality assurance procedure, basic information and a link to the report (at the agency’s website) would be provided. For many institutions there will be several reports, e.g. an obligatory institutional audit, a voluntary institutional evaluation and a number of programmes with specialised accreditation. The database would provide basic information on the type of external quality assurance, so as to help the user in understanding the results. It will, however, be up to the user to interpret and draw conclusions from the information provided.
The survey is open until 22 July 2016.