Edition 101 - September 2009

The path to quality in European higher education

The European Commission has presented its first triennial report on progress in the area of quality assurance. The report is a response to the 2006 recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council on further cooperation in quality assurance (QA) in higher education (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, February 2006). It analyses the situation at national, European and international levels, suggesting areas for further improvement.  

An important step forward has been the creation of a growing number of quality assurance agencies and networks, although they are still quite heterogeneous in terms of size, scope and functions. A major new body in the European QA infrastructure is the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR, see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, March 2008). A further useful reference frame has been the European Standards and Guidelines on quality assurance (ESG), although they continue to be interpreted differently in different national contexts. One of the main challenges (as confirmed by the 2009 Bologna Stocktaking Report, see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2009) remains the design of adequate and harmonised assessment procedures for measuring learning outcomes.

All in all, there has been increasing involvement of and cooperation among different stakeholders in quality assurance procedures, however, further effort to improve comparability and build trust among various stakeholders is required in order to make the European QA system truly transparent and transnational.

European Commission

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