Evaluation of EQAR
EQAR adopts a 5-year cycle for regular self-evaluations, with an external evaluation following every second self-evaluation, i.e. every 10 years. The first external evaluation took place in 2010/11, followed by a comprehensive self-evaluation in 2015/16. EQAR is currently in the process of organising its second external evaluation.
EQAR was founded by the E4 Group based on the mandate received from ministers at the London summit in May 2007. Ministers then requested that EQAR be evaluated externally after two years of operation: “We ask the E4 group […], and to ensure that after two years of operation, the register is evaluated externally, taking account of the views of all stakeholders.” (London Communiqué, 2007)
Consequently, a first external evaluation of EQAR was organised in 2010/11. The evaluation was coordinated by a Steering Group working under the auspices of the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which appointed an independent expert panel.
In 2015/16, EQAR carried out a comprehensive self-evaluation, which featured the recommendation of the 5- and 10- year cycles for the evaluation of EQAR. This was later endorsed by the General Assembly.
External Evaluation (2020)
- Self-Evaluation Report [PDF, 2MB]
EQAR’s Strategic Plan 2013-2017 included the commitment to undertake a comprehensive self-evaluation exercise in 2015/16, involving all bodies of EQAR, in order to assess progress made and to consider a revised Strategic Plan in 2017.
The self-evaluation exercise consisted of a self-reflection of the organisation as to how it has performed with a view to its mission and how it would improve. The specific objectives of the 2015/16 self-evaluation exercise were:
- To take stock of how recommendations of the 2011 external evaluation of EQAR were implemented;
- To feed into the revision of the Strategic Plan;
- To demonstrate accountability to its members and stakeholders.
The self-evaluation therefore focussed on the following key questions:
- Are EQAR’s mission and objectives still relevant?
- What are the expectations of governments and stakeholders?
- Is the singularity of EQAR’s mission clear?
- Are EQAR’s activities fit for purpose with regard to its mission and objectives? How does EQAR know, what impact did they have?
- How did EQAR perform against the indicators for success defined in our Strategic Plan 2013-2017?
The self-evaluation process was coordinated by a selfevaluation group (SEG) which included representatives of EQAR’s main bodies and stakeholders. Next to an analysis of existing documents (published by EQAR or other organisations) the SEG gathered data through a number of surveys and events, see section 1.3 of the report for details.
External Evaluation 2011
EQAR Strategic Plan 2013-2017 (March 2013)
- Members and Meetings of the SEG
- Ministerial Communiqués, E4 Report (extracts)
- EQAR Statutes
- EQAR Mission Statement
- EQAR Procedures for Applications
- Composition of EQAR Committees
- Overview of Applications for Inclusion on the Register
- Annual Reports 2008 2009
- Register Committee Reports
- Mock-up Register Entry
- Feedback on the Guide for Applicants
- Summary of interviews of governments and stakeholders
- Website visitor survey – raw summary of results
- Quality assurance agency survey – raw summary of results
When mandating the E4 Group to establish EQAR, European ministers asked the E4 organisations “to ensure that after two years of operation, the register is evaluated externally, taking account of the views of all stakeholders” (London Communiqué 2007).
The evaluation addresses three main questions, as specified in the Terms of Reference:
- Are the organisational structures and methods of EQAR fit for purpose in the light of the agreed objectives? Have they functioned effectively and efficiently in practice?
- What has been the initial impact of EQAR? Is it in line with the desired goals?
- What improvements are desirable? How might the organisation develop and act further with a view to best achieving its mission and objectives?
The Steering Group included the following individuals:
- Judith Eaton (Chair of the Steering Group) – President of CHEA
- Jan Levy – Former Director General of the Norwegian Ministry of Higher Education
- Norman Sharp – Former Director of the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland
- Martina Vukasović -Director of the Centre for Education Policy, Belgrade
The Steering Group for the evaluation of EQAR appointed an independent expert Panel to carry out the evaluation, including European and non-European experts in quality assurance of higher education, coming from different backgrounds and including all stakeholder perspectives.
The following individuals served on the Panel:
- Sir John Daniel (Chair of the Evaluation Panel)
President and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning, Canada
- Barbara Brittingham
President/Director of the Commission of Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, USA
- Liam Burns
President of NUS Scotland (National Union of Students)
- Eduardo Marçal Grilo
Professor and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal
- Lis Lange
Senior Director, Institutional Research and Academic Planning, University of the Free State, South-Africa
- Pall Skúlason
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iceland
- David Parry (Secretary to the Evaluation Panel)
Higher Education consultant, United Kingdom
A Self-Evaluation Group (SEG), including members of the EQAR Executive Board, Register Committee and Secretariat, coordinated the self-evaluation processand drafted the Self-Evaluation Report, in consultation with all EQAR bodies. The final Self-Evaluation Report was submitted to the Evaluation Panel in March 2011.
The SEG was composed of the following individuals:
Lucien Bollaert (Register Committee, Chair of the SEG)
Andrea Blättler (Executive Board)
Dorte Kristoffersen (Register Committee)
Helle Otte (Denmark, Observer on the Register Committee)
Lesley Wilson (Executive Board)
Colin Tück (Director)
In preparing the Report, the SEG drew upon the feedback regularly elicited from applicants and on internal reflections of the Register Committee and Executive Board. Furthermore, the SEG elicited feedback on the workings of EQAR from interviews of a sample of European governments and stakeholder organisations as well as surveys.
The Evaluation Panel conducted a site visit to Brussels from 12 to 14 May, in the context of the External Evaluation of EQAR. The Panel met with the Self-Evaluation Group, all EQAR committees (Executive Board, Register Committee, Appeals Committee), staff, governmental members, quality assurance agencies and stakeholders.
Site Visit and Interviews by the Panel
A range of different stakeholders were interviewed by the panel:
Members of EQAR (E4 organisations, social partners, governments); Governments that are not member of the EQAR association;
Bologna Secretariat, Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNESCO/CEPES;
Applicant and non-applicant quality assurance agencies.
The external evaluation report sets out the panel’s findings – based on the self-evaluation report, the site visit and the interviews – and make recommendations for improvement. The final external evaluation report was submitted to EQAR in September 2011.
In November 2011, EQAR organised the first Members Dialogue for all EQAR’s members and committees to discuss the results of the evaluation and give input to a follow-up and implementation plan.