Quality assurance agencies are expected to undergo an external review against the ESG at least once every five years. For agencies where overall compliance with the ESG has already been proven, a more targeted review process has been designed by EQAR in close collaboration with ENQA, that could reduce the possible “evaluation fatigue” of repeated reviews and ensure that something meaningful is provided as part of a review process.
The ins and outs of the targeted review (TR):
To prevent possible “evaluation fatigue” and the risk that the quality assurance process becomes more of a bureaucratic exercise than something meaningful. (As indicated both in ENQA’s external assessment of its review methodologies in 2019 and by survey respondents in EQAR’s self-evaluation at the end of 2020.)
The targeted review will thus be focusing on those parts that require more attention, while also including an enhancement approach. This will allow agencies to demonstrate the benefit and added value of their external QA activities for their higher education sector.
The targeted review will focus on:
a. those standards with a conclusion of “partial compliance” in the Register Committee’s last renewal decision (if the case);
b. standards 2.1 to 2.7 for activities that were newly launched or changed since the agency’s last renewal of registration (if the case);
c. standards affected by other substantive changes (if the case);
d. standard 2.1 from an enhancement-oriented perspective (always);
e. at least one further standard, chosen by the agency as an enhancement area (always);
f. any other matters arising during the review (if the case).
NB: all ESG standards will remain binding for all agencies at all times.
EQAR-registered agencies that renewed their registration successfully at least once previously may opt to apply for renewal of registration based on a targeted review every second time. After five years, such a Targeted Review would then be followed again by a full/complete review.
Registered agencies are only eligible for a targeted review if all substantive changes that occurred since their last renewal of registration have been duly reported by the time the application is made.
The application for a targeted reviews follows the same steps as for a normal renewal application, starting with an eligibility check followed by self-evaluation, site-visit and external review.
In the eligibility stage, the applicant organisation will have to submit an on-line Application Form to EQAR, completed by the authorised representative of the applicant (at least a year before expiry of the agency’s registration on EQAR).
Based on the information provided in the application form, a tripartite Terms of Reference (ToR) will be prepared detailing what the targeted review should address. Once the ToR is agreed by the agency, coordinator and EQAR, the targeted review is set in motion and expected to conclude with a final report sent to EQAR, before the expiry of the agency’s registration.
In order to apply please also see the Guide for Agencies’ Application and Eligibility section.
For targeted reviews coordinated by ENQA, please also visit their website for more information about the review process.