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Quality Assurance

The quality assurance policy of the AUAS is directed at continuously developing, safeguarding and demonstrating the merit of accreditation and quality of the degree programmes.

The AUAS adheres to sound internal quality assurance. The AUAS works systematically towards maintaining the good quality of the education and introduces improvements where necessary. The methodology used in this is Deming’s PDCA cycle: plan, do, check, act.

Quality assurance cycles at AUAS

  • The cycle of accreditation and internal audits. Policy Document Internal Audit (integral quality); 
  • The planning and control cycle (management control);
  • The primary-process evaluation cycle (the monitoring of educational quality from the perspective of the stakeholders, with the aid of tools from the 'Onderzoekshuis').

Assessment framework for limited programme assessments

  • What is the programme aiming for?
  • How is the programme realising this aim?
  • Is the programme achieving its objectives?

The quality assurance system is composed of interconnected quality cycles, each with their own primary or secondary objectives and dynamics:

The management information is analysed and then significance is attached to it. The internal and external assessment (for accreditation) of a degree programme's integral educational quality alternate. The first has a different function than the second. The internal audit provides insight and is directed at improvement. A positive external assessment by a visitation panel once every six years is a precondition for an accreditation application with the NVAO. Because the audit has the function of a mid-term review, it will be carried out at the mid-point of the six-year accreditation cycle. This gives the degree programme time to employ improvement policy based in part on the findings and recommendations of the panel and the data from the 'Onderzoekshuis'.

The framework for limited assessments of existing programmes is used for institutions that have obtained a positive judgement following an institutional quality assurance assessment (AUAS) Institutional Audit: Positive from 5 November 2013 until 4 November 2019). The assessment is based on a discussion with peers regarding the content and quality of the programme. It focuses on three questions:

These three questions have been translated into three standards. Regarding each of these three standards, an assessment panel gives a substantiated judgement on a four-point scale: unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good or excellent. The panel subsequently gives a substantiated final conclusion regarding the overall quality of the programme, on the same four-point scale.

The three standards

Intended learning outcomes

Standard 1: The intended learning outcomes of the programme have been concretised with regard to content, level and orientation; they meet international requirements.

Explanation: As for level and orientation (bachelor's or master's; professional or academic), the intended learning outcomes fit into the Dutch qualifications framework. In addition, they tie in with the international perspective of the requirements currently set by the professional field and the discipline with regard to the contents of the programme.

Teaching-learning environment

Standard 2: The curriculum, staff and programme-specific services and facilities enable the incoming students to achieve the intended learning outcomes.

Explanation: The contents and structure of the curriculum enable the students admitted to achieve the intended learning outcomes. The quality of the staff and of the programme-specific services and facilities is essential to that end. Curriculum, staff, services and facilities constitute a coherent teaching-learning environment for the students.

Assessment and achieved learning outcomes

Standard 3: The programme has an adequate assessment system in place and demonstrates that the intended learning outcomes are achieved.

Explanation: The level achieved is demonstrated by interim and final tests, final projects and the performance of graduates in actual practice or in post-graduate programmes. The tests and assessments are valid, reliable and transparent to the students.

For more information about the assessment framework, please read the Assessment frameworks for the higher education accreditation system.

Published by  Communication 8 September 2014