AERES Seminar

The training seminar "Internal and external quality assurance for institutional and programme accreditation in Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Higher Education" was held on 21- 24 June 2010, Paris.

The seminar was held at the Agence d’évaluation de la recherché et de l’enseignement supérieur(AERES), 20 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris (

There were 19 participants, belonging to the permanent staff members of the National Accreditation Centre of Kazakhstan (NAC) and to the National Center of Public Accreditation (NCPA) of the Russian Federation or experts, participating in external reviews, organized by the two agencies.


The seminar was organized in three training days and one day was devoted to the visits of two higher education institutions, an one engineering school, the Ecole de biologie industrielle (EBI - and a business school, the Ecole supérieure des sciences économiques et sociales (ESSEC-




The main objective of this training seminar was to allow the participants to develop their understanding of the European context of quality assurance in higher education and to develop their methodological competencies. The evaluation and accreditation in TVET was also focused on.

The choice of the themes of the sessions and the organisation of the three days made it possible

for the participants to set back their activities – the evaluation they were involved in or the design of the procedures they participated to – in the broader context of the European expectations in terms of quality of the external evaluation.

The accent was set on the priorities of the external evaluators in their specific tasks, namely assessing the quality of the programs and institutions. The developmental role of QA with regards to the capacity of the institution or programmes for self-assessment and the conditions for a fruitful dialogue between the agency and the institutions was also addressed during the presentations.

The training was to help clarifying the following notions and points:

- The notions of standard, criterion and indicator;

- The qualitative approach of compliance;

- The notion of full, substantial and partial compliance;

- The relationship between evaluation outcomes and accreditation decision;

- The importance of the dialogue between agencies, stakeholders and institutions;

- The consequences of the ESG in terms of professionalism of the external evaluation.

Day One provided an introduction to the European consensus about professionalism in external quality assurance. Examples from Spain and France gave to the participants information about the way different quality assurance agencies had organised their activities in order to comply with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Day Two proposed to enter in details the specificities of the accreditation of institutions and programmes. It was the occasion to analyse the relationship between evaluation outcomes and accreditation decisions. The design of relevant methodologies, from the choice of standards and criteria to the organisation of the external evaluation, was addressed in the second part of the day. The session covered the processes from the decision about what was to be checked to the way to the decision about the criteria that should be used in a specific context.

Day Three focused on the evaluation and the accreditation of TVET and the interactions between self-assessment and external evaluation.

Day Four gave the occasion to the participants to visit an engineering school and a business schools and to see on site the internal quality assurance mechanisms put in place in order to guarantee the quality of their administrative and educational activities.