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Erik De Corte 1
  • 1 Center for Instructional Psychology and Technology (CIP&T), University of Leuven, Belgium, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Oude Markt, 13, Bus 50053000 Leuven, Belgium

Evaluation of Universities in Western Europe: From Quality Assessment to Accreditation

2014. No. 4. P. 36–57 [issue contents]
Erik de Corte - Professor Emeritus, Center for Instructional Psychology and Technology (CIP&T), University of Leuven, Belgium. Address: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Oude Markt, 13, Bus 5005 3000 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail: Erik.DeCorte@ppw.kuleuven.be

The emergence of national evaluation schemes in higher education in Western Europe occurred in the mid-1980s, and originated in The Netherlands, Flanders, France and the United Kingdom. In the years thereafter many other Western European countries established similar evaluation systems. Over the past thirty years these systems have undergone important changes. This article discuss the following topics relating to evaluation in Western European higher education. What were the causes for the establishment of schemes for the evaluation of higher education institutions in Western Europe in the mid-1980s? Defining main concepts relating to the evaluation of higher education programs: quality assurance, quality, quality control, quality management, quality audit, quality assessment, evaluation, and accreditation. Quality assessment introduced in the mid-1980s lasted till the start of the 21th century, and focused on contributing to the improvement of higher education. The Dutch system of quality assessment that was representative for Western Europe will be presented. Notwithstanding the largely positive influence of the quality assessment system, in the early years of the 21st century a shift occurred in Western Europe from quality assessment to accreditation defined as a formal judgment that the quality of a degree course or an institution meets certain standards. Although based on quality assessment this approach shifted the focus from improvement to accountability. As an example the Dutch accreditation scheme will be discussed. Because of the shift from improvement to accountability, but also because of the bureaucratic burden and the expensiveness, the accreditation scheme was more and more heavily criticized. This led to very intensive discussions and consultations that resulted in a revised accreditation system that is operational in The Netherlands since 2012. The major changes in the accreditation approach will be reviewed. The article concludes with some final comments and a future perspective.

DOI: 10.17323/1814-9545-2014-4-36-57
Citation: De Corte E. (2014) Analiz deyatel'nosti universitetov Zapadnoy Evropy: ot otsenki kachestva do akkreditatsii (per. s angl. N. Mikshinoy) [Evaluation of Universities in Western Europe: From Quality Assessment to Accreditation]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no4, pp. 36-57.
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