EKKA’s new QA model integrates institutional accreditation and study programme group assessment elements as of 2019

Estonian higher education QA will undergo a major change starting from 2019, when the former system of parallel institutional accreditation and study programme group assessment will be replaced with a new – integrated model.

The EKKA Assessment Council for Higher Education has adopted the following principles for future assessments:
1. to combine institutional accreditation with assessment of selected study programmes/study programme groups; and
2. to launch thematic evaluations that focus on bottlenecks identified during the previous assessments and on national priorities.

The aim of this new model is to support the development of strategic management and a quality culture that values learning-centredness, creativity and innovation in HEIs, as well as to increase the impact of academic, research and development activities of the higher education institutions on social development.

Benefits of the new model will include reduced assessment burden for HEIs; less or no overlapping between different types of assessment and better understanding of how decisions made at top management level are implemented in study programmes, i.e. real learning. Potential challenges include finding experts suited both for management and programme evaluation as well as the method for choosing the most relevantnt study programmes to be assessed (e.g., representative, random or risk-based selection). The main risk is that study programmes not under review will get less or no attention, which means that their quality may drop without it being noticed. This risk can be overcome by focusing especially on internal quality assurance processes during the accreditation – how HEIs themselves assure that all study programs are of high quality.

Read more about the new concept here.