Publications

ECA regularly publishes the results of its projects, surveys , good practices, etc. On this page you will find links to the most important publications.

  1. Assessment Framework for Joint Programmes in Single Accreditation Procedures. The European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA) developed an assessment methodology to assess joint programmes. This methodology is laid down in this assessment framework. It is intended to replace the regular assessment frameworks of (national) accreditation bodies. When used it replaces all the regular accreditation procedures and can lead to accreditation decisions in all relevant countries. The basis of the methodology are ECA’s Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes. The framework consists of two building blocks: a shared (European) component and the relevant national components.
  2. Single Accreditation of Joint Programmes: Pilots Evaluation Report. This report looks into the QA of joint programmes and particularly in the pilots for single accreditation procedures that were set up. Each of these pilots procedures were coordinated by one agency (a JOQAR project partner) with support from the ECA Secretariat which acted as a Coordination Point for these single accreditation procedures. The pilots procedures were also meant to test and improve the functioning of the Coordination Point for future single accreditation procedures.
  3. MULTRA Observations Evaluation Report.  Five QA agencies ( JOQAR project partners) decided to undergo an observation mission from 2011 to 2013. The observations were evaluated through carrying out a survey among the agencies and the observers having participated in the observation missions. Based on this valuable input and the practical experience gained during the missions, we have critically assessed and formulated recommendations regarding the: Observation framework and procedure; Relevance of the observation report template; Functioning of the process of the observation procedure, including the site-visit; Interactions between the agencies, the observers and the panels; Content of MULTRA: Admission procedure to join MULTRA.
  4. Training experts for quality assurance: lessons learned. The results of the E-TRAIN pilot trainings. No matter how competently the quality standards, frameworks and procedures are composed – if the experts are not conversant with the application of these standards, the quality of the procedure might suffer. This publication includes a summary of the experiences and achievements acquired through the various pilot sessions during the E-TRAIN project.
  5. A Guide to Assessing the Quality in Internationalisation. The guide analyses the different elements that contribute to internationalisation in higher education. This analysis intends to guide the (self-)assessment of the quality of internationalisation. It presents how the elements that make up the Frameworks for the Assessment of Internationalisation are to be interpreted. Since all these elements can be used to substantiate realisations in the field of internationalisation. Since internationalisation is contextual, this guide does not prescribe or endorse any particular internationalisation approaches or activities.
  6. Framework for Fair Recognition of Joint Degrees. The elements that play a role when evaluating a degree (such as the status of the institutions, the awarding of the degree, the quality, etc.) are of course the same for both regular and joint degrees. The context of these elements is however quite different. This makes the recognition of joint degrees not always as straightforward as the recognition of regular degrees. The Framework for Fair Recognition of Joint Degrees presents a substantiation of the elements that might influence how credential evaluators look at an awarded joint degree. All these issues are then dealt with separately through examples. Each issue or example presents a conclusion for recognising the joint degree discussed. This publication is the result of a cooperation between ECA and ENIC-NARICs.
  7. Learning Outcomes in Quality Assurance and Accreditation. Principles, recommendations and practiceAccreditation organisations reaffirm that Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are responsible for the quality assurance of their study programmes. This means that the main accountability for setting and defining Learning Outcomes (LO) lies in the hand of the HEI. In order to support HEI in this task, accreditation organisations consider the aspect of LO in their external quality assurance procedures and aim at contributing to the further development and improvement in the use of LO, thus to the greater effectiveness of LO assessment as an integral part of students’ learning processes. The practices gathered in this document are the output of the experience of different ECA organisations that have analysed how they apply the principles on learning outcomes in their accreditation procedures. This document aims at providing a source of assistance and guidance to accreditation organisations undertaking external quality assurance activities.
  8. Guidelines for Good Practice for Awarding Joint Degrees. How to award a joint degree in such a way that it is recognisable and indeed recognised? When is a joint degree regarded as an official degree in countries outside, but sometimes even inside, the joint programme consortium? How can the design of the joint degree and the Diploma Supplement facilitate access to the labour-market?
  9. Handbook for the training of panel members for external quality assurance procedures. As a result of the E-TRAIN project a handbook for the training of panel members for external QA procedures has been published. The handbook has been written by Dr Gillian King.This handbook gives practical guidelines on how to organize effective training sessions for panel members. All steps of the training process are covered in the handbook, from the planning phase up to the necessary evaluation of the delivered trainings. It is believed that both quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions, and also the individual experts, can profit from its reading.
  10. A coordination point for joint programmes – Feasibility Study. This report established what kind of information and assistance on quality assurance, accreditation and recognition of degrees a coordination point regarding joint programmes will have to provide. The results of ECA’s study indicate a strong demand amongst both the joint programmes and the QA agencies for a more centralised, international approach and underpin the foundation of a coordination point regarding joint programmes.
  11. ECA Guidelines for Training of Experts. This publication presents guidelines and advice on the way forward in the development of ECA’s training of experts that take part in external quality assurance procedures. The guidelines included in this publication have been brought together through input from E-TRAIN’s Focus Group and E-TRAIN’s Stakeholder Group. The Focus Group consists of European quality assurance experts while the Stakeholders Group consists of representatives of ECA Members. This publication is the starting point for the development of a European approach to the training of experts that will take part in external quality assurance procedures.
  12. ECA Guide to Good Practices for Training of Experts. This publication presents an overview of current practices in the training of experts that take part in external quality assurance procedures. Included are perceived good practices; those practices that agencies consider exemplary on how they train experts that take part in their external quality assurance procedures. The practices included in the publication are the results of an extensive survey among quality assurance agencies. The results have been analysed and condensed by E-TRAIN’s Stakeholder Group, which consists of representatives of all ECA members.
  13. Discussion Paper: Private Higher Education Institutions and Quality Assurance (2010). In almost all European countries private higher education institutions (PHEIs) form a considerable part of the Higher Education sector. In this discusion paper the authors (who are members of ECA WG 2) deal with the specific characteristics of the private higher education sector; with the definition of PHEIs; and with the diversity of this sector, which has been translated into a number of dimensions to classify the PHEIs. Based on these dimensions the risks regarding the accreditation or evaluation of the programmes the PHEIs deliver are discussed. The discussion paper concludes with some recommendations for the QA agencies in evaluating PHEIs.
  14. Joint programmes: Too many cooks in the kitchen (2010). In June 2010 the TEAM II Dissemination conference “Joint programmes: too many cooks in the kitchen?” was organised in Graz, Austria. During this conference important topics related to accreditation of joint programmes and recognition of qualifications by these programmes were discussed. The report Joint programmes: too many cooks in the kitchen? is the resulting conference publication, in which important stakeholders of European higher education such as the European Commission, EUA, EURASHE, ESU and ENIC-NARICs were given room to present their perspectives on these issues. Additionally, the European Consortium for Accreditation also raises some discussions which are important for future developments of accreditation of joint programmes and recognition of qualifications awarded by these programmes.
  15. How to assess and accredit joint programmes in Europe (2010). Joint programmes are confronted with several quality assurance systems in different countries. Normally, these joint programmes have to undergo the external quality assurance procedures of all the countries involved. Could it however be possible for the relevant quality assurance agencies to cooperate? And if they cooperate, can they reduce their procedures to one single accreditation procedure regarding a joint programme? If so, what should the outline of such a procedure be? These and similar questions are addressed in this report: “How to assess and accredit joint programmes in Europe – Methodologies tested and proposed by ECA’s TEAM2 project”
  16. The recognition of qualifications awarded by joint programmes (2010). Does an ENIC-NARIC recognise a degree awarded by a joint programme that is offered by a consortium of three institutions, if the joint programme is not recognised as such in one of the countries concerned? ENIC-NARICs of the countries where the joint programme is recognised would say yes. Most ENIC-NARICs however would regard this joint programme arrangement as a means for a non-recognised programme or its institution to flee the national regulatory framework and thus they would not recognise that degree. THis report is the result of a survey among ENIC-NARICs and the ENIC-NARIC workshop. It is published in the framework of the TEAM2 Project and funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
  17. The recognition of qualifications from joint programmes: the perspective of HEIs (2010). The number of joint programmes in Europe is still increasing. Consequently the number of degrees awarded by these programmes are also increasing. We know that national recognition authorities have diverging practices when recognising such degrees. However, such degrees are also being recognised by credential evaluators at HEI’s. What do we really know about their practices? What is e.g. the current state of affairs when institutions receive applications from graduates of these types of programmes, and need to ‘recognise’ qualifications awarded by joint programmes? This report is seeking to give new insight into these and similar issues.
  18. Bologna Beyond 2010 – Position Paper (2009). ECA’s Position Paper regarding the Bologna Follow-Up Group’s “Bologna Beyond 2010” Report was published in advance of the Ministerial Meeting in Leuven 2009.
  19. State of the art on learning outcomes (2009). This report provides an overview of the current state of affairs regarding the use of learning outcomes in accreditation procedures. It builds on a survey among ECA members and was produced by ECA’s Working Group 4.
  20. The Benefits of Mutual Recognition of Accreditation and Quality Assurance Decisions (2008). Comparability of the quality of study programmes is a prerequisite for the implementation of the Bologna process and for the mobility of students and staff. The need for close co-operation of quality assurance agencies and acceptance of national quality assurance systems has been emphasised by the ministers responsible for higher education in Europe since 2001. Twelve mutual recognition agreements were signed in December 2007 during an ECA international conference in Barcelona. This conference brought together representatives from governments, institutions, students, recognition authorities and European and international QA-agencies to discuss the benefits of mutual recognition of accreditation decisions. The conference showed that various stakeholders in higher education can benefit from mutual recognition agreements and that methods and tools of ECA can also be useful for other accreditation and QA-agencies in Europe or abroad. This report resumes the ECA project and summarizes the speeches and discussion of the dissemination conference in Barcelona.
  21. Advancing mutual recognition of accreditation decisions (2007). In the Bergen Communiqué the Ministers ‘underline the importance of co-operation between nationally recognised agencies with a view to enhancing the mutual recognition of accreditation or quality assurance decisions’. The purpose of this report is to provide insight into the methodology of the mutual recognition project of ECA and to present the results that have been achieved so far. The report concludes with some political requests to advance mutual recognition of accreditation decisions, addressed to the Ministers responsible for higher education in Europe.
  22. Bologna Process Bergen 2005 – Position Paper (2005). This report was compiled in the context of the forthcoming meeting of European Ministers for Education in Bergen in 2005. It is designed to introduce the shared views of twelve accreditation organisations in Europe to the Bologna Follow-up Group. The purpose of the report is to define accreditation and to explain its usefulness and significance with regard to the development and implementation of the European Higher Education Area.