ANECA procedures

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ANECA evaluates officially recognised programmes and does not evaluates Higher Education Institutions. Organic Law 4/2007, dated 12 April, which amended Organic Law 6/2001, 21 December, on Universities (Spanish Universities Act), established a new structure for university degree programmes in Spain in line with the aims set for building the European Higher Education Area. Royal Decree 1393/2007, dated 29 October, and Royal Decree 861/2010 which amended the previous have led autonomy to the universities to design new degree programmes at Bachelor, Master and Doctorate levels. These Royal Decrees also establish three stages in the introduction of official university degree.

Ex-ante accreditation

Once a university has decided to offer a degree before admitting students, the university must present a degree project for verification by the Universities Council which requests an assessment report from the Quality Assurance Agency in charge. (ANECA or one of the regional Quality Assurance Agencies with such a competence). The project must also be authorized by the Regional Authorities who provide funding to the programme. Once this process has concluded, the degrees are included in the Register of Universities, Centres and Degrees (RUCT), which contains information concerning the Spanish University System and the degree is considered as Accredited.

Follow-up procedure

ANECA (and other regional agencies) are developing the so-called follow-up procedures where to check, by non-intrusive means, that the institution is implementing the study programme according to the approved design. The MONITOR program was created by ANECA in order to perform this follow-up.

Ex-post accreditation

ANECA is currently creating the ACREDITA program which will check that the degree has been carried out according with the initial project. This review will include a site visit to the institution.

Assessment of Internal Quality Assurance Systems in Higher Education (AUDIT)

Due to the EHEA framework, and some recent changes in Spanish regulations, Spanish Higher Education Institutions must ensure the fulfillment of the goals related to their different degree programmes, in a context of continuous improvement. As a result of this, universities should have formally established policies and internal quality assurance systems, contained in a publicly available statement. In this context, ANECA in cooperation with two other regional agencies, AQU and ACSUG, have developed the 'Assessment of Internal Quality Assurance Systems in Higher Education' (AUDIT programme). The purpose of this initiative, which is addressed to all the university colleges and faculties that offer university education, is to provide guidance in designing internal quality assurance systems integrating all the activities implemented up until the present time related to degree programmes quality assurance. Even though these orientations are addressed to university colleges and faculties, some relevant elements are of a transversal nature and belong to the university institution as a whole (i.e. issues referred to the hiring of academic staff, material resources and general services, etc.).

With this objective, different tools have been developed (Guidelines, a Guide to the design of internal quality assurance systems in higher education, Tools/Diagnosis in implementing internal quality assurance systems in higher education). 

Apart from providing guidance at the design stage, the AUDIT programme seeks to become a tool that contributes to the recognition of internal quality assurance systems designed by the university institutions. AUDIT, therefore, includes a design evaluation process, whose criteria and procedures are explained in several documents of the Agency: Guide to Evaluating the Internal Quality Assurance Systems’ design for university education; Protocol for the preliminary review of Documentation Received, Protocol for evaluation the Internal Quality Assurance Systems´ Design for University Education and Assessment report on the design of the Internal Quality Assurance System. In the last stage, the AUDIT programme will enable to conclude with the certification process of the implemented IQAS. The corresponding procedure will be explained in a future document (“Guide for the certification of internal quality assurance systems”). The aspects included in the AUDIT programme are part of the requirements of the VERIFICA program, which deals with the legal requirements for the authorization and official register of new undergraduate and Master’s degrees. This way, efforts are aligned and universities will find it easier to take part in the verification processes of the new degrees.

Quality Label recognition of PhD programmes (MENCION)

The Ministry of Education and Science’s Order ECI/229/2006, of 20 January , whereby announcement is made of the award of the Quality Label (Mención de Calidad) recognition for doctoral studies at Spanish universities for the 2006-2007 academic year. The experience achieved during the last call for applications to obtain the Quality Label recognition of Ph.D. studies has enabled us to guarantee a certain quality level in an important number of university programmes. The Quality Label Recognition award is a demand required by the always increasing interaction between national university systems of the European Higher Education Area. Therefore, it is comprised in the quality policies of our university system, specifically foreseen in the Spanish University Act. In that sense, the Ministry of Education and Science´s call of 20 January 2006, whereby announcement is made of the award of the Quality Label Recognition, modifies somewhat the terms of participation and the assessment criteria employed in the previous call. This modification enables its adjustment to the main aspects composing the adaptation process to the European Ph.D. studies started with the entry into force of the Royal Order 56/2005, of January 21, concerning the regulation of recognised university postgraduate studies and planning the expiration date for Ph.D. studies regulated by the Royal Order 778/1998, of April 30. This award will acknowledge the scientific, technical and educational high standards of Ph.D. studies and of the groups or departments involved. Obtaining Quality Label Recognition will also enable public and private universities with no profit motive in mind to participate at the call for applications for grants launched by the Ministry of Education and Science. ANECA takes part in this call setting up and applying the assessment procedure for applications´assessment, audit and validation. The National Agency assesses how well the objectif criteria related to quality are fulfilled, and contributes with the recognition of the quality of Ph.D. studies.

Teaching Staff Evaluation

ANECA performs two types of evaluation of academic staff. The evaluation Programme for non-civil servant academic staff (PEP), which assesses the academic background and the teaching and research activities of applicants to non-civil servant academic staff positions and, on the other hand, the national evaluation Programme (ACADEMIA) for those seeking access to university civil servant academic staff positions.

The PEP Programme

Since 2002, ANECA has been carrying out this Programme to evaluate applicants for non-civil servant academic staff (Profesor Ayudante Doctor-PAD, Profesor Contratado Doctor-PCD at public universities and, Profesor de Universidad Privada-PUP at public universities). To do this, ANECA has designed five assessment committees, each formed by highly qualified professors who assess the different aspects of the applicant merits (education, research, teaching and professional merits). ANECA, as the National Agency, shares these competency to undertake this work along with the regional agencies, but the evaluation of the latter only apply within the jurisdiction of each region, while ANECA’s evaluation ranges at the national level.

The ACADEMIA Programme

The ACADEMIA Programme evaluates applications from individual academics for the accreditation of Profesores Titulares de Universidad (TU) and Catedráticos de Universidad (CU), both of which are civil servant positions for academic staff. To meet the demand for these evaluations, ANECA has established 11 accreditation committees, each formed by highly qualified professors who assess the different aspects and merits of each applicant. The law confers ANECA the exclusive competence of the accreditation of academic staff at the national level.

Teaching Performance Assessment (DOCENTIA)

Teaching performance assessment, so far underdeveloped, becomes an aspect of special relevance as long as educational programmes quality assurance ensures a suitable planification, development and enhancement of the teaching performance. With this programme, ANECA tries to satisfy the demands from the universities and also to provide the educational sytem with patterns and procedures that ensure teaching quality and foster teachers´ development and recognition. The design of this programme favours universities autonomy in a basic aspect for its transformation and growth: teaching staff quality. In that sense, this programme guides universities and fosters the increasingly important role they can play in the evaluation of teacher´s performance and in the development of teacher training plans. This programme also considers ANECA commitment to take part in and support the different levels of technical collaboration with universities, regional agencies and educational authorities from regional governments. From that point of view, this programme wants to be open to the participation of the aforementioned institutions.