On December 8th, the Dutch parliament received a CHEPS study on external quality assurance in higher education systems in several countries, focusing on Flanders, Germany, Austria and Norway. The study aimed to find out how in those systems the bureaucratic burden of quality assurance is perceived and what is being done to reduce the burden.
The trend is clearly towards institutional evaluations as the main form of external, cyclical evaluation. In the countries used for comparison evidence-based sources with hard data on administrative burden were not available. To limit the administrative burden approaches based on risk are often considered, but they appear to be difficult to implement. Until now risk has been operationalized as deserved trust. Deserved trust is based on performance of institutions in quality assurance in the past. The risk of quality failure in education in the future has not been used as a criterion for ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ external assessments until now.
The report will play a role in the preparation of the Dutch accreditation system after 2015, ‘Accreditation 3.0’.