Common principles for quality assurance

DEFINITION: set of nine principles which are necessary to ensure accountability and the improvement of higher education and vocational education and training in the European Union, i.e.:
- quality assurance policies and procedures should underpin all levels of the European Qualifications Framework,
- quality assurance should be an integral part of the internal management of education and training institutions,
- quality assurance should include regular evaluation of institutions, their programmes or their quality assurance systems by external monitoring bodies or agencies,
- external monitoring bodies or agencies carrying out quality assurance should be subject to regular review,
- quality assurance should include context, input, process and output dimensions, while giving emphasis to outputs and learning outcomes,
- quality assurance systems should include the following elements:
- clear and measurable objectives and standards, guidelines for Implementation,   including stakeholder involvement,
- appropriate resources,
- consistent evaluation methods, associating self-assessment and external review,
- feedback mechanisms and procedures for improvement,
- widely accessible evaluation results,
- quality assurance initiatives at international, national and regional level should be coordinated in order to ensure overview, coherence, synergy and system-wide analysis,
- quality assurance should be a cooperative process across education and training levels and systems, involving all relevant stakeholders, within Member States and across the Community,
- quality assurance orientations at Community level may provide reference points for evaluations and peer learning.

SOURCE: European Qualification Framework (Annex III), 2009.