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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 335-345

The Dutch System of External Quality Assessment: Description and Experiences

Department of Educational Development & Educational Research, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
H. J. M Van Berkel
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Development & Educational Research, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Context: Generally speaking, quality assurance in Dutch higher education consists of four parts: a self-evaluation, written by the faculty, a review committee, consisting of experts, the site visit, and a public report of the assessment outcomes. Task of the Review Committee: The organization, in which all universities are united, appoints a review committee for each educational program. Most educational programs are taught at different universities. Consequently, the review committee visits several universities. The task of the review committee is: to assess the overall quality of these educational programs in The Netherlands; and to assess the quality of each school separately. Method: The members of the review committee start their activities by formulating the evaluation criteria (standards) for the content of an educational program and for the educational process. This ends with a paper that will be used as a reference for the assessment. Then the review committee studies the self-evaluation reports. The faculties write these reports along established guidelines. In cases where the self-evaluation is not completely clear, or not suf.cient, the committee formulates questions and asks for additional information. Then the committee visits the faculties. These visits take usually two days each. During these visits, the committee gets information from the dean of the faculty, the program committee, teachers, students, and from other employees of the faculty. In addition, the members of the committee inspect the facilities of the faculty, e.g. the library. Result: Directly after the visit, the chair of the committee gives, orally, a .rst impression of the .ndings. After visiting all faculties, the committee starts their deliberations, which result in a report of the assessment of the overall quality of the educational programs. The committee also assesses the quality of each faculty separately, often ending with recommendations. Conclusion: The Dutch system of quality assurance in higher education is much copied by other countries. The essence is the self-evaluation on one hand, and the site visit on the other. Committees try to act as consultants, and not as executioners. Therefore, the way the members of the committee play their role is very important.

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