The accreditation of study programmes is carried out based on the “Guidelines for programme accreditation procedures” (Decision of the Accreditation Commission of 14th December 2007)
Basic Principles of the Accreditation Procedure
The aim of the accreditation procedure is to assess the admissibility of the degree programme in terms of quality. The decision is based on fact collection and evaluation. ACQUIN’s accreditation procedure is criteria-based throughout. This means that clearly defined criteria and procedures are used to reach the decision for the evaluation of individual cases. The applied criteria only partially refer to so-called standards, i.e., yardsticks which compare the programme that is applying for accreditation with a presumed ideal programme. Standards are important in the creation of transparency, in defining points of intersection and to ascertain compliance with legal regulations. Reference to standards is deliberately avoided when evaluating the contents of the degree programme.
Using the degree programme’s declared objective as a starting point, the ACQUIN approach examines the coherence and consistency of the concept, the coherence of implementation as well as the competence and capacity of the degree programme supplier to check, assure and enhance quality:
- Have valid degree programme objectives been formulated?
- Is the degree programme as a whole, together with the individual degree course modules a suitable means of reaching the objectives of the degree programme?
- Is a consistent implementation of the degree programme concept assured?
- Aretarget definitions, the course concept that is built upon them, and the degree to which it is implemented checked?
- Does iteration take place in order to eliminate errors and assure optimisation at all process stages?
The higher education institution (HEI) is asked to describe to what extent these aspects of the guidelines were considered in planning the course, in accordance with the different institutional circumstances, intentions and possibilities. Alternatively, they are asked to justify why they were not included or implemented. The guidelines should not be seen as rigid organisational and conceptual stipulations. They should be regarded as a flexible handbook of questions to which the answers can partly be derived from the examination rules and conditions of study, and thus require less time and effort to complete than might at first appear. The self-evaluation report, which is to be written freely on the basis of these guidelines, is intended to clarify the quality profile of the degree programme and the strengths and weaknesses of the individual elements.
For this reason, the report should include the following in separate chapters:
- the current situation is to be described
- strengths and weaknesses evaluated
- development perspectives and planned measures outlined
The list of points should NOT be regarded as a standardised questionnaire in which all points have to be ticked off. Irrelevant points should be omitted and special features of the course which are not included in the given points should be described!
The self-evaluation report should also provide information regarding the preparation of the report, the authors, and any divergent points of view within the HEI on the submitted self-evaluation report.