The aim of programme evaluations is to monitor the programmes’ outcomes and to contribute to the higher education institution’s own quality improvements for the reviewed programmes.
The programme evaluations emphasise the actual conditions and results, that is, how the programme meets the requirements of applicable laws and ordinances. Consideration should also be given to Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).
Furthermore, the programme evaluations will focus on how the programmes ensure that students are given good opportunities to achieve the qualitative targets of the System of Qualifications, and how the HEI ensures that students have achieved the qualification objectives upon graduation.
All programmes are to be subject to quality review. This is done partly through the HEIs having responsibility for the quality assurance of their own programmes and partly by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) evaluating a selection of study programmes at the first-, second- and third-cycle levels. This selection can either be done by reviewing all programmes at individual institutions or by reviewing the same programmes at all the reviewed HEIs to provide a national overview of the quality of a particular programme. The selection of programmes to include in UKÄ’s reviews is based on several different criteria:
- A selection of the programmes that were not covered by the 2011–2014 evaluation system should be evaluated.
- A national overview of the quality of some professional qualifications is needed. This applies primarily to regulated professional qualifications.
- If an HEI’s quality assurance processes do not meet the criteria in UKÄ’s review, additional programmes may be selected for evaluation.
- UKÄ can initiate an evaluation if indications point to a risk that individual programmes are not fulfilling the quality requirements for the programme.
The programme evaluation process
Assessment material consists of the HEI’s self-evaluation with annexes, interviews with students and representatives of the reviewed programme, and other material that UKÄ produces. Randomly selected degree projects also serve as data for the programme evaluations at first- and second-cycle levels.
1. The HEI’s self-evaluation. The HEI is asked to describe, analyse and evaluate specific examples of how it systematically ensures and follows up the evaluated programme’s quality and how it has ensured that students have fulfilled degree objectives upon receiving the degree.
2. Degree project. Randomly selected degree projects will serve as a basis for assessing the outcomes of programmes at the first- and second-cycle levels.
3. Interviews. Interviews with students and representatives of the reviewed programme will be held to supplement the assessors’ overview of the self-evaluation, degree projects and other documentation. During these interviews, statements from the HEI’s representatives and the experience of students can be highlighted.
4. Other assessment material. Prior to the reviews, UKÄ will compile data on the HEI and the programme that is relevant to the aspect areas being examined. This could include national statistics showing the student completion rate and establishment level, previous inspections, appraisals of degree-awarding powers and previous programme evaluations.
Assessments and reports
The assessment panel’s determinations and reasoning are to be clearly presented in a report. This report will serve as feedback to the HEI on development possibilities and good examples identified by the assessors. Furthermore, anything judged to have insufficient quality in the case of a negative finding should be clearly stated.
Before UKÄ’s final decision, the report will be sent to the HEI for review according to the procedure described previously in this report. The final report will then be the basis for UKÄ’s decision.
The overall rating is given on a two-point scale. On the basis of the assessor panel’s report, UKÄ will decide if the programme maintains high quality or if the programme is under review. If a programme is under review, this means that UKÄ is also questioning the degree-awarding powers of the HEI when it comes to the qualification and subject field in question.
HEIs with programmes under review will have one year to address the deficiencies and submit an action report to UKÄ. To review the HEI’s report of measures taken, UKÄ will appoint a panel of assessors. Supported by the assessor panel’s report, UKÄ will decide if the programme maintains high quality or if degree-awarding powers are to be revoked.