September 2010

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The Experimental Monitoring Programme

Carme Edo Ros - Project manager of AQU Catalunya

Pursuant to Royal Decree 1393/2007 of 29 October, whereby the regulation of recognised university degree programmes was established, and its amendment, Royal Decree 861/2010 of 2 July, all university degree programmes that have undergone an ex-ante assessment and are entered in the Register of Universities, Faculties and Degrees (RUCT) must undergo a process of monitoring until they are subject to review within six years time for the purpose of obtaining or renewing their accreditation.

Within this context, the Catalan universities, together with AQU Catalunya, have set in motion a pioneer programme to collaborate, the aim of which is to aid the setting up of an appropriate frame of reference to monitor the quality of recognised degree courses. The aim of the programme is to specify, amongst other aspects, the details of the progress reports, in terms of both their structure and content, and facilitate external review processes by AQU Catalunya.

The participating universities have described the process they carry out in the monitoring of selected degree programmes, their proposals for the structure and content for the progress reports, and the relationship between monitoring and their internal quality management systems.

A monitoring committee was set up to evaluate the proposals submitted by the universities, and use made of the AQU document Analytical tools for drawing up the progress reports of Bachelor and Master's degrees and REACU's Recommendations for the monitoring of recognised degrees as reference.

After analysing the proposals, the Monitoring Committee issued evaluation reports for each university and produced the document entitled Guidelines and recommendations for programme progress reports. The document analyses different aspects, including the state of the implementation of monitoring, public information on the degree and an assessment of the introduction and running of the degree programme. A series of good practices from the proposals submitted by the universities are also set out at the end.

It has been observed that there are different degrees according to which the proposed procedures have been implemented, in terms of both the public information and the analytical assessment of the programmes. Generally speaking, the aspect of monitoring where most progress has been made is that of the public information on the development in practice of the programme. On the other hand, other aspects, such as the public information on indicators, are less developed.

It has been suggested to the universities that the analytical assessment be seen as food for thought, academically speaking, regarding the running of the programme, with use being made of the qualitative and quantitative information derived from the established indicators.

Some of the more noteworthy good practices are as follows:

  • The existence of efficient mechanisms for coordination between faculties and schools and the university's QA technical unit and the corresponding heads of quality assurance (the vice-rectors or deputies to the vice-chancellor for quality).
  • The proposal to use appropriate additional indicators, according to priorities and strategic plans, which complement the definition given by the basic indicators.
  • An analysis of student satisfaction, in terms of not just their satisfaction with a particular course or teacher but the programme of study as a whole, their overall perception of the running of the university, teaching and student assistance services, mobility programmes, etc.
  • Systematising of the analytical assessment of curriculum development to make this more versatile and comparable, by determining the aspects on which the analytical assessment is to be based and establishing their level of importance in the overall assessment of curriculum quality.

These guidelines and recommendations have give direction to the monitoring process described in the Framework for the ex-ante assessment, monitoring, modification and accreditation of recognised degrees, which links together the four review processes – ex-ante assessment, monitoring, modification and accreditation – laid down by legislation for recognised degree programmes. Within this context, programme monitoring is considered to be a key element that naturally links together with the other processes and paves the way to programme accreditation.

Special mention is made here of the participation of the AQU Student Commission in the Experimental Monitoring Programme, the objective of which is to analyse the public information associated with the development in practice of participating programmes. This committee acts as a representative of one of the main stakeholders involved in programme, namely, the students.


Generalitat de Catalunya

Via Laietana, 28, 5a planta 08003 Barcelona. Spain. Tel.: +34 93 268 89 50

© 2010 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008