January 2012

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The publicising of reports by AQU Catalunya

Editorial board - AQU Catalunya

Standard 2.5 on reports in the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area states that "Reports should be published and should be written in a style which is clear and readily accessible to its intended readership. Any decisions, commendations or recommendations contained in reports should be easy for a reader to find". There are three guidelines for this standard:

  • "In order to ensure maximum benefit from external quality assurance processes, it is important that reports should meet the identified needs of the intended readership. Reports are sometimes intended for different readership groups and this will require careful attention to structure, content, style and tone.
  • In general, reports should be structured to cover description, analysis (including relevant evidence), conclusions, commendations, and recommendations.
  • There should be sufficient preliminary explanation to enable a lay reader to understand the purposes of the review, its form, and the criteria used in making decisions. Key findings, conclusions and recommendations should be easily locatable by readers. Reports should be published in a readily accessible form and there should be opportunities for read- ers and users of the reports (both within the relevant institution and outside it) to comment on their usefulness."

Resultats informes d'avaluacióAll external review reports on programmes of study and institutions by AQU Catalunya are posted on the Agency's website; pre-2008 programme reports produced prior to adaptation to and compliance with EHEA guidelines can be found under "Universities/pre-EHEA reviews". In order to publish post-2008 reports, a specific software application has required. Reports by AQU Catalunya on both programme reviews and institutional reviews (faculties, schools and universities) are all available on this new website. Access to reports on Bachelor, Master's and Doctorate degrees is by either entering the degree name, subject area or university, and for reports on faculties, schools and universities by entering the name or university. On selecting a degree, faculty, school or university, a page comes up with the basic information and the associated reports.

On the page with the programme information there is a description of the degree course, with its name, university and faculty or school where it is taught, the type of degree, the subject area (branch of study) to which it belongs, if it is an inter-university degree or not, the date of ex-ante assessment by the Spanish Universities Council (Consejo de Universidades), authorisation by the corresponding government department with jurisdiction over the universities, and its status. There are two external links in addition to this information:

  • The corresponding page of the Secretariat for Universities and Research website, Why study at the Catalan universities and what's on offer there? that gives academic and professional information about the degree, links of interest and a specific glossary to help users obtain a better understanding of the course. Click on the name of the course.
  • The Register of Higher Education Institutions and Degree Programmes (RUCT), where new Bachelor, Master's and Doctorate degrees are registered. Click on the RUCT code number.

The relevant information in the programme description is from the Directorate General for Universities and is regularly updated. There may be brief periods of time between website updates when degrees with their associated reports are still not registered on the Why study at the Catalan universities and what's on offer there? website.

Reports produced by AQU Catalunya are concise and include preliminary references on the process, the assessment of outcomes in accordance with the evaluation criteria, and recommendations for improvement. AQU Catalunya ensures that the language and style used are clear and readily accessible to the intended readership. The review panel secretaries use on-line resources and special meetings to standardise the language and style of all degree reports.

Regarding reports on the ex-ante assessment, monitoring, modification and accreditation of university degrees and awards, the AQU's Quality Assurance Commission has set the visibility for reports that are issued, and in principle they are all public, with the informed exception of two cases. The first refers to negative ex-ante assessment reports, as these only affect proposals for programmes that do not prosper and are not taught. The second refers to the evaluation of monitoring reports that the university produces every year for each degree course.1 These reports are not made public, firstly, because 2011 was the first year in which this process was started and monitoring reports have only been drawn up for a reduced number of courses (300 out of the approximately 1,000 that are running), with use being made of a limited series of quantitative indicators that lacks uniformity. Secondly, according to the procedures laid down in the VSMA Framework, it is envisaged that an assessment will be based, not on each and every report, but only on a significant sample of the universities' monitoring reports that is sufficient for an assessment to be constructed of how each university develops this process. On the other hand, the summary reports for each university are public.

1 Reports on the assessment (quality assurance) of university teaching staff are not public either, as the Agency is obliged to comply with the regulations on personal data protection in the case of natural persons. Nevertheless, the Agency does disseminate the aggregate results of these processes according to year and review panel/subject area.


Generalitat de Catalunya

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

© 2011 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008