A quarterly publication of AQU Catalunya


October 2015

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From the data and figures to actual enhancement

It is not just what a quality assurance agency "is supposed to do" that makes AQU Catalunya what it is. By this, I mean the main and virtually sole task of QA agencies is the accreditation of study programmes and/or accreditation at institution level. The aim is clearly and simply to engender the trust of society in degrees awarded by universities, promote continuous improvement and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders.

In addition to the assessment and accreditation of faculty teaching staff in accordance with prevailing legislation, AQU Catalunya has for many years been undertaking actions that underpin the primary objective described above. I refer to the collection and systematic analysis of different types of data for use in decision-making that is as informed as much as possible. These include tools such as the survey of the employment outcomes of the graduate population from Catalan universities that has been carried out for more than fifteen years, the employers survey – details of which are given in this newsletter – and the survey on recent graduate satisfaction, which is coordinated between the Agency and the involvement of all universities in the Catalan higher education system. The question remains however as to the degree to which these data are actually used to improve and enhance study programmes and awards. This is by no way a new idea, although it is something we need to be continuously asking ourselves within the Agency.



  • The employment outcomes of master's graduates
    The fifth survey on the employment outcomes of the graduate population from Catalan universities was carried out in 2014 and for the first time included graduates of Master's programmes. This decision was made because of the flexibility of Master's degrees, which makes them a good instrument that enable Master's graduates to adapt according to needs and requirements in the workplace.

    The study analyses the employment outcomes of 7,647 graduates, out of a total of 16,218 who graduated at the end of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years, or 47% of the graduate population, with a sample error of 0.81%. The survey covered graduates of 495 Master's programmes with 60-120 ECTS credits, which were analysed according to a grouping of 29 subjects.

    Anna Prades Nebot - Project manager of AQU Catalunya
  • The employability and skills of new teachers: main findings
    The survey of the employability and skills of new teachers entering the teaching profession, which has been carried out with the aim of improving the match between the teaching skill requirements of schools and teacher training at university level, provides information on the assessment of new contract teaching staff by principals at infant, primary and secondary schools in Catalonia, including those in the public, government-assisted and private sectors. The opinions of the school principals complement the data compiled by AQU Catalunya on the graduate employment outcomes of Bachelor and Master's degrees in Education that lead to teaching as a profession.
    Queralt Capsada Munsech - Secretary of the scientific committee for the Employers project


  • The qualitative stage of the Employers project: study design and preliminary interim results

    Joan Miquel Verd Pericàs
    Centre for Sociological Research into Everyday Life and Work (Centre d’Estudis Sociològics sobre la Vida Quotidiana i el Treball), Department of Sociology, Autonomous University of Barcelona

    The Employers project, which is designed and led by AQU Catalunya (the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency) and funded by Obra Social "la Caixa", consists, according to its design, of the three distinct stages shown in figure 1.

    The first stage, which is quantitative in nature and has already been completed, consists of the development and exploitation of a survey (telephone and online) and a sample of 1,325 enterprises and companies in Catalonia. The second stage, which is dealt with in this article, is of a qualitative nature and based on a series of discussion groups and semi-structured surveys carried out by telephone interview on the basis of a series of twelve employer profiles, identified according to their branch of economic activity. The intention behind this second stage of the project is to follow up and discuss in greater depth the general findings of the survey and obtain more varied and detailed information for the development and interpretation in context of the quantitative data. The third and final stage of the study consists of a grant scheme and a call for applications aimed at the academic community for more in-depth research into the match between the level of university education of graduates and the requirements of the labour market (education-job skills match).




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