The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) is an independent agency responsible for the evaluation of education. It operates as a separate unit within the Finnish National Agency for Education. It carries out evaluations related to education including the operations of education providers from early childhood education to higher education. The FINEEC comprises the Evaluation Council, the Higher Education Evaluation Committee and four units: the General Education and Early Childhood Education Unit, the Vocational Education Unit, the Higher Education and Liberal Adult Education Unit, and Development Services Unit.
The aim of FINEEC is to implement evaluations related to education, education providers and higher education institutions (HEIs). In addition, FINEEC implements assessment of learning outcomes for basic and upper secondary educations. Moreover, FINEEC’s duties include supporting education providers and HEIs in issues related to evaluation and quality assurance, as well as to develop education evaluation. Provisions on the duties and organisation of FINEEC are laid down in the Act 1295/2013 and Government decree 1317/2013.
The aim of the evaluations is to develop education and to support learning while ensuring the quality of education. The evaluations also produce information for local, regional and national decision-making on education as well as development work and international comparison.
The overall number of staff is approximately 50. The main office of FINEEC is located in Helsinki. Some of the FINEEC operations are located in Jyväskylä.
An Evaluation Council, appointed by the Government to work in conjunction with FINEEC, monitors and develops the operations of the centre and draws up its strategic policies. The Higher Education Evaluation Committee decides on evaluation plans as well as planning and evaluation teams for higher education evaluations. The Committee also decides on the outcomes of audits of the quality systems of higher education institutions .
The key operating principles of FINEEC are the independence of evaluation and enhancement-led evaluation.
Independence refers to the freedom of evaluation methods, organisation and results from the influence of, for example, the Ministry of Education and Culture or other parties.
Enhancement-led evaluation emphasises participation, as well as trust between the party implementing the evaluation and evaluation participant, and the responsibility of education providers and higher education institutions in the development of the quality of their operations. In enhancement-led evaluation, the methods will be tailored according to the objectives of the evaluation and theme to be evaluated.
FINEEC implements system and thematic evaluations, learning outcome evaluations and field-specific evaluations. The quality audits of higher education institutions are carried out 2018-2024 (3rd cycle of quality audits). Quality audits may also be implemented on other educational levels.
FINEEC has a key role in determining the evaluation targets, since it will draw up a proposal on the National Plan for Education Evaluations to the Ministry of Education and Culture. The approved evaluation plan and its supplementing decision have been drawn up for 2016–2019.
Support for education providers
FINEEC supports education providers, higher education institutions and decision-makers in various ways. It organises training related to evaluation and quality assurance, supports benchmarking, actively disseminates information about evaluation outcomes, promotes research on evaluation, gives statements and cooperates internationally. All evaluation reports are public and can be downloaded from the FINEEC website. FINEEC will provide evaluation participants with their evaluation results and feedback.
Alongside free evaluation activities, FINEEC also provides fee-based services to education organisations operating nationally or internationally, as well as to its other customers. Fee-based services are provided based on commissions, orders, requests or competitive tendering. Examples of FINEEC’s fee-based services include external audits/evaluations and engineering degree programme reviews. In addition, FINEEC provides basic education providers and schools that were not included in the sample for learning outcomes evaluation an opportunity to buy a corresponding evaluation. FINEEC may also provide its customers with short- and long-term training.
The pricing follows the service price list confirmed by FINEEC. Services are divided in two categories. The audits of higher education institutions are services subject to public law and their pricing is based on a Government decree (362/2014). Other services are priced according to commercial principles.