FINEEC’s shared evaluation and quality management concepts

Accreditation

Accreditation refers to granting a certain quality label or licence to an educational organisation or a degree programme on the basis of the conducted evaluation process. Approved accreditation is a public recognition and a proof that an educational organisation or a degree programme has reached the criterion set for accreditation.

Auditing

Auditing is independent and systematic external evaluation. An audit assesses the operation and/or the quality management of the educational organisation. FINEEC’s audits are targeted at the procedures the educational organisation uses to maintain and develop its operation and its quality. The criteria used in an audit is determined in advance.

Benchlearning, peer learning

Benchlearning or peer learning in a tool to develop organisation’s activities. It is a reciprocal learning process where organisations share information, skills and experience. Through benchlearning organisation can obtain peer feedback on its own activities and gain new insights and ideas to develop own organisation and its activities. Benchlearning can take place at different levels: individual, organisation or networks.

Criterion

A criterion refers to a ground for evaluation. It explains what kind of activity, result or quality level is desired. The criterion can be quantitative or qualitative. It is defined before the evaluation begins. The evaluated activity or quality management is compared to the criteria. Based on this, conclusions can be drawn as to how well the activities or the quality management meet the set criteria. The criteria can be defined as a scale or as levels, such as for example insufficient-good-excellent or absent-emerging-developing-advanced.

Enhancement-led evaluation

Enhancement-led evaluation develops activities or/and processes. It is also inclusive and interactive. In enhancement-led evaluation, the evaluated organisation can already develop its activities during the evaluation and the results of the evaluation are aimed to futher development. In enhancement-led evaluation, information is acquired about the weaknesses and strengths of the operation. Enhancement-led evaluation emphasises a participatory approach, trust between the implementer of the evaluation and the participant in the evaluation, and the educational organisation’s responsibility for the development of its operation. In enhancement-led evaluation, the methods are tailored according to the objectives and the theme of the evaluation. The organisation that is being evaluated receives external feedback for developing its operation.

Enhancement-led evaluation emphasises the participation of different parties, such as education providers, teaching staff and other personnel, students, working life and stakeholders, in planning the evaluation, producing evaluation data and interpreting the results. The interaction of the different parties with each other and with external evaluators is also central.

Evaluation

Evaluation is an interpretative analysis of the object examined and includes the element of valuation – highlighting the value of or making a value judgement about a matter or activities. For example, evaluation may mean that the activities or the matter is compared with the objectives, norms, criteria or results that have been set. Evaluation comprises systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of information about the activities.  The aim of giving a value distinguishes evaluation from research.

Feedback system

A feedback system refers to an entity formed by the ways of gathering feedback and the handling of feedback. The feedback system often also includes the feedback given to those who have provided feedback.

Good practice

A good practice is a proven operating practice or tool used in operation or quality management. It has been tested in practice and found effective. It may be possible to adjust a good practice to other educational organisations.

Indicator

An indicator is a qualitative or quantitative measure. An indicator can express an attribute, status, level or changes in the object examined, thus serving as the basis for measurement. An indicator is a concrete and verifiable description or a figure concerning the desirable properties of activities.

Peer review

Peer reviews are based on collegial evaluation in which the feedback on the operation is given by indepedent external experts. Peer assessors often represent the organisation or community similar to the one being evaluated.

Process-related factors of quality

The process-related factors of quality describe how the set objectives, content and other activities are implemented in practice. The structural and process-related factors of quality operate in interaction.

Quality culture

Quality culture is defined by how the organisation defines quality of its activities and how the quality and its importance is understood. The educational organisation itself can explain in more concrete terms what the quality culture means in its operating context. For example, the quality culture can describe the atmosphere of the development of the operation and individual and collective commitment to quality work. The ability to identify the organisation’s strengths and areas that require development is a sign of a mature quality culture.

Quality label

A quality label shows that the educational organisation has passed an external evaluation based on defined criteria.

Quality management

Quality management refers to the practices, processes or systems used by the educational organisation to plan, implement, monitor and develop the quality of its operation. Quality management can be understood as a general concept that includes quality assurance, development, management and steering.

Quality system (quality management system, quality assurance system)

A quality system refers to an operational entity formed by the quality management organisation, division of responsibility, procedures and resources. Each educational organisation itself decides on the objectives, structure, operating principles, methods used and development of quality management in its quality system.

Quality work

Quality work means actions taken in practice to maintain and develop the quality of the organisation’s activities. Quality work is quality management in practise.

Self-assessment

Self-assessment refers to an assessment carried out by the educational organisation itself on its own operation and development of operation. The meaning of self-assessment is to help educational organisation identify development areas and existing strengths to support development. Through self-assessment, the organisation can identify its own situation, set objectives and launch development measures to achieve the objectives.

Structural factors of quality

The structural factors of quality are factors related to organising the activities. They may be defined and regulated by acts, decrees and other national documents and documents that govern the operation of the education provider at the local level. The structural factors of quality are defined by aspects such as who is responsible for the quality, how the quality has been controlled, where the activities take place and what kind of framework is created for the activities. Hence, the quality factors related to structures are relatively permanent.