seminar on quality assurance and accreditation in VET and HE held at the Berlin School of Economics and Law will bring together experts from Europe and beyond and from different professional and institutional backgrounds. The seminar has two main objectives: first, to explore methods and tools for overcoming the existing dichotomy between external and internal quality assurance and, secondly, to search for synergies to support the improvement of quality in education and training provision. It is hoped that the outcomes will help to identify the core elements of a mutually reinforcing approach to quality assurance and accreditation fit for lifelong learning and applicable to both VET and HE. As a by-product, it may be possible to define crucial areas for further research to support the above-mentioned objectives. Presentations of the Expert Seminar 24-25 February 2011.
President, Berlin School of Economics and Law (BSEL), Welcome Address to the International Expert Seminar on “Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Lifelong Learning”

The international seminar that we are starting today brings together experts in quality assurance from two fields: higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET). HE and VET are two fields, or educational subsystems, that are institutionally distinct but are both part of a strategy of life-long learning. Life-long learning requires the permeability between VET and HE (in order to allow people, for example, to advance step-by-step from apprenticeship to an academic job)...
Regular benchmarking of internal processes of the university: The Berlin School of Economics and Law is part of an alliance of seven large and highly-reputed German Universities of Applied Sciences, known as the UAS7 alliance.
One of the major purposes of this alliance is to engage in benchmarking internal structures and processes of the seven universities. For example, we have just completed a comparative analysis of our recruiting procedures for hiring new professors. This analysis has not only compared existing procedures but has identified features of best practice in individual universities and has ended with the elaboration of common standards for recruitment processes. This has been a most stimulating experience of mutual learning. Similar benchmarking processes are currently taking place in the fields of teaching methods, the organisation of further training, and the organisation of support for research and doctoral studies.
Our expertise with the link between HE and VET: The second-largest department of the Berlin School of Economics and Law is our Department of Company-Linked Programs, where Bachelor students are recruited by firms before starting their degree programs. In these programs, the curricula provide for a close link between modules studied at the university and phases of practical training in the firms where the students are affiliated. These programs are known as “Dual studies” (Duales Studium). They constitute a success story, linking elements of HE and VET. Similar links between modules studied at the university and phases of practical training “on the ground” are also provided in some of our degree programs directed at the public sector, in particular in criminal justice and police.
Conclusion the LLL perspective

In a LLL perspective, Ranking is a powerful tool for:
Enhancing the transparency of the system
Giving more information to the customers about the quality of the Vet provision,
Rewarding the best providers (by assigning more courses or more money)
Encouraging and improving Vet providers self evaluation
But a great attention should be paid to guarantee  the equality  of the Ranking, by taking in account the different contexts and the different groups targeted by the providers.
A bad, or unfair comparison can produce perverse effects, generating lack of motivation or opportunistic behaviors.
Quality Assurance at European level: a bright future

Ten years of implementation of the Bologna and Copenhagen processes: growing importance of QA in education and training world since EU tools produced need to be quality assured and better inter-linked. The shift to learning-outcomes-based frameworks, with its related standards curricula, certification processes, assessment mechanisms and teaching methods needs credible and robust QA arrangements to support it. Strong growth in quality assurance, especially in HE with a large number of institutional players; Quality in VET less developed with fewer actors and tools available at EU level. Open issues related to how to render QA into a mechanism for promoting a quality culture within education and training institutions and for achieving permeability between education sub-sectors.
State of the Art in QA
Maturity of QA at Institution Level?

Many German HE institutions establish systematic QM as a prerequisite for system accreditation.
At present: reluctance to enter system accreditation.
Universities‘ QM systems still at initial stage (e.g. evaluation only at course level)
Have undergone accreditation at programme level.
Maturity of Universities‘ approaches is under evaluation in system accreditation.
However, so far no empirical findings available due to the small number of cases.
Challenges for QA?

Reference points for assessing quality are missing.
Against what standards are we evaluating achievements?
EQF/NQF are underutilised; could serve as reference points.
Learning outcomes are not sufficiently issued in QA procedures.
ESG accepted and in use as main source for developing QA?
Challenges for QA at Institution Level?

Closing quality circuits: what consequences (if any) are drawn from poor evaluation results (“evidence-based action“)?
Managerial power of institutions‘ leaderships?
Strategies for establishing quality culture: dialogue and rewards
Development of context-sensitive QM procedures and instruments: acceptance of QA in the academia.
Development Paths
Quality Control or Quality Development?
Accreditation or Quality Audits?
Promoting institutional autonomy, bringing evaluation back in
QA as institutional research

Providing evidence on the determinants of student learning outcomes
Evaluation research rather descriptive, analytic potentials of available data remains underutilised.
Establishment of QA units, “Chief Quality Officers“.
Benefits to the institution:
As part of the leadership (“Stabsstelle“): underlining the emphasis which is placed on QA by HE institutions‘ managements.
As part of the academia (Institutional Research Centre): more independent, high trust in the outcomes of the performed institutional research.
Open Questions

How to link QA in HE and VET?
QA in a LLL perspective:
Analysis of students‘ learning biographies as a significant contribution to establish sound evidence on study programmes‘ learning impacts.
Establishing a monitoring system on the education system‘s effectiveness.
HE and quality standards. What can be learnt from VET (and the school sector)?