How IEP works

All evaluations carried out by the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) are guided by four key questions, which are based on a ‘fitness for (and of) purpose’ approach:

  • What is the institution trying to do? (Mission and objectives)
  • How is the institution trying to do it? (Policies and processes)
  • How does the institution know it works? (Monitoring and quality assurance)
  • How does the institution change in order to improve? (Capacity for change)

These simple but crucial questions provide a framework for a critical self-analysis during the self-evaluation phase and guide the evaluation team during their visits. They are important throughout all stages of the evaluation process, which usually takes one academic year.

Evaluation steps

At the end of the evaluation process, the report by the evaluation team is published on our website and institutions are asked to submit a progress report after one year, to support follow-up actions.

A more detailed description of each of the steps in the evaluation process is available in the Guidelines for Institutions (see under types of evaluations). If you require an evaluation with a different timeline, please contact us.

 

Types of Evaluations

We offer different types of evaluations to suit your needs. All evaluations examine the institution as a whole (not individual study programmes or units) and are carried out on a voluntary basis. Each type of evaluation has its own set of Guidelines, which describe the evaluation process in detail and provide guidance for both the institution and the evaluation team.

  • Initial evaluation

    This is a comprehensive evaluation for individual institutions who have not had an IEP evaluation before, or had one over three years ago. Choose this type of evaluation as your starting point for the IEP process.

    You also have the option of selecting a special focus for the evaluation. The focus is approached within the context of a full institutional evaluation, but will be given extra attention throughout the evaluation processes, with more in-depth analysis and recommendations. The topics of focus currently offered are internationalisation; and management of research and use of research results. Choose this type of evaluation if your institution has a special interest in one of the two areas of focus.

    Your institution may register for an initial evaluation on its own, or for a combined package, in which you already commit to a follow-up evaluation between one and three years later. There is a reduced fee for the two evaluations when registering for a combined package. Choose this type of evaluation if your institution wants to ensure continuity and maximise the impact of the IEP evaluation cycle.

    Guidelines for institutions:

  • Follow-up evaluation

    This is an evaluation to support institutions that had an initial evaluation between one and three years ago.

    Choose this type of evaluation if your institution wants to identify the impact of the initial evaluation, investigate the changes in the intervening period and provide further impetus for change.

    The evaluation will involve one site visit and the evaluation team will be formed from a mixture of new members and members who conducted the initial evaluation.

    Guidelines for institutions:

  • Coordinated evaluations

    Coordinated evaluation are initiated at the joint request of institutions and public authorities, and usually involve all or most higher education institutions in the respective country. As a result of a coordinated exercise, each institution receives its own IEP evaluation report and, if requested, we provide a sector report that highlights shared issues and challenges and facilitates a dialogue among key stakeholders, including governments.

    We have conducted coordinated evaluations in a range of countries including Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Romania and, most recently, Montenegro. You can view the sectoral reports from all coordinated evaluations here

    A special set of guidelines will be developed for institutions participating in coordinated evaluations. These will be based on the standard IEP guidelines, but will take into account the specificities of the individual exercise.

We would like to emphasise especially the self-assessment process that led to a collective reflection and institutional learning, which helped to deepen the knowledge about the reality we have been building and consolidating over the past few years.

Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal