The Polish Accreditation Committee evaluates quality of education in specific fields of study and at a specific level and profile of studies (programme assessment).
Programme evaluation – evaluation of quality of individual programmes provided as specific levels of study and profiles.
Mode of selecting programmes – schedule for a given academic year adopted by PKA in a previous academic year covers fields and levels of study for which the following statements are true:
- the expiration of previous evaluation is closing in,
- the full cycle of education has finished,
- there are other reasons to conduct an evaluation,
- justified motion of the minister responsible for higher education has been submitted,
- PKA approved a motion of a HEI to conduct an evaluation.
level of compliance with requirements set by Act of 27 July 2005 Law on Higher Education and relevant executive acts which describe conditions indispensable for providing education.
quality of education provided, as well as complexity, functioning and effectiveness of internal quality assurance system as well as means of its improvement,
- conditions in which education is provided,
- relation between given programme and strategy of development of a HEI and its mission
- intended learning outcomes with reference to outcomes set in National Qualification Framework (or teaching standards / model learning outcomes, standards for teachers training programmes, if applicable); consistency of learning outcomes;
- study programme, including realisation of learning outcomes and means of its verification;
- fulfilment of core staff requirements and teachers qualifications;
- didactic infrastructure, access to recommended books;
- conditions of distance learning (if applicable);
- adapting learning outcomes to needs of labour market, including:
- making use of outcomes of tracking of graduates careers;
- making use of employer’s and graduates opinions during the development of study programmes;
- organisation of practical placements (if applicable), outcomes of analysis of intended and achieved learning outcomes with regard to practical placements;
- adapting of study programmes to conditions described in teaching standards, if applicable;
- adapting of study programmes to conditions described in standards for teachers training programmes, if applicable;;
- management of didactic process with reference to programme under evaluation, including improvement of study programme;
- functioning of internal quality assurance system.
Moreover, in case of applications for authorisation to provide second cycle or full cycle programmes: conducting scientific research within the academic area(s) to which the field of study under evaluation is assigned.
PKA takes under consideration also:
- level of internationalisation (international cooperation in the scope of education, students and teachers mobility, providing courses for foreigners and in foreign languages);
- international cooperation in scope of scientific research – if unit provides second cycle and full cycle programmes;
- outcomes of previous evaluations, accreditations and certificates awarded as a result of assessments conducted by other accrediting agencies – domestic or international peer committees conducting evaluations and agencies listed in EQAR or agencies which signed bilateral agreements with PKA regarding recognition of accreditation decisions.
- Full scope in cases of first evaluation of a given programme, level and profile of study or when expiration of previous evaluation is closing in or when an application of a HEI to evaluate given programme has been approved;
- Scope is dependent on justification of previous awarded conditional assessment, motion of the minister responsible for higher education or – in case of suspending of authorisation to provide degree programmes in a given field of study and at a given level and profile of study – dependent on justification for previous negative assessment of PKA and decision of the minister responsible for higher education, grounds for staging evaluation before the expiration of previous one (or finishing of a full cycle of a given programme).
Detailed criteria are laid down in the Statutes of PKA.
Scale of assessment:
- outstanding assessment awarded for 8 years, positive assessment awarded for 6 years, if no special circumstances occur;
- conditional assessment – next evaluation is conducted within a timespan indicated in the resolution of PKA, usually in the following academic year;
- negative assessment.
Conditions for awarding assessments are laid down in the attachment to the Statutes of PKA:
- outstanding assessment – criteria described in points 1, 2 and 6 are rated at least “outstanding” and the rest of the criteria – at least “fully”;
- positive assessment – criteria described in points 1, 2 and 6 are rated at least “fully” and the rest at least “substantially”;
- conditional assessment – criteria described in points 1, 2 and 6 have to be rated at least “substantially” and the rest – at least “partially”;
- negative assessment – awarded if criteria for conditional assessment have not been met.
- outstanding assessment – state budget subsidies are earmarked (for three years) for the promotion of quality, which are assigned for co-financing of academic units of HEIs to whom outstanding assessment has been awarded,
- conditional assessment – the follow – up procedure is implemented providing for submitting a report on corrective measures taken, including other changes introduced within previous 12 months, a follow-up site visit and the evaluation of compliance with the recommendations;
- negative assessment – the minister responsible for higher education, who in particular takes into account the type and scope of shortcomings reported, may withdraw or suspend, by decision, authorisation to provide degree programmes in a given field and at a given level of study. When authorisation is suspended unit can not enrol new students and has to implement corrective measures. Afterwards PKA formulates an opinion on re-granting suspended authorisation. In case of negative opinion of PKA, the minister withdraws authorisation of the unit.
Withdrawal of authorisation in case on non public HEI causes also loss of rights for subsidies related to tasks connected with provision of doctoral studies (art. 94b (1) (4) Act Law on Higher Education).
Course of evaluation.
Composition of panel of experts – 2 – 7 experts of PKA, depending on the scope of evaluation (academic teachers representing academic areas related to given field of study, expert for formal and legal matters and student – expert). In special cases Secretary of PKA can extend the composition of panel of experts.
Criteria and mode of appointing of experts are laid down in procedure of selecting experts.
Self – evaluation report – unit of HEI (or units if there is more than one unit offering given programme) presents a report prepared in accordance with template published by PKA (please consult menu “Templates and procedures”). Report should be prepared in both traditional and electronic version (.doc or .docx). Number of copies is described in the cover letter from PKA. HEI should also present study plan which should allow for choosing the right time for site visits.
Follow up report – HEI prepares a report in accordance with template published by PKA (please consult menu “Templates and procedures”). Report shall be prepared both in traditional and electronic (.doc or .docx) version. Number of copies is described in a cover letter from PKA.
Evaluation report – HEI can comment on the report, opinions, assessments as well as present additional documents and explanations.
Course of appeal – HEI which is not satisfied with resolution of PKA can submit (wihtin 30 days) request for reconsideration of the matter. Such application is passed to the Appeals Body.
Appeal procedure – President of PKA appointed the Appeals Body that prepares detailed opinions which are presented by the Chair of the Body during the Presidium meeting. Members of the Presidium take decision on the basis of arguments presented, discussion and agreed conclusions (the Chair of the Appeals Body also has a voting right).