Appreciative approach

NVAO's assessment procedures are based on trust, which vests a large measure of responsibility with the institutions. In order to have this perspective reflected in all its procedures, NVAO has developed a new approach. NVAO’s Appreciative Approach emphasises that each assessment takes place within its own context and must be conducted in an open dialogue. In essence, NVAO assumes the presence of quality. Consequently, such quality need not be substantiated elaborately. Insufficient quality, on the other hand, must always be explained in detail.

Rather than a quality assurance model, 's Appreciative Approach constitutes a philosophy, a mindset, a style, an attitude that directs all its actions, from the underlying methodology and the procedure to the substantiation of all its components. Through ’VAO's Appreciative Approach, the focus is placed on “what” is manifest and “what” can be achieved within the appropriate context, without focusing on what should be manifest or on substantiating the “how”. The latter falls under the autonomy of the institution or the programme.

Dialogue, co-creation, and shared insights

NVAO’s Appreciative Approach does not hinder a critical investigation or judgements; its points of departure are dialogue, co-creation, and shared insights. In its assessment of the quality, the panel takes the context of the institution or the programme as its starting point. An open dialogue is a key element in the procedure. Special attention is paid to what is going well, with an emphasis on embedding and fostering successful processes. Nonetheless, the panel will bring out and critically examine any lack of clarity or points for attention, with the goal of forming a weighted and well-sustantiated conclusion. In line with the above philosophy, it is up to the programme and/or institution to interpret and further substantiate NVAO’s assessment frameworks.

Manual Appreciative Approach 

Beforehand, all panel members are thoroughly trained in applying NVAO’s Appreciative Approach. NVAO also provides the panel members with a brief manual which they can use as a pocket guide.