Composition of & judgements by assessment panels

The members of an assessment panel are independent and expert. The NVAO requirements regarding the composition of such panels are based on the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area.

An assessment panel reviews the universities of applied sciences, research universities, and private educational organisations (institutional audit), and existing and new programmes taught by such organisations. Panel members are independent and expert in the discipline concerned, education, the professional field, quality assurance aspects, and student issues. In addition, the panel commands student assessment expertise (Basic or Senior Examination Qualification [BKE/SKE] certificate, or experience as a member of an examining or testing board), international expertise and experience (see “Panel composition justification form – Netherlands” at the bottom of this page). 

NVAO may decide to impose an improvement period if it is of the opinion that the educational quality can be remedied within a foreseeable period of time. The assessment following an improvement period is conducted by a panel that comprises a student-member. The NVAO requirements regarding the composition of such a panel are based on the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (European Standards and Guidelines, ESG) and formulated in the spirit of the requirements to be met by such panels at the European level in higher education. 


The programmes provided by universities that fall within a single assessment cluster are reviewed by the same assessment panel (cf. the Dutch Strengthening Quality Guarantees in Higher Education Act, VKW). This fosters the intercomparability of the assessments. With respect to the composition of a panel within an assessment cluster, the programmes are given free rein to prepare themselves as they see fit for the assessment by a single panel. The composition of the sub-panels reviewing the various programmes within an assessment cluster may vary, for example, because specific expertise is required, because independency is at stake, or because it is advisable to spread the site visits across multiple panel members. Such situations may also arise with respect to the panel chair. In any case, it is important to ensure sufficient continuity and personal overlap between the various panel compositions, in order to achieve a comparative manner of assessment and consistency in the judgements. In its considerations, NVAO monitors the coordination between sub-panels within an assessment cluster. 


NVAO requires the assessment panel to substantiate, in a verifiable manner, how it has arrived at its judgement – and how this judgement, in a comparative sense, fits into the aggregate assessments within the cluster.


Each panel is assisted by a secretary trained by NVAO. The secretary does not sit on the panel. 

The panel chair is also trained on the basis of the NVAO profile for panel chairs.