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Flemish QA System: Understanding the context, creating evidence through an appreciative dialogue

On September 1, 2019, the new Flemish system of quality assurance (QA) was launched. QA in Flanders took two major steps forward. Assessment of individual programmes made way for a review at the institutional level. Besides, the traditional focus on compliance made way for NVAO’s Appreciative Approach.

The rethinking of the QA system was used to reduce administrative burden and to bring ownership of quality to where it belongs, within institutions. The tailor-made approach maximises the impact of the context of the institution or programme under review. An exploratory site visit, postponement of judgment, and in particular the appreciative dialogue between panel and institution enable the panel to carry out the review while taking the perspective of the institutional board or programme responsibles. The insights that are shared and agreed upon by panel and institution/programme, are considered by both parties as valid evidence, allowing for qualitative descriptions of aspects that go beyond facts or figures.

Is our new way of assessing in Flanders sufficiently robust? We strongly believe it is!

This paper was submitted as case for the 5th International Enhancement Conference (2020), organised by QAA Scotland. Author: Pieter Caris, policy officer NVAO