NVAO provides training for the secretaries assisting assessment panels. Completion of such a training course is a prerequisite for panel secretaries to be involved in an assessment based on the NVAO framework. For this reason, the training is focused on participants who are actually going to serve as secretaries.


The NVAO framework constitutes the point of departure for a training course which is highly hands-on in nature. The course assumes some basic knowledge of and/or familiarity with external quality assurance in higher education, for example, through involvement in the external assessment of a programme, or through consultancy activities. In two days, we take participants through the stages of the assessment process, using various working formats. In addition, the course comprises an additional day at home, during which the participants are asked to draw up a draft report on the basis of the case used in the training. This project will be discussed extensively, both from a substantive perspective based on the framework and from the perspective of language cultivation. Participants whose report is not yet up to standard will be asked to incorporate the comments into an improved version. Following the training, you will be registered on the NVAO register as a trained secretary.

Duration of training courses

Two days and an additional day of homework.


The charge for the training course is EUR 500 per person.

NVAO Register 

The register of secretaries who have completed a training course is published on this website.


The chairs of panels conducting assessments in the purview of accreditation applications to NVAO must have completed a training course. The training course for panel chairs has been developed in consultation with the quality assessment organisations.


Following consultation of the quality assessment agencies and experienced chairs, a panel chair profile was drawn up which was approved by NVAO. The profile sets out seven core competencies (see Documents):
  1. Appropriate assessment framework. The panel chair directs an authoritative substantive assessment, based on the programme’s / institution’s own aims and objectives and (teaching strategy) choices, which observes the open standards and instructions set out in the accreditation framework.
  2. Careful group process. The panel chair fosters a careful group process within the panel of experts.
  3. Targeted audit skills. The panel chair commands and safeguards targeted audit skills.
  4. Well-balanced assessment. The panel chair ensures a well-balanced assessment process which does justice to various aspects of external quality assurance in the higher education system.
  5. Robust formation of judgements. The panel chair ensures the robust formation of judgements.
  6. Transparent communication. The panel chair commands good communication skills.
  7. Independence. The panel chair ensures the independence of the panel.

In the event that the chair does not command substantive or discipline-related expertise, the other panel members must command a sufficient measure of such expertise in order to warrant an authoritative assessment of the programme.

Set-up of the training course

Existing programmes 

The training course for the chairs of panels conducting programme assessments in the Netherlands is provided by coaches who have completed the train-the-trainer (T-T-T) programme. As a result of the T-T-T programme set-up, the quality assessment agencies also have coaches of their own. The training course may be structured as an explicit briefing of the panel chair based on the profile. It also explores ways to substantiate this profile in concrete terms during the assessment process. If necessary, additional instruction is provided with respect to specific components. 


  • panel chairs provided by quality assessment agencies will be trained by coaches of such agencies who have completed the T-T-T programme;
  • panel chairs whose training is not / cannot be provided by a quality assessment agency coach will be trained by NVAO coaches.

New programmes

The chairs of panels conducting initial accreditation assessments in the Netherlands will be trained by NVAO coaches. NVAO will monitor the quality of the training activities.