During a programme assessment, students, alumni and those who have dropped out assess the entire study programme. By canvassing these groups, we attempt to assess all aspects and stages of the programme: from students' initiation into university education right through to when they finish their studies and enter the labour market. The results constitute important input for the programme's self-assessment.
Self-assessments and external reviews
External reviews and their preparation and processing are key elements of the quality assurance cycle. In the self-assessment report, members of staff related to a given programme reflect on its strengths and weaknesses and indicate how any problems will be tackled. This self-assessment report serves as a starting point for the external review committee which visits and reviews the programme. The results of the external review are recorded in a review report, which is later published on www.vlir.be.
The curriculum procedure ensures that programmes place enough emphasis on all aspects of quality education when developing a new programme or overhauling an existing programme, and includes certain rules about how to draw up a curriculum review file. The programme's Educational Commission looks at how to overhaul the curriculum and their plans are then approved by the faculty, the Education Board and the Board of Governors.
If only a small number of changes are proposed, then these can be approved at faculty level.
Assessment of the programme components
Programme components are assessed by means of student surveys. Feedback is then given to lecturers, enabling them to improve their courses where necessary.
Study time measurements
One of the elements of a programme's 'studyability' (the ability to complete a course within the allotted time) is student workload, measured as the total time that a student needs to spend on that course. The University of Antwerp uses methods such as theoretical analysis and time registration to track students' working hours, with the aim of optimising each programme's workload.
Focus group discussions
During focus group discussions, a representative group of students from a given programme are asked about various aspects of the quality of the education provided. This qualitative research method allows students to flag up any educational problems so that lecturers can respond quickly.