Quality assurance

Norwegian universities and university colleges are responsible for ensuring that the study programmes they offer are of high quality. Quality assurance shall be carried out through internal systems for quality assurance of the education. NOKUT supervises the institutions’ quality assurance practices.

The institutions’ responsibility

The Academic Supervision Regulations set out requirements for the institutions’ systematic quality assurance practices:

Section 4-1 (1) The institution’s quality assurance practices must be integrated in a strategy and cover all areas of importance for the quality of the students’ learning outcome.

Section 4-1 (2) The quality assurance practices must be endorsed by the institution’s board and all levels of management. Through their quality assurance practices, institutions shall promote a quality culture among staff and students.

Section 4-1 (3) Institutions must have systems in place for systematically ensuring that all study programmes offered meet the requirements of the Regulations concerning the Quality Assurance and Quality Development of Higher Education and Tertiary Vocational Education Sections 3-1 to 3-4 and Chapter 2 of these Regulations, and any additional requirements that apply.

Section 4-1 (4) The institution must systematically obtain information from relevant sources to be able to evaluate the quality of all study programmes offered.

Section 4-1 (5) Knowledge derived from the quality assurance practices must be used to enhance the quality of the study programmes and identify any deficiencies in quality. Quality deficiencies shall be rectified within reasonable time.

Section 4-1 (6) Results derived from quality assurance practices shall form part of the knowledge base used in the evaluation and strategic development of the institution’s portfolio of study programmes.

NOKUT’s responsibility

NOKUT is responsible for periodic supervision of the institutions’ systematic work on assuring and enhancing the quality of the education they offer. NOKUT also advises the institutions on how to further develop their quality assurance practices. The supervisory activities shall conclude in an assessment of whether the quality assurance practices are satisfactory seen as a whole.

For institutions without institutional accreditation, NOKUT may choose to supervise the institution’s quality assurance practices by supervising the accredited study programmes.

Periodic supervision of quality assurance practices

Quality assurance process

Collection of information

When NOKUT carries out periodic supervision of the institutions’ quality assurance practices, we first obtain information from different sources in order to give the experts the best possible basis for assessment. The main basis for the assessment is the institutions’ documentation of their quality assurance practices, which must follow defined documentation requirements. In addition to the written documentation from the institution, a visit to the institution is an important part of the basis for the supervision of quality assurance practices.

Expert assessment

NOKUT uses experts to assess whether an institution’s systematic quality assurance practices meet requirements of applicable laws and regulations. Based on the documentation submitted by the institution, and the meetings and interviews conducted during the visit to the institution, the experts prepare a supervisory report comprising their assessments and conclusions. The institutions are given an opportunity to give a statement on the report, which forms the basis for the initial decision in the case.

Decision

If NOKUT finds serious deficiencies in the quality or quality assurance practices, the institution is given a deadline of up to a year to rectify the matter.

Rectification

Institutions that receive a negative decision must, within a given deadline, further develop their quality assurance practices and document compliance with requirements of applicable laws and regulations.

The experts then consider whether the documentation shows that the institution has rectified the deficiencies and whether its quality assurance practices are satisfactory. The expert assessment is included in a final report. The institution is given an opportunity to give a statement on the report before it forms the basis for the final decision in the case.

Final decision

If NOKUT – after a rectification period – concludes that an institution that offers accredited study programmes has an unsatisfactory quality assurance system, the institution will lose its right to apply for accreditation of new study programmes.

If NOKUT decides that the quality assurance system is unsatisfactory at an institution accredited as a university college, specialised university institution or university, the decision shall be sent to the Ministry. The Ministry will revoke the institution’s authorisation to establish new study programmes pursuant to the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges Section 3-3 (1) and (2).
If NOKUT finds the quality assurance system satisfactory after a new evaluation, the Ministry shall grant the institution authorisation to establish new study programmes for which the institution is accredited.