The evaluation standard: facilitating dialogue between the evaluated entity and the evaluator
The evaluation standards establish the requirements relating to the content of the self-evaluation report for the cluster and universities, and in parallel, the requirements for the external evaluation reports produced by the panel of expert peers.
There are basically two types of requirements:
- relating to how the institution operates: the main aspects of an institution are analysed (positioning and strategy, organisation, governance and management systems); these requirements are stipulated in the first two parts of the evaluation standard.
- relating to the remit and activities of the cluster or the university (for clusters, the third part of the evaluation standard, which stipulates the requirements, is worded in a generic manner, so that it can be adapted to the wide range of missions and activities that the clusters may carry out - they are not all identical at this level).
The evaluation standard reflects the choice of evaluating the ability of the institution to adapt its organisational structure, governance and management tools to the strategic orientations it has set out to accomplish.
The practice of self-evaluation
Self-evaluation may be seen as an ordinary occurrence in the higher education and research sector, in which the production of progress reports and institutional development plans are routine activities. However, it is quite a difficult exercise to perform, as it goes beyond simply listing the institution’s achievements and requires them to be contextualised in a development trajectory that is guided by strategic choices and ambitions, and analysed from a critical perspective by identifying strengths and weaknesses.
The requirements for the content of the self-evaluation report can be summarised in the following manner:
- explanation of the method used and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the self-evaluation;
- presentation – per activity – of the institutional strategy implemented during the reference period being evaluated, and of the schemes deployed for each activity;
- explanation of the management indicators chosen by the institution for each activity;
- explanation, for each activity, of the data that the institution considers relevant to its external evaluation;
- a report focusing on the critical analysis aspects and limiting descriptive approaches to the strict minimum required to understand how the activities are organised.