Principles and methodology

A process revolving around the honest self-evaluation of training

The major characteristics required for higher education study programmes in France are governed by a national framework. According to the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG), these programmes must also implement quality assurance schemes, which are assessed as part of an external evaluation carried out by a quality assurance agency.

Drawing on its extensive experience, Hcéres employs an external evaluation methodology based on three major principles:

  • a process revolving around an honest self-evaluation carried out by the institution
  • evaluation activities carried out by experts and based on evaluation standards for study programmes, fields of study and doctoral schools;
  • publication of all methodological documents and of the evaluation reports.

In light of the emergence of groupings of institutions and the increased autonomy of these institutions, the evaluation process for study programmes has three objectives:

  • evaluation per field of study: these are grouped together in a coherent manner to put the emphasis on the institutions’ strategy. This breakdown corresponds to the desire to develop a better understanding in order to improve the evaluation and measure the context in which the study programmes operate;
  • the implementation of a global evaluation scheme enabling the accreditation of institutions for their study programmes;
  • integration into the evaluation of clusters of higher education and research institutions, upstream by understanding the institutions’ requirements with regard to study programmes, and downstream by participating in the global analyses (governance, research, training) of institutions and groupings.

This process reinforces the fundamental aspects of the evaluation of study programmes by Hcéres, i.e. the importance of self-evaluation, peer evaluation and support for the management of institutions.

Evaluation standards for effective self-evaluation

Hcéres has produced evaluation standards which are designed to help institutions prepare for their self-evaluations and to help experts with their evaluations. These public documents are available on the website.

An evaluation standard comprises objectives to be attained (references) and actions to be carried out (criteria), which enable institutions to develop their own standards. These are all points managers need to address during the self-evaluations of their organisation.

The evaluation report by experts appointed by Hcéres follows the plan defined by the standard in question.