Daily Danai

Art & Design Education

How audits are here to help us

Recently I participated in an audit conversation. They measure the quality of our education via four national standards of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO), which include:

  1. Intended Learning Outcomes: how our programs align with professional, academic, and international standards, including the Dutch qualifications framework and program orientation.
  2. Learning Environment: how we translate learning outcomes into clear program objectives, emphasizing the diversity of our students, the expertise of our instructors, and our commitment to a student-centered environment.
  3. Assessment: the effectiveness, validity, reliability, and independence of our assessment system, ensuring clarity in requirements and compliance with legal standards.
  4. Achieved Learning Outcomes: how we demonstrate accomplishment through assessment results, final projects, and the performance of our graduates, particularly in meeting expectations for entry-level positions.

During the panel-interview by the audit members with our representatives they don’t go through the standards step-by-step. The audit members try to throw in questions and invite anyone to respond. Their goal is to engage in a conversation with the organization representatives rather than conduct a technical interview. The goal of the audit is to support us in our own development and to point our points for improvement.

 

The first question we received in the panel was: who are our students? A nice way to start with the essence of our institute. And nice to be able to share characteristics. We have a diverse student population in terms of age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. These students meet each other in multidisciplinary practices. How does that work? How do we facilitate those dynamics in class?  How is the education organized; and what are the complexities? And how do we assess? Do we calibrate among teachers and apply 4-eye principles? What are our thoughts behind teachers assessing their own students? How is our external validation organized? What is an example of external advice that received a follow up? In addition, how are tutors supported; and how is professionalization implemented?

 

An point of feedback from the audit was the acknowledgment of the complexity inherent in our educational system. And whenever there’s complexity in an organization; alignment becomes an important factor. Like any check-up we encounter in our lives I believe the audit is an important tool to reflect with others (externals) about the quality of what it is we do and I appreciated our conversation and the report that it produced.

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