Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES)

The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish July 2019.

Background and context
The “Agência de Avaliação e Acreditação do Ensino Superior” (Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education – A3ES) is a private law foundation established by Decree-Law no. 369/2007, of 5th November 2007, aiming at promoting and ensuring the quality of higher education.

The assessment and accreditation regime developed by the Agency is defined in Law no. 38/2007, of 16th August 2007.

The mission of A3ES is to contribute for the improvement of the quality of Portuguese higher education, through the assessment and accreditation of higher education institutions and their study cycles.

A3ES promotes the improvement of the performance of higher education institutions and their study cycles and guarantees the fulfilment of basic requirements for its official recognition. These general objectives are pursued through the assessment and accreditation activities carried out by the Agency, aiming at developing an internal quality assurance culture in every higher education institution.

Therefore, the objectives of A3ES are:

  • To develop the quality assessment of the performance of higher education institutions and their study cycles;
  • To substantiate the accreditation criteria, in order to translate them into qualitative appreciations, as well as to define the consequences of evaluation for the operation of study cycles and institutions;
  • To promote the accreditation of study cycles and institutions, aiming at ensuring the fulfilment of the legal requirements for their recognition;
  • To provide society with information on the quality of the performance of higher education institutions;
  • To promote the internationalisation of the assessment process.

A3ES was evaluated by ENQA in 2014 according to the ESG and has been a full member of ENQA since June 2014, and is applying for ENQA renewal of membership.

A3ES has been registered on EQAR since November 2014. This review will also be used for applying for EQAR renewal of registration.

Review process
The process is designed in the light of the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews and in line with the requirements of the EQAR Procedures for Applications.

The evaluation procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Formulation of the Terms of Reference and protocol for the review;
  • Nomination and appointment of the review panel;
  • Self-assessment by A3ES including the preparation of a self-assessment report;
  • A site visit by the review panel to A3ES;
  • Preparation and completion of the final evaluation report by the review panel;
  • Scrutiny of the final evaluation report by the ENQA Review Committee;
  • Analysis of the scrutiny by the ENQA Board and their decision regarding ENQA membership;
  • Follow-up of the panel’s and/or ENQA Board’s recommendations by the agency, including a voluntary follow-up visit.

Review panel
The panel is composed of the following members:

  • Jürgen Kohler, Professor of private law and private litigation, Greifswald University, Germany – Chair, academic (EUA/ENQA nominee)
  • Orla Lynch, Head of Cyclical Reviews, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), Ireland – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
  • Cláudia Sarrico, Associate Professor, ISEG School of Economics and Management of the University of Lisbon – Quality assurance professional/academic (ENQA nominee)
  • Adrian Stan, PhD student and Periodontology resident, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Victor Babes”, Romania – Student (ESU nominee)

You can read A3ES’s self-assessment report on their website here.
This review is being coordinated by Paula Ranne.