Accreditation of new and existing programs in higher education is based on the assessment frameworks of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). Peer review is the basic principle of assessment; a panel of peers, experts in the field, assess the quality of a programme or a cluster of programmes.
At the start of each project, independent peer reviewers with the academic expertise, necessary skills and professional experience to perform the assessment are proposed by the programmes (institutions) under assessment, and approached by QANU. The definitive panel composition is submitted to the NVAO for approval. An independent secretary, certified by the NVAO, is appointed to support and assist the panel during the assessment process.
Prior to a site visit, the panel examines a critical reflection, prepared by the degree programme. A selection of final projects and various documents regarding assessment procedures and examination practice are also studied in detail. During the site visit, the programme management, Board of Examiners, Education Committee, teaching staff, students and alumni are interviewed by the panel to verify the findings in the critical reflection. The panel formulates and presents its preliminary findings at the end of the site visit.
The secretary drafts a report that contains the panel’s findings and conclusions on the quality of the programme. The institution submits the report at the NVAO, which rules on the accreditation of the degree programme.