The self assessment report (SAR) as part of the accreditation process

(Suggestions for writing and structuring the SAR)

The accreditation process is based on a so called self assessment report by the applying institution of higher education.

The preparation of the self assessment report offers the opportunity to use internal quality management systems and self examination processes in order to involve relevant stakeholder groups and to identify possible areas of improvement for the (further) development of a degree programme.

Ideally, the accreditation process will be utilized by the higher education institution as a quality development project and will not be seen as a formal inspection routine.

The self assessment report is created in two steps:

  1. Self assessment: The higher education institution uses the self assessment report to analyze in an aggregated manner if and how the degree programme/s fulfil/s the accreditation criteria and which particularities have to be taken into account. Variations from the criteria can be explained.

There should be a special focus on evaluation and assessment rather than on mere description, including, for example strengths and weaknesses, challenges and envisaged solutions. The “guiding questions” below are designed to give some assistance in that respect.

The self assessment report is also a guide through the complementary attachments. Typically, a short and concise evaluation of each criterion together with a reference to the relevant attachment will be sufficient.

If the accreditation process includes a “cluster” of similar degree programmes, information that is relevant for all degree programmes should be summarized. At the same time, information that is important for specific degree programmes (e.g. intended learning outcomes, curriculum etc.) should be reported separately.

  1. Evidence: It is of great importance, that the self assessment is reasonably documented and supported by suitable pieces of evidence. Therefore it is necessary to compile an annex with all pieces of evidence. This annex includes all internal regulations, documents, quantitative and qualitative data and information, etc., that the higher education institution already has in use, for example where they have been generated by internal quality management processes and must not be produced just for the accreditation process. A sample list of possible pieces of evidence is included in this guideline but can and should be altered where applicable.

It is recommended to use this guideline and its structure as a reference model for the self assessment report. The structure correspondences with the accreditation criteria and differentiates between guiding questions for the analysis and suggestions for possibly useful pieces of evidence.

Please make sure that the formal of the report complies with international scientific practice. All pages of the report must be numbered. The evidence must also be numbered and clearly linked to a specific criterion and be listed in a table of content. Please make sure to provide all documents in pdf-compatible format.

Self assessment and evidence can both be provided electronically, depending on the degree of digitalization within the institution´s internal data and document management system, and can include links to specific web pages, data bases or similar.

Depending on the needs of the individual peer panels we may also ask for a printed version of the application documents in specific cases, whereas it is expected to use only electronic documents in the near future.