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Hcéres structures its integrated evaluation system and publishes new evaluation standards


Given the importance of groupings of institutions and their strategies, and their increasing independence and responsibilities, the French High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education(Hcéres) has revised its methodology for the 2017-2018 evaluation campaign (Group D).  The goal isto conduct a concise and coherent evaluation of territorial coordinations and the entities involved in such initiatives.


An integrated evaluation system that uses an approach based on teaching areas

The integrated evaluation system is a key aspect of the Hcéres 2016-2020 strategic plan. This approach is based on tried-and-tested experience and know-how and the ability to adapt to a wide range of territorial coordinations. The system is characterised by:

  • the creation of an inter-departmental evaluation project team;
  • coordination of all evaluation procedures affecting a single site;
  • use of OST analysis in the background research required for evaluations;
  • production of a final integrated evaluation report that compiles all evaluations relating to the site.

In addition to this system, the evaluation process for study programmes has been modified.  The process has 3 objectives:

  • simplified evaluation of each study programme in order to focus more on teaching areas. These areas are a coherent set of programmes which enable the institutions on a site to highlight their strategy. Teaching areas must be understood in a broad way, describing all programmes and degrees (whether they are evaluated by Hcéres or not) that are part of the strategic focus.
  • simplified evaluation system to accredit institutions based on their study programmes;
  • inclusion of the study programme evaluation process in the evaluation of territorial coordinations.

“Field”-based evaluation has been introduced for research. “Field of research” refers to any structuring method that organises the research units on a site into defined groups based on thematic or disciplinary similarities.  The goal of Hcéres is to supplement the evaluation of the “basic building blocks” of research (laboratories and their internal teams) by evaluating intermediate structures (fields of research) and thereby contribute to evaluating the Research aspects of site policy. Today, because of the varying way in which sites are structured, fields of research must be evaluated in a gradual and flexible manner. Hcéres has therefore adopted a range of different scenarios, with the aim of tailoring evaluation as closely as possible to each institution.


Revised and harmonised evaluation standards

External evaluation standards for territorial coordinations and institutions have been established in close complementarity. They clarify the expectations of how territorial coordinations or institutions should be run and the criteria used to analyse the degree to which these expectations have been achieved. Under the integrated evaluation system, standards have been revised to add a more strategic dimension to institutional evaluation and enhanced analysis of the institution’s participation in territorial coordination.

Hcéres also publishes standards for evaluating study programmes (bachelor’s and master's degrees), doctoral schools and the architecture of study programmes (the structure based on teaching areas). These new confirmed standards are the backbone to the system and contain all key aspects that characterise Hcéres evaluations of study programmes. While the standards for study programmes and doctoral schools have been used in previous evaluation campaigns, the teaching area standards for evaluating the architecture of a programme offering is entirely new.

For Research, standards have been simplified and revised to produce the following:

  • new evaluation standards for research units that reduce the number of evaluation criteria from 6 to 3 and focus on research activities and outputs;
  • evaluation standards for research fields;
  • evaluation standards for inter-disciplinary research units.

These changes will help highlight the dynamics at play in higher education and research in a territory.


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The 2017-2018 evaluation campaign (Group D) will focus on territorial coordinations and institutions in Paris.

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Hcéres is an independent administrative authority responsible for evaluating or validating the evaluation of all higher education and research institutions.It provides analysis, evaluations and recommendations to support and advise initiatives to improve the quality of higher education and research in France.