Kosovo Accreditation Agency/ KAA

Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits 

Introduction 

The Code of Good Practice is to ensure the quality of site-visits and its principles are directed to all participants in site-visits. 

The Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits is based on experience gathered by accreditation agencies in different countries during site-visits. The Kosovo Accreditation Agency uses the Code of Good Practice to ensure the quality of the site visit to the applicant institution.

Additions are constantly being made and the principles are being further developed. The feedback of experts and applicants is systematically used for improvement. 

The Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits is formulated so that it can accommodate any specific procedure. 

The Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits is to serve a guideline, allowing for a balanced and comprehensive collection of all facts relevant to the procedure. 

The Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits is to serve as the basis for a consistent and objective accreditation decision. 

Principles

1. Informing the Experts 

1.1. As preparation the experts shall receive all application documents as well as all information necessary for the site-visit activities (guidelines for experts, code of good practice for site-visits, basic criteria, etc.) at lest four weeks prior to the site-visit. 

1.2. Experts and the representative of the KAA office will have an opportunity to meet for a preliminary discussion, generally over dinner on the evening before the site-visit of the institution. This discussion offers an opportunity for open discussion in a private situation.

1.3. The experts will be informed about the application and the applicant institution as well as the aspects of the application meriting special scrutiny to ensure that the experts retain the greatest possible objectivity. 

1.4. The experts shall receive additional information on the following points within context of the preliminary discussion: 

- the application in question 

- the institution submitting the application 

- the Code of Good Practice for Site-Visits 

- the legal framework of the accreditation procedure 

- the Kosovo Accreditation Agency

- the system of accreditation in the higher education sector in Kosovo

2. Role of the Experts 

2.1. The experts shall be clearly informed about their role during the site-visit. They assume sole responsibility for collecting all the necessary data for their report.

2.2. All contacts between experts and the applicant institution shall be arranged by the office. Each expert will be informed that his/her role as an expert is irreconcilable with any possible consulting role vis-à-vis the institution. 

2.3. The experts shall be informed of their tasks in the site-visit. This includes the following elements in particular: 

• Compiling a report in compliance with the guidelines for experts of the KAA

• Preparing a final Evaluation Report

• No legal validation and no recommendation for final decision by the experts. 

3. Role of the Office 

3.1. The office member (coordinator) shall, as part of a preliminary discussion, provide information on the latest developments in the procedure and discuss the planned schedule for the site-visit and any questions which still remain open. 

3.2. The office will contribute to obtaining all information relevant to the decision by asking additional questions. 

3.3. The office is available for legal information and information regarding the procedure and decision of the National Council for Quality.

3.4. The office shall provide information about the procedure.

4. Role of the Observer 

4.1. Under certain circumstances the KAA can decide to have observers participate in the site-visit if the institution to be assessed agrees. 

4.2. The observer agrees to adhere to full confidentiality vis-à-vis third parties about all aspects of the procedure. 

5. Site-Visit of Institution: Structure and Schedule 

5.1. The site-visit shall be structured to meet the specific demands of the procedure (first accreditation, ex-ante accreditation, new academic programs or re-accreditation) and coordinated with the applicant institution. 

5.2. The expert team (experts and the representative of the office) and representatives of institution seeking accreditation shall participate in the visit. The representatives of the institution applying for accreditation are to be selected by the institution. It shall make sure that competent contact partners are present to discuss all subject areas. The students shall be selected by the representative body of the students, if such a body exists, and not by the university management. 

5.3. The site-visit shall be structured to ensure that all relevant groups of the institution receive ample opportunity to present their positions and that there is enough time available to address all relevant questions. 

5.4. The site-visit shall be structured so that individual groups have the opportunity to present their position freely without being influenced by the head of the institution. 

5.5. Normally the site-visit is structured to include the following items: 

• Discussion with representatives of the head of the institution

- Mission statement 

- Organization, management, financing 

- Development plan 

- Quality management, follow-up to external evaluation 

• Interim discussion of findings by the expert team (possibly as part of a lunch) 

• Tour of the facilities and the infrastructure 

• Discussion with those responsible for teaching and research 

• Discussion with students or graduates (if available)  

• Follow-up discussion of the expert team (without representatives of the institution) 

• Final discussion with the representatives of the institution 

6. Follow-up Discussion of the Expert Team 

6.1. The follow-up discussion of the expert team shall take place without any representatives of the institution. 

6.2. The follow-up discussion of the expert team shall seek to respect to the greatest possible extent the range of views of the team members and not to anticipate the results of the assessment and the decision of the National Council of Quality. 

6.3. The follow-up discussion of the expert team serves primarily to deal with the following items: 

• Clarifying any remaining legal questions 

• Determining whether further information is needed from the applicant institution 

• Clarifying any remaining open questions regarding the assessment (task of assessor, orientation framework, etc.) 

• Clarifying the time framework for jointly completing the assessment report (usually 2-3 weeks after the site-visit and/or receipt of documents that were submitted later.) 

7. Final Discussion with the Institution’s Management 

7.1. In the final discussion with the institution’s management further procedures are to be clarified. The following items have to be dealt with: 

• Documents that still need to be submitted 

• Deadline for late submissions 

• Approximate time framework for putting together assessment 

• Approximate time framework for commenting on assessments 

• Expected date of decision 

7.2. The results of the assessment and the decision of the KAA must not be anticipated in the final discussion with the institution’s management.  

12.2010

 
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