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Poland:Quality Assurance

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Overview Poland

Contents

Poland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Poland:Historical Development

Poland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Poland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Poland:Political and Economic Situation

Poland:Organisation and Governance

Poland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Poland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Poland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Poland:Organisation of Private Education

Poland:National Qualifications Framework

Poland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Poland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Poland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Poland:Funding in Education

Poland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Poland:Higher Education Funding

Poland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Poland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Poland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:Primary Education

Poland:Organisation of Primary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Poland:Assessment in Primary Education

Poland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Poland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Poland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Poland:Higher Education

Poland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Poland:First Cycle Programmes

Poland:Bachelor

Poland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Poland:Second Cycle Programmes

Poland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Poland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Poland:Adult Education and Training

Poland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Poland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Poland:Main Providers

Poland:Main Types of Provision

Poland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Poland:Teachers and Education Staff

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Poland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Management and Other Education Staff

Poland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Poland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Poland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Quality Assurance

Poland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Poland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Educational Support and Guidance

Poland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Poland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Poland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Poland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Poland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Mobility in Higher Education

Poland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Poland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Poland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Poland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Poland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Poland:National Reforms in School Education

Poland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Poland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Poland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Poland:European Perspective

Poland:Legislation

Poland:Institutions

Poland:Glossary

General information

The legislation concerning quality assurance does not provide for overall assessment or overall quality assurance arrangements for all levels of education. There are separate regulations for the school education system, which comprises not only early childhood and school education, but also adult education in schools for adults and specific types of educational institutions, and for the higher education system. Various data concerning the quality of the school education system are collected at national level. The Ministry of National Education receives reports on pedagogical supervision exercised at regional level from the Heads of the Regional Education Authorities, and the Central Examination Board compiles summary reports on external exams. Information on quality assurance in higher education is presented in annual reports and thematic studies by the Polish Accreditation Committee (the State Accreditation Committee before the amendment to the Law on Higher Education which came into force on 1 October 2011).

Poland takes part in international surveys which measure the effectiveness of education, e.g. the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). In addition, various Polish institutions, including the Institute for Educational Research (Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych), the Centre for Science Policy and Higher Education (Centrum Badań Polityki Naukowej i Szkolnictwa Wyższego), higher education institutions and institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk), carry out research on education on their own initiative or as commissioned by the national authorities.

Quality assurance arrangements within the school education system are the same for early childhood (preschool) and school education. External quality assurance comprises a pedagogical supervision system as its key element. Pedagogical supervision covers three aspects: evaluation, legal compliance auditing and support. Evaluation of nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions is conducted according to certain uniform requirements set in the legislation which concern various aspects, including: the concept and organisation of work; educational processes; the implementation of the core curriculum; active participation, and support for the development, of pupils / students; shaping social attitudes, and respect for social norms; cooperation among teachers, and with parents and the local community; and management. Legal compliance auditing aims to check whether the activities of nursery schools, schools and other institutions comply with legislation. Various activities undertaken as part of support are aimed at improving the work of nursery schools, schools or other institutions.

External pedagogical supervision is the responsibility of the Minister of National Education and other competent ministers, as well as the Heads of the Regional Education Authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty). The legislation does not specify the frequency of external evaluations and compliance audits/inspections. They are conducted according to the priorities of the national policy and a pedagogical supervision plan established annually by the Minister of National Education, and detailed pedagogical supervision plans prepared on this basis by the Heads of the REAs. Thus, evaluations and compliance inspections are obligatorily conducted every school year, but their scope and the proportion of institutions covered varies between years.

Quality improvement is also one of the aims of the external examination system. Currently, the system comprises a test at the end of primary education (to be abolished in 2017, according to amendments to the School Education Act drafted by the Ministry of National Education); exams at the end of lower and upper secondary education; and vocational exams for, among others, students and graduates of vocational upper secondary schools and post-secondary schools. Examination results are taken into account in external evaluation.

Internal quality assurance arrangements cover obligatorily the three above-mentioned aspects of supervision: evaluation, compliance auditing and support. Pedagogical supervision is exercised by the head of a nursery school, school or institution in cooperation with other management staff, and with teachers also involved in the evaluation process. These tasks are carried out on the basis of an annual pedagogical supervision plan developed by the head of a nursery school, school or institution and presented to the teaching council of the school/institution. Thus, internal evaluation is carried out every school year on a mandatory basis, but its scope may vary depending on the needs of a given school/institution. Results of internal evaluation are taken into consideration in external evaluation.

Individual teacher appraisal is also partly covered by internal pedagogical supervision. Two types of mandatory teacher appraisal are distinguished: the assessment of performance and the assessment of professional achievements, both conducted by the head of a nursery school, school or institution. Performance assessment, undertaken as part of internal pedagogical supervision, covers all teachers, except for trainee teachers (i.e. the first grade in the professional promotion system for teachers; see: chapter 11.1 Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education) who are subject to the assessment of professional achievements when applying for a higher grade after an employment period of 9 months. It can be carried out any time, but not earlier than one year after the previous performance assessment or assessment of professional achievements. The assessment of professional achievements is conducted in case a teacher intends to apply for promotion to a higher professional grade.

The school year 2009/10 was the first year of the operation of the new pedagogical supervision system outlined above. Thus, since 2009/10, the national and regional education authorities and various educational institutions have organised training courses, conferences and seminars for staff responsible for evaluation in the regional education authorities, nursery schools, schools and other institutions. These activities have been undertaken as part of a strategic project ‘Enhancing the effectiveness of the pedagogical supervision system and quality evaluation of schools’ (currently, Stage III), supported by the European Social Fund within the framework of the Human Capital Operational Programme.

External quality assurance in higher education includes:

  • assessment of applications for a permit and the granting of permits to establish non-public higher education institutions; this procedure may be considered a type of ex-ante institutional evaluation/accreditation, although the terms ‘evaluation’ or ‘accreditation’ are not used in the legislation in this context;
  • assessment of applications for, and the granting of, authorisations to provide first- (Bachelor's degree), second- and long-cycle (Master's degree) programmes in individual fields of study (in cases extending beyond the autonomy of higher education institutions); this may be considered a type of ex-ante programme evaluation and accreditation;
  • ex-post programme evaluation/accreditation which covers all first-, second- and long-cycle programmes;
  • ex-post institutional evaluation/accreditation undertaken in organisational units of higher education institutions where programme evaluations have already been completed in most fields of study (this arrangement was introduced by amendments to the 2005 Law on Higher Education which came into force on 1 October 2011).

Granting permits for the establishment of non-public higher education institutions (HEIs), and granting authorisations to provide first-, second- and long-cycle programmes fall within the remit of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, but decisions are taken after consultation with the Polish Accreditation Committee (PAC) (Polska Komisja Akredytacyjna) which assesses applications. PAC also conducts obligatory ex-post programme evaluations, which provide the basis for the accreditation of first-, second- and long-cycle programmes in all fields of study at all public and non-public HEIs, and ex-post institutional evaluations. The frequency of evaluations is defined in the statutes of PAC and depends on the validity period of the previous quality rating: 8 years in the case of an outstanding rating, and 6 years in the case of a positive rating. In the case of a conditional rating, PAC defines the time-frame for a follow-up evaluation in each individual case. Where a negative rating is given by PAC to a programme, the Minister of Science and Higher Education may suspend or withdraw the authorisation of the HEI unit concerned to provide the programme. HEI units which have received an outstanding or positive rating as a result of an institutional evaluation are exempt from programme evaluations for the validity period of the rating. In the case of a negative institutional rating, PAC continues to conduct programme evaluations in a given unit.

In addition, mandatory accreditation of programmes in two fields of study, nursing and midwifery, is granted for 3 to 5 years by the Minister of Health (Minister Zdrowia) on the basis of evaluations carried out by the National Accreditation Council for Schools of Nursing and Midwifery (NACSN&M) (Krajowa Rada Akredytacyjna Szkół Pielęgniarek i Położnych) . Where accreditation is refused or withdrawn, student enrolment on a given programme is suspended until the programme has been accredited.

Moreover, there are peer accreditation commissions which were set up by the academic community and which currently operate under the auspices of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (university-type HEIs) (Konferencja Rektorów Akademickich Szkół Polskich). They conduct programme evaluations on the basis of applications submitted by HEIs on a voluntary basis. However, these commissions do not operate on the basis of national legislation, and their accreditation decisions do not have any legal consequences.

National regulations require that HEIs develop an internal quality assurance system, which should cover the entire education process, define certain compulsory elements of the system and entrust the Rector of an HEI with the responsibility for the implementation and further development of the system. Detailed arrangements are laid down in HEIs’ Statutes and other internal regulations. Arrangements adopted are taken into account by PAC in its external evaluation / accreditation, NACSN&M in its accreditation procedure and in evaluations conducted by peer accreditation commissions.

The above-mentioned recent amendments to the Law on Higher Education, which came into force in October 2011, and regulations adopted on their basis place a much stronger emphasis on quality assurance. For example, they have extended the range of responsibilities of the Polish Accreditation Committee to include ex-post institutional evaluation; entrusted Rectors with the responsibility for implementing and improving internal quality assurance systems; extended the range of responsibilities for the Rectors’ Conferences to include the support for, and the monitoring of, quality improvement activities in HEIs, through the above-mentioned peer accreditation commissions; and provided for granting to HEIs so-called pro-quality subsidies from the State budget.

As part of reforms planned by the current Government (which took office in November 2015), quality assurance is one of the areas to be addressed by the so-called ‘Deregulation Package’ for higher education, with changes expected to cover both the model of quality evaluation and institutional arrangements. Changes will be introduced by a new Higher Education Act to be prepared by the academic community itself. In February 2016 the Minister of Science and Higher Education published a Call for proposals to define the aims and principles for a new Act. The academic community has submitted 15 proposals from among which up to three will be selected by the end of May 2016. The work of the team(s) selected, including consultations with the academic community, is planned for the period between June 2016 and January 2017. The new Act is expected to come into force in October 2017 or 2018, depending on the legislative schedule.

Adult education is provided both in schools for adults and institutions training adults in non-school settings, which are included in the school education system and are subject to the school education legislation, and by entities operating outside the school education system on the basis of the legislation concerning economic activity. External and internal quality assurance arrangements for schools for adults and other institutions within the school education system are the same as those for school education for young people. In addition, institutions providing adult education in non-school settings within the school education system may voluntarily apply for accreditation granted by the Head of the Regional Education Authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty). Such accreditation confirms compliance with certain requirements and high quality of education provided. By contrast, there are no regulations concerning quality assurance for institutions providing adult education in non-school settings outside the school education system. However, like institutions within the school education system, they may apply for accreditation granted by the Head of the REA on a voluntary basis.

Legislation

Early Childhood and School Education

  • School Education Act of 7 September 1991 (as subsequently amended) regulates key aspects of school education, including adult education in schools for adults and institutions within the school education system providing education in non-school systems; it outlines general rules for pedagogical supervision over nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions, with detailed arrangements laid down in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2015 on pedagogical supervision.
  • Act of 26 January 1982, The Teachers’ Charter (as subsequently amended), regulates all key matters concerning teachers in the school education system, and outlines a general framework for the assessment of teachers' performance and professional achievements; more detailed arrangements are laid down in Regulations of the Minister (see below).
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 6 August 2015 on the requirements for schools and other educational institutions lays down requirements which provide the basis for quality evaluation of schools and other institutions.
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2015 on pedagogical supervision lays down detailed rules for, and specifies elements of, pedagogical supervision, including evaluation, legal compliance auditing and support for nursery schools, schools and other institutions, and conditions for access to the digital platform for pedagogical supervision.
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 21 December 2012 on the criteria and procedure for the assessment of teacher performance, appeals procedures, the composition and procedure for the establishment of an evaluation board (as subsequently amended): it lays down detailed rules for teacher performance assessment outlined in the Teachers’ Charter.
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 1 March 2013 on the professional promotion grades for teachers lays down the rules for the promotion of teachers, including the assessment of teachers' professional achievements.
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 25 June 2015 on the detailed arrangements for conducting the primary school test, lower-secondary school examination and final upper-secondary school examinations lays down the rules for external examinations.
  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 April 2015 on the detailed arrangements for conducting examinations for vocational qualifications lays down the rules for external vocational examinations.

Higher Education

  • Act of 27 July 2005, The Law on Higher Education (as subsequently amended) regulates key aspects of the higher education system. In the area of quality assurance, it sets a general framework for the activities of the Polish Accreditation Committee, provides the basis for quality improvement activities to be undertaken by the Rectors' Conferences; places responsibility for implementing and improving an internal quality assurance system on the Rector; requires HEIs to assess the performance of academic teachers, in consultation with students and doctoral students as regards the performance of teaching duties; and provides for the award of additional pro-quality funding to HEIs. It has also introduced the requirement for HEIs to track careers of their graduates with a view to adapting fields and programmes of study to labour market needs.
  • Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 3 October 2014 on the basic criteria and scope of programme evaluation and institutional evaluation defines the basic criteria and scope of evaluations conducted by the Polish Accreditation Committee.
  • Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 15 December 2014 on salaries and fees for members of the General Council for Science and Higher Education, members of the Polish Accreditation Committee, reviewers and experts appointed by them, members of the disciplinary committee at the General Council for Science and Higher Education, members of the disciplinary committee established by the Minister responsible for higher education, disciplinary prosecutors appointed by the Minister responsible for higher education and the Graduate Ombudsman: among other things, it lays down the level of salaries for the President, Secretary General and Vice-President of PAC, fees for PAC members performing specific tasks and fees for reviewers and experts carrying out expert assignments.
  • Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 28 November 2011 on the scope of data and information to be provided in an application for a permit to establish a non-public higher education institution, and on the procedure for charging, and the level of, fees for related costs of opinion-giving proceedings: among other things, it lays down the application procedure for a permit to establish a non-public HEI and the thematic scope of applications.
  • Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 3 October 2014 on the requirements for the provision of degree programmes in individual fields and at individual levels of study: it lays down, among other things, requirements for a study programme and a description of first- and second-cycle qualifications, and conditions for HEIs to provide first-, second- and long-cycle programmes. It also requires that organisational units of HEIs implement an internal quality assurance system, including measures designed to improve study programmes from the date of their commencement.
  • Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 26 January 2015 on the procedure for the distribution and transfer of the subsidy for pro-quality measures: it lays down, among other things, the procedure for allocating State-budget funds to organisational units of HEIs which have been awarded an outstanding rating as a result of a programme evaluation conducted by the Polish Accreditation Committee, and to units of HEIs selected through a competition for the implementation of quality improvement systems and the National Qualifications Framework.
  • Act on the Nursing and Midwifery Professions of 15 July 2011 (as subsequently amended) regulates key matters related to the training of nurses and midwives. With regard to quality assurance, it provides the basis and sets general operational rules for the National Accreditation Council for Schools of Nursing and Midwifery (NACSN&M).
  • Regulation of the Minister of Health of 29 November 2012 on the National Accreditation Council for Schools of Nursing and Midwifery sets detailed accreditation and operational procedures for the NACSN&M which are outlined in the Act on the Nursing and Midwifery Professions.

Adult education

  • Regulation of the Minister of National Education and Sport of 20 December 2003 (as subsequently amended) on the accreditation of institutions providing continuing education in non-school settings defines detailed rules for voluntary accreditation of adult education institutions providing education in non-school settings and entities providing adult education as part of their economic activity.

Schools for adults and other adult education providers operating within the school education system are subject to the legislation for the school education (early childhood and school education) system – see above.