One important issue in this context is whether the role of these evaluations and evaluating organisations is primarily one of inspection or whether they are first and foremost intended to stimulate development.
The standpoint of the expert panel, which has had an impact on both how we view EVA’s evaluations and how this external review has been organised, is that both of these ends are legitimate and that it is necessary to strike a balance between them. A one-sided focus on development is not unquestionably going to enhance quality. This type of evaluation tends to lack the substance and precision required for action to ensue.4
One way of adding to the impact of an evaluation is to arrange follow-up of its results. One of the recommendations in ENQA’s proposed standards for quality assurance organisations is “a follow-up procedure to review actions taken by the subject of the quality assurance process in the light of any recommendations contained in the report”.5
In our experience one-sided evaluations that focus on development are also less effective in providing a basis for political decisions.