The process of self-assessment, as a part of quality assurance system, has been developed according to the recommendations from the European reference framework for quality assurance for vocational education and training (EQARF-VET) and schools in Croatia conduct self-assessment according to the VET Act.
Implementation of the process of self-assessment started in 2010 when the VET school self-assessment process was developed, VET Quality Assurance Framework was designed, and the process of pilot self-assessment was launched. Upon completion of pilot phase in school year 2010/2011 in 24 school, self-assessment was introduced to all VET schools (300) as of school year 2012/2013.
In the process of self-assessment VET schools, autonomously and with full accountability, evaluate the quality of their performance with the goal ofsystematic quality improvement. Self-assessment as a cyclical process is carried out during school year and it is conducted for the following priority areas: planning and programming of the work, teaching and support to learning, participants’ accomplishments, material conditions and human resources, professional development of the staff, human relations in VET institution, administration and management, cooperation with other stakeholders. Each priority area is broken down into quality areas, which are further, defined through a number of quality criteria that determine the standard and level of activities and processes in VET. These quality criteria are set out as performance descriptors and are used by school for making judgements about the quality level of their performance and planning of improvements of their work. The process of self-assessment and continuous improvement include: evaluation of performance according to performance descriptors, annual self-assessment report, annual improvement plan, improvement targets and action plans, long-term development plans.
In the process of self-assessment, schools use on-line tool e-Kvaliteta (http://e-kvaliteta.asoo.hr) which corresponds to the Self-assessment Handbook with guidelines for self-assessment that serves to assist VET providers in undertaking their self-assessment and write the self-assessment report. The self-assessment report for each priority area includes: analysis of current situation (SWOT/CREDA Analysis), grades for each priority area, evaluative decisions on the level of performance and the evidences upon which judgments have been made. e-Kvaliteta tool enables systemic gathering of the information and quantitative and qualitative data, also comparative information about quality assurance in VET in the Croatia. Tool enables on-line submission of Report to the Agency for VET and Adult Education.
Self-assessment of the VET schools monitors and evaluates Committee for Quality. Committee for Quality has 7 members and they are representatives of: stakeholders, teachers or expert associates, students and parents. At the end of the one-year cycle of self-assessment process Committee for Quality makes an annual report on self-assessment and delivers it to the school board and the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education. With a goal of improvement of the self-assessment process Agency gives support to the VET schools and their committees for quality through continuous monitoring of the process and gathering and analyzing self-assessment reports.
With implementation of the process of self-assessment and its systemic and continuous conduction over the years adequate standards and referent norms (measures) will be established which will enable comparisons between VET schools as well as between VET school and national measures. All of the processes that are set up in the school are in the function of improvement of quality of learning and teaching and in that scope, with promotion of self-assessment culture.
The process of linking self-assessment with external evaluation, as a part of quality assurance system will be established in future in the VET system in Croatia.