Erasmus+ project. Sustainable quality enhancement in higher education learning and teaching

EVALAG (Evaluation Agency Baden-Wuerttemberg, Mannheim, Germany) as a lead partner together with nine European higher education institutional partners was granted a Strategic Partnership for Higher Education within the Erasmus+ Programme under the key action Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices.

The project had a duration of 36 months (2017-2020) and was carried out by its ten partners from nine European countries, namely Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

Project title




Project Duration


Project Reference


EU Grant

405512 EUR

Motivation and goals

Quality assurance (QA) and quality enhancement in higher education institutions (HEIs), particularly in learning and teaching (L&T), is more important than ever because of the requirements of knowledge societies, socioeconomic mobility and competition, (education for) sustainable development and the challenges of (a) global pandemic(s) in a globalised world. This immediately implies the need for systematic performance monitoring and strategic quality development in L&T, but not restricted to L&T.

Therefore the SQELT project aimed at suggesting certain basic tools for Performance Data Governance and Management (PDGM) in Higher Education Learning and Teaching that include a PDGM Policy template, a comprehensive Performance Indicator (PI) Set for L&T including Learning Analytics and Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) issues and an Ethical Code of Practice for (Performance) Data Management. These and further project results are combined in the form of a Guideline that presents the project's strategy as a common systematic benchlearning process of the partners that is based on an in-depth case study including a strategic SWOT analysis.

In the opinion of the SQELT project partners, this Guideline for PDGM in Higher Education L&T should support any HEI concerned with the development and improvement of their PDGM approaches.

The SQELT project intended to contribute to the ‘Research on Indicators of Teaching Quality’, which recently was also recommended to the European Parliament. The results of the SQELT project should help to ensure HEIs and their stakeholders get maximum benefit from the comprehensive PI set for L&T and digital performance data management. To this end HEIs should use PDGM systems that are developed on the basis of strategic needs analyses (e.g. strategic SWOT analysis); designed in consultation with stakeholders; supported by an ethical code of practice; driven by the improvement of performance processes and stakeholder engagement; and adjusted to the particular needs and strategic orientation of an institution.

Based on the learning goals for HESD suggested by the UNESCO in 2017, the SQELT project also included related PIs in the comprehensive SQELT PI set. This approach requires further analysis.


The SQELT project built on available models of digital performance data management in L&T, an analysis of contemporary, pertinent literature, digital performance data management models and practice of the project participants, external experts’ knowledge, and surveys (focus group meetings; online survey) with the project’s HEI partners about their assessments of relevance and actual use of performance data and PIs. The PDGM tools and the comprehensive PI set for L&T was developed by conceptual analysis and comparison of the various sources including benchlearning of the partner HEIs and survey-based assessments of the developed SQELT PI set.

The project planned for six Transnational Project Meetings (TPMs) and nine Multiplier Events (MEs), among them one International Evaluation Workshop, one International Conference and seven Euro-Region Dissemination Workshops. (Due to the Covid-19 pandemic one TPM and two MEs were cancelled.)

The following methodologies were applied in the SQELT project:

  • 14-step Benchlearning Process: This process is underlying the whole SQELT Strategic Partnership and is outlined in Intellectual Output O11 "Performance Data Governance and Management in Higher Education Learning and Teaching: A Guideline"
  • Semi-structured focus group discussions based on questionnaires (the latter were taken from Intellectual Output O20 while the results of the focus group discussions were core ingredients of Intellectual Output O3 ("Baseline Reports on Performance Data Management")
  • Descriptive statistics for survey analysis
  • Comparative Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) for literature, document and survey analysis
  • Online survey about the SQELT comprehensive PI Set of L&T based on questions with 5-point Likert scale items and open questions
  • Strategic SWOT Analysis of main dimensions of PDGM at the six SQELT partnership universities and induced recommendations

Main outputs

The main Intellectual Outputs (Os) of the SQELT Strategic Partnership are six Benchlearning Reports, six Baseline Reports, an Evaluation Report on Performance Data Management including a comprehensive PI set, an Ethical Code of Practice for (Performance) Data Management, a Report on Various Stakeholders' Assessment of the SQELT PI Set and a Guideline for PDGM in Higher Education L&T. In addition, main and generic project results as well as some external experts' insights and analyses of related perspectives are published in peer-reviewed journals.

Target groups

The main target groups of the SQELT project are HEIs’ actors in L&T and stakeholders interested in L&T quality enhancement, such as students, teachers, HEI leadership, QM managers, QA agencies, parents, employers, higher education politics, and others. The SQELT project intended to include as many of these as possible. Since SQELT had the character of a pilot project with limited capacities, however, the focus was pre-eminently on HEIs including students, teaching staff, leadership and internal QA, and secondarily on QA agencies and HE politics.

For SQELT project information see also:

Dieses Projekt wurde mit Unterstützung der Europäischen Kommission finanziert. Die Verantwortung für den Inhalt dieser Veröffentlichung trägt allein der Verfasser; weder die EU-Kommission noch die NA DAAD, haftet für die weitere Verwendung der darin enthaltenen Angaben.