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Press Release
Launch of the feasibility study ‘Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe’ (CALOHEE)
An Initiative of the International Tuning Academy (TUNING)

Groningen, 2 September 2015

Do students enrolled in higher education around Europe develop the competences they need? Are study programmes delivering their promises? Can we learn to compare student’s achievements in different countries in a meaningful way?

A new EU funded project, called CALOHEE, will help to find the answers to these questions by developing the infrastructure that will eventually make it possible to test bachelor and master students’ performance Europe-wide across a range of fields in a way that satisfies the needs of the various stakeholders in the European higher education community.

The project will start this autumn and first results are expected in spring 2017. The project will initially cover five subject areas, representing five significant academic domains: Engineering (Civil Engineering), Health Care (Nursing), Humanities (History), Natural Sciences (Physics) and Social Sciences (Education). After this initial stage, the outcomes can be used to examine many other degree programmes as well.

The assessment frameworks (or test blueprints) to be developed in the five fields will use the same methodology, but they will be tailored to the characteristics of each domain or subject area, taking into account the diversity of missions, orientations and profiles of universities in Europe and their various degree programmes.

These frameworks will facilitate the development of the tests which will allow university management, academics and students to understand whether students are achieving internationally defined levels of competences which prepare them for their role in society in terms of personal development, citizenship and employability, while meeting agreed academic standards. The goal of the first phase of the project is to see if it is possible to design tests that will provide evidenced-based tools to measure success and support universities in their efforts at continuous improvement.
CALOHEE will use a bottom-up approach in order to give the academic community a central position in the further implementation of the process of modernisation of higher education in Europe. It builds on the work already carried out in the framework of the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process) and the worldwide activities associated with TUNING.
The consortium in charge of the project is led by the International TUNING Academy with technical support and consultation provided by non-profit Educational Testing Service (ETS) (based in Princeton, New Jersey, USA). An impressive array of participants is involved, including prestigious universities, university associations and other organisations active at European, national and grassroots level, such as the student unions. The project is co-financed by the European Commission in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Boosting economic growth and job creation in Europe is the top political priority of this Commission. We will only succeed in this if we help ensure that our education institutions equip people with the skills needed in a dynamic, globalised economy. That is why I am very much looking forward to the results of this study funded under our Erasmus+ programme. We need more reliable data on how higher education institutions across Europe perform in order to raise standards – and I particularly welcome the focus on competences related to employability.”

Contacts: Robert Wagenaar (Project Co-ordinator / Director International TUNING Academy, University of Groningen); e-mail: r.wagenaar@rug.nl; tel. 3150 363 6059 (office) / 316 5155 7839 (mobile) and Thomas van Essen, Educational Testing Service, Princeton NJ, 08541; e-mail; tvanessen@ets.org.


TUNING is a university-driven process, organised by the International TUNING Academy, based at the Universities of Deusto, Bilbao (Spain) and Groningen (The Netherlands), which offers a universal approach to reform higher education at the level of higher educational institutions and subject areas. The TUNING approach consists of a methodology to (re-) design, develop, implement and evaluate study programmes for each of the three cycles. It serves as a platform for developing reference points at subject area level. This work is based on a wide stakeholder consultation, including employers, graduates, students and academic staff. The reference points – fully respecting diversity and autonomy – are relevant for making programmes of studies comparable, compatible and transparent. TUNING contributes to the development and enhancement of high-quality competitive study programmes by focussing on fitness of purpose (to meet expectations) and fitness for purpose (to meet aims). The methodology transcends “delivery” and encompasses all learners.
TUNING was launched in 2000 as a response of the academic world to the Bologna Processs and has developed – with full support of the European Commission – into a global process since (https://tuningacademy.org).

About ETS
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide (www.ets.org).


You can find background information here: CALOHEE Background information