Quality assurance in Croatian education is managed by several government agencies, each focused on a specific level of the education system.
In pre-primary, single structure primary and general secondary education (ISCED 1-3) quality assurance is managed and monitored by the Education and Teacher Training Agency.
In secondary vocational education and training and adult education, quality assurance is managed and monitored by the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education.
In higher education, quality assurance is managed and monitored by the Agency for Science and Higher Education.
The quality assurance system consists of three approaches:
- self-evaluation of educational institutions;
- external evaluation of educational institutions;
- evaluating student learning outcomes.
The Croatian Parliament adopted Strategy of Education, Science and Technology in October 2014 and appointed the Special Expert Committee for the Implementation of the Strategy of Education, Science and Technology. The Strategy envisages the establishment of a comprehensive system of quality assurance in education that will enable the integration of different evaluation procedures in order to achieve high quality institutions and better educational outcomes and that will ensure a higher level of responsibility of all stakeholders in education.
Quality assurance of education includes internal quality assurance of ECEC and school institutions themselves on the basis of self-evaluation and external quality assurance, which is carried out by the competent agency, based on prescribed objective standards and criteria.
Self-evaluation of educational institutions is a process of systematic and continuous monitoring, analysis and evaluation of school performance. It is used as an important instrument for strengthening the capacity of the school and for the progress, development and success of all participants in the educational process.
Vocational education institutions are obliged to carry out self-evaluation in cooperation with the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education and external evaluation in cooperation with the National Center for External Evaluation of Education.
The Strategy in the field of self-evaluation prescribes:
- strengthening the internal capacities of institutions (kindergartens, schools, student dormitories) for self-evaluation;
- providing external support to school self-evaluation;
- regional networking and cooperation between schools;
- linking self-evaluation and external evaluation of the work of the institution.
The quality assurance system connects and harmonizes self-evaluation and external evaluation of educational institutions, whereby external evaluation uses self-evaluation and development plans of institutions as starting points for assessment.
The external evaluation contains an expert assessment of the relevant areas of school work:
- school management, human and material resources, key processes;
- the quality of self-evaluation and development planning, the quality of teaching and student support, as well as the results and outcomes;
- student achievement and the achievement of educational goals.
The strategy of education, science and technology prescribes the following measures:
- elaboration of models and procedures for external evaluation and continuous monitoring of the work of institutions, ie elaboration of Rulebooks and manuals for external evaluation of educational institutions;
- planning and development of programs for conducting external evaluation of educational institutions;
- holding trainings and licensing of external evaluators (evaluators, auditors, etc.);
- implementation of experimental programs of external evaluation of educational institutions.
External evaluation of learning outcomes is a standardized evaluation that is planned and prepared outside schools in order to ensure consistency of all procedures - application, assessment, interpretation and comparability of results.
It can be conducted on a student population, on student samples, or only in some schools and classes (for example, at the request of a school that wants to monitor the progress of its students or wants to be compared to national norms).
Schools are obliged to use the results of national exams and the state matura and all other indicators of the success of educational work for analysis and self-evaluation due to the continuous improvement of the quality of school work.
The strategy of education, science and technology in the field of evaluation of student learning outcomes prescribes the following measures:
- elaboration, discussion and establishment of a comprehensive framework for external evaluation of learning outcomes in different types of education and at different educational levels;
- defining responsibilities for the management and implementation of the external evaluation framework;
- elaboration of a model of using the results of periodic external examinations to monitor the achievement of educational outcomes at the national level;
- reconceptualization of the state matura model in accordance with the new curricular goals;
- establishing a model of external evaluation - certification of vocational qualifications in the regular system of vocational education.