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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Quality assurance


11.Quality assurance

Last update: 27 November 2023

Evaluation within the education system is a set of processes that can be divided into two main categories. On the one hand, there are numerous evaluations of different aspects of the system, carried out by different actors and following different procedures and periods. On the other hand, there is an annual evaluation of the system using relatively stable indicators, involving a more limited number of actors. The organic law on finance laws (LOLF), in force since 1 January 2006 (inaugurated in 2001) has a higher value than the ordinary law. It aims to modernise State management; it makes the budgetary procedure revolve around two principles: on the one hand, a logic of public management performance, and on the other hand, transparency of budgetary information likely to institute a close control by Parliament. It has encouraged the development of an evaluation culture within the French education system. Finally, the Conseil de l'évaluation de l'École (CEE - School evaluation council) was created in 2019 to independently evaluate the organisation and results of school education and to ensure the consistency of national and international evaluations.

Within schools, evaluation in France is carried out by the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (IGÉSR), academic authorities and school heads, who must also carry out self-evaluations and draw up a report on the actions implemented in their school. Each school is subject to a compulsory double contractualisation (school project and contract of objectives) which is the subject of an annual progress report sent to the academic authorities. In addition, there are indicators and tools to assist in the diagnosis, steering, evaluation and monitoring of schools, drawn up by the Ministry of Education, in particular by the DEPP and DGESCO directorates and by the School Evaluation Council.

In school education, teachers are subject to an evaluation of their practice at the end of the professionalization period (i.e. first year of work after passing the competitive examination) and during their career. Since 2017-2018, the evaluation is based on four career interviews throughout the teachers' professional life and on regular counselling visits. The new system links evaluation to career development and progression on the salary scale. Indeed, the career meeting is a moment of exchange that allows for an assessment of the professional value and needs of teachers as well as determining the right moment to move to a higher professional level.

The assessment of pupils' achievements is central to the operation, management and evaluation of the French education system and its various levels (national territory, academies, departments, districts, schools). To this end, many forms of assessment coexist according to the objectives assigned to them. Continuous assessment, which is both formative and summative, follows pupils throughout their school career. It enables teachers to measure the progress of learning and, if necessary, to set up remedial measures for pupils experiencing difficulties. The national assessments leading to a diploma attest to the acquisition of a level of knowledge and skills that will enable pupils to move on to the next level of education or to enter working life. Finally, standardised national assessments, whether exhaustive or based on a sample, developed by the DEPP contribute to the local management of schools and establishments, but also to the assessment of the education system as a whole.

In addition, the DEPP contributes to the steering of the education system by producing or supporting work aimed at evaluating educational policies or experiments. Its work aims to report on the effects of reforms or experimental schemes and to provide evidence to clarify their implementation and relevance. Other bodies contribute to the evaluation of educational policies and experiments, such as the Fonds d'Expérimentation pour la Jeunesse (FEJ).

At the level of higher education, the main evaluation body is the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres). This is an independent French administrative authority responsible for the evaluation of all higher education and research structures and for validating evaluation procedures carried out by other bodies. Through its analyses, evaluations and recommendations, it accompanies, advises and supports the process of improving the quality of higher education and research in France. As a member of the European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA), the Hcéres is also involved in the construction of the European Higher Education Area, linked to the Bologna Process. This process has led to the establishment of a number of mechanisms, in particular the development in each Member State of national quality assurance systems (evaluation, accreditation, audit) based on European standards (ESG).

Finally, as far as adult education is concerned, the Ministry of Education has designed the EDUFORM quality label for vocational training, including the Greta (continuing education organisations under the supervision of the Ministry). After a national labeling audit and the opinion of the national labeling commission, an institution obtains this quality label for a period of 3 years. The aim of the label is to guarantee the quality of the services offered and implemented within the national education network throughout the country. The IGÉSR, for its part, publishes reports on the situation of continuing education in France.