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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Quality assurance


11.Quality assurance

Last update: 27 February 2024

According to Article 140 of the Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE), as amended by the Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), the evaluation of the education system has several purposes:

  • to contribute to improving the quality and equity of education;
  • to direct education policies;
  • to increase the transparency and effectiveness of the education system;
  • to offer information on the degree of compliance with the improvement objectives established by the education authorities; 
  • to provide information on the degree of achievement of the Spanish and European education objectives, as well as the fulfilment of the education commitments made in relation to the demands of Spanish society and the goals set in the context of the European Union.

These purposes may not imply that the results of the assessments of the education system, regardless of the state or regional territorial scope in which they are applied, may be used for individual assessments of pupils or to establish school rankings.

In order to carry out quality assurance, the Spanish education system has two differentiated pathways: education inspection and evaluation.

Education inspection

Education inspection must be carried out on all elements and aspects of the education system, in order to ensure compliance with the law, the guarantee of rights and duties of all those involved in the teaching and learning processes, the improvement of the education system, and the quality and equity of education.

Education inspection of non-university levels

The inspection of non-university education is regulated by the LOE, as amended by the LOMLOE. In accordance with the decentralised nature of the Spanish education system, the inspection of non-university education is organised at two levels, state and regional:

  • State: the State Education Inspectorate, which executes the State's power and duty to inspect and standardise the education system at national level. It is responsible for supervising all non-university education levels, ensuring that the regulations established by the State are complied with in all the autonomous communities. It is present in all 17 autonomous communities. 
  • Regional:
    • The education inspection of non-university levels, which is organised, regulated and conducted by the education authorities of each autonomous community in their respective regions.
    • The bodies that evaluate the education system in the autonomous communities that have so decided, or units of the education administration not exclusively dedicated to this activity.

Education inspection of university levels

University education has the following bodies responsible for inspection:

  • The external control bodies of the different autonomous communities. The universities are obliged to report to these bodies on their economic and financial management, without prejudice to the powers of the Court of Audit.
  • Internal control system for economic-financial management, which must, in any case, include an internal audit system. The body responsible for this control has functional autonomy in its work and may not depend on the university's single-person governing bodies.
  • The Governing Council of each university. Its functions include approving the regulations governing the operation of the inspectorate of services and the procedures for the annual reporting of its accounts.
  • The inspectorate of services of the universities themselves. It acts according to the principles of independence and autonomy. Its function is to ensure the correct functioning of the services provided by the university institution in accordance with the laws and regulations in force. Likewise, within the framework of the applicable legislation, it is responsible for initiating and investigating disciplinary proceedings affecting members of the university community.  

Education evaluation

Evaluation in the education system is a fundamental element in order to improve the transparency of the system and must therefore be extended to all its areas. For this reason, evaluation has the following characteristics:

  • It must provide relevant information on the extent to which the education system achieves the targets set by the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) and the autonomous communities.
  • It must be carried out on several elements:
    • teaching and learning processes and their outcomes;
    • the educational context, with particular reference to the following aspects:
      • schooling and admission of pupils;
      • educational resources;
      • the activity of the teaching staff;
      • the managerial function;
      • the functioning of education institutions;
      • inspection;
      • the education authorities themselves.

Education evaluation of non-university levels

The evaluation of non-university education is regulated by the LOE, as amended by the LOMLOE. It is organised into three levels:

  • The State is responsible for the coordination of the general evaluation of the education system. The body that assumes this responsibility is the National Institute for Education Evaluation (INEE), a body belonging to the MEFD.
  • The regional education authorities carry out this evaluation in their respective management areas.
  • The education institutions develop mechanisms for internal evaluation with the support of the education authorities.

Education evaluation of university levels

The evaluation of university education has a more complex structure due to the confluence of the principles of accountability and autonomy of university institutions. The evaluation of the university system is regulated by Organic Law 2/2023 on the University System (LOSU). The promotion and assurance of this quality is a shared responsibility of the universities, the quality agencies and the public administrations with competences in this area.

In order to provide an external guarantee of quality and contribute to its constant improvement, the LOSU attributes various functions to the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) and to the quality agencies of the autonomous communities registered in the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR), within the scope of their respective competences.

Universities, as autonomous institutions, develop their own internal control and supervision mechanisms.