CALOHEE Consultation Process

Aim and status of the CALOHEE documents

To understand why a consultation process is organised regarding the documents which are presently being prepared by the five Subject Area Groups in the framework of the Tuning-CALOHEE process, the following background information is of relevance. First it is relevant to know that the process focusses on most relevant stakeholders of the Higher Education sector. A consultation process is thought due, because it is expected that the documents to be published, will have a significant impact on the Higher Education sector, in particular the way programmes are designed, delivered and enhanced. 

In 2000 the Tuning Educational Structures project was established as a university grass root initiative in Europe as a response to the Bologna Declaration (1999) to enhance the quality and relevance of Higher Education degree programmes. Tuning was developed in close cooperation with the European Commission and has been co-financed by the European Union and the Higher Education institutions involved since then. At present Tuning is by far the largest and most influential global initiative for reforming Higher Education, covering all continents and 126 countries.

The Tuning Educational Structures initiative has published two types of documents and publications since its start on which the CALOHEE documents build:

  1. From 2003, publications that explain the Tuning methodology and how the quality of degree programmes can be strengthen and their relevance of society enhanced through applying the student-centred / active learning approach in order to replace the expert driven paradigm of teaching and learning.
  2. From 2008, Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in ….. (Qualifications Frameworks at subject area level). (

These documents were prepared by groups of academics and validated by independent committees of peers as part of a structured procedure in 2008. The reference point documents identify core competences central to the subject area involved. A distinction is made between the first cycle (BA) and the second cycle (MA).  These documents are not one-to-one related to the so-called overarching qualifications frameworks such as the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF for LLL) or the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Framework (QF for the EHEA).

At a later stage these publications were complemented with Sectoral Qualifications Frameworks for the Social Sciences, the Humanities and the Creative and Performing Disciplines. These frameworks are based on the model of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning.

All these documents have been and are still used as models, references and as sources of inspiration for the design, delivery and enhancement of degree programmes by individual Higher Education institutions, their Faculties, Schools, Departments and academic and supporting staff. They have also been applied successfully by external quality assurance agencies and organisations as references for reviewing quality assurance mechanisms and procedures, as well as the quality and content of individual degree programmes. Resulting from a well-structured process, the indicators / descriptors included in these publications offer a widely shared representation of what a high quality degree programme involves.

The challenge of the different existing overarching, sectoral and subject area based qualifications frameworks is that these are not sufficiently aligned, which as a result limits their use(fullness) in practice. To overcome this gap Tuning launched in 2016 – again with strong support of the European Commission –  an initiative called: Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE). It aims to offer better quality measurement instruments to the Higher Education sector – the academics, policy and admission officers and exam boards. The CALOHEE initiative should ultimately lead to a robust multi-dimensional instrument for the assessment of learning in a transnational perspective. As a result it should offer evidence to stakeholders that universities in general as well as individually are doing a good job.

To make this possible CALOHEE is developing – as an integral part of the revised Tuning reference points publications to be published in 2018, insightful new one-page core descriptors for five educational sectors and related disciplines. These are based on a merger of the EU EQF for LLL and the Bologna QF for the EHEA, and they should also serve as models for all other subject areas. The revised publications also give current information about the degree programmes on offer covering a wide range of different profiles and missions in the academic field concerned. They also offer insight into and detail concerning the potential employability fields by focusing not only on most related occupations but also on typical tasks performed and responsibilities held by graduates. This information is of key importance for defining the most appropriate set of key competences/learning outcomes, which are also part of the publications.  In Tuning terms learning outcomes define a level of competence to be achieved as a result of a process of learning.

Because the one-page descriptors are still rather general,  the CALOHEE project is developing more detailed Assessment Frameworks – offering sets of sub-descriptors – which are underpinned by examples of good practice to define learning, teaching and assessment according to the student-centred / competence-based approach. These new instruments should support the development of reliable representations of the outcomes of learning of individual degree programmes and do justice to different profiles and missions.

To obtain wide acceptance of the content of the updated and revised Tuning Reference Points brochures as well as the Assessment Frameworks a six-week consultation process is implemented, starting mid-October to 31 January 2018. This process should lead to further enhancement of the documents produced. The final documents will be widely distributed throughout the Higher Education sector, including stakeholder organisations, with the active support of the European Higher Education organisations and networks, as well as national Rectors’ Conferences and professional and disciplinary organisations. They are expected to serve as benchmarks for high-quality student-centred learning in the decade to come and should show that the Higher Education sector is very well able to offer evidence of the quality and relevance of its degree programmes to all stakeholders and society at large. It is expected that the Tuning / CALOHEE materials will have a wide impact on the design and delivery of degree programmes.

For more information, regarding past and present Tuning projects and publications consult: