In February 2014 sparqs launched their ELIR Cycle 3 Guidance. This guidance was written in collaboration with QAA Scotland, for students’ association staff and officers, as well as members of university staff that support student engagement in the universities’ quality arrangements.

ELIR (Enhancement-led Institutional Review) is one of the five pillars of the university sector's Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF) of 2003. It refers to external reviews of every university, undertaken every four years by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

The guidance complements the QAA ELIR handbook, focusing on all aspects and activities related to the ELIR process over the four years during ELIR Cycle 3. It is split into chapters corresponding with each year within the ELIR cycle, making it easy for students’ associations to establish where their institution is during the ELIR cycle, and what activities the students’ association should be engaged in.

ELIR is a process unique to the Scottish sector in a number of ways, not least the focus on student engagement. Not only does an ELIR review look in depth at how students are engaged in shaping quality at each university, it also looks at how well students are engaged in ELIR itself.

There is much that students - particularly senior student officers with education remits - can do before, during and after an ELIR review, and sparqs offers support in this.

We can provide a bespoke session to student officers in universities that are preparing for ELIR, and also provide more detailed consultancy support where required.

Following a review of the Quality Enhancement Framework by the Scottish Funding Council in 2015, the sector took the decision that there are to be no external reviews in year 2016-17. The new ELIR cycle (ELIR 4) will be a ‘4 1’ model, meaning that external reviews will take place over four years (as before), with an additional year for developmental activities.

As discussions regarding the development of the new ELIR method and any enhancements to the QEF continue, sparqs will work with QAA Scotland, NUS Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to make sure students are able to participate and shape future developments. We will also ensure that any changes to the method are reflected in the support and guidance we provide to students’ associations and institutions.

There is more information about the review of the Quality Enhancement Framework on our Current Issues in Quality webpage.

You can find out more about ELIR on the QAA's website.

For more information, please contact Hannah Clarke.

Student Engagement Framework

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