Competencies in higher education: experience with the Academic Competences and Quality Assurance (ACQA) framework

J.C. Perrenet, V.A.J. Borghuis, A.W.M. Meijers, C.W.A.M. van Overveld

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The ACQA framework has been developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) as an alternative to the European Dublin Descriptors. Its goals were a characterisation of academic education, a detailed description of competencies, adding design competencies, and a sensibility for differences between disciplines.

The ACQA framework contains seven competence areas and four dimensions of academic thinking and acting. Every area contains five to eight competencies, formulated at bachelor’s and master’s level in a discipline-independent way. Along every dimension a series of discipline-dependent levels has been constructed. The framework has been officially recognised and adopted by several universities in the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium.

Our standard use of the framework at Eindhoven has been a detailed characterisation from the teachers’ perspective of almost all bachelor’s and master’s programmes. We will describe examples of various other successful applications of the ACQA framework, such as comparing programmes to students’ learning results, giving advice to programme management in order to bridge the gap between the teachers’ implementation and the management’s ideal programme, evaluating a university-wide innovation, etc.

A preliminary evaluation of the quality of ACQA as an educational instrument for measuring programme profiles has been carried out, and its quality has been judged as quite good within the domain of technology education. The ACQA framework has become a firm part of the system of quality assurance at Eindhoven.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompetence-based Vocational and Professional Education
EditorsMartin Mulder
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-41713-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-41711-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameTechnical and vocational education and training: issues, concerns and prospects


  • Modelling Track
  • Research Competency
  • Radar Plot
  • Ideal Vision
  • Competence Area


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