Wed, Apr 26, 2017

TUNING EuroPsy _ Tuning Educational Structures in Europe

Tuning EuroPsy : Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree programmes in Psychology - update August 2014

Tuning Educational Structures in Europe is a university driven project which aims to offer higher education institutions and subject areas a concrete and dynamic approach to implementing the Bologna Process. more info here

The name Tuning is chosen for the Process to reflect the idea that universities do not and should not look for uniformity in their degree programmes or any sort of unified, prescriptive or definitive European curricula but simply look for points of reference, convergence and common understanding.

Launched in 2000 and strongly supported both financially and morally by the European Commission, the Tuning project now includes the vast majority of Bologna signatory countries, and its work is fully recognised by all the countries and major players in the Bologna Process.

The Tuning approach consists of a methodology for considering each of the three Bologna cycles. It develops reference points for common curricula on the basis of agreed learning outcomes as well as cycle level descriptors. It therefore has a strong focus on learning outcomes, including competences. Learning outcomes are statements of what the learner is expected to know, understand and be able to demonstrate after completion of a learning experience.

According to Tuning, learning outcomes are expressed in terms of the level of competence to be acquired by the learner. Competences represent a dynamic combination of cognitive and meta-cognitive skills, knowledge and understanding, inter-personal and intellectual skills, and ethical values.

The use of the learning outcomes approach implies a shift from a staffcentred approach to a more student-oriented approach to teaching and learning, and probably implies changes in the teaching, learning and assessment methods which are used in the programme.

The Tuning project is dynamic and has used a Europe-wide consultation process in which students, graduates and academic staff have been asked to identify the most important skills and competences they would expect to be developed in a degree programme. The outcome of this consultation process is reflected in the set of reference points – generic and subject specific competences – identified by each subject area.

Finally, the context of these developments includes the overarching Qualifications Framework (QF) of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), referred to as QF-EHEA, developed by the Bologna follow-up group, which was adopted by the Ministers of Education at their conference in Bergen in May 2005.

The QF-EHEA is a common European reference framework which links countries’ qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe. The QF made use of the outcomes of the Joint Quality Initiative (JQI) and of Tuning. The JQI, an informal network for quality assurance and accreditation of Bachelor and Master programmes in Europe, has produced a set of criteria to distinguish between the three Bologna cycles; these are now known as the ‘Dublin Descriptors’. The QF-EHEA constitutes an overarching framework comprising three cycles, with generic descriptors for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences, and credit ranges for the first and second cycles.

More recently, the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) was developed by the European Commission and formally adopted by the European Union in 2008. The core of the EQF is the use of eight reference levels which describe what a learner knows, understands and is able to do, which corresponds to learning outcomes. Levels of national qualifications will be placed at one of the central reference levels which range from Level 1 (Basic) to Level 8 (Advanced), that will facilitate comparability and mobility, and promote lifelong learning.

Most EU Member States are now developing their own National Qualification Frameworks (NQFs) based on learning outcomes. The QF-EHEA and the EQF form a complementary approach to enhancing mobility, comparability and transparency of qualifications.

This booklet aims to provide reference points in the psychology area, drawing substantially on the work of the EuroPsy project (1998-2009) and attempting to integrate this with the approach of Tuning and the wider context of qualifications in Europe. It should be noted at this point that the EuroPsy project focussed strongly on professional psychology, in part because its timing coincided with developments in the European directives on the recognition of professional qualifications. 

More information about EuroPsy here.