European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

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Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

Quality Assurance in the Danish Guidance System in the educational sector



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
The background of a national quality assurance system dates back to April 2003, when the Danish parliament adopted a new act on guidance, which aimed to establish a more efficient guidance system with an improved quality assurance system. On August 1st 2004, a simpler and more transparent guidance system was launched. The quality assurance system should be seen in this light as one method to facilitate a transparent, accountable guidance system. Quality assurance requirements have been part of the act on guidance since the adoption of the act. Part of the background for this is the 2004-resolution, which identified the need for quality assurance as one area that should be the focus of a prioritised effort. The quality assurance requirements have been extended gradually to include more indicators and areas of guidance.

The Ministry of Education is the main stakeholder of the quality assurance system in the educational sector on a national level, as well as the main organisations for managers and guidance counsellors. The guidance centres and the educational institutions are the main stakeholders on a local level and are required to establish a quality assurance system, which can be used to document activities, quality and effect on clients and society.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
The aim of the system is to ensure that the contents of guidance services meet high quality standards so that the guidance provided is of greatest possible benefit to the clients. The quality assurance system should contribute to achievement of the aims of the guidance reform and establish a feedback loop, which provides information to decision makers on the scope, results and effects of guidance. This serves as foundation for further development and the collected data will provide an evidence-base for evaluating the guidance centres and for improving their services.

The main target group are the guidance centres and the educational institutions, who are required to establish a quality assurance system, which can be used to document activities, quality and effect on clients and society. It will give the centres and institutions a comprehensive view of their guidance services and serve as a foundation for further development.

The main intention behind the method of quality assurance is to apply common guidelines and methods for quality assurance in order to create a basis for comparability between similar units (i.e. the guidance centres and the educational institutions) and a view over time about performance of guidance. By applying common guidelines a systematic approach and method for the guidance centres and the educational institutions in their developing and measuring quality is introduced.

The Ministry of Education provides the guidance centres with a set of quality assurance tools to support that they reach the act’s main targets through continuous evaluation of their activities. This includes tools to report quality level, results and effects of the activities. Several indicators are included in the quality assurance system. When fully implemented, the quality assurance system will include data on indicators, which are comparable between different guidance and educational institutions and, consequently, allow the main stakeholders to compare institutions on a national as well as a local level.

Among the indicators are user surveys, based on nationally representative samples of pupils and students, responding on the same questionnaire. The user surveys are designed to provide information on user benefit of guidance in order to create the basis for a user-driven development. Based on inputs from guidance counsellors, the user surveys make it possible to compare and evaluate the user benefit of different types of guidance activities. Nationwide indicators based on data available from the administrative systems of the guidance and educational institutions as well as data from Statistics Denmark are also included in order to be able to evaluate the guidance provided, see below.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
Development of the national quality assurance system has taken place in cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the interested parties and main stakeholders such as manager and guidance counsellor organisations. Different work groups with representatives from the Ministry as well as the guidance counsellors and managers have been set up in order to draft manuals on how to introduce quality assurance systems.

Generally, the work related to quality assurance is a task for each of the municipal or regional centres. However, annual reports and developments will be discussed at yearly reviews with the municipal councils and the Ministry respectively. The Ministry of Education has implemented the statistical indicators of the quality assurance system. Furthermore, the Ministry provided the technical set-up for the surveys in 2009.

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?
The quality assurance system contains a monitoring clause in order to ensure that the guidance services meet the main objectives of the new act and lead to the expected results. The system is designed to create a comprehensive view on the guidance provided as possible. The evaluation process is to a high extent a task for the practitioners, due to their hands-on knowledge of the actual content of the guidance provided.

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
The quality assurance system has resulted in an increase of valid data available on guidance. This includes user surveys with more than 45.000 respondents from all level of education. Additionally, the statistical material available on guidance has increased. Through data from Statistics Denmark the ministry produces statistics on completion and transition rates that can be used by the centres and institutions. This has generated a gradual increase in sharing of good experiences/good practice among practitioners. This development is still in process.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
Developing a quality assurance system on a complex area such as guidance has been a learning process, which will continue in the years to come. Other factors than guidance influence young people’s pathway through the education system. An unambiguous connection can hardly be established between guidance services and the effect measured, such as, for instance, quick completion of an education. Moreover, the purpose of guidance is to make the young people self-reliant, which make the direct effect of guidance difficult to measure. On the other hand, it is possible to determine probable connections and establish indicators on guidance’s input to the total effect.

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?
A new political agreement aims at increasing the use of results-based management in the guidance centers. This is to be supported by a new database, which includes data from all relevant sources.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative


Additional information

Name of contact
Jeppe Christiansen

Role (in policy initiative)

Organization name
Ministry of Education

Vester Voldgade 123, 1552 Koebenhavn V, Denmark

(+45) 3392 5017



Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Jeppe Christiansen

No comments by users.

ELGPN, good practice, initiative, interesting practice, policy, quality, evidence-based policy, Denmark