3.2.2 Monitoring quality of teaching and learning

It is appropriate to monitor all activities you undertake to achieve better quality, improve organisational processes, teaching and learning and quality management. However, this section focuses solely on teaching and learning to illustrate the importance of their monitoring.

Unlike assessment and evaluation, focus of the third step of the PDCA cycle, monitoring is part of the second step and is understood as direct and systematic observation of a process with designated instruments, to draw conclusions for immediate improvement. Thus, the main function of monitoring is to provide evidence of the course of a process for immediate intervention if the process deviates from the original intention.

Reducing numbers of dropouts and raising graduation rates in VET are Europe-wide agreed policy objectives, and monitoring can help achieve them through real-time collection of relevant information. Unexcused absence of students from classes can be considered an early-warning sign of impending drop-out, and it should therefore be monitored closely in every department. Where numbers of absences exceed a certain level, an institution might adopt a counselling strategy for these particular students or learners.

Another example is the number of cancelled lessons: additional resources might be provided for these classes and courses to serve students’ and learners’ needs better.

Quality of classroom lessons and workshop training lies primarily in teachers’ and trainers’ hands. If they have appropriate monitoring tools at their disposal, they can monitor quality of their lessons themselves and improve them accordingly.

In fact, quality-oriented VET providers have developed tools to help teachers to reflect systematically on quality of their classes, including on their students’ different learning styles, their favourite methodologies, promotion of self-learning or quality of the learning material used.

This self-directed monitoring can be complemented by including students’ perspectives collected through questionnaires, to obtain immediate student feedback on classes. This feedback is addressed directly and confidentially to the teacher and is intended for individual use only. The students’ questionnaire addresses similar issues to those in the self-reflection form for the teacher, thus allowing the teacher to draw conclusions from comparing their own perception with students’ assessments.

Additionally, some VET providers distribute questionnaires to students for self-assessment and self-reflection on their learning behaviour, which constitutes another monitoring tool for teaching and learning, although here the students themselves must draw the appropriate conclusions to enable change.

Another approach to monitoring teaching and learning in classes is to build tandems of teachers who attend one another’s classes to collectively monitor teaching and learning processes and provide professional feedback to one another (see annex, Section 1.27). Experience has shown that teachers initially hesitate to engage in these activities, but agreement on quality criteria and assessment items helps develop common trust and prepares the ground for cooperation.

Monitoring can also take the form of voluntary learner engagement meetings between students and teachers, which discuss and reflect on quality of teaching and learning. Although the main intention of meetings is to listen to learners, it is important to make targeted use of this tool by structuring discussions around certain themes and by orienting the groups towards results and conclusions which will improve quality.


Box 11. Tools: monitoring quality of teaching and learning

  1. Self-reflection and self-assessment by teachers (see annex, Sections 1.3, 1.8, 1.9 and 1.11).

  2. Questionnaire for confidential feedback from students to teachers (see annex, Section 1.22).

  3. Students’ self-reflection (see annex, Section 1.7).

  4. Students’ feedback on school and academic year (see annex, Sections 1.10, 1.14, 1.16, 1.17, 1.18 and 1.19).

  5. List of themes for learner engagement meetings (see annex, Section 1.5).


The examples given above demonstrate clearly the value of real-time monitoring. Collection of monitoring data offers a chance for immediate response whenever results of activities crucial for achieving quality are recorded as poor or below expectations. Sometimes actions to correct or improve activities may result directly from monitoring data. Where this is not the case, searching for an appropriate solution must become a common concern. Necessary actions must be discussed by including relevant stakeholders, before senior management takes a final decision on the most suitable option for change.


Figure 6. Quality management in the implementation stage

Source: CEDEFOP.


Box 12. Questions for reflection and options for further action

  1. What is your approach to further developing skills of teachers, trainers and other staff?

  2. What is your strategy for further training of staff?

  3. How do you define development needs? Do you use staff appraisals?

  4. Which activities aiming at better quality are monitored in real-time in your organisation?

  5. Which tools does your organisation use to monitor quality of teaching and learning?



Please answer the Questions (in the field Comment) and complete the Quiz as well.


3.2 Do and monitor what you are doing

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