Osservatorio per la valutazione del sistema universitario

Luigi Biggeri - Lucia Scarpitti
Evaluation in the Italian University System
Reprint del paper presentato a:
International Conference on Evaluation: Profession, Business or Politics?
Rome, october, 29-31, 1998
Reprint 3/98 - ottobre 1998

    Reprint - File in formato pdf:  rep-0398.pdf - 114 kb

Reprint - File in formato word 7.0: rep-0398.doc - 669 kb


1. Introduction: the Development of Autonomy and Evaluation
2. The Need for an Evaluation System linked to the Planning Process
3. Evaluation in the Italian University System
4. Examples of the Organization of the Evaluation Activity Carried Out by the Council
4.1 Ex Post Policy Evaluation at National Level of the University Development Plans from 1986 to 1993
4.2 Ex Ante Evaluation at Local Level: State-owned  and Non-state-owned Institutions
4.3 Evaluation of Dividing  Overcrowded Universities
4.4 Procedures, Quantitative and Qualitative Standards to Evaluate the Results Referred to Efficiency and to    the Productivity of the Research and Teaching Activities
4.5 Technical Proposal to Establish the Sharing Criteria of the Re-balancing Part of the State Funding of Universities
5. Concluding remarks

NUEC reports quoted in the text

1. Introduction: the Development of Autonomy and Evaluation
Over the last ten years, significant changes occurred in the Italian public administration and in particular in the university system in order to develop the decentralization of the decision-making process and the autonomy of each university: first of all budget autonomy and, recently, the teaching autonomy of each institution.
The first step towards Italian university autonomy was taken about ten years ago by Act no. 168/89 establishing the Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research (Murst), which recognized statutory autonomy to universities. Then with the Decree Law no. 29/93 the budget control and the control of costs were introduced in all the units of the public administration. In the same year, the budget autonomy of each university was introduced by Act no. 537/93, while, in 1997, Act no. 59/97 and Act no. 127/97 took another significant step toward university autonomy, indicating the elements for the managing and organization autonomy. The provisions for the implementation of these acts are passing tasks and responsibility to university. These tasks and responsibility so far have fallen within this cope of central bodies’ control. Other measures to widen the autonomy and self-determination of universities followed. The overall view on the new system will be complete next year when the experimentation on teaching autonomy  is implemented.
The thrust towards decentralization and autonomy is an essential condition to improve the managing of the public  administration and, in  particular, universities. Yet, in order to  accomplish this task the decentralization and autonomy have to be accompanied by the managing bodies taking real responsibility for the results that their units reach. They have, as well, to take responsibility for the evaluation of the activities carried out and results reached, in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and quality. Autonomy and evaluation, therefore, are indissolubly bound.
The aim of this paper is to present the main characteristics and activity of the evaluation in the university system in Italy pointing out the need for some improvements. In order to do this, first of all, we recall and explain the importance of building up a complete system of evaluation linked to the programming-planning process of the activity (Section 2). Then we describe the characteristics of the evaluation in the Italian university system (Section 3) and the National University Evaluation Council  (NUEC) experience presenting specific case-studies and the used methodologies (Section 4). The final remarks highlight the steps to be followed to improve the present system of evaluation in the Italian university system.

Pubblicazioni dell'Osservatorio
Home Page dell'Osservatorio

aggiornamento: 25/1/99