Following ENOTHE’s priority area of Education, ENOTHE aims to support, develop and improve educational programs for European occupational therapists that are comparable, of high quality, relevant and responsive to societal changes through ENOTHE Center of Learning & Exchange (ECOLE). ECOLE follows ENOTHE Strategy Plan and plays a significant role in building high-quality Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science Education. At an operational level, ECOLE systemises, facilitates and supports members and other stakeholders to be active in interaction and building up partnerships to reach those goals and complete diverse activities.
ECOLE has prioritized several actions for the year of 2022 and one of them is the start of revision and update of the tuning competencies. During the past years, many of our members have identified as a priority and expressed the need for revision and update of the Tuning competencies of our profession along with many achievements in the field and knowledge advancements. Besides, a need to build up frameworks that would be more culturally and contextually sensitive was identified. Starting from this point ENOTHE Think Tank 2021-22 labour and multiple talks with the experts helped us to imagine and design how to start this process. Further on, we have contacted to TUNING ACADEMY of the University of Groningen, and Occupational Therapy was invited to be a 6th subject area in Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE) project.
In 2008 the guidelines “Reference points for Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Occupational therapy” were published (Berding et al., 2008). Framed by TUNING Educational Structure in Europe, this publication was adopted by many European universities as a guideline to describe occupational therapy education programmes and the specific competencies, which draw the education of practitioners and researchers. Since then, the speedy advancements of the profession, changed population needs, and changes in standards nationally demanded incorporation and update of these competencies. Nevertheless, the Tuning Academy project group, headed by the University of Groningen, continued its work to solve diverse inconsistencies between European Qualifications Frameworks with the Tuning Sectoral Qualifications Frameworks (SQFs). Another challenge was the importance of having dynamic frameworks that would permit the incorporation of innovation as well as allow improvement of contextual and cultural sensitivity of curriculum design (Wagenaar, 2021). This group designed and initiated a project Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe (CALOHEE). based on three stages for five subject areas. The project outcomes intend to strengthen the position of the European and national higher education sector and the degree programmes offered, by evidencing what is actually learned. This involves the development of Subject Area based Qualifications Reference Frameworks (Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral) for the wider public and all stakeholders and more detailed Assessment Reference Frameworks for specialists in the field. Both frameworks contribute to the enhancement and fairness of external and internal quality assurance mechanisms.
In other words: reference frameworks offer clear indicators for the design and implementation of degree programmes and show the intended learning to be relevant to society. Relevance in TUNING-CALOHEE involves three meanings: (1) the pleasure of the individual of becoming knowledgeable; (2) the preparation for finding employment which is aligned to what has been learned and (3) preparation for a role in society. From higher education graduates it might be expected that they contribute – in a more managerial role – to the sustainability and further development of society.
This project is based on three stages for five subject areas.
The first step includes updating and refining the Tuning frameworks of reference points. The second stage aims to produce an assessment framework based on the outcomes of the first stage. The third step intends to create multi-dimensional tests to measure and compare the achieved outcomes in a European context. The objective of the multi-dimensional tests is to reflect the difference in mission, orientation and profile of degree programmes that will permit to compare student achievement internationally based on the threshold standards. Therefore, the outcomes should ensure an insight for quality enhancement and quality assurance (CALOHEE, 2022).
Occupational Therapy was invited to join this project as a sixth subject area. This three-step model requires a bottom-up approach. A workgroup of 15 academics with experience in European and international networking, representing different countries and various types of higher education institutions will be selected. Besides, a student representative will join this process.
The first phase – Update the frameworks of reference points
The workgroup will consider refinement of frameworks of reference points for the first (bachelors), the second (masters), and the third (doctorate) cycles. It is expected a balance of learning outcomes between three cycles will be assured. This process will include the survey with primer stakeholders (academicians and students). The workgroup will decide to widen the circle of stakeholders that will participate in the survey.
The second phase – Produce the assessment frameworks
The outcomes of the first phase will frame a second phase. The workgroup will define how to develop a clear set of assessment criteria based on the multi-dimensional approach adjusting to the reality of different types of institutions and profiles. Another action will include the development of a detailed test blueprint for each of the assessments and a design of a detailed work plan for the creation and application of the assessments.
The third phase – Design the multi-dimensional tests
This phase includes the multi-dimensional test development that will permit to obtain reliable information and the strength and weaknesses of degree programmes. The academic representative in the workgroup will ensure to field test these assessments in five institutions of the corresponding country.
Elke Kraus (Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany),
Evelien De Wachter (Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Belgium),
Helen Lynch (University College Cork, Ireland),
Ines Viana Moldes (University of A Coruña, Spain),
Joan Howarth (University of Derby, United Kingdom),
Kira Hanßmann (student),
Liliya Todorova (Ruse University “Angel Kanchev“, Bulgaria),
Lisbeth Charret (ADERE Paris, France),
Loreto González Román (Euit: Escola Universitària d’infermeria i Teràpia Ocupacional de Terrassa, Spain),
Maria Dulce Gomes (Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal),
Soemitro Poerbodipoero (HvA, The Netherlands),
Sofia Vikstrom (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden),
Ursula Costa (Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol, Austria)
ENOTHE Board members:
Maria Kapanadze, Caroline Fischl, Vanessa Rozalina (SBM)