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Ability: The term has different meanings in different contexts. Generally it refers to qualities, mainly but not exclusively mental qualities. The quality of person of being able to perform or achieve.   A quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment. The possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done. The generic mental or physical power which provides the means of performing tasks in a learning, work or everyday situation. Sometimes ability may refer to a specific talent , such as finger dexterity, visual or spatial acuity, or conceptual thinking. Abilities may be taught, learned, or enhanced, but always it is assumed that there is a natural or inherent predisposition to them. Is a person has the ability to perform a task, then that person is said to be able to perform that task.
Able: See ability.
Academic recognition: see recognition.
Access: Process (may include policies, conditions or measures) of enabling or even encouraging individuals or groups to gain entry into an educational institution or programme. Conditions and circumstances (of the wider socio-economic environment)  or educational requirements (e.g. qualification, education level, skills or work experience, etc) governing admittance to and participation in educational institutions or programmes  Access to VET refers to the above elements but with particular application in VET. Access requirements should always be equal for all interested individuals for the same VET programme. VET programmes or institutions thus should be accessible by all interested. If they are accessible to all, then they are said to have secured accessibility to all.
Access to VET: See access.
Accessible: See access.
Accessibility: See access.
Accountability: It means the state of being accountable. Usually an individual undertaking a task, an activity or responsibility is accountable for that task or responsibility, i.e. he has liability to be called to render an account for that task. He is accountable to a person or body at superior position. Person being accountable for a task needs to address the concerns, interests, or requirements of those to which he is accountable.  Accountableness is a neighbouring term.
Accountable: See accountability.
Accountable for: See accountability.
Accountableness: See accountability.
Account for: See accountability.
Accountable to: See accountability.
Accreditation: It means the process (as well as its result of the process) of accrediting, i. e. of  legitimising its authority (equipping with the authority) to undertake certain roles or deliver certain services. It refers to institutions, to services, to collective or executive bodies, providers and also to programmes (to include curricula, modules, etc.). A training delivering body or institution (training deliverer or training provider) is accredited for delivering training. In some environments it is said that a provider has received authorisation to provide training. It then has received accreditation to deliver that training. A certification awarding body can also be accredited to deliver certification. Accreditation may also take the form of licencing if certain conditions can be demonstrated, i.e. awarding a licence to an institution to offer certain services, as e.g. to license an institution or an organisation to deliver specialised training on a certain profile. Usual international practice refers indicatively to university accreditation, to training programme accreditation, to organisation accreditation, to executive body accreditation, to in-service or in-company training bodies accreditation, to awarding bodies accreditation etc. Accreditation is delivered or awarded by a relevant legistative authority, on the basis of an accreditation portfolio which is assessed by appointed assessors on pre-determined criteria and standards. If accreditation refers to specific disciplines, it is specialised accreditation. Accreditation is awarded by a delegated accreditation body (usually called accreditor) for a certain period of time called accreditation duration. When the duration period expires, a re-accreditation is required.
Accreditation body: See accreditation.
Accreditation duration: See accreditation.
Accredited: See accreditation.
Accrediting: See accreditation.
Accreditor: See accreditation.
Active population: It consists of all individuals in the population of a labour market of age 15 - 65 years, regardless if being employed or unemployed .
Active employment measures: In labour markets, actions designed for helping the employment policies implementation in order to improve access of graduates and of unemployed people in the labour market, jobs and job related skills. These usually include providing guidance, job creation support and any type of training. These are distinguished from the “passive” or “income maintenance measures”.
Activity rate: It is the quotient given when dividing the active population by the number of persons in the population aged 15-65 years.
Accumulate: See credit transfer.
Adaptability: The ability to adapt in new situations and in new environments, social or professional. Adaptability requires certain qualities, skills and competences.
Adaptability skills: The skills and competences required for making a person adaptable in new environments.
Advisor or adviser: See guidance.
Advisory council: A council set up to provide advisory services. A VET advisory council is such a council functioning in VET.
Adult education and training: Education provided for adults, intended for either general education purposes or for vocational education and training purposes. The term “adult education” is close to, but not synonymous with, continuing vocational education and training. Adult education is usually used to: provide general education to adults in topics of particular interest to them (e.g. in obtaining not earlier acquired knowledge in secondary or in post-secondary education and in open universities, or in broadening their knowledge and understanding); rovide compensatory learning in basic skills which individuals may not have acquired in their initial education (such as literacy, numeracy etc), or enable people to 1) access and attain qualifications which for various reasons were not gained in the initial education and training system,  or 2) acquire, improve or update skills and / or competences in a specific field (which is what is called “continuing vocational training”).
Adult education: Education delivered to adults.
Adults: Individuals already over the initial education and training age.
Advisory Council:  A council set up to contribute in an activity or programme by advising. In VET a VET advisory council  can be bipartite or tripartite.
Aim: An aim is an overall specification of the intention or purpose of a programme of study or institutional mission or policy.  In the chain of relevant terms (aims, goals, objectives), aims has the widest content.
Alternance training: Education or training organised in alternating periods of training in a school or a training centre and practice in the workplace. The alternance scheme can take place on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis, depending on the country. Participants are not usually contractually linked to the employer at which they make their practice nor do they generally receive remuneration (unlike the apprentices). Similar organisation with alternance training is dual training. Under certain conditions, the term co-operative education and even sandwich  training is also having the same or similar meaning.
Appraisal: Term synonymous to assessment and occasionally to diagnostic evaluation. Mostly used for appraisal of student learning, appraisal of needs.
Apprentice: Learner involved in an programme of apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship: The period of time prior to the beginning of a person’s career, during which he / she gains systematically a relatively long work experience in a particular occupation at the workplace, along with theoretical knowledge in the specific occupation, with the latter delivered in the school or the training centre. The apprentice is contractually linked to the employer and receives respective remuneration (wage or allowance) and in addition also social insurance coverage in case of accident during service provided. The employer assumes responsibility for providing the trainee with training leading to the selected occupation.
Apprenticeship resembles alternance  training, however it differs in terms of training duration and the contractual basis of the training at the workplaces.
Aptitudes: Specific inherent abilities of an individual, manifested in the performance of an individual in the application of specific tasks, professional activities or subject matter areas. Examples are mechanical aptitude, mathematical aptitude etc. An individual is performing much higher than average in the areas where he / she has a specific aptitude.
Art:  See arts and crafts.
Arts and crafts: In VET, the base skills of a specialised practical or technical job. In general education manual arts refers to practical manual skilss as contrasted with general education learning.
Assessment: A general term (belonging to the wider range of evaluation terminorlgy) that embraces all methods used to judge the performance of an individual, group or organisation.The process of finding out what the situation is within a certain subject area. It eventually means the amount or the degree to which certain things or qualities exist or objectives have been achieved. Sometimes synonym to appraisal. One particular application of assessment, diagnostic assessment, refers to a diagnostic process and aims at “diagnosing” (within diagnostic evaluation) it. To assess is the active verb, while the assessing actor is the assessor. Learning assessment refers specifically to the sum of methods and processes used to appraise the attainments (knowledge, skills and competences) of a learner, and typically leading to certification. The process of evaluating the extent to which participants in education have achieved the predefined learning objectives. Teacher assessment  refers to evaluating the quality and appropriateness of the teaching process, including teacher performance and pedagogic approach, and learning achieved. Relative applications are school assessment, resources assessment, facilities assessment, management assessment etc. Self assessment refers to the situation when assessment is organised and conducted by the individual, group, organisation etc. that is being the evaluand. Ex-ante assessment involves undertaking an evaluation before the beginning of an activity, e.g for assessing  the conditions for the launch of a programme or institution. Ex-post assessment, on the contrary, takes place after the activity is over, e.g. with carrying out a review of an operational programme or institution.
Assess: See assessment.
Assessor: See assessment.
Audit: Term used  in the context of quality assurance and evaluation,  referring to a process for checking that methodologies and procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes. Usually and audit is implemented by an audit team or review team or the auditors, and ends up with an audit report.
Auditors: Group of specialists carrying out an audit. Auditor can be a body, an agency or a group of individuals.
Authorisation: See accreditation.
Autonomy: Term refers to being able to take initiatives and undertake activities without seeking permission from authorities or without undergoing the control from a controlling body. School autonomy is a pre-condition for development and reform.
Award (n). An award is a document which is conferred, granted or given to an individual, a service, an agency or organisation by an awarding body for 1) having achieved certain goals (in formal recognition of achievements), and in this case this is certification or qualification  or 2) for authorising certain responsibilities (in this case it is accreditation).  An award to a student records that he /she has acquired a standard of achievement in knowledge, skill or competence. Awarding is usually done on the basis of award standards. To award (v) is the verb for awarding.
Awarding body: See award.
Award standards: See award.


Baccalaureate: An examination administered at the level of upper secondary education to identify, validate and certify the achievement of learners. Usually entitling for access to tertiary education.Content may be may be general or vocational.
At national level, the term “baccalaureate” changes name from one country to another (e.g. in Ireland “leaving certificates”, in UK GCSE for academic levels and NVG for vocational levels and “matura” in several former soviet countries).
Bachelor degree: The first-level higher education award, usually requiring three (according to Bologna process) or four years' study and even more in some medical subjects.
Behavioural objectives: Objectives expressed in terms of external behaviour. See objectives, learning.
Benchmarking: A process that enables comparison of inputs, processes or ouputs between institutions (or parts of institutions) or within a single institution over time. Benchmarking is facilitated by setting benchmarks (points of reference against which something may be measured. It can refer to wished for minimum goals or standards).
Benchmarks: See benchmarking.
Best practice: Term refers to effective, ideal or paradigmatic practice within an organisation that others would benefit from adopting or adapting.
Bologna process: It is an ongoing process of integration and harmonisation of higher education systems within Europe, decided in Bologna, Italy in 1999. It is an intergovernmental initiative which aims to create a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 and to promote the European system of higher education worldwide. Decision-making within the Process rests on the consent of all the participating countries. The broad objectives of the Bologna Process became: to remove the obstacles to student mobility across Europe; to enhance the attractiveness of European higher education worldwide; to establish a common structure of higher education systems across Europe, and; for this common structure to be based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate.
Book of rules: A legal document containing all rules and regulations governing a certain activity or programme. An example is the Book of Rules on Student Assessment. See also rules.
Business: Generic term referring to any entrepreneurial type private enterprise. Business administration is one of the most popular specialisations in the area of management.


Career: The sum of development phases of a person’s career development, professional life, including all elements of employment as well as of profession oriented education and training.
Career development: The development of those aspects of an individuals life related with his / her career. See also guidance.
Career information: Any information which may be used by an individual in his / her career development.
Career Guidance (in UK careers guidance or careers education): See guidance and orientation.
CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training): It is a European Agency established in 1975 in Berlin and transferred to Thessaloniki , Greece, in 1995. It helps to promote and develop vocational education and training in the EU space. It is the EU reference centre for vocational education and training and it was one of the first specialised and decentralised agencies set up to provide scientific and technical know-how in specific fields and promote exchange of ideas between different European partners. CEDEFOP works to promote a European area of lifelong learning throughout the enlarged EU. It does this by providing information on and analyses of vocational education and training systems, policies, research and practice. Among the tasks of CEDEFOP are, indicatively, to: compile selected documentation and analyses of data; contribute to developing and coordinating research; exploit and disseminate information; encourage joint approaches to vocational education and training problems; provide a forum for debate and exchanges of ideas.
Certification: Formal process for validating that the person possesses the qualities required for performing an action. In another way, it is the process of formally acknowledging achievement or compliance. Certification refers to individuals. A person is qualified to deliver a service or to perform certain roles and tasks when that person is properly certified (certificated), when he/she possesses a relative certificate. A certificate is an official document which proves and records achievement of an individual, and is issued after stadardised assessment procedures. Certification examples in international practice are certification of trainees (adult or young), of employees, of principals, of teachers, of trainers, of managerial / administrative staff, etc. Currently delivered as supplementary to the certificate is the Certificate Supplement , a document clarifying the professional qualifications of all individuals-hoders of a certificate. Certificate supplement is provided by the same authority awarding the certificate. Also, learning (knowledge, skills and competences) is certified through the certificate awarded, i.e. learning is formally validated. Certification normally is the result of standard processes and procedures of assessment, and is issued by properly authorized (accredited) awarding bodies. Certification thus validates the outcome of formal, non formal or informal learning. Certification may refer to formal, non-formal or informal learning.
Certificate: See certification.
Certificate recognition: See recognition.
Certificate supplement: See certificate.
Classification of Occupations: The creation of a structure of the occupations in a certain context (usually in a country). Usual practice is to organise occupations in certain occupational families (sectors).
Company: A usually private profit business having certain structure and legal administrative status. See also firm, enterprise, business
Comparability: The possibility of making comparisons by establishing equivalence among systems (at sectoral, national or international level) on certain activities of achievements. Indicatively, desirable cases of such comparability are comparability of qualifications, comparability of certification (of certificates or diplomas) etc. In practice it is the formal agreement between two or more parties that two or more qualifications are equivalent, and that measures have been timely taken so that this equivalence is supported. Of particular importance is currently comparability among EU educational systems. Proven comparability enhances mobility and employability of an individual.
Compensation (in education and training): Measures taken so that gaps in learning left in compulsory education and training are filled. Such gaps are filled by compensatory learning. Measures are referred to as compensatory measures. If measures are of large extent, then term compensatory education or compensatory training is used.
Compensatory education: See compensation.
Compensatory learning: See compensation.
Compensatory training: See compensation.
Competence: As general term, competence means the effective demonstration and deployment of knowledge and skill in human activity situations. The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills in real performance of activities or demonstration of behaviour. Such situations could comprise general social and civic ones, as well as specific occupational ones. Competence draws on attitudes, emotions, values and sense of self-efficacy of the learner, as well as on declarative and procedural knowledge. A competence, in the technical sense is the cluster of skills, abilities, habits, character traits, and knowledge a person must have in order to perform a specific job well. A person with competence in one area is competent in that area. In case the discussion is specified to a vocation, then the term vocational competence is used.
Competent: An individual is competent if possessing competence for carrying out a task, for practicing a job etc. See competence.
Competences: An individual has to apply the acquired competences in a certain competences context. The most fundamental competences are usually referred to as core competences. At different time points and by different individuals or bodies effort has been made to define certain competences or groups of competences as core from which all further competences can be derived: social competences, technical competences, methodical competences and personal competences. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, in their recommendations of 2006, have recommended the use, in every member state, of the following eight key-competences (actually sets of competences) for Life Long Learning and development: 1) Communication in the mother tongue; 2) Communication in foreign languages; 3) Mathematical competences and competences in science and technologies; 4) Digital competence; 5) Learning to learn; 6) Social and civic competences; 7) Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, and 8) Cultural awareness and expression.
In the EQF formulation of expressing learning outcomes (i.e. in the knowledge, skills and competences schema), competences takes the meaning of general transcending abilities, predisposition, attitudes, willingness to, etc. required for the implementation of a profession.
Competency (-cies): Competency is not a synonym to competence, as is by some mistakenly understood. While competence refers to more general ability, competency is used to describe more specific aptitudes, to a degree that it approaches the meaning of and be synonymous to a skill.
Compulsory education: Term refers to the minimum legal standards and duration of obligatory schooling in each country. Education which individuals are required by law to undertake. Its duration varies from one country to another.
Consultant: An individual or a relative firm, usually private, providing consultation upon demand, at professional level. Professional consultants are offering services to companies or to individuals.
Consultation: The act of consulting. Consultation may be a face to face process, at individual or group environment, or can take many forms depending on the nature of the client and his needs.
Continuing education and training (CVET): Term referring to any programme of study (award bearing or not) beyond compulsory education and training; Post-compulsory education or training, usually of short-term duration, that does not lead directly to higher education qualification. If it includes only vocational aspects,it is only Continuing Vocational Training (CVT). CVET aims at enhancing or updating the knowledge and skills learned in basic education or in earlier training. In general, it is education and mainly training after completion of initial education or of entry into working life. Continuing education and training may be addressed to graduates from educational system, to unemployed or to the employed. It may also refer to any training after initial education and training or after entry into working life … to improve, to update, to retrain, to … Continuing vocational education and training is part of lifelong learning and may encompass any kind of education and training. A CVT may acquire a variety of forms and characters of training programmes such as further education and training ( post-compulsory education and / or training), on-the-job training (OJT), off-the-job training, etc. Occupational needs and planning (part of Continuing Professional Development), personal development interests, etc. constitute the basic motivation for continuing professional development.
Continuing vocational education and training (CVET): See continuing education and training.
Continuing vocational training (CVT): See continuing education and training.
Contracting authority: See contract.
Contract (n): Formal document signed by two parts, officialising an agreement. The second part, delivering services demanded by the contracting authority, is the contractor.
Contractor: See contract.
Control: It is the process of regulating or otherwise keeping a check on developments in a service, process or a programme in education.
Co-operative education and training: See alternance training.
Copenhagen process: A European process of cooperation in vocational education and training, based on the Copenhagen Declaration (signed in Copenhagen by education Ministries of 31 European countries in 2002). The Process seeks to help European citizens meet the demands of the European labour market by allowing them to pursue their training needs between differing levels of education and different occupations, sectors and countries. It will also play a key role in achieving the Lisbon Strategy goal of making the EU the world’s most dynamic, knowledge-based economy by 2010. The declaration refers to issues like transparency, qualifications, quality assurance, principles, lifelong guidance, etc.
Core: In this case used to mean central, of instrumental importance and of high value.
Core competences: See competences.
Core curricula: See curricula.
Cost: The amount of money spent for carrying out a task, for producing a product, for delivering training, for implementing an activity etc.
Cost effectiveness: It is a method used in evaluation in order to determine whether producing a result or a product is worth the cost. For defining cost effectiveness, the technique called cost effectiveness analysis is used.
Cost efficiency: In deciding on the overall efficiency of a process or methodology, it is a method for defining the cost aspect of the overall efficiency. For defining cost efficiency, the technique called cost efficiency analysis is used.
Counsellor: See guidance.
Craft: See arts and crafts.
Craftsman: An individual applying a craft.
Craftsmanship: The overall area of crafts or the condition of applying, supporting and developing crafts in a labour market or in an economy.
Credit: Term refers to recognition of learning and qualification resulting from learning. Credit is expressed in credit units, a unit of learning usually expressing hours of study, load or work or achievement of threshold standard or all. A number of credits can be gathered through credit accumulation (the process of collecting credit for learning towards a qualification). Credit accumulation is a cornerstone for LLL. Through credit transfer an individual has the ability to transport credits (for learning) from one setting to another. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) was developed in the EU exactly for facilitating this transfer among educational systems, educational institutions or member states.
Credit unit: See credit.
Criterion (a): The specification of elements against which a judgment is made. Criteria have tremendours importance in evaluation, quality assurance etc.
Criterion-referenced (assessment or testing): It is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students against a set of pre-specified criteria (in contrast with norm-referenced assessment or testing).
Cross-thematic approach: In developing and implementing curricula as well as in teaching, the approach in which a topic is dealt with through combining a number of different subjects, modules etc. The advantage of cross-thematic viewing is that the topic under discussion can be viewed not in a narrow perspective and fragmented but as a total in different contexts. In this sense, it means inter-disciplinary approach.
Curriculum: Curriculum is a Latin term and is more widely used today within the so called “modern pedagogy”. It reflects a more organised and more systematic view of not only the content and organisation of learning but also of the reason for learning, the conditions of learning, the environment of learning, the desired learning outcomes, the ways of ensuring that learning has taken place, the relation with the users of the result of that learning etc. Thereby they aim at a systematic acquirement of competences. In short, it reflects a global system in education including philosophy, goals, contents, means and materials and resources, methodology, assessment methods etc. intending to bring about changes in the behaviour of the learners predefined in the form of desired learning outcomes (goals and objectives). It shows what is to be learnt, when and how, and why. It may alos contain arrangements for specific curriculum related training teachers and trainers. There are different types of curricula . Formal education curricula are usually spiral curricula.
A curriculum may refer to a certain level of education (“the curriculum for elementary education”), to one certain class or year in a certain level (“the curriculum of first year of Gymnasium”) or to a certain subject of one certain year (“the curriculum on mathematics of the first year of Gymnasium”) or in all formal education (“the curriculum of mathematics in BiH general education”) . In VET particularly it may additionally refer to a certain occupation / profile (“the curriculum for the profile of the Ecology Technician”).
“Programme” and “Syllabus” are two relative terms used in parallel with curriculum. Programme is a Greek term used traditionally in education to include an overall plan of the educational process in a year or in a cycle corresponding to an occupation. Information related with dates, durations, breaks, holidays as well as to the content of education, to the subject matter etc. at the institutional (school) level. Overall, the organisation of the delivery of studies is an indispensable part in a programme. Syllabus is a term often used in this context. A syllabus usually refers to written part of the curriculum specially designed for specific subjects or modules of study; this is mainly teachers and trainers tool, containing all necessary elements for organizing the teaching and learning process.
Curriculum is used to refer more to the organisation of learning, its goals and content, the conditions and methodology etc. (see above). To describe all that the students are planned to learn (more student - centered, learning-centered term) – emphasis on student and learning. Programme is used more to refer to the overall planning of school work generally or of an occupation in particular. All that a school plans and teaches (school- centered term, emphasis on school and teaching).
Sometimes the two terms, programme and curriculum, are used interchangeably in different situations and in different discussions, with syllabus being a part of either.
CVET: See continuing vocational education and training.
CVT: See continuing vocational training


Decentralisation: The process according to which allocation of responsibilities from the central level that possesses the administration and operational responsibilities to levels of regional or local authority is taking place. Usual reasons for decentralisation are to secure better support to and closer links with the local society needs, diminishing of administrative costs, lesser bureaucracy, improvement in the acquisition of local capacity and local know-how, adjustment of VET delivery to local needs, providing more VET school autonomy, etc.
Degree: Apart from other everyday uses, within the education and training context term is used to identify a certification at levels above Bachelor. Usually referring to Masters degree and Doctoral degree.
Demand: In the case of VET and human resources, term referring to the quantity as well as the quality of trained graduates from the VET system (supply side) required by / needed to cover the needs of the demand side (the side demanding, i.e. the enterprises, the companies etc. in a certain labour market context.
Demand side: see demand.
Descriptors: Key-terms or phrases describing in a concise and coded way a larger content. Usually such terms are used in databases for locating sources like texts, articles, decisions etc. See also level descriptors.
Development: Term used to express change, improvement, professional development, development of VET, school development, development of curricula. Developments in plural may refer to all changes taking place at a certain reference point of time.
Developments: See development.
Diagnostic assessment: See assessment.
Diploma: Term sometimes refers to a formal document (certificate) that acknowledges that a named individual has achieved a stated (usully) higher education award. In other cases it is used to describe an award for a specific level of qualification (diploma level) which in some countries is between a bachelor and a masters-level award. Sometimes used indiscriminately as synonymous to certificate, as any award beyond bachelors level up to but excluding doctoral level awards, including continuing education certification. In other cases it is used for certifying even non- academic learning. In EU accompanying to the diploma is currently a diploma supplement: A detailed transcript of student attainment that is appended to the certificate of attainment of the qualification. A supplement gives additional information, which cannot be included in the title format, as to the content of training, time, credits, subjects, trainers, methodology, specialisations etc. The format of a diplama supplement differs from the academic sector to the vocational sector (see also certificate supplement).
Diploma recognition: See recognition.
Diploma supplement: See diploma.
Dissertation: An extended (usually written) project involving research by the student, which contributes significantly towards a final assessment for a (higher) degree. See also Thesis.
Distance education (or training): Education or training undertaken by students in a setting remote from the physical campus of the educational institution, usually from home. Distance education is always distributed education or training. At the same time it always is open education.
Distance learning: Learning acquired at a distance (in distance education) through communication media: internet, radio, TV, telephone, correspondence, computer or video. E-learning is a term currently used to describe any learning through electronic media, while an e-course is a course offered by use of cuch media.
Donor: Any individual or group of individuals, agency, state or institution, usually international organisation, that provides support in form of capitals or resources in general. EU is a major donor in various categories of countries. Donor projects are projects funded by a donor.
Donor project: See donor and project.
Dropout (v): Withdrawal from attending education or training or from an education or training programme before its completion. In any case withdrawal results in a failure to meet the course objectives and therefore graduate or receive certification.
Dropout (n): The term “dropouts” refers to persons of the above categories, but may also include learners who have completed education or training but failed the examinations. Specific focus on the term is made for those not completing compulsory schooling (less than ISCED 3 level). They are often named “early school leavers” and for that social group a particular social care for return should be given.
Dual training: See alternance training.
Duration of accreditation: See accreditation.
Dynamic evaluation: A certain form of evaluation which is continuous and integrated in a process, in a programme, in an activity like a teaching session etc. The specific characteristic of dynamic evaluation is that it comprises all related elements like assessment, monitoring, appraisal etc. but as an inherent part of the activity or process under evaluation. Therefore it gives immediate feedback for direct improvement at any moment of the process.
Dynamic evaluation model: A specific model turning the theory of dynamic evaluation into practice of evaluation. It describes the methodology, the means and instruments etc. for this.
Dynamic guidance and counselling: see guidance.


Early school leavers: See dropout.
ECTS : See European Credit Transfer System.
Education: The entire institution of educating children and adults in a country. Education and training are the two facets of that institution. Usually made up of Initial education and training (IVET) and adult education and training.
Education / training standards: An official act which defines the compulsory minimum of an educational programme context, the maximum extent of studying for the students and the qualitative demands set for the graduates. Educational standards are a pre-requisite in developing curricula.
Education or educational institution: Any institution related with education provision. In simplest case, referring to a school unit.
Effectiveness: Term refers to the extent to which an activity fulfils its intended function, achieves its defined goals, reaches it purposes, produces the intended products or results. Cost-effectiveness analysis is a technique used to...
Efficiency: Refers to the extent to which an activity achieves its goals at the minimum resource usage. Cost-efficiency refers particularly to the cost element: If activity is achieving its goal with the least possible cost or if it is producing better results with the same cost
E-learning: Learning on any subject based mainly on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). It may encompass multiple formats and hybrid methods: using software, Internet, CD-ROM, on-line learning or any other electronic or interactive media. An endless number of distance learning courses are delivered today in the form of e-learning.
E-course: See e-learning, distance learning.
Embedding: Deepening, reinforcing and stabilising a measure, a practice, a result, a reform, a custom etc.
Employability: The degree of readiness and adaptability an individual demonstrates in finding and keeping the job and updating occupational skills. Employability depends not only on the adequacy of knowledge and skills of individuals but also on the relative competences like positive attitude, adaptability skills, etc., and also the incentives and opportunities offered to individuals to seek employment. Continuing vocational education and training is crucial for the employability of individuals, as it contributes in the continuous adaptation of their skills. Individuals’ employability is also improved through the comparability of acquired qualifications.
Employability skills: The skills and attributes required to improve a person’s chances of becoming employed, that makes employees more successful in their chosen occupations whether paid or not. The more the employability skills an individual possesses, the more employable he / she is. Employability skills are not restricted to the formal qualifications (professional specialty knowledge and skills and adaptability in them), but rather refer to the relevant competences, like qualities, attitudes, behaviour, etc. Therefore they are acquired, are learned through practice and study. This is therefore an important aspect of learning in VET.
Employment: The condition of being employed, i.e. of finding and keeping a job and making a living through it. An employed individual is an employee, while a person not having a job is unemployed. Employment processes in every country are facilitated by state employment agencies. Employment is offered either in the public sector or in the private sector, while the enterprises or agencies employing people are the employers. Employers are usually organised in employers associations or in chambers.
Employment rate: It reflects the size of employed people within the overall number of population of the age group 15-65 years.
Entrepreneur: See entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial learning: See entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship: The state or the condition of being an entrepreneur or the process of adopting the attitude of an entrepreneur. Emphasis on entrepreneurship (entrepreneurial learning) has already been one of the cornerstones adopted for VET. A large number of projects are already funded by the European Union aiming at enhancing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning in education and training across Europe and among countries that seek to reach conditions for accession.
Many consider that entrepreneurship learning is limited to a course intended to teach students the process of setting up a business. Nothing more mistaken. Entrepreneurship is much more than that: It is part of career development process of the students, it is teaching the students how to acquire relative abilities, how to develop enterpreneurial attitude and aptitudes, how to shape a positive pre-disposition to work no matter what type in which environment, how to obtain core skills related with enterpreneurship, and how to use these qualities as a producer as well as a consumer in a world in which entrepreneurship is in every aspect of life.
Becoming able to identify opportunities for starting own business, identify competences in self which would facilitate entrepreneurial activity taking, develop entrepreneurial motivation, act for innovation, behave in relation with risk taking, identify new practices and / indulge in such practices, etc. are some of a vast catalogue of aspects related with entrepreneurial learning aside from business setting up.
Enterpreneurship is knowledge, skills and competences which are learned. As such, can and should be the care of an educational system. Integrating entrepreneurship in VET can be achieved by use of a number of concrete approaches and methods, ranging from separate courses to infusion in all curricula to experiential practices to integrating it into guidance activities etc. Above all, training the teachers in the philosophy, rationale, usefulness and methodology for teaching entrepreneurship.
Equivalency: Means the state or the condition of being equivalent. In education and training, programmes can be equivalent, as can be titles, degrees, certificates, qualifications etc. Equivalency is a pre-requisite for mutual recognition of qualifications. Equivalency is based on mutually rcognised standards. Equivalency examination is an examination on the purpose of assessning equivalency: See accreditation of prior learning in term accreditation.
Equivalency examination: See equivalency.
Equivalent: See equivalency.
Europass: It is a document (rather a bunch of documents), created in the framework of Copenhagen and Bologna processes, designed to encourage mobility and lifelong learning in an enlarged Europe, by helping citizens to better communicate and present their qualifications and skills throughout Europe. It brings together several existing tools for the transparency of diplomas, certificates and competences. Europass will promote both occupational mobility, between countries as well as across sectors, and mobility for learning purposes.
Europass consists of five distinct documents: 1) Europass CV, 2) Europass Mobility, 3) Europass Diploma Supplement 4) Europass Certificate Supplement, and 5) the Europass Language Passport.
European Credit Transfer System (ECTS): It is a system for recognising credit for learning and facilitating the movement of the recognised credits between institutions and across national borders. It provides a way of measuring and comparing learning achievements (resulting from a course, training or a placement to job) through using credits validated in training programmes and transferring them from one institution to another and / or from one country to another, with the objective of promoting mobility and free movement in the wider European space.
A credit transfer system supports the transparency and comparability of education and training pathways, curricula and systems. In a credit transfer system, a value is allocated to every learning unit (course, training, placement) that the learner is required to successfully complete, in order to pass a full training programme at a school or training centre, including examination or other assessments.
European Qualifications Framework (EQF): It is a framework developed by the EC for facilitating the development of NQFs. It maintains the function of an organising system that enables users to see clearly how qualifications embedded in different national and sectoral systems in Europe relate to one another. It does this through a structure of common reference levels of learning outcomes. However it does not carry the functions of detailed equating of specific qualifications one to another or any of the regulatory, legal, wage bargaining and quality assurance functions that are often deemed necessary at national or sectoral level. The EQF aims to create confidence and trust in relating qualifications across European countries and sectors by defining principles for the ways quality assurance processes, guidance and information and mechanisms for credit transfer and accumulation can operate so that the transparency necessary at national and sectoral levels can also be available internationally.
European Training Foundation (ETF): An EU agency established in 1995 in Turin, Italy. It has become the centre of expertise in providing VET and labour market related support to EC services and in supporting workforce’s development and employability in third countries within the context of EU external relations programme. It promotes vocational education and training reforms and the building of quality education and training systems and their links to the labour market.
Evaluand: See evaluation and assessment.
Evaluation: The judgment of the value of something (of the “evaluation object”), whether it is a tangible object, a person, a process, a result, a product, a programme, a curriculum, an educational system and so forth. It is the systematic determination on merit, of worth, of significance etc. Evaluation includes the process of examining information about an evaluand. Often evaluation is confused as a synomym with assessment. However, evaluation is broader than assessment and involves making judgments about the merit or worth of an evaluand. Merit involves judgments about intrinsic value. Worth involves judgments about instrumental value. Evaluators
Evaluation may use information collected through monitoring. Specific processes like assessment, appraisal, monitoring, validation etc. are included in the concept of evaluation. Evaluation may be external evaluation or internal evaluation.
In external evaluation people external to the programme or institution (external evaluation team or external evaluators or external experts) are used to evaluate the evaluation object. The opposite holds for internal evaluation
Evaluation is an indispensable process in quality Assurance and an indispensable part of a Quality Assurance System. In effect, the concept “Quality Assurance” itself is mainly made up of evaluation elements. To evaluate is the active verb.
Part of evaluation or a step in the process of evaluation are assessment and also appraisal. Relative to evaluation is also validation, which means proving that something is valid.
Various forms of evaluation are in use nowadays in the evaluation practice in education. Among the most usually used, formative evaluation, summative evaluation, or final evaluation are among the most widely known.
“Monitoring” and “Evaluation” are not synonymous, and are not used in this discussion as such. When both terms are used, then they are distinguished in a number of ways. Indicatively, evaluation is usually used for a wider and broader scope process, usually after the end of a programme (final or summative / ex - post facto), mostly used for external or independent evaluations, the users of its results are in most cases policy makers and strategic planners. Dynamic Evaluation is a theoretical conception of evaluation, emphasizing continuity and on-going process, encompassing monitoring and evaluation in one entity. Dynamic Evaluation Model is the model developed for the implementation of Dynamic Evaluation.
Evaluation object: See evaluation.
Evaluator: See evaluation.
Examinations: Process for assessing knowledge and skills, usually at school environment. Examinations can be written or oral or combination. Examinations in can be conducted by internal examiners or by external examiners or by mixed teams. Examination is considered as a major method for assessing learning.
Ex-ante: Used to indicate processes, actions, activities or measures organised or taking place before another activity or measure. Usually used as ex-ante research, assessment or evaluation.
Ex-ante assessment or evaluation: Assessment or evaluation taking place before, prior to another event or activity. See assessment and evaluation.
Excellence: It means the situation of exhibiting characteristics that are unusually good and, implicitly, not achievable by all. In education measures are taken which will hopefully lead to excellence. Excellence centres are centers which are demonstrating excellence in achievement, and are used as facilitators to other similar institutions.
Excellence centers: See excellence.
Ex-Post facto- : Used to indicate actions or activities or measures taking place after a certain event or activity has taken place. Ex-post facto research is an example.
External: General term meaning whatever is ouside a frame, a context, an agency, an institution etc. Usually used to define certain activities, as indicatively: External evaluation, external examiner, external institutional audit, external review, external control, external monitoring...


Facilities: Place and room resources used for formal training, usually in schools.
Facilities assessment: the assessment of such facilities. See assessment.
Faculty: It means different things like 1) the organisational unit into which certain disciplines are located in a higher education institution, 2) a shorthand term for the academic (teaching and research) staff in a higher education institution (e.g. the faculty of Chemistry). A faculty usually corresponds to a school within a university. Sometimes misused to mean “university” in general.
Faculty review: Faculty review has two different meanings. 1) a process of reviewing the inputs, process or outputs of a faculty as an organisational unit; its structure, mode of operation, mission, aims and objectives. 2) review of academic staff, i.e. evaluating the performance of researchers and teachers.
Feedback: Term originating in systems approach theory and electronic automation systems, refers to the use of output for affecting the input and the process, therefore the output itself. In educational practice, it is the process by which information resulting from monitoring, evaluating, reviewing etc. activities is directly fed-back for immediate change, correction and improvement of the activity or action. Feedback is a core action in the systems approach.
Feedback processes have a catalytic role in a well organised Quality Assurance System and in evaluation generally.
Fees: The financial contribution made by students to their education or training. Usually basic education, and in some countries all state education, is free from fees for students.
Field of Learning: A basis for grouping awards within the framework based on the subject matter of the learning they contain. Field usually corresponds to a profession or part of a profession. The fields of learning normally are a result of the occupational classifications in a certain country. Therefore, a field of learning corresponds in a way to a professional field or occupational family.
Financing: Pertains to securing financial resources for carrying out an operation, for implementing a programme, for delivering training etc. In discussing particularly sources for financing VET, financing of the delivery of public VET is basically covered by the state budget. Alternative or complementary sources of financing may occur by country: municipality based own funds, individuals / students contribution / fee, school based income generation, donors’ funds and attracting of sponsorships (in fact of private sector / enterprises).
A different source for VET funding (and applicable in many countries) is based on permanent / legislated contributions from employers and perhaps from workers’ side as well. Contributions are collected through a mechanism that is set-up and aim at covering part of system financial requirements. Finally, the taxation and fiscal systems in many member states in Europe have systems of awarding of scholarships to students.
As for the way of implementing financing to VET, a variety of models are currently in use. Examples are input-based financing, output-based, per capita based or even per classroom based. A different form for the state budget funding in public VET may be the vouchers system, which bears both advantages and disadvantages in assessing system’s effectiveness.
Firm: generic term referring to any form of private enterprise delivering different types of services or producing products. See also business, company, enterprise.
Follow up: Follow up is shorthand for an activity taking place after the completion of a process or activity to ensure that planned and expected outcomes have been, or are being, secured.
Formal learning: Within the LLL philosophy, formal learning is taking place purposefully in the organised and strictured context, usually the education and training system of a country. Formal learning is strictly distinguished in EU context from non-formal learning and informal learning. As an example, all initial education, general or vocational, is considered to take place in a system of formal learning. Formal learning typically leads to formal certification. In conclusion, in the case of FL, learning is typically provided by an education or training institution, structured (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support) and leads to certification. From the learners perspective, formal learning is intentional.
Formative evaluation: See evaluation.
Framework for Qualifications : See qualifications.
Full-time equivalent (FTE): Full-time equivalent is the proportion of a nominal full-time student in higher education that a non-full-time student is judged to constitute.
Funding: Providing the money for putting an action or grogramme in practice. Discussing particularly funding in VET, see financing.
Further education and training: See continuing education and training.


Goals: Term used to define expected or desired outcomes of an activity, of a programme or of a learning process. In the chain “aims, goals and objectives” its scope is considered narrower than that of aims, but wider than that of objectives.
Grades: marks given to a student to indicate his / her achievement in a test, an examination, an activity etc.
Grading: Grading is the process of assigning grades, i.e. of scoring achievement or ranking student academic work as part of assessing student learning.
Graduate (n): A graduate is someone who has successfully completed an (usually formal) education or training programme. A certificate or diploma or degree holder.
Graduate (v): As verb, it means to successfully complete an (usually formal) education or training programme and be awarded formal certification.
Guidance and Counselling: Within the student support services in education and training, G & C. comprise a quite wide range of activities, actions and measures aiming at supporting the students to achieve a normal and successful personal, social, vocational development. Within this dynamic development process, to make successful educational, personal, social and professional decisions.
Guidance refers to the entire spectrum of development of an individual, it should therefore be considered as a lifelong process. Counselling in the universal bibliography and practice tends to include more personal and psychological oriented support. G & C are today considered as constituting a total of multifacet services to the individual. G & C is not restricted to students. In a well organised system it expands to parents, to teachers, to other school or environment staff.
When referring particularly to the vocational dimension of support, career guidance is preferred, or sometimes vocational guidance or even vocational orientation
Within the LLL philosophy, emphasis is placed on approach to guidance could not but be lifelong guidance, reflecting the lifelong development of all aspects of an individual Sometimes the term dynamic guidance and counselling is used to reflect this continuous, lifespan intervension for support.
For the specialists for guidance and counselling terms used are counsellor, guidance counsellor, adviser, mentor,
Witing the career development aspect, one major role of guidance and counselling in VET is the support to students to be timely and properly connected with the demand side, with the enterprised and companies., with the job placement (for practice or permanent work), and with in-job adaptation and success. Also with relevant support to employers who are employing newly placed VET students or graduates. Important feedback is thus secured for the school itself and its curricula and training delivery.
Guidance counsellor: See guidance and counselling.


Higher education (HE): term used in EU for all formal education at level after pos-secondary, usually viewed as education leading to at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent. University is part of Higher Education. Old term “higher school” today refers to post-secondary but pre-university level institutions.
Higher Education Institution (HEI): Any institution operating legally at the level of Higher Education.
Host country: In case of trans-country mobility of workforce or students, term used to describe the receiving country of the worker or student.
Human resources: Universal term used to refer to people, to the human capital as one aspect of resources, viewed not simply as the numbers available for productive activity but in terms of the competence which they already have or which they potentially can bring to their work. Owing to the importance of human resources, great emphasis is placed on its development, the
human resources development (HRD). HRD refers to the planned and managed development of the knowledge, skills and competences of people who work for an organisation or in an occupation or in the national labour force.
Human resources development (HRD): Any activities aiming at improving, upgrading, updating, modernising etc. existing human resources. Such activities may comprise training, capacity building, experience acquisition etc.


ILO: See International Labour Organisation.
Immigrant: Individual moving from one country into another country as political refugee or as an economic refugee. Economic refugees are in need or and seeking work.
Impact: the deeper direct or indirect consequences that the implementation of a measure, a policy, a project etc. has on the recipient and the wider environment.
Impact indicator: See impact and indicator.
Improvement: Improving conditions, status, implementation, etc. The process (and the result of the process) of enhancing, upgrading or enriching the quality of provision or standard of outcomes. Improvement is usually the result of actions taken after feedback from assessment, monitoring or evaluation.
Indicator (s). An indicator is the concrete evidence of realisation of a certain activity / task. Such an indicator can take the form of an action (e.g. physical assistance, support), event (e.g. a conference, a meeting) or means (e.g. a report, a list). It sometimes takes the form of an indication of the degree of the attainment of a goal (e.g. percentage of students passing a course). Originally it was meant to be a quantitative indicator. In order that it is good, an indicator should be an “Obviously Verifiable Indicator”. In many cases, an indicator is a performance indicator, an impact indicator, an outcome indicator and so on, while in most evaluation circumstances indicators are used as parts of fundamental criteria in evaluation. In a quality assurance discussion, quality indicators is a term usually used alternatively to indicators.
Informal Learning: Learning resulting from any type of daily life activities, whether related with work life, family life, social life or leisure. In terms of goals, time planning and resources it is not structured and organised learning, and traditionally does not lead to any type of certification. Informal learning may be in some cases intentional from the perspective of the learner but in most cases it is not intentional; it is rather experiential, incidental, random learning. Within the philosophy of LLL, informal learning has an important position and role.
Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET): Education and training which is in principle undertaken before or upon first entering an occupation / job / working life, in the initial education and training system of a country. IVET can be carried out at any level in general or vocational education pathways (full-time school-based or alternance training) or through apprenticeship. Some training undertaken after (actually by the time of) entering into working life may be also considered as initial training (also on the occasion of re-training).
Input: The elements entering a system, the resources which, in an activity have an impact of its operation and output. Contrasted with output.
Inspection: The direct, usual independent observation and evaluation of activities and resources by a trained professional, usually called inspector. Through inspection control is exerted. Inspection can be either external or internal.
Inspector: See inspection.
Inspectorate: Agency or service or ogranisation sheltering the inspectors of an inspection function.
Institution: Organised and systematised body or agency for delivering education or training. In VET it is an educational institution, a VET delivering school, that has students trained and graduating at any degree below Higher Education level. In order that an institution is licensed for delivering training leading to formal certification, it should have institutional accreditation. An institutional review or institutional audit is usually carried out for this purpose.
Institutional: Referring to institutions or to institutionalisation.
Institutional accreditation: See institution and accreditation.
Institutional audit: See institution and audit.
Institutional review: See institution and review.
Instruct: In VET meaning to teach, to deliver instruction. Usually term is used in adult training and generally in non initial education and training. Instruction is delivered by trained instructors.
Instruction: The process of instructing, i.e. teaching. Instruction is delivered by an accredited instructor, who is hired to instruct individuals on certain subjects. Not exclusively but most oftern term used preferably with adult education and training.
Instructor: See instruct, instruction.
Instructional objectives: See objectives, learning objectives.
Instrument: Although originally used for apparatus of technical use, currently term means any methodological element for facilitating the carryng out of a job or an activity, for implementing a policy and strategy etc. It can be then a device, an apparatus, or even a document, a decision, a set of regulations or guidelines.
Inter-: Prefix used with a large number of words to define activities or locations “across the borders”. Examples are international, inter-regional, interdisciplinary, interinstitutional, etc.
Interdisciplinary: Term refers to research or study that integrates concepts from different disciplines resulting in a synthesised or co-ordinated coherent whole. Interdisciplinary approach or cross- thematic approach is a way currently used for organising curricula so that better co-ordination among subjects or disciplines results, so that education becomes more substantial and less fragmented.
Interdisciplinary approach: See interdisciplinary.
Internal: General term used to describe procedures, activities or measures designed, planned, taking place or implemented “inside” a certain environment or context, an organisation or programme, on internally defined goals and methodology, with the use of internal resources, internal use of results etc. Some indicative examples of use of this term are: Internal audit, internal assessment, internal evaluation, internal evaluators, internal monitoring, internal standards, internal review, etc.
International Labour Organisation (ILO): an organization that was founded in 1919 to advance social justice and better working conditions throughout the world. In 1946 it became the first specialised agency associated with the United Nations. It is a tripartite organization, comprising representatives of workers, employers and governments in equal status.
International Labour Standards: They are conventions and recommendations adopted by an International Labour Conference, covering a broad range of matters in the field of social and labour matters.
International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED): This is a widely recognised and adopted system developed by UNESCO in 1997, for classifying and presenting the educational levels. This system organises qualifications in 6 levels (actually 7), ISCED 0 to ISCED 5, with the last being split in two parts, 5a and 5b), with 0 corresponding to pre-primary education and 5b to to tertiary education / specific occupations.
International standard of occupations (ISCO): A standard for jobs under the authority of the ILO, latest updated in 2008, classifying all usually performed jobs into a structure of 9 leves. The standard is applied in international comparison of statistics for occupation.
Internship: The period, and the situation or condition that an individual under training, a trainee, is spending, as part of his / her training, as internal practicioner in apprenticeship in a working environment. This is a usual practice for sandwich or for alternance programmes.
ISCED: See International Standard Classification of Education).
ISCO: See international standard of occupations.
IVET: See Initial Vocational Education and Training.


Joint degee: A degree awarded by more than one education institution. Presumably study has taken place in all awarding institutions.
Joint module: It is a common module in a modular curriculum, in the sense that it is meant to be used within the curricula of different profiles, in the same occupational family or even within more than one occupational families.
Job: A regular activity in which an individual is engaged, which an individual is performing, for payment. Usually term used in simple language to mean a person’s trade, a person's occupation, a person's vocation or profession. It may also mean an individual?s work in an certain position within a vocation in which the individual is employed.


Know How: Term usually refers to knowing how to do something, to the practical knowledge or expertise (physical, intellectual social and other skills) of how to do perform a task in practice. In a wider sense, having the know how reflects having the technology to perform or apply something.
Knowledge: Term means a number of things at the same time. It reflects the condition of knowing, the ability for cognitive representation of ideas, events or happenings. It is learned, can be derived from practical or professional experience, as well as from formal instruction or study.
Knowledge can comprise any form of knowing, like facts, description, memory, understanding, generalisations, assertions, principles, thinking, analysis, synthesis, debate, methodologies etc. Knowledge is the basis for acquiring and applying skills and competences.
Knowledge may be differentiated, according to the nature of things that are known, in declarative knowledge (assertions on specific events, facts and empirical generalisations, as well as deeper principles on the nature of reality) or procedural knowledge (heuristics, methods, plans, practices, procedures, routines, strategies, tactics, techniques and tricks).
It is also possible to differentiate knowledge on the basis of forms of knowing, which represent different ways of learning about the world. Indicative forms are objective (natural/scientific) knowledge, judged on the basis of certainty, subjective (literary/aesthetic) knowledge judged on the basis of authenticity, moral (human/normative) knowledge judged on the basis of collective acceptance (right/wrong), or religious/divine knowledge judged by reference to a divine authority (God).
Knowledge is acquired via study or experience. As applied to VET, the term covers knowledge in general and technological fields, as well as specific information (about a company or a type of equipment, for example) which is necessary to make an individual able to carry out a particular job.
In the EQF context, knowledge along with skills and competences constitute the core of outcomes of learning.
Knowledgeable: Individual having considerable or at least basic knowledge on a subject matter or topic.
Knowledge society: Term used in the interntional terminology, particularly within the Lisbon objectives frame, to signify the importance of a society?s expanding its knowledge, of becoming more knowledgeable.


Labour market: A Labour Market is a place (real or imaginative) where labour (work) is demanded and offered and therefore sold and bought. . A labour market is the market in which potential workers seek to sell, and employers seek to buy, labour services. A labour market functions through the interaction of workers (the labour force or manpower) and employers Labour market may be national, regional or local. Negotiations in the labour market usually cover both pay and conditions of service. Labour economics is a branch of economics which examines the suppliers of labour services (workers, labour), the demanders of labour services (employers), and attempts to understand the resulting pattern of wages, employment, and income.
In order that the characteristics of a labour market (local, regional, national or even international) are analysed, a labour market analysis (LMA) is conducted. In such an analysis, the labour demand and the labour supply in the area can be discovered and defined. The relation between labour market and VET is / should be very tight.
Labour demand: In a concrete labour market, labour demand (the demand for labour) is the amount of labour services (labour supply) demanded by the employers, i.e. which employers wish to buy.
Labour market analysis: See labour market.
Labour economics: See labour market.
Labour supply: In a concrete labour market, labour supply (the supply of labour) refers to the availability of labour for use, i.e. it is the amount of labour that is available to the employers to use.
Labour force: See labour market and workforce.
Learning: A complex process through which knowledge is acquired. In different terminology, the process through which a person?s behaviour and potential for behaviour is changed. A cumulative activity whereby individuals gradually assimilate increasingly complex and abstract entities (concepts, categories, and patterns of behaviour or models) and/or acquire skills and competences. Learning process may involve observing, listening, studying, imitating, doing, using etc. Learning is distinguished in formal learning, non-formal learning and informal learning, lepending on the approach by the learner and the provider. In current EU policy, lifelong learning is the philosophy adopted as a central potition and vehicle. Learning to learn is a major goal and a fundamental principle at the same time, along with a core competence to be acquired. In LLL learning accumulation is a major element, while efforts are made for assessing and certifying prior learning.
Learning accumulation: In LLL, piling up successive learning experiences and / or certifications to use them for adding credit towards a qualifications goal.
Learning assessment: See learning and assessment.
Learning objective: see objective, instructional objective.
Learning outcomes: In organised and structured learning environments, the knowledge, skills and competences a learner is obliged to have acquired as a result of learning in order to demonstrate acquisition of learning. Defining learning outcomes in concrete behavioural specifications, assessing the acquisition of those outcomes after learning, after the completion of the learning process, are a major steps in organised learning.
Learning support materials: Any materials developed and made available to learners as materials to study from and generally to support them in their effort to learn.
Learning to learn: Term refers to the extent to which the learner is able to identify by himself / herself the gaps in his/her learning and take steps to fill those gaps. In contemporary understanding of LLL, learning to learn is considered both, a core competence worth acquiring and at the same time a major goal in learning and teaching.
Level descriptors: See level indicators.
Level indicators: For each one of the levels of reference at the EQF and NQF, broad descriptions of learning outcomes at a given level, in terms of the eight sub-strands of knowledge, skills and competences. Sometimes called level descriptors. They include a statement on the depth and extent of learning outcomes at a specific level in order to receive respective qualification.
Levels of reference: Within the EQF structure, and consequently in the NQFs context, the levels on which the different qualifications provided by each country will be placed. According to the EQF, the provided levels are 8, while 3 of them are divided in 3 sub-levels.
Licence: See accreditation.
Licencing: The formal granting of permission to deliver certain services, to perform certain tasks, to exercise a profession etc. Indicative examples of licencing: to operate a new institution, to deliver a new programme of study, to practice a trade, etc. See also accreditation.
Lifelong Learning (LLL): All cumulative learning activity undertaken and throughout life span (“from cradle to grave”), with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competences within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective for personal development. LLL is currently a cornerstone of the policy in education in EU. LLL is much wider than adult training, adult education, continuing vocational education or training, may include all forms and types of learning activities: formal, non-formal, and informal. Sometimes the term life-wide learning or even life-course learning are used instead. In LLL the centrality of the learner is crucial.
Lifelong guidance: See guidance.
LMA: See labour market analysis in labour market.
Logframe (Logical framework): A way of describing the objectives, results and activities of a project according to the EU Project Cycle Management handbook. For each activity and task in each activity (intervention logic) three basic elements should be included: the objectively verifiable indicators, the sources and measures of verification, and the assumptions / risks.


Manpower: Within the discussion on labour market, manpower is the number of people who can actively participate in the production process. The work-force.
Management: The science or the act of managing bodies of the private or the public sector (agencies, public services, enterprises, etc.). Business administration is a relative term.
Management assessment: See management and assessment.
Manual arts: As term of general education it means the practical skills and indulgements of an individual, as differentiated to mental exercises. It alse refers to learning leading to practical tasks and activities.
Master: (with different spellings in different languages) term means the top level craftsman in a group of craftsmen, the one possessing the highest level of expertise and qualifications.
Master's degree: In higher educations, a Master's degree is an award higher than a bachelor's degree.
Measure (to): Verb meaning to compare a certain quantity or quality with a pre-decided unit of measurement, and for this comparison certain instruments are used. Measurement is the process of measuring, and is more quantitatively oriented than evaluation or assessment.
Measurement: See measure.
Measure (a): Noun used in a variety of meanings and contexts, and confusion is created many a time. A “measure” refers either to actions taken to cause certain results or impacts (e.g. take measures to secure equality of opportunities, to decrease unemployment etc.) or to the evidence material or action that an indicator reflects reality. In this second sense, it refers to the source of verification, to element objectively verifying, proving or validating that the indicator is objectively secured, and the activity materialised beyond doubt. Alternatively, a measure may be the instrument through which the indicator is assessed or quantified (e.g. if level of achievement is an “indicator”, a “measure” of achievement is the test used or the grades given).
Mentor: A presumably wise or experienced person acting as advisor or as a tutor or as a model or as a coach to a younger and unexperienced person usually in a practical learning context. Mentoring is the act of or the process of providing such support. See also Guidance.
Mobility: The possibility of an individual to intentionally and willingly move to a new, occupational, educational, social etc. environment, adapt and succeed in it. Mobility can be geographical (in the same country or in another one), or functional (a move to a new function in a company or an institution). In terms of direction, mobility can be either horizontal or vertical. Facilitating mobility is one of the major concerns in the EU policy.
Mode of study: Term refers to whether the study programme is taken on a part-time or full-time basis, or through some form of work-linked learning and may include whether taken on-campus or through distance education.
Modular curriculum: A specific type of curriculum, whose nature are based on the use of modules as basic units of structure. The backbone of a modular curriculum is the module. There are different definitions of a module. In simple terms, a module is a self-contained, independent but coherent and self-existent related set of learning outcomes, within or without a wider subject, with a clearly defined content, and pre-decided assessment methodology and standards. A module can be taken alone or in conjunction with other modules, with which it may form a programme or a wider total of knowledge, skills and competences and therfore qualifications. The content of a module may vary according to development approach, but the basic axes are the same: Module identification, module position in a wider programme or subject, learning objectives, learning content, methodology of teaching, and methodology of learning assessment.
Module: See modular curriculum.
Monitoring: Within the context of evaluation, keeping under continuous review, i.e. observing, recording, analysing progress and preserving on a continuous form certain evaluative data and information in a pre-decided form for use in longitudinal, final or summative evaluations for reasons of comparison, information, research, feedback, decision making, action taking for intervention etc. Monitoring is not evaluation itself. It simply is an initial or parallel indispensable step, actually a prerequisite or integrated action, for all longitudinal research and on-going, dynamic evaluation. It is rather a mechanism for collecting and analysing information to be provided to the right persons and to be used for making informed decisions while an action is in progress. To monitor is the realtive verb, while the process of monitoring is applied by a monitor which, individual or agency, can be internal or external.
Mutual: Agreed practice from two sides. Two institutions or individuals agree on reciprocally accepted actions, practices or results. Indicative examples are mutual recognition of qualifications, mutual assessment and feedback procedures, mutual recognition of study programmes, mutual acceptance of credits, etc.


National Framework of Qualifications: See National Qualifications Framework.
National Qualifications Framework (NQF): A NQF is a national system, a single, nationally and internationally accepted entity, through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between all education and training awards. NQFs have been developed or are under development in EU member states and other EU related countries in an effort to secure comparability among qualifications across EU member states. An NQF provides information on a structured patten, and is built on the pattern provided by the EQF which has been developed within EC, and guarantees nationally agreed criteria, nationally regulated processes and measures and national recognition of qualifications (awarded certifications) at each level. Therefore a NQF is the “umbrella” under which a nationally standardised process is sheltered. In a NQF, the awarded qualifications are grouped in a limited number of occupational areas / families / clusters. On this basis it is important to agree on the occupational areas and on the levels of achievement (on the reference levels of qualification). Also, NQF comprises national education and training standards, which of course are based on national occupational standards.
A NQF incorporates all VET related components: national registry / database of occupations / classifier for occupational profiles, occupational and educational standards, national curricula and programmes, upgrading of teachers / trainers, accreditation of training providers and programmes, monitoring of training delivery, assessment for certification of qualification and a national quality assurance system.
Because of its complexity, an NQF requires to be managed by a relative authority, by a particular national (central) Body (National Council or Agency). See also Qualifications, European Qulifications Framework.
Network: A number of units connected or related in such a way that they can interact, share, interrelate, communicate etc. Examples are electronic networks, school networks, networks of institutions in general, etc.
Non-formal learning: Learning (sometimes described as semistructured learning), which is not acquired in a traditional formal education system. Such learning is usually embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning, provided by an education or training institution and typically does not lead to certification. It is however structured (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support), but which contain an important learning element. Non-formal learning is intentional from the learners’ point of view. It is intentional from the side of the learner. (See also learning, formal learning, informal learning).
Non-regulated occupations: See regulated occupations (professions)
Norm-referenced testing or assessment: (As contrasted to criterion-referenced testing) norm-referenced assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning achievement of students by judging (and ranking) them against the performance of their peers or according to pre-existing norms.


Objective: The stated definition of what is meant to be achieved as a result of an action or activity. An objective may refer to learning, to a programme, to a project, to policy, strategy, mission etc. It is then a measurable operationalisation of them.
A confusion is often created in the use of the terms objective, aim, goal, overall objective etc. These terms have an hierarchical order defining which includes which, which is more inclusive than which. From more general to more specific the hierarchy is: Aim, goal, objective. When the term “overall objective” is used, it is meant as a synonym to goal or ultimate goal. An aim is used for the most general description of the intended results of a normally large action or institution (eg. “the aims of education”). A goal is more restricted in scope, and covers a large part of an aim. An objective is an even more specific part of a goal. When speaking of learning and instruction, the terms “instructional objectives” and “learning objectives” are used to even more specify objectives, and are directly related to learning outcomes. A behavioral objective is an objective expressed in behavioural terms, and means what students are able to do as a result of learning and which they could not do before learning took place. (See also aims, goals).
Obligatory schooling: See compulsory education.
Occupation: The specific vocation an idividul exercises for securing living income. Occupational is whatever is related to or connected with an occupation. Examples are Occupational requirements, occupational standards, occupational families. Occupations in every country are organised in a national classification of occupations.
Occupational families: A number of families into which all occupations in a certain labour market age grouped. See aslo classification of occupations.
Occupational requirements: Document presenting the demands from the side of the companies regarding knowledge, skills and competences a graduate should have in order to be successfully employed in a certain occupation.
Occupational standards: A more extended and complex document than the occupational requirements. Occupational standards, like the requirements, define the skills, needs and competences which are applicable to job roles within an occupation in terms of performance. They cover the key activities undertaken within the occupation in question, under conditions the jobholder is likely to encounter. Occupational standards are defined by industry at a sector level. Thus, it is employers that set the standards for the VET outcomes, which outcomes are identical to a gainful employment of the graduates and afterwards employed. Occupational standards are developed through processes like functional analysis of each occupation.
In defining occupational standards, the occupation’s requirements have to be delineated first.
The existence of occupational standards is a sine-qua-non element in a qualification system. Professional standards and vocational standards are terms used alternatively.
Off-the-job training: Training carried outside the individual’s work setting and work time, not directly related with the work environment, and not making use of the job facilities for the training (see also on-the-job training).
On-the-job training (OJT): (As contrasted with off-the-job training) training carried out purposefully in the individual’s work setting, using the job as the medium for learning. It may or it may not be combined with off-the-job training or other forms of training. OJT is organised and intented, therefore it has goals and objectives and uses plan and resources (see also off-the-job training).
Outcome indicators: See outcomes and indicators.
Outcomes: What comes out as a result of an activity. An outcome can take the form of a product, new behaviour, learning, research results, etc. Outcome based education or training, a modern trend in EU, is education or training designed and implemented on the basis of the expected outcomes, the learning outcomes. In a learning outcomes approach emphasis is placed on what the learner is able to do at the end of learning process.
Outputs: “Outputs” refers to the products of a programme, a project, an activity or an institution. Output can be graduates, research outcomes, community/business activities and the social critical function of education and training. Many a time outputs create confusion with outcomes.


Peer Review: Peer review is the process of evaluating the provision, work process, or output of an individual, a body, a service or an institution by a peer (or group of peers). Peers are the likes, those having the same status or being in a similar environment or context, sharing same experiences. In this context a peer is and individual or a group of individuals operating in the same or a similar milieu as the reviewee, in such a way that he / she understands the context in which a quality review is being undertaken and is able to contribute to the process.
Performance: what an individual (or body or even institution) can achieve in a certain testing or examination process. Usually term involves achievement on skills and competences, not only on knowledge. Expanding the use of term, it also means behaviour and achievement in an efford, in an activity or in work. Examples of use of term are performance in a test, professional performance, etc. In quality contexts, performance can be assessed on the basis of certain performance indicators.
Performance indicators: Data or criteria, usually quantitative in form, that provide a measure of some aspect of an individual's or organisation's performance against which changes in performance or the performance of others can be compared.
Periodic: Adjective used with nouns to define events or requirements which are repeated periodically in pre-defined cycles or repetition cycles. Frequent uses of the term are periodic review, periodic reports, periodic inspection, periodic accreditation, etc.
Personal Development: Usually referring to the development of the personal aspects of an individual, developments in own personality, in contrast with professional development, social development etc. In lifelong learning. Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a very important competence, which should be supported by the schools through the student support services.
Personal development planning (PDP): See personal development.
Ph.D (shortcut for Doctor of Philosophy): Highest title delivered by a university. Covering reference level 8 in the EQF.
Placement: Term used to describe the process of facilitating an individual to gain successful entrance into a new environment, as for example in a school (educational placement), in a job (job placement or vocational placement), in a social environment (social placement).
Policy: Statement of position on an issue, reflecting intent and commitment on how to address this issue. Policy is a necessary prerequisite for strategy, which in turn is a necessary pre-requisite for work planning, action taking and implementation methodology in general for putting policy to action. Policy is usually specific. Relevant policy is needed for education, for development, for VET, for Quality Assurance etc. In a country or in a separate educational system policy is developed by policy makers.
Policy makers: See policy.
Politics: Term usually referring to the political mechanisms, to the policical aspects of a policy, activity etc. Politics is a responsibility of the politicians.
Polytechnic: A polytechnic (school, institution etc.) is traditionally a non-university higher education institution usually focusing on vocational education. In many countries polytechnics have been upgraded into universities.
Portability: see transferability
Portfolio: A technique for assessing the achievement or progress of a learner, and at the same time an instrument for doing this. Portfolio is also used as a technique and as an instrument for facilitating self assessment of the student and his / her career development process. See also progress.
Post-: Prefix used with a noun in order to define positions or activities placed “after” another activity, another level etc. Examples are post-secondary education and training, post-university research, postgraduate studies (studies at post-first degree level in HE), ex-post-facto research, post-test, etc.
Pre-: Prefix placed at the beginning on a word to indicate action or measure taken before, or level placed before, or required before…. Examples are Pre-requisite courses, pre-requisite modules, pre-requisite training, pre-test, etc.
Preliminary: Adjective used to indicate action taking place or measure taken before another action for exploratory or preparatory purposes. Preliminary courses, preliminary studies, preliminary assessment etc are examples.
Prior learning: Knowledge, skills and competences acquired through previous training or experience. It can be of any form of learning, but usually indicating non-formal or informal learning. The assessment of prior learning and the recognition of prior learning are very important aspects of LLL.
Prior learning assessment: See prior learning.
Prior learning recognition: See recognition and prior learning.
Process: Ahe set of activities or structures that are placed in a certain sequence. In EU terminology may also refer to organisational guidelines constituting desirable goals and policies. See Bologna Process and Copenhagen Process.
Profession: A group of people in a learned occupation, the members of which agree to abide by specified rules of conduct when practicing the occupation. Most of the time used as synonym with vocation, occupation, etc. Some professions in the EU are regulatied professions.
Professional: Related witht the profession. Vocational. Occupational. Professional development refers to progress in the aspect of life on an individual related with work. Continuing professional development (CPD) refers to a chain of study experiences (that may accumulate to whole programmes with awards) and work experiences designed to upgrade knowledge and skills of practitioners in the professions. organised in a logical sequence over a specified period of time. An indispensable ingredient of such sequences is Professional recognition (the formal acknowledgement of an individual's professional status and right to practice the profession in accordance with professional standards and subject to professional or regulatory controls) (See also recognition).
Professional orientation: See guidance.
Professional standards: See occupational standards.
Profile: In VET terminology a profile is the organised study (curriculum) in a certain occupation among the formal occupational classification.
Programme: Term used traditionally in education to include an overall plan of the educational process in a year or in a cycle corresponding to an occupation. Programme specifications cover information related with dates, durations, breaks, holidays as well as to the content of education, to the subject matter etc. at the institutional (school) level. Overall, the organisation of the delivery of studies or training is an indispensable part in a programme. A large and complex project can be also called a programme (See also programme accreditation, programme evaluation).
Programme specifications: See programme and specifications.
Progress: The movement of an individual along a path towards the achievement of goals. Progress can refer to education, to occupation, etc. Progress is usually recorded in a personal progress file: An explicit record of achievement, an aid to reflecting on the achievement and a mechanism to enable future planning. Portfolio is another instrument for this. In a project or in a programme progress ie reported in a progress report, submitted at defined periods during implementation.
Progress file: See progress.
Progress report: See progress.
Progression: The process by which learners may transfer from one programme of education and training to another programme where each programme is of a higher level than the preceding programme.
Project: A series of interrelated activities with set objectives, designed to produce a specific outcome within a certain context and in a limited time frame. International assistance to developing countries is usually organised in the form of projects. A project is usually run by a project team.
Project Cycle Management (PCM): It is a process, but most importantly a handbook of the European Commission in which this process is described, on how to design and propose a project and how to manage a project throughout its full cycle: From conception to termination and final evaluation.
Provider (of a programme of education and training): A person who, or body or institution which, provides, organises or delivers a programme of education and training. VET programme providers and deliverers need to be properly accredited before programme provision.


Qualification: Generally pertains to a state of “being qualified” or “becoming qualified” or “becoming ready for qualification” or “entering the process to acquire qualification” or to “what is required” for performing a task or for practicing an occupation. Qualification refers to persons, but sometimes it is connected to institutions, agencies etc.
An individual is qualified to perform a certain role or task if he / she can prove possession of relevant qualification. In order to prove this qualification, the individual has to be certified / certificated through a certification process, which is actually a highly regulated assessment process. Certification is manifested through the award of a qualification certificate.
More analytically, it refers to: 1) The requirements for an individual to enter or progress within an occupation, 2) The educational and training experience and attainments which an individual has acquired, and 3) An official record of achievement (certificate, diploma) which recognises successful completion of education or training or satisfactory performance in a test or examination. “Qualified” then means being able to prove the possession of the qualities (knowledge, skills and competences, including characteristics) defined as required for performing a task. Quality here is a synomym to “characteristic” and “attribute”.
Qualifications refers generally to all attributes of a person (general qualifications). But major emphasis is placed on occupational qualifications: the expression of professional abilities (knowledge, skills and competences) of an individual, acquired or required.
An institution needs to be qualified in order to conduct an activity, e.g. to deliver training, to conduct assessment etc. In order to secure qualification, the institution must go through the process of accreditation. When it secures accreditation, it becomes an accredited institution. Accreditation in some environments is connected with licence to function. Training deliverers in a qualification system need to be accredited. Programmes can be accredited also.
Qualification standards is a term which refers to all normative provisions, related with all the incorporated components, in order that qualification is granted. They are usually incorporated as integral part of a Qualifications Framework. If such a framework is nation-wide, it is a National Qualifications Framework. As qualification is assessment based. A person that actively seeks qualification (has submitted a request for this) is a candidate for qualification, while a person in the process of learning, education or training that leads to qualification is a trainee or student or learner.
Qualification exists for an individual if it is certified. Certification for Qualification is awarded at a number of concretely defined Levels of qualification. The existing European practice (as defined in the European Qualifications Framework) is based on 8 reference levels (some with 3 sublevels). Descriptors delineate each of the levels and the difference among them, while effort is made for each level to be roughly corresponded with educational / training levels and / or learning environments.
Sometimes a qualification is uses as a synonym to an award.
Very important aspect in qualifications if recognition of qualification (see recognition, National Qualifications Framework, European Qualifications Framework).
Qualifications standards: See qualifications.
Qualitative: (As contrasted to quantitative) refers to means, data, instruments, methodological elements etc. which are more descriptive in nature than quantitative. Qualitative data, qualitative research, qualitative measures etc. are examples of use. (See quality)
Quality: It is a difficult term to define, as it changes over time and includes a number of different connotations across societies or even organisations in the same society. Quality may refer to persons, collective bodies, actions and activities, programmes, projects, organizations etc. A “Quality” represents certain attributes, certain properties, certain characteristics of a person, of a system, a process or a product. In similar discussions it refers to a number of characteristics together, which make up the overall picture of a person, a system or a product. What makes things even more difficult is that quality reflects a large number of such characteristics, and at any rate, a high or positive level of such characteristics. So “quality” is meant to refer only to “good quality” or to “high quality”, which has only a positive connotation.
What is “good” or what “has high quality” has to be defined in each case or system. Quality Indicators and Quality Standards are terms used for this purpose.
In most of references to the question “what is quality” a typical answer is “fulfilment of goals”. Yet, what if goals are wrong? Isn’ t the quality of goals to be considered in Quality Assurance? Another typical response to the same question makes reference to the relation of “experience to expectation”. Yet who defines expectations? What if expectations are wrong?
Quality is always related with its context in a certain time and its subject. It is, therefore, subject, time and context dependent.
Talking particularly about VET and taking on from the above, quality of VET delivery and output is what learners have to achieve / the ability of graduates to become competent and satisfy existing or potential needs of the society and employers in professional and social life. In anticipating quality, focus of the training is the competence of learners to perform in accordance with the work requirements.
Training providers and training programmes accreditation process, occupational / educational standards, responsive curricula, ongoing teachers / training upgrading, vocational guidance involvement, monitoring / evaluation, supervision, assessment, examinations, certification and interrelation to labour market are some of the elements for quality assurance.
Quality Assurance QA): The mechanism through which quality can be ensured, secured, verified and assessed. In order that this is accomplished, complex methodology is needed. It is also the process, along with the result of the process itself, of assuring a pre-decided quality. A sine qua non condition for this is that there is a policy for quality assurance, and that this quality is first very well and very clearly defined and described. Another is that measures are taken to establish that quality, to develop that quality, to ensure that quality. Following, that measures are taken to maintain that quality, and to ascertain that it is maintained. So (monitoring and) evaluation, along with planning, feedback, decision making and action taking (intervening) come into scene as integral elements of a quality assurance concept.
To resume, quality assurance involves policy + strategy + plan + procedures + rules + actions + quality indicators and verification measures. Quality indicators are related with the quality attributes of the system. Quality assurance and quality control then is largely related with processes of reviewing, auditing, assessment, monitoring and evaluation.
Talking particularly about VET, QA refers to the establishment and function of a set of documented procedures based on occupational and educational standards that aim at ensuring that design, development, operation, monitoring and assessing of the VET output can meet the employers’ requirements, the trainees’ ambitions and the socio-economic requirements for development.
VET quality assurance system is a crucial dimension of the European Qualifications Framework developed by the EC. System should be set-up at national level, based on state’s and all stakeholders responsibility as quality is an issue of social responsibility. A coherent national framework is necessary to ensure quality in VET, namely the National Qualifications Framework. Quality assurance goals will be served by the established NQF, while the NQF goals will be served by the establishment of a QA system. It also has to do with a process of establishing stakeholder confidence that provision (input, process and outcomes) fulfils expectations or measures up to threshold minimum requirements.
Quality Attributes: Those characteristics of an organisation that constitute its Quality Frame. Main such attributes are relevance, feasibility, effectiveness and quality of management.
Quality control: Quality control is to a large extent used as synonym to quality assurance, and reflects the mechanism or the sum of methodologies for ensuring that quality is secured, that a desired output (product or service) conforms to predetermined specifications (qualities).
Quality indicators: See quality and quality assurance.
Quantitative: See quantity.
Quantity: (In contrast to quality) refers to the amount of or the number of. Used in measurement and research to imply the emphasis on quantitative (in contrast to qualitative) methods and data, which can easily quantified.


Ranking: Placing in a rank or according to a rank, i.e. rating and ordering of individulars or institutions or programmes on the basis of defined criteria.
Re-accreditation: Repetition of accreditation process. The re-establishment or re-statement (usually on a fixed periodic cycle) of the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution, programme (i.e. composite of modules) or module of study or of the professional recognition of an individual.
Reciprocity: The acceptance by one agency of the outcomes of an activity (programme, certification, training etc.) conducted by another agency. “Mutuality” is a term with similar content (see mutual recognition).
Recognition of Learning: The formal acknowledgement of the status of an organisation, an institution, a certificate, a programme, a qualification etc. The formal acceptance of a claim to a standard of learning on the part of a learner as being true or valid. Recognition usually refers to qualifications, to a certification, to a diploma or degree etc. More specifically recognition of prior learning means the recognition of learning that has taken place, but not necessarily been assessed or measured, prior to entering a programme. Such prior learning may have been acquired through formal, non-formal, or informal routes. Talking particularly of awards, recognition of award equivalency means the formal acceptance of an award (diploma or certificate awarded by one institution), as equivalent, for some stated purpose or purposes, to an award delivered by another institution or body. If two institutions or two countries have a recognition agreement, it is mutual recognition.
Reference Levels: Levels are a series of sequential steps. Each level sets out a range of standards of knowledge, skill and competence acquired by learners. Levels are not in themselves standards but indicators of a range of standards and can be described in an ordered sequence. In the EQF and consequently in the NQFs, the qualifications of all individuals and institutions are placed along a set of eight reference levels. (see EQF, NQF).
Refugee: See economic refugees.
Regulations: Within a state or an institution, normative provisions defining (“regulating”) which methodologies, measures or processes will be implemented and how. Regulatory bodies usually regulate the above.
Regulated professions: In EU and other coutries, regulated are the professions (occupations) that the access to and the practice of which require similar authorisation, certification or any equivalent. These are known as regulated because it is a statutory requirement to hold a diploma or other occupational qualification in order to pursue the profession in question. The lack of national diploma constitutes a legal obstacle to access to the profession.
In a different expression, regulated profession is the one that is restricted to the holder of a specific professional qualification (i.e. legally regulated by either the State or by professional bodies). Very often the diploma is not a sufficient precondition for the job entry and an additional certification by the competent governmental structures is needed. As a rule, regulated are professions, which deal with person’s life, health and / or freedom. On the contrary, non-regulated are the professions which are subject only to the rules of the labour market and the behaviour of this market and not to any legal constraints regarding to the diplomas.
Registration: The process of including in a register, or of applying for being listed in a register. The register varies per case, and can be register of trained individuals, register of graduates, register or accredited programmes or institutions, register of accredited trainers etc.
Report (n): The document describing the methodology and the outcome or results of an evaluation process or the implementation of a project, a programme etc. A report can be periodic, it can be a progress report, a final report etc. The verb is to report.
Resources: general term referring to all means, materials and equipment the school has at its disposal for carrying out training. Human resources are included.
Resources assessment: See assessment and resources.
Results: The long lasting influence on people or a society coming out of a measure, a project, an event etc.
Retraining: Training again, usually on new subjects for improving or modernizing or upgrading existing knowledge, skills and competences, on same occupation or on a new one.
Review: Term related with evaluation and quality. Any process that explores the quality of an activity, a programme, a product etc. The explorations of quality. A review is generally conducted by a reviewer or a review team. See peer review.
Rules: A set of normative regulations directing the implementation of certain activities or measures, certain conduct and behaviour in defined contexts. Such rules are usually included in a book of rules.
Revision: A change or improvement of a document like law, book or rules, curriculum etc. Revising should be a result of evaluation and feedback processes.


Sandwich programme: A programme having a significant period of work experience built into it such that the programme is extended beyond the normal length of similar programmes without the sandwich element. See also alternance programme.
School autonomy: The degree of possibility given to a school to make decisions of its own related with training delivery, management, administration, funding etc.
School assessment: the assessment of a school as an institution. Assessment may refer to outcomes, services, management and administration, resources and facilities etc.
School management: The function of school administration, including all the managerial processes and activities.
Score: The grade assigned to a student indicating his achievement in a test.
Sector: Term generally meaning a segment, a part, a group of constituting a category of. Indicatively, 1) a number of companies grouped together on the basis of their economic activity, of their product, or the technological means they use; 2) a horizontal occupational category, as e.g. ICT, or 3) a production segment, e.g. primary sector.
Sectoral: Adjective derived from sector, meaning “of a sector”, “pertaining to a sector”, “belonging to a sector”, “related with a sector” etc.
Sectoral approach: Methodological approach which is using the sector as a basis of work. For example, sectoral approach in developing curricula in VET.
Sectoral qualification: A qualification implemented by a group of companies belonging to the same sector in order to meet common employment or training needs.
Self- : Prefix very frequently used to denote action related to self or pertaining to self or initiated by internal or individual motivation or for individual or internal use. See below for examples.
Self-assessment: The process of critically reviewing the quality of ones own performance, conduct, achievement, etc. See also assessment.
Self-awareness: Within the concept and process of personal development and orientation, the process of self exploration leading to a better knowledge of self.
Self-evaluation: the process of evaluating self for whichever reason and goal.
Self-study: Learning effort carried out by a learner on own means and resources like time, without attending a learning programme.
Semester: A division of the academic year; usually two semesters in a year. Sometimes summer semester is added.
Seminar: A concrete method of teaching and training or generally organising learning. Ideally it involves a small-group of learners, in which a subject is discussed, in depth, by the participants.
Semi-skilled worker: See skilled.
Skill(s): Term having various meanings depending on certain context of use. In general it refers to the concrete practical abilities needed for the person to cope with certain demands in a certain situation. Skills can be social, cognitive, professional etc., and within each even more specific, like communication skills, e-skills, decision making skills, and so on. Although abilities are more considered a matter of natural qualities, of innate characteristics, skills are considered as more a result of learning and experience. In VET term usually refers to professional skills, the specific practical knowledge and experience needed to perform a specific task or job. Currently the term competencies is used as synonymous to skill.
Skilled: Having the necessary or required or pre-defined skills for performing a task or practicing an occupation. On the basis of the degree to which a worker possesses the skills required for a job, workers are classified as skilled workers, semi-skilled workers and unskilled workers.
Skilled worker: See skilled.
Skill needs: The skill or skills needed for different types of activity, job or occupational role, in a specific organisation or / and sector or / and region. Such needs are assessed through a process called Skills Needs Analysis.
Skills Needs Analysis (SNA): An analysis process, usually of the form of survey research, through which the needs of an individual or a group of individuals is assessed and described.
Skill shortage: Lack of required skilled labour / workforce in a certain sector or occupation. Determining the nature and level of skill shortages is necessary for identifying the discrepancy between the available skilled labour and the supply available.
Social cohesion: Term used in sociology, social policy and poltical science to refer to the strength of the bonds that bring and keep the people of a society together. It also refers to the homogeneity of the conditions, e.g, economic, of the members.
Social Dialogue: In the context of VET, a communication process between the state (in this case, VET) and social partners (in principle associations of employers and of employees / workers) and generally stakeholders to promote their involvement in VET reform and development. In this dialogue bipartite bodies or tripartite bodies can be formed and used. Social dialogue can take place at various levels, indicatively school / local, regional, cantonal, entity, state. At international level, social dialogue can be bilateral, trilateral or multilateral, according to the number of countries involved.
Social exclusion: See social inclusion.
Social inclusion: The integration of individuals or groups of individuals into the society as citizens or as members of various public social networks. Social inclusion is fundamentally rooted in labour market and economic inclusion. If social inclusion cannot be achieved, the result is social exclusion.
Social partners: Term used to refer to employers' and workers' organizations and professional associations engaged in dialogue -- or social partnership -- with government agencies (in this case with VET) on the purpose of VET reform and development.
Social Partnership: The cooperation between VET and the social partners, for the interest of both: VET and the stakeholders, and particularly the enterprises.
Socio-economic partners: Partners comprising the social and economic environment in a society, in education, in a country. Their opinion is usually expressed through socio-economic councils.
Socio-economic council: See socio-economic partners, social partners.
SNA : See Skills Needs Analysis.
Specialised accreditation: See accreditation.
Special needs groups: In education, groups facing specific problems ususlly related with special needs like handicap, mental deficiency etc. Sometimes called special abilities groups. For such groups special measures are taken in education, usually placed under titles such as special education or special programmes or special classes.
Specialty: The exact specialisation of an indidvidual, usually corresponding to the occupation on which an individual is trained and specialised.
Specifications: Specific descriptions defining in details characteristics or qualities. In most cases used to present specificificities of equipment, facilities, apparatus etc.
Spiral curriculum: Term applying usually to formal education curricula, where the certain subjects are repeated in successive levels but with goals, content and complexity increased at every higher level.
Stakeholder: Any person, body or party or even institution that has an interest on the activities of an institution or an organisation. VET stakeholders for example are those individuals or goups of individuals or parties or even private or public institutions which have substantial interest invested in VET operation and outcomes (students, parents, teachers, principals, relative associations, economy, enterprises, NGOs, etc.).
Standards: Originally other terms were used instead of “standards”. The term “Standards” evolved during the past 2-3 decades as a result of the emphasis on Evaluation and its connection with Quality Assurance, Certification, Accreditation, Qualifications etc. Then the term Standards prevailed and its use is currently generalized.
The term “Standards” is used today in a variety of contexts with a variety of meanings, while in many cases the term is ill-used by overzealous groups of users.
Indicative examples of normal uses of “standards” are the following:
- Standards is understood and used as a means that has normative character (then its meaning is similar to “regulations”, “guidelines”, “obligatory instructions” etc.). In this sense, it establishes norms or specific set of requirements regulating a process.
- Standards is understood as a comparison instrument, to compare an existing situation or reality with a measure, and facilitate the expression of judgement.
- Standards is understood as minimally acceptable conditions for … (if these minimal conditions are not met at X level, situation is not acceptable) as for example minimum number of days to work, a minimum number of students required to operate a class etc.
- Standards is understood as a minimum level of achievement in order to take a following step, as an agreed “cut-off point” below which a condition does not exist or is not accepted (e.g. university entrance of a candidate only if achievement is above X mark in entrance examinations). In this case standards is used as a synonym to a threshold.
- Standards is often understood as an obligatory point along a quantitative scale, as e.g. a space of at least 50 square meters to operate a training programme as a minimum requirement for licensing.
- In some cases standards is conceived as a targeted achievement on a certain process (e.g. in 2015 10% of youth in EU will be holders of a university degree). In this case standards is used as a synonym to benchmark.
- Additionally, in a number of cases a standard is used instead of an indicator (e.g. The majority of graduates in VET should find a job in their field of professional studies).
- Sometimes as detailed specific descriptions for illuminating criteria of evaluation and quality assurance in general.
Non-normal uses of the term:
- Sometimes term “standard” is ill-used as a synonym to Criterion. A standard is not the criterion itself. It is rather a specification or a clarification or a further elaboration of the criterion or the required point along the quantitative scale.
- Another confusion is created between standards on the one side and indicators and measures on the other, when the Log Frame Approach is used, use which anyway is not always wrong.
Standards, in their relation with VET, can be grouped along a variety of axes. Of interest in VET are the types of standards specified on the basis of their content. Along this axis the following specific types of standards can be identified in the VET context: General standards and general VET standards, vocational qualifications standards, occupational standards, educational / training standards, quality assurance standards and, finally, standards on curricula.
Strategy: Term referring to the scale of methodology, usually to encompass all the rest: strategy, approach, method, technique, instrument. In many a case term is ill-used as synonym to methodology. Strategy is the direct relevant to policy.
Strategic: Many times referring to strategy, then meaning methodological. But the real use of the term is to reflect the most important decisions in an organisation, the ones with greatest importance. “Strategic” then is contrasted with tactical.
Student(s): The pupils in school learning environments.
Student support services: See guidance.
Sub-system: See system.
Summative evaluation: (as contrasted with formative and final evaluation) evaluation carried out after the termination of an activity or a programme is such a way that the outcomes as well as the process are evaluated. See also evaluation.
Supply (v): To make available, to provide, the resources necessary for carrying out an activity or a programme.
Supply (n): The provision of resources and means necessary for an operation or for a programme. In labour market terminology as well as VET terminology, supply is the one side (the supply side) and demand is the other (the demand side).
Support: All actions or measures taken in the aim of helping individuals or groups of individuals in an effort to achieve certain results. Support refers to all behaviour directed at facilitating, encouraging, assisting, and to similar attitudes. Supportive behaviour, supportive attitude, supportive actions, supportive measures are indicative terms pertaining to supportive approaches. A supporter is a generic term used to describe any professional who facilitates persons or other professionals in the accomplishment of functions, tasks, or goals. Supportive behaviour and practice characterises approaches incompatible with Student support services
Support materials: See learning support materials.
Syllabus: See curriculum.
System: Term taking various meanings in different contexts. In this discussion the term is used within the sense of Systems Theory, to refer to a total, to a global entity, whereas the total is larger than its parts, and in which the function of each part affects the function of all other parts in a dynamic manner. A System is a “Gestalt” according to Gestalt theory, a “Field” according to Field theory. Therefore, a Quality Assurance System in VET can’ t be but a systemic entity in this sense. Sub-System is used to describe distinct parts of a system (e.g. Accreditation). The term National System describes a system with a national scope, implementation and impact (e.g. National Quality Assurance System, National Qualifications System)
Systemic: to have the characteristics of a system or to be based on systems theory or on systems approach.
Systems approach: The theoretical or methodological approach having as its base the systems theory.
Systems theory: the concrete theory describing the “system”. See system.


Talent: See ability.
Teaching: In most of cases, the main approach to facilitate learning in frontal approach in school settings. In VET it innvolves VET teachers (in other contexts called trainers, instructors, professors etc.) as transmitters of knowledge, in an instructional process. In the process of teaching or training, teaching methodology (or instructional methodology) is used, along with teaching materials and learning support materials.
Teacher assessment: See assessment.
Technical: Term referring to technology or to arts and crafts. In some countries VET is presented and Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Tender: The process of announcing and conducting the procurement of services, equipment of materials. Tenderers participate in the process, and at the end usually a contractor is selected on the basis of defined criteria.
Tenderer: See tender.
Terms of reference (ToR): Text of special character and structure, defining the obligations and roles of a contractor.
Tertiary education: The third cycle of formal education, i.e. formal, non-compulsory, education that follows secondary education. Another term used for tertiary education is Higher Education.
Thematic: Term referring to a particular aspect or topic in a total. From thema. Examples are thematic evaluation, thematic report, cross-thematic approach in teaching, etc.
Thematic evaluation: A thematic evaluation is a review of a particular aspect of quality or standards focusing on an experience, practice or resource that cuts across programmes or institutions.
Thesis: Generally meaning the position one holds on a subject or issue and the argument he presents to support it. In higher education it means the Masters Thesis or the Doctoral Thesis (dissertation).
Trade: (In VET and labour market context), an occupation requiring skilled labour, e.g. the building trade. The skilled practice of a practical occupation. A craft. Those practicing the same trade usually make up a trade union.
Trade union: The union of professionals practicing a trade (a profession).
Trainer: See teacher.
Training: Teaching, particularly of practical or professional skills and competences. Organic part of VET. It forms the core of apprenticeships and provides the backbone of content at vocational education and training (VET) whether at formal training technical schools, technical colleges or polytechnics or in non formal learning conditions.
Training delivery: Providing training by an accredited deliverer, like an organisation or an institution or formal VET. Training is delivered by a training provider.
Training provider: Any organisation or formal institution authorised (accredited) for delivering training. Also, any organisation specifically set up for this purpose or individuals whose business is to provide training. Training providers may also be employers who provide training as a part of their wider business activities.
Transcript: A printed or electronic record of student achievement while in education or training.
Transfer: The process by which learners may transfer from one programme of education and training to another programme, having received recognition for knowledge, skill or competence acquired.
Transferability: The possibility (of credits or skills and competences) to be transferred to and used in a new occupational or educational environment.
Transfer of credit: See Credit Transfer, ECTS.
Transparency: The condition of being transparent, visible. the degree to which processes, conditions or result are transparent. Example: transparency of qualification.
Transparency of qualification: The degree to which the value of qualifications can be transparent, i.e. can be identified and compared on the (sectoral, regional, national or international) labour and training markets.
Tripartite: Term used to describe equal participation and representation of governments and employers' and workers' organizations in relative partnership bodies, like for example in tripartitie advisory councils in VET.
Tripartite Advisory Council: In VET, an advisory council in which three parts are participating. Such a council can exist and operate at local, regional. See tripartite, advisory council.


Undergraduate: Term used to describe the first level of university studies, normally leading to a bachelor's degree or equivalent. It refers to students of that level (undergraduate students), to programmes (undergraduate programmes) etc.
University: Main institution of higher education that grants its own degrees including the award of M.sc. and Ph.D and normally undertakes research.
Unskilled Worker: A worker who does not possess any specialised skills. Usually employed at unskilled labour positions.


Validation: The process and the methodology for testing or proving the validity of something (e.g of data, of results, of learning results or judgements etc.). Validation of a programme is a usual term. Sometimes ill-used as synonym to evaluation.
Validation of a Programme: Validation means the process by which an awarding body shall satisfy itself that a learner may attain knowledge, skill or competence for the purpose of an award made by the awarding body.
Validity: The condition of being valid. What it means in practice is that proper methodology is used for proving that something is correct, for confirming events or information, for verifying the reality of a situation, of information etc.
Value added: The enhancement that students achieve (to knowledge, skills abilities and other attributes) as a result of their education and training experience.
Value for money: An expression used for an alternative partial definition of quality, that judges the quality of provision, processes or outcomes against the monetary cost of making the provision, undertaking the process or achieving the outcomes. In essence, it is related with cost-efficiency.
VET: See Vocational Education and training.
VET stakeholders: See stakeholders.
Vocation: The specific profession a person is exercising for living in the labour market. No particular reference to level of professionalism or membership exists in this connotation.
Vocational: Related with the exercise of a vocation or with employment. Sometimes used as a synonym to professional.
Vocational education and training: Education and training which aims to equip people with knowledge, skills and competences linked to particular forms of employment, i.e. that can be used for applying a vocation on the labour market. VET is provided in special institutions, the VET schools for IVET or other institutions varying in scope and goals per country. In LLL context VET is delivered at three levels of education: Secondary, post-secondary and tertiary. Also, it can take the all three forms: Foramal, non-formal and informal. Special dimensions of VET are IVET, CVET, and partly adult education and training.
Vocational counselling: See counselling and also guidance.
Vocational guidance: See guidance.
Vocational orientation: See guidance.
Vocational standards: See occupational standards.


Work-based learning: Refers to any formal learning that is based wholly or predominantly in a work setting. Work – related learning is another term often used. See learning.
Work experience: The period of activity in a work setting (whether paid or voluntary). Sometimes called professional experience, vocational experience or occupational experience.
Work place: See alternance training.