Self-evaluation process and
university quality in Ecuador*
Proceso de autoevaluación y calidad universitaria en Ecuador
Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza**, Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín***
This work is part of the doctoral project
“Self-evaluation and institutional quality of higher
education in the Republic of Ecuador,” accredited
at the School of Economic and Social Sciences
of Universidad del Zulia.
Master in Strategic Planning and Management.
Dean of the School of Administrative and
Economic Sciences, Universidad Técnica Luis
Vargas Torres, Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
E-mail: ncastillocabeza2@gmail.com
ORCID: 0000-0002-9527-5941
Google Scholar
Master in Human Resources. Universidad Técnica
Luis Vargas Torres, Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
E-mail: rcamacho@gmail.com
ORCID: 0000-0001-8386-4039
Google Scholar
Received: December 03, 2018.
Accepted: November 23, 2019.
Cite this:
Castillo-Cabeza, S.N. and Camacho-Marín,
R.A. (2020). Self-evaluation process and
university quality in Ecuador. Espirales. Revista
multidisciplinaria de investigación cientíca, 4(33),
The quality of Higher Education in the Ecuador has been
a topic widely addressed in the last 10 years, generating
transcendental changes from the modication of the
structures of the system to the reconsideration of its
planning and processes. The purpose of this research
is to study the process of self-evaluation and quality in
institutions of higher education of the Ecuador. For this,
a qualitative research was carried out where models,
management indicators and general aspects based
on current laws were conceptualized. It is concluded
that it is imperative to promote the self-evaluation of
universities, not only for accreditation purposes but
as a complex and continuous social process in their
ontological, gnoseological and axiological references,
contributing to the progress and reconstruction of
the substantial processes of the institution, in order to
improve its management mechanisms and respond
satisfactorily to the expectations of the entire university
community; under own institutional guidelines and
follow-ups and of the quality assurance system in
education superior.
Key words: Management quality, self-assessment
processes, quality assurance, continuous
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DOI: 10.31876/er.v4i33.728
Espirales. Revista multidisciplinaria de investigación cientíca, Vol 4 , No. 33,
April-June 2020. e-ISSN 2550-6862. Pags 28-40
Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza y Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín
La calidad de la educación superior en el Ecuador ha sido un
tema abordado ampliamente en los últimos 10 años, generándose
cambios trascendentales desde la modicación de las estructuras
del sistema hasta la reconsideración de su planicación y
procesos. El propósito de esta investigación es estudiar el proceso
de autoevaluación y calidad en las instituciones de educación
superior del Ecuador. Para ello se llevó a cabo una investigación
cualitativa donde se conceptualizaron modelos, indicadores de
gestión y aspectos generales fundamentados en las leyes vigentes.
Se concluye que resulta imperioso impulsar la autoevaluación de
las universidades no solo con nes de acreditación sino como un
proceso social complejo y continuo en sus referentes ontológico,
gnoseológico y axiológico, aportando al progreso y reconstrucción de
los procesos sustanciales de la institución con la nalidad de mejorar
sus mecanismos de gestión y responder satisfactoriamente a las
expectativas de toda la comunidad universitaria; bajo lineamientos y
seguimientos propios y del sistema de aseguramiento de la calidad
en educación superior.
Palabras clave: calidad de la gestión, procesos de autoevaluación,
aseguramiento de la calidad, mejora continua.
Currently, the management of educational quality is not only analyzed at the academic
process level, but also based on established standards for each of the processes immersed
in university higher education. The Ecuadorian higher education system is managed
under the principles of responsible autonomy, co-government, equal opportunities, quality,
relevance, among other aspects that fully govern the institutions, their actors, their processes
and resources, with the intention of maintaining quality standards in order to ensure the
increasing levels of academic excellence and relevance, based on the co-responsibility of its
members. In this regard, Apunte (2007) explains that experiences in university quality are
limited and the evaluation process constitutes a way to achieve national and international
accreditation, since it values academic quality considering the reality and needs of each
institution, as well as the framework of legal reference, and the governmental criteria by
means of which the quality of the same is appreciated and qualied.
In this sense, the institutions of higher education of the Ecuador, attached to legal regulations,
have made revisions on academic evaluation in the international and scientic eld, nding
theoretical depth on quality models around higher education, obtaining a diversity of models,
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Self-evaluation process and university quality in Ecuador
which at the same time generate a strong heterogeneity regarding evaluation criteria, tools
and strategies. Given this, Ecuadorian universities nd a great multiplicity of ways to evaluate
teaching, where research appears as an essential and basic aspect, while the link with the
productive and social sectors has been taking more place, framed in the Organic Law of
Higher Education of 2010, and the organic reform law to the Organic Law of Higher education
of 2018, where quality is a principle of higher education to guarantee it.
On this topic Koppel (2015) explains that empirically “the evaluation processes carried out
have denoted the low academic quality offered […], since there is no capacity and certain
competence today to carry out the evaluation and accreditation processes of diaphanous
form, with academic transparency” (p. 38). For Espinoza (2016) this affects the labor
market, which knows the university reality, as well as the differences in the quality of the
universities and their professionals. Therefore, it is common to see in the media the demand
for professionals graduated from certain universities; with this they differentiate the quality
of professionals and remuneration that is also varied based on this criterion.
These and other ndings put the Quality Accreditation and Assurance Assessment Council
(CEAACES for its acronym in Spanish) and the Higher Education Quality Assurance
Council (CACES for its acronym in Spanish) on alert, detecting the need to link the
self-evaluation, peer evaluation and accreditation processes to improve quality and not
view it only as a bureaucratic process. Thus, the purpose of this research is to generate a
theoretical approximation of the aspects that underlie the self-evaluation and evaluation
activities of university processes and quality management in higher education institutions
in Ecuador. For the development, the eld of action was delimited to planning zones 1 and
4 of Ecuador, however, within the theoretical approach, general aspects were taken that
inuence each of the processes according to the CACES Evaluation Model 2019.
Materials and Methods
The research is based on the analytical-synthetic method, in order to study and address the
facts that are linked to the object of study, a decomposition occurs individually and later in
general (Bernal, 2010). Although this method is validated in scientic knowledge, through the
theoretical interpretation in this case of the self-evaluation processes and the management
of university quality, the facts of reality are also analyzed.
This research was carried out taking into consideration the university system in Ecuador,
taking into consideration the formally approved legal guidelines. A general determination of
the theoretical and methodological basis of the topic is produced, to formulate the episteme
and the guidelines that were obtained from them, which have allowed the establishment of
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Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza y Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín
the processes of self-evaluation and of the management of university quality, components of
the educational conception, as well as the ordering of each of them, the links and structuring.
Likewise, an administrative and epistemic analysis is carried out, also supported by the
methods of hermeneutics and phenomenology, the latter according to Paramá, Aragón and
Coca (2017), consists of the idea that the intervening actors make use of the process of
perception of the research object and the same brings reality, in this order of ideas there is an
assessment of the claims and responses raised by each subject or by obtaining documentary
information, which is aimed at accounting for concurrent or divergent elements on the
dynamics of the processes of self-evaluation and management of university quality.
The addressing that this research has is under the qualitative methodological theoretical
approach, with the purpose of looking for the theoretical arguments that help the
rigorous understanding of the administrative phenomenon and explain under arguments
the perception and interpretation of reality, its dynamics and transformations. They are
methodological theoretical strategies that problematize the process of self-evaluation and
the management of university quality, contributing to the search and consideration of new
analysis criteria.
Institutional evaluation and self-evaluation: Theoretical Foundations
This section begins by considering some authors denitions that model evaluation,
self-evaluation and their processes, as well as the control and quality of organizational
management. Castillo (2005) describes evaluation as the process by which one seeks
to obtain a value judgment or an appreciation of the behavior or characteristics of an
object, an activity, a process, or its results. This identication process allows highlighting
qualities, weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages of what is evaluated, providing reliable
information for decision-making.
In the same way, it is stated that “Self-evaluation is a substantial and integrative process, which
allows an institution to determine weaknesses and strengths in order to implement actions for
its continuous improvement” (CEAACES, 2015, p. 3). Consequently, it can be added that:
Self-evaluation understood as a systematic reection process makes it possible
to understand and explain the different situations of university education and,
based on this knowledge, make informed value judgments and adopt decisions
aimed at correcting errors and strengthening positive aspects of planning and
execution of institutional work. (CEAACES, 2015, p. 12)
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Self-evaluation process and university quality in Ecuador
The institutional evaluation and self-evaluation processes, both internal and external, contribute
to the formation of a quality organizational culture, due to its constant rethinking of goals
and formulation of new growth and development activities. In turn, internal self-evaluation
encourages and promotes the formation of multidisciplinary teams that propose and raise
improvements based on the analyzes carried out and results obtained during the different
stages of the process and data collection, in addition to this, it is generated and promoted
among teams a culture in this regard, towards the value of the work of others, as well as that of
the members of the same team, because quality is socialized and developed, as an essential
component of institutional success, which increases its own learning during each process.
In this order of ideas, it is important to mention that in Organic Law of Higher Education
(LOES for its acronym in Spanish) of 2018, new terms and elements related to quality
have been considered, such as: Participation policies, analysis of institutional reality, work
articulated between the Higher Education Council (CES for its acronym in Spanish), the
CACES, and Higher Education Institutions (HEI for its acronym in Spanish), in addition other
monitoring and internal quality assurance methodologies have been increased, based on
standards with their respective fundamental elements, which can be reformulated during
continuous self-evaluation processes, since both qualitative and quantitative standards and
elaboration of improvement plans are handled.
When mentioning self-evaluation processes, it should be noted that these are embedded within
control management mechanisms in organizations, as dened by Kralj (1988), management
control is considered higher order, due to its wide scope within the activities of the organization,
which involves evaluating management at all levels and functions, in order to point out the
positive and negative aspects that affect the organization and the management itself, in the
search for acceptable ecacy and eciency in the short, medium and long term.
However, Pérez-Carballo (2013) make sure that management control is the mechanism by
which Management guarantees that the resources the company has are obtained and used
effectively and eciently to achieve the objectives of the organization, in addition that its
purpose is to direct the organization to develop the selected strategies in order to achieve
the established objectives.
Within the management processes, quality analysis is considered a fundamental category
to carry out the evaluation of higher education institutions in the world; however, the
denition of quality itself presents complexity in its conceptualization due to the number of
epistemological, practical and methodological interpretations assumed for this term.
This proposed model contains quality assurance as the heart of university processes, based
on an approach aimed at achieving results with or without accreditation purposes, and this
leads us to think a little about the implementation of a new organizational culture that is
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Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza y Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín
managed from all hierarchical levels and based on the 4 concepts established in the gure
1, for the achievement of quality assurance.
Figure 1. Quality assurance diagram. Source: author’s own elaboration.
These proposed elements are: Accreditation, Academic Qualication, Evaluation without
accreditation purposes and Evaluation for accreditation purposes. In this way, the current
institutional self-evaluation structure is made up of various models of classication,
qualication, and analysis of the data produced, including the multi-criteria method with
utility functions, the fuzzy logic model, and the cluster analysis method, all with the intention
of making the methods used more reliable and veriable.
Among some of the considerations, it is pointed out that:
In the case of a multi-criteria approach, the analyst seeks to build multiple criteria
based on various points of view. These points of view represent different axes
along which various actors in the decision process justify, transform and argue
their preferences” (CEAACES, 2013, p. 25)
Contextualization of the quality of Higher Education in Ecuador
At the university level, aspects such as academic quality, the equitable distribution in the allocation
of resources according to the established levels and quality standards, as well as the vertiginous
changes in the labor markets that lead to honest professional competencies and skills, justify
that the Inter-institutional System of Quality Assurance of Higher Education in the country
for accreditation
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Self-evaluation process and university quality in Ecuador
implements mechanisms to encourage universities to evaluate teaching, research, community
ties and institutional conditions, in the interest of better service and correct important aspects
at their levels of study, guaranteeing students a cognitive development and competencies in
accordance with the local, national and international socioeconomic reality, to comply with the
principle of constitutional and regulatory quality of higher education in Ecuador.
In this context, and despite the fact that a process of quality assurance of higher education
institutions has been developing, Naranjo (2016) points out that in Ecuador “a culture of evaluation
has not been generated” (p. 102) in this area and its relevance and excellence in teaching, social
mission, pedagogical modalities, academic levels, disciplinary elds, local and regional vocation
and others have not been considered. For Cruz (2009), an evaluation that seeks to ignore these
dimensions would necessarily be reduced to a disciplinary and vigilance exercise, which is not
enough to conceive of university quality in the country, since it requires the incorporation of social
dimensions, commitment to communities, relevance and social responsibility, among others.
In addition, explains Naranjo (2016) that university evaluation activities do not respond to the
specic purposes of the process, in addition, universities conceived as spaces of knowledge,
based on science, knowledge and academic excellence, in their great majority, they are not
responsible for responding with total coherence to the requirements of the students and the
economic and social needs of the country.
Considering the aforementioned aspects and legal requirements, it is imperative to promote
the self-evaluation of the universities as a complex social process in their ontological,
epistemological and axiological references, leading to progress and, if possible, to the
reconstruction of the processes of the institutions of higher education, trying to improve its
levels and respond to the expectations of users, according to the quality assurance system
in higher education in Ecuador as stipulated by law.
This indicates that, although it is true that signicant efforts have been made on university
evaluation, it is also true that it cannot respond to a single or global quality model and cannot
arise from theories and abstractions, as it is the result of actions that respond to specic
social needs, which exist in a specic period. In this regard, Cruz (2009) explains that quality
is valued according to the moment and the time, therefore, all the processes, indicators and
criteria must be designed for the context and the determined moment.
In Ecuador, in the LOES of 2018, in its chapter 2, article 3, it is established: “self-evaluation
is a process of critical, reective and participative analysis in order to identify its strengths
and weaknesses, with the object to undertake continuous improvement actions.” For this
reason, self-evaluation processes play a fundamental role in establishing the guidelines
to follow, since they show the way to go, in relation to compliance with quality standards,
where not only aspects are identied, but reectively, participatory and objectively analyzes
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each standard with its respective fundamental or substandard element, by a prepared and
trained commission responsible for the execution, internal and external coordination, and
monitoring of the plans.
Currently, there is a Model for the Evaluation of Universities and Polytechnic Schools of 2019,
which is the result of the discussion of the proposal worked by the Permanent Commission
of Institutional Evaluation of the CACES. This evaluation model is distributed as indicated in
table 1.
Table 1. University Assessment Model 2019
Axis Dimension Number Standards
Sources Responsible(s)
(7 standards)
They evaluate:
(4) to the Teacher
(3) to the Student
Planning 1
Planning of
teaching processes
5 8*
Execution of
teacher processes
5 11*
Ownership of
Data team
4A Teacher training Ec.
Data team
Planning 5
Planning of student
5 8*
Execution of
student processes
5 8*
Qualication of
undergraduate and
graduate students
Data team
(4 standards)
Planning 8 Research planning 5 10*
Execution 9
5 10*
Academic and
scientic production
5 5*
Production articles
in indexed journals
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Self-evaluation process and university quality in Ecuador
Axis Dimension Number Standards
Sources Responsible(s)
Link with society
(3 standards)
Planning 12 Linking Planning 5 10*
Execution 13 Execution Linking 5 10*
Results 14
Linking programs
and projects
5 4*
Strategic and
5 9*
Infrastructure and
5 5* Buildings
17 Libraries 5 4**
Internal Quality
5 6**
Student and
University Welfare
5 9**
20 Equal opportunities 5 10*
20 20 80 147
Source: author’s own elaboration.
All based on a rating scale for both core elements and standards, ranging from compliance,
approximation to compliance, partial compliance, insucient compliance or non-compliance.
The processes of self-evaluation and management of university quality in Ecuador are
constantly changing, however these improvements are based on a solid self-critical analysis
carried out by the Institutional Evaluation Commission of CACES, in relation to the previous
evaluation models and their implementation, also considers aspects of the approach that
is contemplated in the Institutional Evaluation Policy, which is based on the LOES of 2018,
which expresses ideas and opinions updated and approved by all those who converge in
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Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza y Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín
the decision-making of the regional System of Standardized indicators of Coexistence and
Citizen Security (SES for its acronym in Spanish).
The self-evaluation process is governed by three phases or moments: Planning the
self-assessment process; execution; and report generation and delivery of results.
In this sense, the self-evaluation and quality management should be oriented to follow the
line of the changes made to the regulations, where its purpose is to promote participatory
spaces for critical and purposeful analysis within the institutions, as well as to know the
realities based on academic-administrative conditions existing in the HEI to develop actions
that strengthen quality assurance. All these processes must contribute to the generation of a
culture of continuous evaluation and improvement, which is why one of the challenges faced
by self-evaluation processes is the in-depth analysis of information, that is, not only focusing
on the existence of this but also in analyzing the content.
Analyzing each of the aspects indicated, it can be conrmed that the purpose of the
established models to guide the guidelines to be followed in self-evaluation issues, is to
carry out the evaluations for accreditation purposes to the universities and polytechnic
schools (not categorize them). “Understanding that the ultimate goal is quality and not
accreditation” (LOES of 2018, Art. 95) the main objective (or purpose) is to assess how HEI
are complying, in a balanced way (or not), with the development of the three substantive
functions of the Ecuadorian university: teaching, research and innovation and connection
with society, which is the basis of the concept of quality established in article 93 of the
LOES of 2018 is dened as:
The quality principle establishes the continuous, self-reective search for
the improvement, assurance and collective construction of the culture
of higher educational quality, with the participation of all levels of higher
education institutions and the Higher Education System, based on the
balance of teaching, research and innovation and link with society, oriented
by relevance, inclusion, democratization of access and equity, diversity,
responsible autonomy, comprehensiveness, democracy, the production of
knowledge, the dialogue of knowledge, and citizen values.
In the 2019 evaluation model, some aspects were included as mentioned in gure 2.
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Self-evaluation process and university quality in Ecuador
Figure 2. Aspects considered in the 2019 evaluation model. Source: author’s own elaboration.
An aspect of relevance is the description and use of two types of indicators in the models
presented: the qualitative and quantitative. In this sense, the institutional self-evaluation
processes specify that the qualitative ones correspond to an armative proposition that
establishes a set of qualities that the HEI and programs must fulll to ensure a minimum
of established quality, while the quantitative standard presents and describes calculation
formulas and established variables.
This presents a reection, in the sense that, for qualitative indicators, there must be
well-detailed instruments to avoid the subjectivity of the evaluators, and thus be able to
clearly consider each of the deciencies in the analyzed processes. Through research,
the existence of institutional self-assessment models that only handle qualitative
indicators has been evidenced and this allows us to infer the concept of a stable culture
of continuous and objective self-assessment, while the model currently implemented in
Ecuador still manages mixed standards, that is to say qualitative and quantitative for their
evaluations, since the development of their quality culture is in consolidation, however
it is evident that since the rst evaluation processes to date the quantity of quantitative
standards has decreased substantially. These considerations force HEI to manage quality
standards oriented to systemic processes (input-transformation-output) and not only to
the fulllment of parameters under punctuated numerical scales.
The self-evaluation processes have made relative progress, but there is no evaluative practice that
has been internalized in institutional processes, which indicates that universities are not prepared
to overcome the process, since most of them had to start it with the adaptation of their structure
to the basic functions, namely: teaching, research, linkage and institutional conditions, taking into
account that said distribution does not always satisfy the requirements and equal conditions of
all universities. Hence the importance of advancing research that contributes and contributes
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Segundo Nelson Castillo-Cabeza y Raúl Alfonso Camacho-Marín
to consolidation through the implementation of the new 2019 evaluation model, where, among
other aspects, deadlines are established for the achievement of goals, which go hand in hand
with standards of quality and its respective fundamental elements and sources of information,
in addition to a modular structure that involves planning, execution and results. In addition, the
incorporation of process improvement tools or also called quality tools is recommended to start
the path towards a culture of continuous process improvement, which will help the formulation
and application of the improvement plan as a nal input within self-assessment processes.
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