Skills beyond school

Who’s who in AHELO: The governance of the project and the various groups involved


List of Acronyms


Steering Committees (EDPC, IMHE GB)

Country representatives (GNE, NPMs)

OECD Secretariat

International Contractors | Expert Groups

Stakeholders Consultative Group


The Committees steering the project:

Education Policy Committee (EDPC)

Representing OECD countries, the EDPC steers and provides strategic direction for all OECD work on education. The strategic policy decision of whether to take the AHELO feasibility study work forward beyond the feasibility study stage lies with the EDPC.


Programme for Institutional Management in Higher Education Governing Board (IMHE GB)

The IMHE Governing Board is responsible for the broader management of the AHELO feasibility study. Through the IMHE GB, governments and institutions determine AHELO’s policy priorities in the context of the OECD programme of work  objectives, and oversee adherence to these priorities during implementation.

The IMHE GB provides a platform for the engagement of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with Governments in AHELO in a way which ensures that the approaches adopted take account of institutional needs and concerns. IMHE is open to all recognised HEIs in OECD countries, as well as associations of HEIs and representatives of Governments. In consultation with the OECD Secretariat, the IHME GB:

  • Determines the AHELO Feasibility Study’s policy objectives;
  • Ensures compliance with the policy objectives and design parameters at milestones during the implementation; and
  • Enables participating countries, agencies and HEIs to be fully informed of all aspects of the implementation.

More on the IMHE project

Country representatives

Countries directly involved in the AHELO feasibility study shape the project in three principal ways:

  • As members of the IHME GB, they can determine the policy objectives for the AHELO feasibility study;
  • As participants in the AHELO GNE, they contribute to shaping technical aspects of the feasibility study in coordination withe Contractors; and
  • Through their National Project Managers (NPMs), they implement the project at the national level.

The AHELO Group of National Experts (GNE)

The technical nature of the AHELO feasibility study has led the EDPC and the IMHE GB to delegate decisions on the methods, timing and principles of the feasibility study to the AHELO GNE. Its members are nominated by national delegations. The AHELO GNE is the main steering mechanism for the technical aspects of the AHELO feasibility study.

The AHELO GNE provides a locus for discussion which also allows OECD member countries which are not directly involved in the feasibility study to have their say and monitor progress. The AHELO feasibility study model can therefore utilise the strengths of all OECD countries in the development of the AHELO feasibility study, irrespective of their direct participation in the study. In consultation with the OECD Secretariat, the AHELO GNE:

  • Provides guidance on directions for the project – in line with the policy objectives established by the IMHE GB;
  • Makes key decisions relating to the design and conduct of the project, including tendering processes;
  • Provides input to the development of the assessment instruments and contextual surveys to ensure that the diverse cultural and curricular contexts of participating countries and HEIs are reflected in the assessments;
  • Establishes priorities for indicators, analysis and data-collection instrument development;
  • Ensures compliance with the policy objectives established by the IMHE Governing Board at key milestones during the implementation of the feasibility study; and
  • Guides the preparation, review, and completion of all reports from the AHELO feasibility study.

National Project Managers (NPMs)

The National Project Managers are nominated by participating countries. The NPM is responsible for the implementation of the AHELO feasibility study at national level. More specifically, the NPM has overall responsibility for ensuring that all required tasks are carried out on schedule and in accordance with the prescribed technical standards and survey operations guidelines, and for documenting processes implemented at national level.

Countries participating in the feasibility study

The OECD Secretariat

OECD Secretariat is responsible for the overall management of the AHELO feasibility study. Under the guidance of the AHELO GNE, and in line with the policy objectives established by the IMHE GB, the OECD Secretariat:

  • Builds consensus among AHELO participating countries at the policy level, both during the preparation of the terms of references and at milestone points of the feasibility study;
  • Engages consultants and contractors to implement specified activities;
  • Prepares terms of reference for the contracting of the AHELO feasibility study work;
  • Monitors contractors for quality assurance purposes;
  • Serves as the interface between the AHELO GNE and the contractors during all stages of the AHELO feasibility study;
  • Participates actively during the development of all documents and reports and oversees the documentation process of the AHELO feasibility study, including approval of all documents before they are provided to participating countries (meeting documents, manuals, test material, etc);
  • Arbitrates disagreements between AHELO participating countries and the contractors under guidelines established by the AHELO GNE;
  • Provides the IHME GB and the EDPC with regular progress reports, as well as a report on financial and contractual management on an annual basis; and
  • Produces the final report(s) from the feasibility study in collaboration with the AHELO GNE, the contractors and the participating countries, on the basis of the statistical analyses and reports provided by the contractors.

The AHELO Team

The International Contractors

The bulk of the work, including the overall assessment design, synergies across various strands and management of the project are being contracted out to an international Consortium let by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

The AHELO Consortium steers the project’s technical directions in accordance with the AHELO GNE’s guidance and under the monitoring of the OECD Secretariat.

The responsibility of the different parts of the work has been divided as follows: a contract with CAE for Module A and a contract with the ACER-led Consortium for the other Modules.

Module A

Instrument for the Generic Skills Strand

CAE (Council for Aid to Education), USA

Module B

Instrument for the Economics Strand

ETS (Educational Testing Services), USA

Module C

Instrument for the Engineering Strand

ACER (Australia), NIER (National Institute for Educational Policy Research - Japan) and University of Florence (Italy)

Module D

Instruments for the Contextual Dimension

ACER, CHEPS (Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies - the Netherlands) and CPR (Center for Postsecondary Research - USA)

Module E

Project management, survey operations and support for the analysis of the feasibility study results



Expert Groups

Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

The TAG is a mechanism through which the Contractor can draw on a wide range of international expertise and advice in the development of instruments and questionnaires as well as on operational and methodological issues more generally. The TAG is a consultative group that provides guidance of a technical, scholarly or practical nature. The TAG will also oversee the development of the Contextual Dimension instruments.


Expert Groups for the Economics and Engineering strands

Two expert groups have been set up by the Consortium (one for each discipline-specific strand) to oversee the development of the frameworks and instruments for their respective strands. The experts participating in these groups are respected and eminent in their field, and have strong links with the relevant disciplinary or policy community in their countries and beyond, in order to maximise the technical input from a range of participating countries.


Stakeholders’ Consultative Group

The OECD has invited a group of organisations with a stake or interest in higher education quality to join the AHELO Stakeholders Consultative Group. It is a channel through which information about AHELO can be presented to, and discussed with key stakeholders. It is also a forum where those stakeholders can expose and formulate ideas about how the study can be implemented. Members of this group include international associations of quality assurance agencies, students or universities as well as representatives of employers and industries.