Following up problems - quality assurance of education

Guideline for reporting, handling and follow-up of deviations in teaching and learning environment

Approved by: Head of Department for Education Quality
Valid from: 1 January 2023

Main page: Education Quality
See also: The students' page for reporting problems and discrepancies | Problem reporting system
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Education quality is created in the interaction between students and teachers, and in dialogue with members of working and social life. The overall goal is to educate candidates with in-demand skills that will contribute to the realization of NTNU’s vision Knowledge for a Better World. NTNU works in a systematic manner to improve the quality of all our study offers, and to ensure that students are given a sound learning environment. This work is anchored in NTNU’s strategy, with the aim that all education should be characterized by quality on a high international level and is about the different factors that affect the quality of the students’ study offers and learning environments, as well as about the universal design of physical surroundings and the students’ digital learning environments (ICT).

The quality of subjects and study programs is developed and improved as a result of input and feedback provided by students and staff through the usual channels:

  • Students are expected to provide feedback and input through active participation, for instance through direct contact with their teachers or by taking an active part in evaluations. Student Union representatives have a particular responsibility for participation. It is also an option to contact fellow students who are members of the reference group for the subject in question. If necessary, supervisors, teachers, course coordinators and student union representatives can give guidance to students regarding how they can contribute.
  • Members of staff are expected to give feedback regarding any needs for change in subjects and study programs through participation in dialogue within the academic environment or study council, or through evaluation reports.

If a student or member of staff have tried to provide feedback through ordinary channels without success, they are entitled to report a deviation. Deviations must be handled and followed up on «without unjustified delay» according to the provisions of the Public Administration Act 11a. This means that the person reporting the deviation is entitled to a preliminary response if the processing of the report takes a disproportionately long time.


The guideline for notification handling and follow-up of deviations in education and learning environment is intended to help ensure that all deviations are reported and that the reports are handled and followed up on with any measures necessary for improvement:

Scope and anchoring

The regulation is rooted in national requirements for quality assurance systems in higher education given in the University and University Colleges Act, the Higher Education Supervision Regulations (in Norwegian) and the Higher Education Quality Regulations (in Norwegian). The regulation and associated procedures are subject to NTNU’s Policy for Quality and Development of the Study Program Portfolio (pdf) and NTNU’s quality assurance system for education, and apply to all units, staff and students at NTNU.



The term deviation in education and learning environment applies to a variety of factors that may affect the students’ study and learning environment, on both subject and study program level. Examples could be errors and deficiencies relating to various processes such as the flow of information, feedback, and student guidance, learning and teaching formats, forms of examinations and assessments, scheduling, censorship, reference groups, equipment and premises, universal design etc.

For staff, this term may apply to matters related to subjects or study programs that go beyond the normal variation in quality. Such issues may have lasted for some time, or they have not been resolved within a reasonable timeframe. Examples are resource challenges, lack of equipment, censoring arrangements etc.


Grave and unacceptable conditions

Reports of grave and unacceptable conditions in connection with teaching or learning environment must not be reported as deviations in EQS – NTNU’s digital deviation report system. Examples of such incidents include bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, violence, threats, threatening behavior, deviations that are not followed up etc. Such incidents must instead be reported, handled and followed up in in accordance with NTNU’s guidelines for whistleblowing.

Students and staff who are in doubt about what to do, how to report such incidents or just need someone to talk to, can contact the following people (who all have a duty of confidentiality) for support:


Pro-Rector for Education

  • has the overall responsibility for ensuring that NTNU has a functional system for the reporting and handling of deviation notifications within the areas of education and learning environment and is also responsible for monitoring any emerging trends and for creating reports. The Pro-Rector delegates tasks further down in the organization according to the specifics described in more detail in this guideline.

The Education Quality Division

The Education Quality Division is responsible for:

  • Making known in the organization the guidelines for notification, handling and follow up of deviations in education and learning environment.
  • Monitoring trends related to deviations, as well as identifying and executing any central corrective measures for further quality development
  • Reporting statistics on education and learning environment deviations to the Central Education Committee, the Learning Environment Committee and NTNU’s Board.

Head of the unit

The head of the unit in question (the dean or head of department) is responsible for:

  • Making known within the unit the guidelines and procedures related to notifications, handling and follow up of deviations in education and learning environment
  • Following up on deviations in their own unit and ensuring that improvements and necessary measures are implemented “without undue delay”, cf. section 11a of the Norwegian Administration Act. To handle a deviation means to find out what has happened and why it happened as well as to implement measures to prevent it from happening again.
  • Assigning access to the system to staff members and ensuring that this access is updated in the event of any changes
  • Reporting all deviations in education and learning environment in the Faculty’s quality report.

Notification recipient

This is the person at the faculty who has been assigned the task of receiving all notifications of deviations in education and learning environment, and is responsible for:

  • Considering whether the content of a notification falls under the definition of a deviation, whether it contains any sensitive personal data or if it concerns gravely unacceptable conditions, as well as deciding on a further course of action in accordance with the procedure for handling and follow-up of deviations in education and learning environment
  • Forwarding reports to either the local case worker at the faculty or to another faculty, or rejecting the report, in which case the reason for rejection must be explained. Reports of grave and unacceptable conditions must be rejected and registered again on the correct notification form after the informant has been notified.
  • Collaborating with other units at NTNU in the handling of notifications, in situations where this is necessary

The Case Worker

The case worker receives reports from the notification recipient, and is responsible for:

  • Assessing the content of the report and deciding on further processing in accordance with the procedure for handling and follow up of deviations in education and learning environment
  • Monitoring that the case is processed in a satisfactory manner, obtaining necessary, and in some cases supplementary, information and thus ensuring sound documentation in EQS.
  • Sending the report for a hearing if there is a need for internal discussions or other clarifications.
  • Following up on the implementation of any corrective measures and closing the deviation case.
  • Following up on reported deviations as soon as possible and within a reasonable period of time (4 weeks), cf. the provisions of the Norwegian Administration Act § 11a. If it takes a disproportionately long time to process the case, the executive officer is responsible for providing a preliminary response.

Staff and students

Students and staff at NTNU can report deviations in education and learning environment through the deviation report form in accordance with the procedure for reporting deviations in education and learning environment.

All students and staff must have attempted to report their feedback and input through NTNU’s regular channels before reporting a deviation. Students have the opportunity to provide feedback and input directly to their teachers, by actively participating in evaluations, or through reports to fellow students who are members of the relevant subject’s reference group. Staff can provide their feedback through dialogue in their working environment, in the study program council or through evaluation reports.

If such reports are not followed up on, a report of a deviation in education and learning environment may be reported to EQS. In cases where a reported deviation is not followed up in accordance with the provisions of the Administration Act § 11a, both staff and students have the option to submit a notification ("blow the whistle") through the notification form.

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