Skip navigation to content

Enhancement-led institutional review (ELIR)


Enhancement-led institutional review (ELIR) is one of five main elements of the Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF); Scotland’s approach to managing the quality of the student learning experience and providing public confidence in the quality and standards of higher education. Developed by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, Universities Scotland, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Scotland (QAA Scotland) and student representative bodies, ELIR was introduced to the higher education sector in Academic Year 2003-4.

According to QAA Scotland, the main focus of ELIR is to ‘consider an institution's strategic approach to enhancement, placing a particular emphasis on the arrangements for improving the student learning experience. ELIR also examines the institution's ability to secure the academic standards of its awards’. All Scottish Higher Education Institutions are reviewed under this system.

The review process

ELIR reviews are carried out by a team of six reviewers comprising one student reviewer, one international reviewer, three senior UK-based academic reviewers and one coordinating reviewer.

Each institution is required to submit a self-evaluation document called a Reflective Analysis along with supporting documentation. This document and initial meetings with staff and students are used by the review team to develop themes for exploration during the review visits. These themes address the institution's approach to managing:

  • strategic quality enhancement activity
  • the student learning experience
  • the monitoring and review of quality and academic standards.

At the end of the review, the ELIR team produces a full report and a summary report of its findings. One year on, the University is invited to prepare a Year-On Report that discusses how the institution is addressing any recommendations made in the ELIR report. Annual meetings with the QAA facilitate discussion of progress.

The University’s ELIR review: Spring 2015

The University of St Andrews was most recently reviewed in February and March 2015 when the University was judged as having 'effective arrangements for managing academic standards and the student learning experience. These arrangements are likely to continue to be effective in the future'. This is the highest possible judgement.

The key documents produced in connection with the report were as follows:


The ELIR 4 cycle starts in AY 2017-18, with The University of St Andrews scheduled for review in spring 2020.


Related links

General enquiries

Nicola Milton
Head of Education Policy & Quality
+44 (0)1334 46 2131

Ros Campbell
Academic Policy Officer (Quality), Proctor's Office
+44 (0)1334 46 3600