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THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BOLOGNA PROCESS AND ACADEMIC OUTCOMES: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY AT REY JUAN CARLOS UNIVERSITY

The Spanish university system has undergone substantial transformations since the end of the 2000s as a direct consequence of the implementation of the Bologna Process. This Process has meant having to pass from a teaching-centered model to a model focused on learning. While in the first model students are passive and professors are the principal agents responsible for organizing, monitoring, managing and evaluating, in the second model, students become the principal agent (active subject) and professors become advisers, mentors and motivators or facilitators. Now, the main role of professors is to help students gain certain a set of competences which are deemed essential for their future careers. Importantly, it is also generally assumed that the model focused on learning should improve academic outcomes of students. The main purpose of our study is to empirically explore whether different indicators of academic outcomes have improved after the implementation of the Bologna Process. To this end, we carry out a comparative analysis of grades achieved by students in a specific subject (Strategic Management) taught at the Rey Juan Carlos University in several courses before and after of the implementation of the Bologna Process. We use a contingency analysis and three indicators of academic outcomes which have been widely used in the literature: exam attendance, performance and success rates. Our results can be summarized as follows: First, we find that grades significantly depend on the methodology followed ―in terms of Bologna or non-Bologna. Thus, monitoring the Bologna methodology has resulted in a greater number and percentages of students scoring pass, good, outstanding or distinction. But there are also more students receiving a failing grade. We think that this may be because students have now more incentive to stand for various tests and exams. Second, contrary to our expectations, not all indicators of academic performance have improved since the success rate has significantly worsened with the Bologna methodology. Therefore, we suggest the need to carefully analyze the benefits of the methodology linked to the implementation of the Bologna process, at least in terms of overall improvement of academic outcomes and, specifically, with respect to the success rate.