ACCREDITATION PROCESS AND USE OF
(From Schuh and Upcraft, Assessment
in Student Affairs and the Handbook of Accreditation, NCA)
North Central Association of Colleges and
Schools: At http://www.ncachihe.org and
A. Voluntary and is a non-governmental agency
B. Institutions voluntarily seek accreditation; however, institutions must be accredited for students to be eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs
C. Institutions are reviewed every ten years
D. In general, the accrediting associations have similar processes, but variations exist
There are six regional agencies providing
accreditation on a geographic basis:
2. While independent of one another, they cooperate extensively
3. NCA is responsible for accreditation of 19 states
4. NCA was formed in 1895; it began accrediting institutions in 1913
5. In June, 2000, NCA adopted new criteria based on an internal self-evaluation for several years
6. NCA has a new mission statement, core values, vision, and strategic priorities
7. NCA’s mission: “Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher education
8. NCA’s core values: quality, integrity, innovation, diversity, inclusiveness, service, collaboration, and learning
9. NCA’s traditional program for maintaining accredited status was given a new identity in 2003: Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ)
E. Accreditation evaluators meet five criteria
1. Official, full-time employees of NCA institutions
2. Have appropriate training and experience
3. Meet the projected needs of the commission
4. Represent a diversity of people
5. Are willing and able to devote their time and energy to the process
North Central Association: five key
factors in long-range assessment of student learning
A. The governing board supports the assessment
of student learning across the institution’s educational programs
B. Senior executive officers provide leadership
and support for assessment
C. Sufficient resources are allocated to
sustain ongoing assessment efforts
D. Funds are available to support changes that
need to be made to enhance student academic achievement
E. All planning and budgeting processes
include ways in which assessment information can influence institutional
A. Assessment needs to be done on an annual
B. Regular, routine assessments need to be
C. The assessment process needs to be
comprehensive, applied to a wide range of programs
D. All programs in Student Affairs need to hold assessments, including assessing student needs, student satisfaction with programs and services, and measuring the impact of programs and service through outcomes assessments
A. The organization engages in a self-study
process for approximately two years and prepares a report of its findings in
accordance with Commission expectations
B. The Commission sends an evaluation team of
consultant-evaluators to conduct a comprehensive visit for continued
accreditation and to write a report containing the team’s recommendation.
C. The documents relating to the comprehensive
visit are reviewed by a Readers Panel, or in some situations, a Review
D. The Institutional Actions Committee (IAC)
takes action on the Readers Panel’s recommendation. (If a Review Committee
reviewed the visit, the Review Committee takes action.)
E. The Board of Trustees validates the IAC or
Review Committee, finalizing the action.
A. Do you have an assessment plan?
B. Are you doing assessment, and if so, what
have you done or are you doing?
C. Has what you have done led to improvement of services and programs?
A. What is your Student Affairs mission, and
do your services and programs reflect this mission?
B. Who are your students, and is there
evidence that your student services and programs match well with the needs of
C. What evidence is there that your students
are satisfied with the student services and programs that you offer?
D. Is there a relationship between use of your
student services and programs and intended student outcomes?
E. Does the assessment of your services and
programs focus on student learning outcomes?
F. How would you describe your campus climate?
G. Can you demonstrate that your student
services and programs meet accepted national professional standards and
service- specific accreditation?
H. Do the breadth, depth, and quality of your
student services and programs compare well with institutions similar to you?
I. Are your student services and programs
Use of Professional Standards: Council
for the Advancement of Standards for Higher Education (CAS)
A. Chartered in 1979, CAS is a consortium of
professional associations to develop standards for student services and student
development programs in higher education
B. Standards have been developed for
institutions to implement self-evaluations
C. Standards use language like “must”,
“shall”, or “will”, while guidelines use “should” or “may”.
D. Eight separate steps are recommended for
implementing a CAS self-study.
1. Decide on a self-study approach
2. Identify guidelines to use
3. Clarify criterion measures to be used
4. Identify and summarize evaluative data
5. Describe discrepancies between criteria and practice
6. Delineate required corrective actions
7. Recommend program enhancement actions
8. Prepare an action plan