U.S. Regional Accrediting Associations

U.S. Regional Accrediting Associations

Regional Accreditation and Student Learning: Principles for Good Practices (pdf file)

  • From the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC).
  • Posted by SACS.

Regional Accreditation and Learning Outcomes: Mapping the Territory

  • This 2010 NILOA Occasional Paper summarized the similarities and differences in regional accreditors’ approaches to assessing learning outcomes (pdf file).

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

  • Publications
    • Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation
      • Accreditation standards (Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, a pdf file). Each standard includes descriptions of evidence for compliance. See Standards 7 (institutional assessment) and 14 (assessment of student learning) as well as comments in others such as Standard 12 (general education).
      • Revised standards, approved Fall 2014 (pdf file,): See Standard V (educational effectiveness assessment) and Criterion 7 in Standard III (student learning opportunities).
    • Guidelines for Institutional Improvement includes a number of documents about assessment (pdf files).
  • Events & conferences.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)

  • In the Standards for Accreditation, see Standards 4.48-4.55.

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

  • Information about HLC’s Pathways for Reaffirmation of Accreditation.
    • See related resources for overviews and additional information about each pathway. The pathway booklets are pdf files.
    • For more information about the AQIP pathway (Academic Quality Improvement Program), select AQIP from the dropdown menu for accreditation processes.
  • Criteria for Accreditation are available from the dropdown menu for accreditation processes. Select criteria, eligibility & candidacy, then criteria for accreditation.
    • In Criterion 4 (teaching & learning: evaluation & improvement), see especially Core Component 4.B. Core components in some other Criteria also refer to assessment and the use of assessment/evaluation information.
    • In the statement of Assumed Practices (in the right-hand menu More about the criteria), see section C.6.
  • The Academy for Assessment of Student Learning provides institutions with opportunities for training and guided assessment experience. In the dropdown menu for about the commission, select programs & services for information about the Academy.
  • Levels of Implementation worksheets and matrices for evaluating an institution’s assessment practices, and a whitepaper on using the worksheets (pdf files).
    • These worksheets are not specific to HLC accreditation and can be useful to any institution.
    • They are guides for self-examination, not accreditation checklists. (They’re no longer part of the Criteria for Accreditation because too many institutions treated them as checklists.)

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges: Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

  • Overview of and guidelines for the accreditation process, and an FAQ about accreditation.
  • Select Standards and Policies, the Accreditation standards. See Standard 4 (effectiveness and improvement).

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Commission on Colleges: (SACS/COC)

  • Select Accrediting Standards, then Principles of Accreditation, 2012 Edition (pdf file). Standards and requirements related to student learning outcomes assessment include Core Requirement 2.5 (institutional effectiveness), Standards 3.3.1 (institutional effectiveness) & 3.5.1 (college-level competencies), and Federal Requirement 4.1 (about evaluating student achievement).
  • In Policies & Publications / Handbooks, the Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation (pdf file) has comments, notes, and guidance about the standards and requirements.
  • A few entries in the lists of Quality Enhancement Plans on the Institutional Resources page include links to institutions’ websites with details of the plans, how they assess QEP outcomes, etc. (scroll down to Quality Enhancement Plans for these pdf files).
  • Links to other accreditation sites.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

  • The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (ACSCU)
    • From the menu at the bottom of the page, select the Handbook of Accreditation (2013 edition, view online or download as pdf file). The Core Commitment to Student Learning and Success emphasizes student learning outcomes assessment. Standards emphasizing student learning outcomes assessment include #s 1 (defining institutional purposes and ensuring educational objectives, see especially section 1.2), 2 (achieving educational objectives through core functions, especially sections 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, & 2.11), and 4 (creating an organization committed to quality assurance, institutional learning, and improvement, especially sections 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, & 4.5).
    • From the dropdown menu at the top of the page, select Documents.
      • Discussions of the nature, types, and uses of evidence in the 2002 Evidence Guide have much that’s relevant to assessing student learning outcomes (pdf file).
      • Rubrics to evaluate the effectiveness of assessment processes: See the Assessment rubrics (pdf file) and theEducational Effectiveness Framework (Word document).
    • Assessment Leadership Academy: See Events in the dropdown menu for an overview of the Academy
      • The November-December 2013 issue of Assessment Update (v25, no6) has articles about the Academy’s development and impact.
  • The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
    • Select Eligibility Requirements & Standards, then Accreditation Standards (pdf file).
      Standards with components related to student learning outcomes assessment include I.B (improving institutional effectiveness), II.A (student learning programs and services), II.B (student support services, especially section 4), and II.C (library and learning support
      services, especially section 2).
    • Select Publications & Policies.
      • In the Guide to evaluating institutions, see especially the sections on Themes, Characteristics of Evidence, and on the various Standards (pdf file).
      • In the Rubric for evaluating institutional effectiveness, see Part III: Student Learning Outcomes (pdf file).
    • In Other Resources, see the bibliographies on student learning and outcomes assessment (pdf files).

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