CHEA Requires Outcomes
This past year, CACREP submitted its re-recognition application to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) using the 2010 CHEA Criteria for Recognition. The application and review process is very similar to what programs undergo when they seek CACREP accreditation and includes hosting a site visitor (observer) to the accrediting agency’s decision-making meeting. CACREP hosted a CHEA observer at its July 2012 meeting. One of the changes implemented in 2010 CHEA recognition criteria, is an increased focus on the role of accrediting agencies in insuring accountability to the public on various measures of institutional an/or program performance. Accrediting agencies are now expected to not only encourage institutions and programs to transparently and routinely share information on graduation and employment rates, pass rates on licensure exams, student learning outcomes and other evaluation measures, but to monitor that this is occurring. The applicable CHEA criterion is cited below:
12.B DEMONSTRATES ACCOUNTABILITY. The accrediting organization demonstrates public accountability in two ways. It has standards that call for institutions to provide consistent information about academic quality and student achievement and thus to foster continuing public awareness, confidence, and investment. Second, the accrediting organization itself demonstrates public involvement in its accreditation activities for the purpose of obtaining perspectives independent of the accrediting organization. Representatives of the public may include students, parents, persons from businesses and the professions, elected and appointed officials, and others. To be recognized, the accrediting organization provides evidence that it has implemented:
1. accreditation standards or policies that require institutions or programs routinely to provide reliable information to the public on their performance, including student achievement as determined by the institution or program;
Although conducting program evaluations, including student learning outcomes, and disseminating an official report of the findings have been a part of CACREP’s accreditation standards for years, the 2009 CACREP Standards have explicit requirements for collecting and reporting these findings to the program constituents, including the public. As a way of demonstrating compliance with CHEA Criteria 12.B.1 above, we are encouraging programs to make certain types of outcomes data available on their websites. This information may be directly related to the official report of evaluation results required by CACREP Standards, but it need not be limited to this information. Examples of outcomes data that the public is seeking include completion/graduation rates, placement/employment rates, and pass rates on exams such as the NCE or state licensure exams. You may choose to report these figures each year, or they could represent a 2-3 year period. Whatever you post should be easily accessible and the information should be shared in a format that is understandable to future students and other members of the public.
To further encourage the use of outcomes, CHEA has established an annual award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes. The deadline for this annual award is October 15 and information can be found at the link below. We would love to see one of our Counselor Education programs recognized for the hard work and great job they do in evaluating student learning outcomes.