Assessing Student Learning in Community Colleges

Section 1

Section 2
 Background  Survey
What is Assessment?
Why Assessment?
Educational Improvement
Formative Feedback
Learning Paradigm
Prompting Learning
Section 3
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Section 4
Assessment Tools and Data

Section 5
Course Assessment

Section 6
Program Assessment


Section 7
Closing the Loop

Section 8
Implementing Assessment Training on Campus


Section 9
References & Resources



Using Materials from this Website

ACCJC-WASC Accreditation                            
This material is taken directly from the ACCJC-WASC website

What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a status granted to an educational institution that has been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality. Institutions voluntarily seek accreditation and it is conferred by non-governmental bodies.

Accreditation has two fundamental purposes:
  -to assure the quality of the institution and to assist in the improvement of the institution.

Accreditation of an institution by an institutional accrediting body certifies to the general public that the institution:
  -has appropriate purposes.
  -has the resources needed to accomplish its purposes.
  -can demonstrate that it is accomplishing its purposes.
  -gives reason to believe it will continue to accomplish its purposes.

How does the Commission determine if an institution meets accreditation standards?

An institution seeking initial accreditation prepares an extensive report on itself based on the criteria set forth in the document on Eligibility requirements for Accreditation. This period of extensive self study is followed by an on site visit by a team of peers selected by the Commission. Based on its findings, the team makes a recommendation to the Commission regarding the accreditation status of the institution. The team will recommend denial, candidacy, or initial accreditation. The Commission then acts to determine accreditation status, communicating its decision to the institution. Once accredited, an institution is expected to comply with the eligibility requirements and accreditation criteria continuously and must be evaluated periodically.

How often are colleges evaluated?
Colleges maintain accreditation through continuous adherence to accreditation criteria as set forth by the Commission. Colleges follow a six year cycle during which institutional review is continuous. These reviews includes an Annual Report, a Midterm Report, completion of a comprehensive institutional self study, and an evaluation team peer review. The Commission frequently requests for any other reports.

Do colleges ever lose accreditation?
Loss of accreditation occurs very infrequently because one of the fundamental purposes of the Commission is to foster educational excellence. The Commission, therefore, offers an array of services to institutions in need of support in modifying practices that are interfering with institutional mission. This support is intended to assist institutions in avoiding loss of accreditation. However, if in the judgment of the Commission, an institution has not satisfactorily explained or corrected matters of which it has been given notice, its accreditation may be terminated. Termination of accreditation is subject to a request for review and appeal, with the accredited status of the institution continuing pending completion of the appeal process.

What are the benefits of accreditation?
Accreditation provides both tangible and intangible benefits. Accreditation certifies to the public that an institution meets or exceeds specific standards of quality. Accreditation facilitates institutional eligibility to participate in Title IV student financial aid programs. Accreditation provides for a process of periodic self and peer review. These activities are a positive force in improving institutional effectiveness. Many institutions rely on regional accreditation in their decisions to recognize transfer credit.
Does accreditation mean that credits and degrees can transfer to another institution?
While it is typically true that many institutions recognize transfer credits only from regionally accredited institutions, the basic principle underlying issues of transfer is that each institution is responsible for determining its own policies and practices in regard to transfer and award of credit. The Commission requires that institutions have a policy on transfer of credit by which the institution certifies that credits accepted achieve educational objectives comparable to its own courses.

Does the Commission rank colleges?
Since each college is unique and has its own mission, the Commission does not rank colleges. The responsibility of the Commission is to accredit colleges based on standards of good practice in higher education.

Can the Commission recommend a college to a student?
The Commission does not recommend colleges. Specific information about colleges can be located in the many reference books found in libraries. Other valuable sources of information are high school or college counselors and advisors, or college admissions officers.

What happens to a student's records when a college closes?
Commission policy states that when a college is closing, all academic, financial aid information, and other records should be prepared for permanent filing. The college should arrange with the state department of higher education, another appropriate agency, or another college or university for the filing of student records. Notification regarding the location of records and their accessibility should be sent to all students, including where possible, a copy of the student's record.

Who evaluates the Commission?
The Commission is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reliable agency of accreditation and must go through a periodic review process. Previously ACCJC was recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA) through a review process. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a non profit organization of colleges and universities, assumed the recognition process from CORPA on January 1, 1997. CHEA recognizes, coordinates, and periodically reviews the work of its recognized accrediting bodies and the appropriateness of existing or proposed accrediting bodies and their activities.

The specific WASC standards are available at this link