The answer is a resounding yes, according to a new ASPA report. 100% of respondents include outcomes assessment as a basis for their accreditation requirements. While this had been an anecdotal assumption in the accrediting community, this is the first time accreditors’ requirements have been analyzed in search of best practice. The report presents data on the types of measures accreditors use (placement, retention), the use of bright line indicators, and differences between CHEA and USDE recognitions.
Bottom line, tremendous diversity exists in the approaches. Accreditors are responding to their labor markets, the presence of licensing exams and their perceived utility, the nature of the skills required for a profession, and the range of programs in their scope (degree levels, geographic location, delivery modes, etc.). As a global accreditor without field licensure requirements, NASPAA-COPRA focuses heavily on assessment of competencies and indicators driven by program mission.
This is a first step in analyzing what specialized accreditors do with respect to accountability. The report stops short of providing value judgments on the effectiveness of particular strategies, and as would be expected, it opens as many questions as it attempts to answer. Are these measures effective? Do they force improvement? These are questions saved for the next inquiry. Research encouraged!
To read the entire report, click here!