The regional accrediting associations that I have chosen are the North Central Association for Colleges and Schools (HLC), and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The reason I chose those organizations is that my present home located in San Diego, CA makes me curious as to how WASC operates. HLC was chosen because my future home, and ultimate target for a teaching position, is Bloomington, IN. Indiana is one of the19 states in HLC’s jurisdiction.
This discussion will compare the ways that each association defines, addresses, and approaches an educational institution’s learning assessments program during the accreditation process.
Higher Learning ...view middle of the document...
It has a process for directing entering students to courses and programs for which the students are adequately prepared. (Accountability assessment.)
A2. The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs. (Improvement assessment.)
B1. The institution has clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals. (Accountability assessment.)
B2. The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs. (Accountability assessment.)
B3. The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning. (Improvement assessment.) (“Accreditation Policy”, 2012).
Expectations of Learning Assessments
HLC’s expectations on student learning assessments are high. The Commission integrates aspects of student learning assessment throughout its accreditation process. That being said, “focus on student learning” is one of ten guiding principles for HLC accreditation (“Guiding Values, 2011).
“For the purpose of accreditation, the Higher Learning Commission regards the teaching mission of any institution as primary. Institutions will have other missions, such as research, healthcare, and public service, and these other missions may have a shaping and highly valuable effect on the education that the institution provides. In the accreditation process, these missions should be recognized and considered in relation to the teaching mission.
A focus on student learning encompasses every aspect of students’ experience at an institution: how they are recruited and admitted; costs they are charged and how they are supported by financial aid; how well they are informed and guided before and through their work at the institution; the breadth, depth, currency, and relevance of the learning they are offered; their education through co-curricular offerings; the effectiveness of their programs; what happens after they leave the institution. (p. 1)
HLC best demonstrates its principles/standards for student learning assessments through their Academy for Assessment of Student Learning. This academy works with the institution on a 4-year basis on various programs and projects that serve as a way to complete requirements under the HLC accreditation programs: PEAQ and AQIP, and can serve as collecting evidence for accreditation Criteria or Core Component (“Academy, 2011).
Since 1998, HLC has integrated the federal-mandated third party comment process into its regular accrediting processes since the 1997 academic year. HLC requires institutions undergoing comprehensive evaluation (initial or continued candidacy or accreditation) or quality checkup visits to publish basic information about the visit in appropriate publications and invite the public to provide written comments to the HLC. The HLC also receives...