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Title:Regional accreditation and learning outcomes assessment: mapping the territory
Author(s):Provezis, Staci J.
Director of Research:Ikenberry, Stanley O.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cain, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ikenberry, Stanley O.; Bresler, Liora; Baber, Lorenzo D.
Department / Program:Ed Organization and Leadership
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Higher Education
Student Learning
Outcomes Assessment
Abstract:This case study examined the intersection of collegiate-level student learning outcomes assessment with regional accreditation to understand how regional accreditation policies and practices leverage student learning outcomes efforts on US college campuses. To that end, the standards of each of the regional accreditation agencies were carefully reviewed and representatives from the regional accreditation agencies (with the exception of NWCCU) were interviewed. In addition, data was gathered from a Council for Regional Accreditation Commissions (C-RAC) and National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) Symposium on student learning outcomes assessment, in October 2009. The information gathered from the documents, interviews, and the symposium were reviewed and analyzed for emergent themes. These themes reveal similarities and differences between the accreditors, primarily in their stated expectations for defining, assessing, and using outcomes; for prescribing practices; for transparency; for faculty engagement; for accreditation follow-ups; and for student learning outcomes assessment resources. It is the contention of this study that learning outcomes assessment is janus-faced in its dual emphasis on improvement and accountability, and that these two concerns remain in irresolvable tension within the accreditation process. The regional accreditation agencies are in many ways more similar than different in regards to their expectations for learning outcomes assessment. Even so, they have their own “habitus” or set of practices that are influenced by the region. Their involvement in C-RAC and their adherence to the Principles set forth by this organization helps structure the field, so the logic of accreditation practice is the result of regions sharing and discussing strategies, making these strategies transferrable--or transposable.
Issue Date:2010-05-20
Rights Information:© 2010 Staci J. Provezis
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-20
Date Deposited:May 2010

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