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Expectations for Two Reviews

Clarifying the Focus

The WASC Standards for Accreditation apply to both the Capacity and Preparatory and the Educational Effectiveness Reviews. At the same time, there are important distinctions in focus for each review, as highlighted in the first table. The second table focuses more specifically on expectations for student learning at the time of each review.

NOTE: This table is intended to be illustrative of the differences between the two reviews and does not cover all aspects of each Standard.

Capacity and Preparatory Review Educational Effectiveness Review
Primary Focus of Each Review: Capacity: Institutional purposes, integrity, stability, resources, structures, processes, and policies including capacity to assess student learning
Preparatory: Focus on issues in preparation for a successful Educational Effectiveness Review
Student Learning: Evidence of educational achievement
Institutional Learning: Evidence and actions for improving performance; results of review processes
Standard 1: Defining Institutional Purpose and Ensuring Educational Objectives
  • Clear sense of institutional purpose
  • Integrity and good business policies and practices
  • Institutional and program objectives
  • Public accountability and transparency
  • Diversity plans and policies
  • Achievement of, or tangible progress toward meeting, institutional goals
  • Multiple indicators of effectiveness
  • Evidence of integrity
  • Analysis of data on diversity; use of analysis for assessment and improvement
Standard 2: Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions Infrastructure to support learning:
  • Stated learning outcomes
  • Defined levels of achievement
  • Program review process
  • Support for faculty scholarship
  • Support for academic and co-curricular learning
Educational results:
  • Completed program reviews
  • Assessment results at the course, program and institutional levels
  • Results of assessment of student services and support
  • Use of these results to plan for and make improvements
Standard 3: Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational Structures to Assure Sustainability
  • Adequate resources including:
    • faculty and staff
    • policies and practices re: faculty and staff
    • financial sustainability
    • library and information technology
  • Sound organizational structures and decision-making processes
  • Qualified and adequate administration, board and faculty governance
  • Appropriate alignment, commitment, and use of resources to support learning
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Effective governance and decision making
Standard 4: Creating an Organization Committed to Learning and Improvement
  • Planning processes that involve constituents and are aligned with goals
  • Adequate institutional research
  • Quality improvement systems designed in alignment with mission
  • Wide use of evidence in planning
  • Engagement of leadership at all levels in learning processes
  • Quality improvement system results
  • Evidence of a learning organization

Expectations About Student Learning

Institutions and teams should see evidence of the following, related to student learning, at the time of the designated review. Each cell below includes references to the related Criteria for Review (CFR).
Note: Not all foci in the CPR have a direct parallel in the EER.

Capacity and Preparatory Review Educational Effectiveness Review
Are student learning outcomes set and published at the program and course levels? (1.2, 2.3) Are students learning what they are expected to learn? At expected levels? Are these results good enough? (2.6)
Have expectations for levels of student achievement been determined and published? (2.4) How does the institution respond if assessment shows that not all students are achieving at expected levels? (4.1, 4.6)
Are student learning outcomes expressed in course syllabi? (2.4)
Are student learning outcomes for programs mapped to courses (such as through curriculum maps)? (2.3)
Have assessment plans been developed and implemented?* (4.1) Is assessment being implemented as planned? Is it effective? How does the institution know? (4.1)
Is the program review process developed and systematically deployed? Does it include both assessment of student learning and evaluation of student success indicators? (2.7, 4.4) Is program review conducted as planned? What has each program learned from the reviews? Are patterns evident when reviews are compared? Are reviews linked to the resource allocation process, to provide for needed improvements? (4.4, 4.6)
Are co-curricular programs regularly reviewed with reference to stated outcomes? (2.11, 4.6) What are the findings from co-curricular assessment? To what extent do co-curricular programs support learning? How does the institution respond to gaps in alignment of curricular and co-curricular efforts? (4.6)
Does institutional research support assessment of student learning and student success? (2.10, 4.5) What do data on retention/completion show overall, and for various student groups? How do results compare with peer or aspirant institutions? What is being done to address gaps that are discovered? (4.5)
Do faculty have resources and support to assess and improve student learning and success? (2.4, 4.6, 4.7) How do the faculty demonstrate responsibility for assessment and improvement of learning? (4.6, 4.7)

*Assessment plans should be: