How Exam Data Can Ease the Accreditation Review Process

May 25, 2016 Kristen Hicks

It’s tedious. It’s nerve wracking. It’s also completely necessary and crucial to your success as an institution of higher education.

The accreditation review process may be every college administrator’s least favorite time of year, but you know the important role it plays in keeping your college respectable and running.  

It’s possible that you already have a tool that can make the process easier on you. Many colleges invest in ExamSoft with easier exam administration and improved assessment data in mind, but they don’t always think about how it can lend itself to helping with the accreditation process. With the proper tagging, your assessment data can provide the information you need to please your accreditors.

While every accrediting board has different standards, many are moving toward a greater emphasis on data that demonstrates student learning outcomes. Even if the accrediting boards you work with aren’t there yet, they may come to require assessment data in the near future. You can make your life much easier down the line if you start to collect that sort of data now.

Step 1: Make sure you use the proper tagging.

Your accrediting board likely has specific standards and learning outcomes it wants to see. Create guidelines that make it clear throughout the school which tags should be used to ensure every exam and assignment produces data on those standards and outcomes.

Step 2: Bring all your faculty members on board.

Writing those guidelines is one thing, but making sure that the people who create and administer exams follow them is just as crucial. Using exam data for easier accreditation review only really works if you have a standardized way of administering exams and tracking the data they produce across the whole institution.

If you have any faculty left who aren’t using ExamSoft, then provide training and support to get them started. Make sure all your faculty members understand the tagging guidelines and are comfortable using them. Openly ask for any concerns up front and address them early so they don’t impede the results you get later.

Step 3: Show your results.

If all of your professors use proper tagging to track the learning outcomes the accrediting boards want to see, most of the process will be automated. You’ll receive the results in clear reports without having to do anything extra.

Bonus: Use the assessment data to improve.

ExamSoft clients have successfully used their assessment data to achieve accreditation status before, but more importantly, many of those same schools have put that data to use improving student learning results.

The Feik School of Pharmacy started using ExamSoft in part to simplify the accreditation process, but also found that it helped the school provide better feedback to students and improve courses throughout the semester.

Texas State Technical College West Texas faced the possibility of losing its accreditation due to low NCLEX rates. It used ExamSoft both to get its students more accustomed to the computer-based testing environment they face during the NCLEX, and to collect data that enabled faculty members to provide students with more tailored help and instruction.  

Within a year, students achieved a 100 percent NCLEX pass rate, and the school’s accreditation status was ensured.

You don’t have to stop at being good enough to pass your accreditation review. You can use the same process that helps you keep your accreditation status intact to also aim higher and produce continually better results for your students.

If you don’t have ExamSoft yet and are ready to embrace that process, get in touch. 

Now’s the best time to move forward.


 

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