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WASC Evaluator Workshop Spring Visits 2010

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Presentation on theme: "WASC Evaluator Workshop Spring Visits 2010"— Presentation transcript:

1 WASC Evaluator Workshop Spring Visits 2010

2 Workshop Outcomes Know how to prepare for and conduct an effective visit and produce a useful, high-quality team report Be prepared to make sound judgments about institutions under the Standards Be familiar with resources that support your work on a team

3 Agenda Context for the Visit/Accreditation Preparing for the Visit
Conducting the Visit Developing Team Recommendations Writing the Team Report

4 Context for Accreditation and Visits
The Continuing Evolution of the WASC Process and Standards The Accountability Movement Retaining Peer Review The Impact of the Economy Value Added, Collaboration, and Ongoing Efforts to Refine and Improve

5 Recent Changes in the Institutional Review Process and Standards
Implement 2009 changes to Institutional Review Process re: Student Success, Program Review and EE Sustainability Implement 2009 changes to CFRs Clarify the scope of the CPR visit to review the “infrastructure” for assessment of student learning Examine Program Review and Program-Level Student Learning in a systematic way Allow teams more time together on visits Tools: Table A (RB pg. 41); Table B (RB pg. 47)


Institutional Proposal Capacity and Preparatory Review Educational Effectiveness Review This applies to all institutions, regardless of where they are in the accreditation cycle. This is intended to be for a maximum of 10 years.


The heart of accreditation Built upon an effective internal process of Evaluation Reflection Recommendations Plans for Action

Validation of institution’s presentation of evidence of compliance and improvement Effective use of indicators of institutional performance and educational effectiveness Greater clarity about institution’s educational objectives Improvement of institution’s capacity for self-review and quality assurance

Deeper understanding of student learning Use of assessment results to improve program and institutional practices Systematic engagement of the faculty on issues of assessing and improving teaching and learning processes


Guides the entire accreditation review process Connects institution’s context and priorities with the Standards of Accreditation Provides primary basis for both institution self-review and team evaluation Allows alignment of accreditation activities to institutional strategic plan and key areas chosen for improvement

Section 1 Sets the institutional context Relates the proposal to the Standards Describes how the proposal was developed Describes extent to which the process generated broad institutional support

Section 2 Frames the review process to align the two reviews Describes a coherent vision and specific outcomes for the entire review cycle as a single connected process Specifies what institution intends to accomplish and how the CPR and EER are aligned to achieve those outcomes, framed as results not as activities to be undertaken

Section 3 Demonstrates a feasible work plan and engagement of key constituencies Includes: A work plan and milestones The effectiveness of data gathering and analysis systems A commitment of resources to support the review

Section 4 A set of Appendices that include: Data exhibits Information about off-campus and distance education degree programs Institutional stipulations signed by the Chief Executive Officer

Submitted by institutions seeking Candidacy or Initial Accreditation, the LOI serves the same purpose as the proposal Includes suggestions from Eligibility Approval Letter Submitted to Assigned WASC Liaison, one year in advance of Capacity Review Instructions are in “How to Become Accredited” on WASC website


Review and verify the information in the institutional presentation (report and data) Evaluate key institutional resources, structures, processes in light of Standards Evaluate institution’s infrastructure to support student and program learning Assess institution’s preparedness to undertake Educational Effectiveness Review


Invite sustained engagement by the institution on the extent to which it fulfills its educational objectives Enable the Commission to make a judgment about extent to which institution fills its Core Commitment to Educational Effectiveness


24 CORE COMMITMENT #1 “The institution functions with clear purposes, high levels of institutional integrity, fiscal stability, and organizational structures to fulfill its purposes.”

25 CORE COMMITMENT #2 “The institution evidences clear and appropriate educational objectives and design at the institutional and program level. The institution employs processes of review, including the collection and use of data, that ensure delivery of program and learner accomplishments at a level of performance appropriate for the degree or certificate awarded.”


27 Institutional Purposes
STANDARD 1: Defining Institutional Purposes and Ensuring Educational Objectives Institutional Purposes Integrity

28 STANDARD 2: Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions
Teaching and Learning Scholarship and Creativity Support for Student Learning

29 STANDARD 3: Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational Structures to Ensure Sustainability
Faculty and Staff Fiscal, Physical, & Information Resources Organizational Structures & Decision Making Processes

30 STANDARD 4: Creating an Organization Committed to Learning and Improvement
Strategic Thinking and Planning Commitment to Learning and Improvement



May or may not be connected to a sanction Intended to monitor institutional issues identified by Commission or to assess how institution will move into compliance Both focus on only a few specified areas of concern Interim Reports are reviewed by a panel of peer reviewers (IRC) Special Visit length and number of team members are determined by number, depth, and complexity of issues

34 Expectations for Two Reviews
Capacity and Preparatory Preparatory = readiness for the Educational Effectiveness Review Capacity = purposes, integrity, stability, resources, structures, policies, processes Educational Effectiveness Demonstrating student learning Demonstrating institutional learning Demonstrating evidence-based decision-making Tool: Expectations for Two Reviews (RB pg. 20)

35 The CPR and EER as a Whole
The CPR evaluates what an institution has for infrastructure (staff/faculty, resources, processes, facilities, systems, structures). The EER evaluates how well that infrastructure works and the results that the institution achieves.

36 Navigating Multiple Purposes-1
Focusing on the institution  Applying the Standards and CFRs Focusing on Proposal themes/topics Evaluating capacity and effectiveness under Standards; addressing team-identified issues Reviewing the whole institution Focusing on specifics, e.g., distance education, samples of program reviews Advancing institutional development Addressing “compliance” matters

37 Navigating Multiple Purposes-2
Allowing flexibility and experimentation on visit  Ensuring consistency and fairness among visits and quality control of visits and reports Using the CPR to evaluate EE readiness Leaving evaluation of educational effectiveness until EER Supporting institutional creativity and excitement Reporting to the Commission and serving the public

38 Covering the Impact of the Financial Recession on Institutions
Questions to ask the institution: How has the financial recession affected your institution? How has your institution responded? What plans are in place in case the current state of affairs becomes permanent?

39 Preparing for the Visit (Visit Guide, Part II, pp. 29-52)

40 Timeline For CPR/EER Reviews
12 weeks months Institution mails report to team and WASC Team holds conference call Site visit held and team report written Institution responds to errors of fact in team report Institution responds to final team report Commission acts at February or June meeting Tool: CPR or EER Timeline (VG, pg. 29)

41 Roles and Responsibilities of Team Members and Staff
Role of Team Chair (RB pg. 193) Role of Team Assistant Chair (RB pg. 195) Role of assigned WASC staff liaison (VG pg. 7) Team assignments

42 Pre-visit Preparation
Read all the documents from WASC Standards, CFRs, policies, visit guide, rubrics Background documents re: institution and purpose of the visit, including Proposal and/or last action letter/team report Read the institutional report Review the data portfolio and exhibits What to look for and highlight? Tools: Timeline (VG pg. 8, VG pg. 29)

43 Reviewing the Exhibits
Enrollment data Headcounts and FTE Graduation data Faculty data Key financial indicators Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators Inventory of Concurrent Accreditation and Key Performance Indicators Tool: How to Review WASC Data Exhibits (RB pg. 61)

44 Reading the Report Has the institution done what it said it would do in its Proposal? Has it collected and analyzed data effectively? Are its conclusions supported by evidence? Are there serious problems or potential areas of noncompliance? Does the report contain recommendations for further institutional action?

45 Worksheet for Team Conference Call
Organizes team’s responses to institutional materials Helps team make preliminary evaluation under the Standards Provides basis for team to work toward consensus Should be submitted in advance of call Tool: Team Worksheet (VG pg. 42)

46 Team Conference Call Evaluates quality of institutional report and alignment with Proposal and previous action letter(s) Identifies areas of good practice, improvement, and further inquiry Identifies issues, strategies, evidence needed Identifies persons and entities to be interviewed Makes or refines team assignments Plans visit logistics

47 Off-Campus Sites and Distance Education Programs (special requirement for some visits)
Prior to Visit: Sites will be identified and assignments made Review substantive change action letters to determine if issues have been identified Develop plan for the review of the programs and/or sites During Visit Interview faculty, administrators and students Evaluate facilities OR online infrastructure Observe classes Document visit and findings in appendix Discuss important findings with team for inclusion in report, as appropriate Tools: Protocols (RB pg. 157, RB pg. 162) Forms (RB pg. 55, RB pg. 58)

48 Compliance Audit (special requirement for some visits)
Required for: Institutions seeking Candidacy and Initial Accreditation Some institutions under sanction Additional report submitted by institution in advance of the visit—with links to documents Tool: Compliance Audit Checklist (RB, pg. 51)

49 Determining Strategy for CPR Visit
What evidence is provided to show capacity and readiness for EE? Why was it chosen? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence? What other evidence do you want to review to evaluate capacity and preparation for EE? Do any issues arise with regard to the Standards? Meetings: format/methodologies

50 Determining Strategy for EER Visit
What evidence is provided to show EE? Why was it chosen? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence? What other evidence do you want to see to evaluate effectiveness? Do any issues arise with regard to the Standards? Meetings: format/methodologies

51 Drafting in Advance of the Visit
Assistant Chairs draft outline of team report and Section I Team members draft outline or text for which they are responsible, using institution’s report and data portfolio, with space for additional evidence, analysis and conclusions Tool: Team Reports (VG pg. 54)

52 Team Executive Session
Discuss preliminary findings Identify major issues for exploration Refine lines of inquiry Confirm team assignments Discuss use of tools and rubrics Review draft team report Discuss options for confidential team recommendation Review schedule

53 Conducting the Visit

54 Process of Visit Team meets at start of visit to confirm roles, assignments, logistics, and agenda Team meets frequently re: observations, emerging recommendations, and issues Team members complete draft sections of report and turn them in to Assistant Chair on the last day Team agrees on report recommendations and confidential recommendation to Commission

55 Visit Schedule Executive sessions and debriefings with team only
Meetings and interviews with key individuals and groups Open meetings with students, faculty and staff Document review Time for drafting report sections Final exit meeting Tool: Sample Visit Schedule (VG, pg. 40; SV, pg. 68)

56 Confidential Email Account
Set up by WASC as extension of open meetings Checked by Assistant Chair during visit Important s shared with team and investigated Comments included in team report only if the institution has a chance to address them Tool: Sample Notification re: Confidential Account (RB, pg. 151)

57 Approaches Used on Visits
Document review Interviews and meetings Mini-questionnaires Techniques for small and large meetings Fishbowl exercises Audits Plan visit methodologies in advance as part of schedule.

58 Document Review DO as much as possible in advance: Use to:
Check compliance Evaluate the level of institutional engagement Examine the evolution of a policy or process Identify direct and indirect evidence of student and organizational learning Confirm report claims

59 Interviews Use to: Gather information Explore issues
Build relationships with members of the institution Validate impressions and observations

60 Tips for Good Interviews
Decide on a protocol for interview Prepare questions and lines of inquiry in advance Ask questions that elicit information, stimulate discussion, or require judgment Avoid interrogation, leading questions, or loaded language Avoid consultation, giving solutions, or talking about your institution Let them do the talking

61 Alternative Forms of Interview
Fishbowl Brainstorm/free discussion on a salient topic Go-round Bundling Audit

62 Evaluating Program Review and Student Learning on EER Visits
Tool: Suggested Approaches for Evaluating Program Review (RB, pg. 156)





67 Rubrics re: Assessment of Student Learning
Academic Program Learning Outcomes Use of Portfolios in Assessing Program Outcomes Use of Capstones in Assessing Program Outcomes Integration of Student Learning Assessment into Program Review General Education Assessment Process Tool: Rubrics (VG, pp )

68 Educational Effectiveness Framework
Use with team to evaluate institution’s “place” Use language of rubric to describe the institution in the report Ask the institution to evaluate itself and discuss Confer with team toward end of visit to mark a copy of the EEF Submit the marked EEF confidentially to WASC Tool: Educational Effectiveness Framework (RB, pp )

69 The Exit Meeting Team chair communicates commendations and key recommendations that will be included in report Chair may ask team members to participate The meeting is not a dialog, discussion or debate

70 Developing Team Recommendations

71 Two Kinds of Recommendations
Team recommendations at the end of team report, delivered at the exit meeting Confidential Team Recommendation to the Commission for action Tools: Commission Decisions on Institutions (Visit Guide pg. 89; SV Guide pg. Append. F) Commission and Team Decision Matrix (RB pg. 177)

72 Team Report Recommendations
Should be: Overarching and important Supported by evidence Linked clearly to Standards and CFRs Supported by text in the report Distinguish recommendations from suggestions and observations embedded in the report Tool: Educational Effectiveness Framework (RB pg. 160)

73 Confidential Recommendation to Commission-1
CPR Proceed to EER or reschedule EER visit Conduct a Special Visit (not preferred) Add time to EER visit Issue a notice of concern or impose a sanction (rare) Tool: Confidential Team Recommendation Form (VG pg. 71)

74 Confidential Recommendation to Commission-2
EER Grant Candidacy, Initial Accreditation or Reaffirmation of Accreditation for specified term Sanction or Notice of Concern Interim Report or Special Visit Tool: Confidential Team Recommendation Form (VG pg.71)

75 Confidential Recommendation to Commission-3
Special Visit Varies with status of institution Next steps Removal or continuation of sanction (note two-year limit on sanctions) Tool: Confidential Team Recommendation Forms (SV Guide, pg. 48)

76 Producing Effective Team Reports

77 Report Preparation Logistics
Follow report template Start writing before the visit Complete your sections on site and give to Assistant Chair for editing together Tool: Team Report Templates (VG, pg. 55; SV Guide, Appen. K)

78 Using Evidence in Team Reports
Use qualitative and quantitative evidence Select evidence carefully and purposefully Connect evidence to an assertion or question Analyze information; do not just set forth data Let evidence suggest improvements Use evidence that speaks to the institution’s themes and the team's questions

79 Team Use of the Standards and CFRs
Team judgments must be linked to specific Standards and CFRs CFRs must be cited in reports Standards and CFRs form the basis for Commission decisions Standards and CFRs provide a context for continuous quality improvement

80 What is an effective team report?
Reflects a thorough assessment of the institution’s capacity, preparation, and/or effectiveness Is evidence based Cites the Standards and CFRs Provides the basis for a sound and supportable Commission decision Identifies important areas for institution to address

81 New requirements in the Institutional Review Process
Institutions will cover the following in their reports: Student Success (at CPR and EER) Program Review (at EER) Sustainability of EE (at EER) Teams should address in the team report Tool: Table B (RB pg. 47)

82 Tips for Writing Team Reports
Consider multiple audiences: institution, Commission, and next team Know your areas of responsibility, including length and depth of your section Start writing before you arrive on campus Address priorities and goals set by the institution Address Commission’s concerns (last action letter) Make commendations, but don’t overdo it Use praise that doesn’t send wrong or mixed signal

83 More Tips on Team Reports….
Be sure to check facts Support findings and recommendations with evidence --and tie them to CFRs Ensure evidence is sound and valid Distinguish recommendations from suggestions or observations Use formal language and tone (e.g., not “we/they”) Don’t mention personnel by name Don’t prescribe solutions

84 After the Visit

85 What happens next? Assistant Chair prepares draft for Chair, team and staff review; changes as needed Chair sends to institution for corrections of fact Chair finalizes draft and submits to WASC Chair sends Confidential Team Recommendation and completed EEF to WASC WASC sends report to institution

86 Then… Staff prepares draft action letter, which is reviewed by team Chair Commission Panel reads report and documentation including institution’s written response, meets with institutional representatives at Commission meeting Panel makes recommendation to Commission, and Commission acts Staff finalizes draft action letter on behalf of Commission

87 Also after the visit…. Team members send reimbursement forms to WASC within 30 days Hotel arranged and paid directly by institution Travel / food reimbursed Rental car must be approved in advance by WASC staff Spouse or assistant costs not covered See policy for more details Team members should not have any contact with the institution About the visit OR Consult with the institution for one year

88 The Team’s Impact Peer review is the foundation of accreditation.
The team report forms the basis for the Commission action and its letter. The team report and action letter inform the work of the institution for years to come. Why were you chosen for a team?

89 Resources for Teams Appendices of Visit Guide
Team Materials and Institutional Report mailed weeks in advance of visit WASC Website: WASC Advisory (sent prior to visit) WASC Staff

90 for your service to the region
Thank you for your service to the region

91 Announcements The materials presented during this webinar and a recording of this session will be posted at:

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