UAB employee talking to studentsAccreditation – Institutional, School, and Program Levels

Accreditation is a peer-review process of accountability and quality assurance in higher education. Accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as having several important functions, including:

  • Assessing the quality of academic programs at institutions of higher education
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement of academic quality at colleges and universities and stimulate a general raising of standards among educational institutions
  • Involving faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning
  • Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation

Assessment in Academics

Assessment in academics is the process by which student learning is evaluated and the results are used to continuously monitor the quality of educational programs and signal any need for improvement. Assessment planning begins by clearly identifying learning outcomes for students. Student learning outcome (SLO) statements must also be measurable and target various skill levels within the cognitive domain. Planning then involves building programs and courses that provide students opportunities to achieve these learning outcomes.

Alignment and integration of learning outcomes are critical for successful assessment planning and the continuous improvement cycle. Learning outcomes identified at the institutional level must be integrated at the program and course levels. Conversely, course outcomes must align with program outcomes, which in turn must align with institutional outcomes.