CHEA Report Templates Combine Greater Public Transparency For Both Institutions And Accreditors With Effective Identification, Incorporation Of Student Learning Outcomes

July 18, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Washington — The issue of increasing transparency at the higher education level has reached an important phase. With both the federal legislative and executive branches, as well as a number of private groups offering proposals, it no longer seems to be a question of “if” an increase in transparency will take a “center stage” in the future of higher education, but more a question of “how” and “when” it will. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has created three templates for voluntary accountability that can be utilized by both accreditors and higher education institutions combining both transparency in the accreditation process with transparency at higher education institutions, especially as this relates to student learning outcomes.

The templates are included in CHEA’s Accreditation and Accountability: A CHEA Special Report, which is available on CHEA’s Website: This document is a compilation of nearly five years worth of research and analysis on this subject. In a clear and succinct fashion, it outlines how and what kinds of information gathered during the accreditation process might be disseminated to the public, in addition to what types of student learning outcomes can be developed, utilized (including key questions that must be asked when addressing outcomes), and disseminated to the public.

“Far from being a recent convert to this issue, CHEA has been at the forefront of both advocating greater transparency in the accreditation process, as well as utilizing meaningful student learning outcomes in the accreditation process. We have published over 14 papers, advisories and commentaries on this issue over the past five years, and this report is the culmination of all of our efforts in this area,” said CHEA President Judith Eaton. Eaton went on to say that “ … this document offers one of the clearest alternatives that will help both accreditors and higher education officials and will address the concerns of government officials.”

The Report:

• Encourages greater public discourse in the accreditation process
• Identifies audiences who are concerned about transparency and outcomes
• Identifies and supplies answers to questions that are commonly asked by the public concerning accreditation’s role in student learning outcomes
• Offers practical solutions on how accrediting bodies can effectively identify and evaluate student learning outcomes without the need for additional governmental regulation

A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. For more information, visit CHEA’s Website at