The CAA requires graduate programs, through Standard 5.3, to conduct regular and ongoing assessments of program effectiveness and use the results for continuous improvement. There are many measures that a program may use to assess its effectiveness in meeting its mission and goals. CAA requires that programs, at a minimum, use the following student achievement measures:
- Program completion rates
- Praxis examination pass rates
- Employment rates
These are widely recognized national measures of program success and are suggested by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).
In order to determine compliance with Standard 5.3, the CAA reviews each program individually (not compared to other programs’ data) and assesses not only the student achievement measures, but how the program uses the results for continuous quality improvement. Furthermore, the CAA assesses what policies, procedures, and plans a program puts in place as a result of the CAA’s assessment of these student achievement measures.
For each student achievement measure, the CAA determines whether the 3-year average meets the CAA’s established thresholds for performance:
- If not, what is the program doing about it?
- Have program administrators put in place a remediation or action plan, and is it being implemented?
- Is progress being made in meeting the thresholds?
It is important to remember that while programs are required to report on these specific student achievement measures, they are just 1 piece of information that is used in the determination of compliance with CAA Standard 5.0 (Assessment).
In fact, there are many other pieces of information that programs provide to assist in assessing a program’s performance, including:
- Evaluations of faculty
- Processes used in curricular reviews and strategic planning
- Ongoing assessment of the program’s ability to meet its stated program mission and goals