Standard 8.1 Non-Compliant?

Today we are looking at Standard 8.1 (Student Achievement). This is a Core Requirement, which carries additional gravitas since the consequence of non-compliance is a sanction. You may not realize that current data shows that approximately 45% of schools are found non-compliant with this standard after an off-site review.

As in the Principles, here is Standard 8.1
The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission, the nature of the student’s it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success. (Student Achievement) [CR]

SACSCOC released an interpretation of this standard in December 2019 that provides some detail not included in the Resource Manual. The language in the standard is clear that you can select any measures that are appropriate (six is about average), as long as those can be justified within the context of your mission and the student body you serve. The interpretation, which can be found here, adds the following expectations for each institution’s case for compliance with this standard.

  1. You need to establish a threshold of acceptability and an aspirational goal for student performance for each measure. These must be justified in the narrative and one of them must be the graduation rate measurement you chose when asked by SACSCOC.
  2. Data must be reported as a whole and in a disaggregated manner. The disaggregation of the data into sub-groups (you guessed it) must be justified in the narrative.

This standard is in the eights (8.1, 8.2.a-c). So, when you fall short of a threshold or goal, your adjustments to improve student performance must be stated and documented. Finally, the student achievement data must be published. All SACSCOC institutions have provided SACSCOC with a link to the student achievement data. Now is a good time to make sure that your link still works and that the data posted are current.

At Southeastern Accreditation Consultants, we’re ready to collaborate and support your accreditation efforts. From reviewing narratives to building your documentation, we offer individualized services to best meet your needs. Contact us to get started.

Published by Douglas A. Wymer

Throughout an academic career spanning nearly 20 years, Dr. Wymer participated in many site visits (both substantive change and reaffirmation visits) for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and he has been a visiting team member for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges with the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition to serving as a team member, Dr. Wymer has served as a visiting committee chair for SACSCOC. After earning a B.S. in Biology (with a minor in Chemistry) from what was then Shorter College, an M.S. in Entomology from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Tennessee Technological University, Dr. Wymer started a rewarding career in academia. He earned tenure and achieved the rank of Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at The University of West Alabama and served in a number of administrative roles at UWA including Department Chair and Assistant Dean. He served as a Department Head at Pensacola State College and, after a year in that position, was promoted to Dean of Baccalaureate Studies and Academic Support. In 2016 he became the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Lake-Sumter State College, where he served for four years before launching Southeastern Accreditation Consultants.

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