Scrutiny of higher education by the policy community has called into question the quality of education provided and the reliability of data used to evaluate the quality of student outcomes at career colleges and schools. Restoring and fortifying the credibility and reliability of measures of institutional effectiveness is a high priority for ACICS. (See Memo to the Field, April, 2013: Section III (G), pg. 46).
ACICS has initiated an enhanced placement verification and quality assurance process. The enhancements are fundamental to assuring the standing of the career education sector with the public, policy makers and students. Member institutions will be required to record and maintain placement information and meta-data beyond that which is required in the ACICS Campus Accountability Report (CAR).
The new ACICS quality assurance process is but one aspect of the Council’s comprehensive initiative to restore credibility and confidence in colleges and schools awarded accreditation through ACICS. The Council has adopted new, detailed definitions of job placement which are described in the 2013 Campus Accountability Report Guidelines and Instructions (see page 10, link). Likewise, the Council has fortified the documentation of placement outcomes that will be required and reviewed by evaluators during site visits.
The combination of these elements – stronger definition, quality assurance monitoring, and fortified documentation of placement events – will assure greater defensibility and credibility.
The enhanced placement verification and quality assurance process includes all of the following requirements for all campuses:
- Maintain certain supporting data for placement verification. (See List of Required Data) This information must be submitted to ACICS upon request.
- On a recurring basis, maintain documentation for each placement sufficient for the institution to support the placement to an ACICS visit team, state or federal agency. Supporting documentation should minimally include the following:
a. Placement by Title – the student’s job title, the published list of titles for which the program prepares students, and a list of the skills required by the graduate’s job
b. Placement by Skills – a description of the skills taught in the program and a list of the skills required by the graduate’s job
c. Placement by Benefits – Student attestations are required only for students whose placements are based on “the benefit received as a catalyst in obtaining or maintaining the position.” (Attestation Policy, Instructions)
The additional quality assurance supporting information will be reviewed through ACICS’s independent verification program for a sample of campuses chosen at random. In addition, ACICS has modified the visit team process to more robustly verify files of graduates and completers who are classified as placed or unavailable for placement.