Criterion Four—Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Core Components

4.A. The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.

  1. The institution maintains a practice of regular program reviews.
  2. The institution evaluates all the credit that it transcripts, including what it accepts in transfer or awards for other forms of prior learning.
  3. The institution affirms that those degree or certificate programs it represents as designed to prepare students for advanced study or employment accomplish these purposes.
  4. The institution maintains specialized accreditation as appropriate to its educational purposes.
  5. The institution maintains and exercises authority over the prerequisites for courses, rigor of courses, expectations for student learning, access to learning resources, and faculty qualifications for all its programs, including dual credit programs. It assures that its dual credit courses or programs for high school students are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement to its higher education curriculum.

4.B. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.

  1. The institution’s goals for student learning are clearly stated and processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals are effective.
  2. The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs.
  3. The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning.
  4. Assessment methodologies and processes reflect good practice. Faculty and other instructional staff members participate substantially.

4.C. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to its retention, persistence, and completion rates in degree and certificate programs. 

  1. The institution has defined goals for student retention, persistence, and completion that are ambitious but attainable and appropriate to its mission, student populations, and educational offerings. 
  2. The institution collects and analyzes information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs.
  3. Processes and methodologies for collecting and analyzing information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs reflect good practice. (Institutions are not required to use IPEDS definitions in their determination of persistence or completion rates. Institutions are encouraged to choose measures that are suitable to their student populations, but institutions are accountable for the validity of their measures.)
  4. The institution uses information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs to improve its persistence and completion rates as warranted.

View Assumed Practices: Teaching and Learning—Evaluation and Improvement