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Assessing Student Learning and Institutional Effectiveness : Understanding Middle States Expectations


In 2002, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education introduced updated accreditation standards that simplified requirements for resources and processes and concentrated instead on assessment: evidence that the institution is achieving its goals. Every accreditation standard now includes an assessment component; the assessment of student learning is addressed in Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning); and the assessment of all key institutional goals, including those assessed in the other thirteen standards, is addressed holistically in Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment). Because Standards 7 and 14 are a significant change from prior standards, and because the Commission gives institutions great latitude in choosing approaches to comply with them, these two standards have engendered many questions. This statement is intended to address these questions and to clarify the Commission’s expectations regarding these standards and their relationship to other standards such as Standard 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal).

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