CAP Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs
In 2011, the CAP Executive Board researched and developed the hallmark Standards for Accelerated Programs in Higher Education. These Standards helped create CAP’s Model for Good Practice, which was developed in cooperation with several accrediting bodies across the US to assist program leaders with accreditation visits while adding the benefit of benchmarking for continuous quality improvement.
The Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs are divided into nine areas encompassing administration, leadership and student services. Each area is fleshed out with benchmarks for institutions to measure their performance. A brief overview of the nine areas is listed below:
- Program Mission and Integrity: The program has a mission statement that reflects an educational philosophy, goals, purposes and general intent for its adult accelerated programs and clearly complements the institutional mission.
- Leadership and Administration: The program’s leadership and administrative structures are sufficient, appropriate and stable for accomplishing the program’s mission. In addition, the institutional leaders demonstrate a commitment to, and embrace the concept of, accelerated adult learning models.
- Educational Offerings: The degree programs offered are consistent with adult learning theory, the institution’s mission, and student and stakeholder needs. They demonstrate academic rigor and congruence between learning objectives and outcomes. The program provides diverse learning experiences that incorporate the characteristics and contexts of adult learners while meeting established academic standards.
- Assessment and Program Evaluation: The program provides evidence of continuous assessment of its various components to ensure the maintenance of quality, the assurance of accountability and the achievement of desired outcomes for its future development and improvement. In addition to the continuous assessment of learning outcomes, the program evaluates academic programs on a systemic basis, using longitudinal data, to ensure quality in all aspects of the program.
- Faculty Appraisal, Support and Appreciation: The accelerated program’s curriculum is developed, delivered, evaluated and facilitated by qualified, appropriately credentialed professionals. The program’s faculty share a commitment to serve diverse adult learners in an accelerated format and have the attitude, aptitudes, knowledge and instructional skills to facilitate and assess the learning of these students.
- Student Support Services: Reflective of the institutional and programmatic mission, the program provides student support services appropriate to adult student strengths and needs, which are readily accessible regardless of place or delivery format.
- Planning and Resources: The program conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its mission and uses the results of its assessment activities for program renewal.
- Facilities and Auxiliary Services: Facilities and auxiliary services necessary for the successful achievement of the program’s mission are readily accessible, available and responsive to program students, faculty and staff. This may include off-site locations, classrooms, bookstore, parking, security, safety, food services, library and media center, technology and housekeeping.
- Program Marketing and Recruitment: The program demonstrates knowledge of student and market needs to ensure the continuing relevance of education programs and services. Recruitment practices are within the standards identified by current legislation, accreditation and regulatory guidance.
For assistance with accreditation preparation, for additional questions about CAP’s Quality Standards or for a copy of CAP’s Model for Good Practice, please contact Jeannie McCarron.