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ERIC Number: ED547562
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 191
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-5110-1
An Exploratory, Quantitative Study of Accreditation Actions Taken by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC) since 2002
Theule, Ryan William
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
The purpose of this study was to conduct a quantitative exploration of accreditation actions issued by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC) since 2002, in order to examine their relationship to a dataset of common student and institutional variables. This exploration was based on the observation that WASC-ACCJC sanctions have greatly increased since 2002 within a rising culture of accountability, prompting speculation about the association between outcomes variables and institutional resources and ongoing accreditation status. Initial data collection found that fifty-five percent of all California community colleges have been sanctioned at least once since 2002. In exploring the variables and accreditation statuses of these colleges, this study sought to provide more information concerning the presence or absence of significant patterns of association between public institutional data and accreditation status, providing additional insight to this underexplored period of community college accreditation and suggesting avenues for future study. The research questions that guided this study are as follows: In California community colleges reviewed by WASC-ACCJC since 2002, what is the relationship between the specific accreditation action taken by the commission and the most common student outcomes variables cited by the literature--namely, graduation rate, transfer, and retention? In California community colleges reviewed by WASC-ACCJC since 2002, what is the relationship between accreditation status and several common institutional variables--namely, full-time equivalent students (FTES), budget, staffing, and size? Finally, in those California community colleges that were sanctioned by WASC-ACCJC since 2002, what patterns emerge that may inform institutional knowledge about the relationship between accreditation action and institutional measures? This study examined institutional accreditation status, according to categories of "clear" and "sanctioned" accreditation and compared these statuses to common student and institutional variables for the years matching the accreditation status. Using chi-square tests of association and a subsequent set of logistic regression analyses, this study noted several statistically significant associations between college data and accreditation status, including student graduation rates, full-and part-time retention rates, and transfer rates which were found significant in multiple instances of the post-2002 data. Student outcomes variables with significant associations were found in greater number than institutional variables. These findings offer some initial insights into recent WASC-ACCJC accreditation actions, suggesting that some quantitative measures of student outcomes such as graduation rate are associated with accreditation status. However, this study noted that year-to-year comparisons did not demonstrate an ongoing pattern of significant associations. These findings suggests that accreditation status has not become coopted by outcomes measures alone, while likewise suggesting the need for further exploration of the rising rate of sanctions by WASC-ACCJC in order to understand this new trend in community college accreditation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California