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ERIC Number: ED548151
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 403
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2673-7899-6
The Impact of Re-Accreditation Processes and Institutional Environment upon a Community College's Efforts to Meet Minimum Standards for Assessing General Education
Mattingly, R. Scott
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Temple University
As one result of the accountability movement in American postsecondary education, accrediting agencies have increased their emphasis on student learning outcomes assessment. Among other consequences, this change has impacted the manner in which institutions of higher education (IHEs) plan, implement, assess, and revise the general education portion of their curricula. Yet, although accreditation has promoted the practice of general education assessment, studies suggest that it has not necessarily helped IHEs to use assessment effectively for improvement. In particular, community colleges have faced unique challenges in implementing general education assessment plans and using their results for improvement. This single case study sought to illuminate the manner in which the convergence of environmental characteristics and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's (MSCHE) re-accreditation and sanctioning processes impacted a community college's plans for assessing general education. To accomplish this, the researcher conducted an intensive examination of a community college, which MSCHE had recently required to submit a progress report that detailed specific improvements to the IHE's plan for assessing general education. The data showed that re-accreditation served as a primary motivator for changes to this IHE's approach to general education assessment. However, interview responses suggested that MSCHE could have assisted the community college by providing more support as institutional leaders sought to produce a required progress report that sufficiently documented their general education assessment plan. Four overarching components of the institutional environment had a complex impact on the community college's ability to meet accreditation standards. The physical environment neither stimulated nor inhibited efforts to meet standards at this IHE and the human aggregate environment had a predominantly positive impact on these efforts. Data related to the organizational environment proved mixed. While some stimulants of change existed, other organizational factors inhibited the ability of this community college to meet MSCHE standards related to general education assessment. Finally, the constructed environment of collective beliefs had an overwhelmingly positive impact on these efforts. These findings led to several recommendations for the case study IHE, MSCHE, the state, and future researchers. In addition, they have yielded valuable insights about the combined impact of the regional accreditation process and environmental characteristics upon an IHE's ability to meet standards in areas such as general education and assessment. The recommendations may assist other IHEs needing to improve both their general education assessment plans and, more broadly, their ability to meet the standards of regional accrediting bodies. Furthermore, they may assist regional accrediting bodies and states with improving their ability to facilitate substantive change. [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:]
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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