Enhanced Transparency in Reporting of Accreditation Actions, and Student Achievement and Performance Data

Provided is a detailed overview of changes that are in progress to enhance transparency in reporting of accreditation actions and student achievement and program performance data. This information is being shared as part of our commitment to transparency regarding our continuing recognition as a programmatic accreditor, and to inform our stakeholders about important changes in publicly available information about their programs.

As part of our normal 10-year recognition cycle, the Commission submitted an Interim Report in July 2020 to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CAATE’s non-governmental accreditor. Subsequently, the CHEA responded in December 2020 requiring the Commission to provide additional details about our public reporting of accreditation actions, and performance and student achievement.

The CHEA is seeking greater transparency in our public reporting of programmatic accreditation actions, and of our oversight of programs in their public reporting of student achievement and performance data (programmatic outcomes).

The Commission supports these efforts to promote public transparency and accountability in accreditation, and to provide the public with appropriate information regarding programmatic quality. In their December 2020 response to our Interim Report, the CHEA noted the following: 

Standards 11.A.1/12.D.3 require that the organization include in its online directory of accredited programs the reason(s) for the accreditation decisions for all programs. In its review of the CAATE website, the Committee found that while a reference to “not met standard” is provided, a reason is not. The only information provided is a reference to the Standard number. The number alone forces an interested member of the public to take additional steps to obtain the information desired. A brief description of the reason(s) for the accreditation decision is to be provided.

Standard 11.B.1 requires that the accrediting organization demonstrate its expectation that the accredited program provide the public with timely, readily accessible, accurate and consistent information regarding performance and student achievement. The Committee found data on program websites only for a small percentage of programs, and the data provided were insufficient and lacked meaning. CAATE needs to demonstrate that it is working with programs to meet the expectation as detailed in Section 11.B.1., and that all programs are in compliance.

A detailed response to these requests was submitted to the CHEA Committee on Recognition in March 2021, which was subsequently accepted in July 2021, with a request for a Follow-Up Report from the Commission due September 01, 2022.

In the Follow-up Report, the CHEA seeks an update on the plans that have been put in place to update the reasons for the accreditation decision(s) on CAATE’s website (Standards 11.A.1. and 12.D.3.), and the change and implementation of processes regarding the monitoring of student achievement and program performance data on the accredited programs websites (Standard 11.B.1).

With regards to our public reporting of accreditation actions, effective with our February 2021 series of accreditation actions, we have modified the public reporting of our accreditation decisions to ensure that a brief description of the reason(s) for the accreditation decision is provided. This description now includes the specific accreditation decision and the rational supporting the decision, with a full description of any standards(s) for which the program is determined to be non-compliant, and not just the standard number.

Provided below is an example of a common accreditation action taken by the Commission that is based upon a commonly cited programmatic non-compliance. Note that within the example, the Commission provides to the public the following key information: 1) the date the accreditation action was taken by the board; 2) the specific accreditation action with reference to any follow-up requirements by the program, such as a progress report; and 3) the rationale for the accreditation action, which includes the provision of specific non-compliance(s) with a full restating of the standard(s) being referenced.

February 2021: Program is non-compliant with Standard 6 (2020 Standards): The program meets or exceeds a three-year aggregate of 70% first-time pass rate on the Board of Certification (BOC) examination. Continuing accreditation with Analytic Progress Report and Action Plan due June 1, 2021.

These updates to our publicly reported accreditation actions required manual entry of the information by staff and that has been taking place in the background now for several months. These updates are now live on our website and within eAccreditation, and will be used for reporting all future accreditation actions.

With respect to the CAATE requiring that programs provide the public with timely, readily accessible, accurate and consistent information regarding performance and student achievement, the Commission has developed a comprehensive plan to restructure the manner in which we require accredited programs to provide these data.

In short, we are developing a new landing page for each accredited program that is entitled Program Data and Outcomes. A comprehensive, uniform data set will be auto-populated via our accreditation software for each accredited program, such that the public will be able to compare performance and student achievement data between programs in an identical format.

This Program Data and Outcomes page will be accessible via an institution-specific URL placed on the landing page of the athletic training program’s website with a formatted logo and style guide placement. The link will lead the user directly back to the CAATE webpage where all of the required performance and student achievement data will be presented in a uniform and consistent manner.

Subsequent to the completion of this project, programs will no longer be required to create an outcomes page to meet the requirements of Standard 5 (2020 Standards) or Standard 8 (2012 Standards). These enhancements are currently being tested and will be live within the system later this fall.

The Commission acknowledges this project will create a short-term burden on programs to work with their information technology personnel to appropriately link to the required information. However, this should significantly reduce the long-term burden on programs to populate annual tables with student outcomes data, as this will now be automated. 

These changes were first announced by CAATE President Dr. Eric Sauers in his September Town Hall presentation, which can now be viewed on-demand here. In addition, the Commission is hosting a webinar on October 5 to demonstrate all of these changes to enhance transparency in reporting of accreditation actions, and of student achievement and program performance data.

Particular attention will be given to the new program-specific Program Data and Outcomes landing pages that are being developed. Notice of this webinar was sent to programs on Thursday, September 23. If you have not registered for the webinar, please follow this link and sign-up today. If you are unable to attend the webinar live on October 5, a recording will be posted on the CAATE website shortly following the event.

The Commission is excited to announce these important changes to enhance transparency in reporting of accreditation actions, and student achievement and program performance data. As a quality assurance body, the CAATE is committed to consumer protection and transparency in our public reporting of program information. We look forward to working with programs to implement these important changes that are required by our accreditor to remain compliant with their recognition standards.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this notice, please feel free, at any time, to reach out to a member of the staff; follow this link for contact information.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to student success through quality athletic training education.