By Hannah Lawler
What are institution-set standards? And how are they different than target goals? As part of the 2016 accreditation self-evaluation process, Santa Monica College will be required to respond to a new standard:
The institution establishes institution-set standards for student achievement, appropriate to its mission, assesses how well it is achieving them in pursuit of continuous improvement, and publishes this information (Standard IB4).
If you are familiar with the 2013 or 2014 Institutional Effectiveness (IE) Reports, you should recognize the terms “institution-set standards” as the College began setting standards for all college-wide student success and achievement metrics (i.e. course success rates, student retention rates, and number of degree completers) in spring of 2013. Recent changes in federal guidelines have prompted the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to include, as a part of the accreditation process, an evaluation of whether institutions are setting appropriate standards of performance for student success and achievement metrics.
Institution-set standards are defined as the standards reflecting satisfactory performance of student learning and achievement. Standards can be interpreted as the minimum level of performance signaling that the college is meeting educational quality and institutional effectiveness. Target goals, also included in the IE Dashboards/Reports, are different from institution-set standards because targets are aspirational in nature. Targets are goals we hope to achieve in order to improve student learning and achievement and meaningfully move the need on institutional effectiveness.
Institution-set standards are defined for each key indicator of the IE Dashboards that directly measure student performance, such as course success, transfer, degree completion, and license exam pass rates. The standards were initially set by the Academic Senate Joint Institutional Effectiveness Committee and reported to the college’s central planning body, the District Planning and Advisory Council (DPAC), and the Board of Trustees. The standards are reviewed for appropriateness every year. Record of the standards for SMC are kept at the Institutional Effectiveness Dashboard link below.
Target goals are defined and monitored for all key indicators on the “Institutional Priorities” Institutional Effectiveness Dashboard. Targets were set by the primary sponsors or personnel directly responsible for or affected by a key indicator of an IE Dashboard (for example, the Dean of Counseling, Department Chair of Counseling, and the Transfer Center Faculty Leader set the target for the Transfer Rate metric). Historical targets for SMC are also kept on the Institutional Effectiveness Dashboard.
Institution-set standards and targets are critical in telling us how well we are doing in terms of student success and achievement. When the College falls below a standard or is not meeting a target goal, the data is brought to the attention of multiple campus groups, including DPAC, and subsequently, plans to improve performance on the measure are developed.
Want more on institution-set standards and target goals? Visit the following resource pages or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- To see the newly adopted (as of June 2014) criteria that will be used to evaluate community colleges see the ACCJC Accreditation Standards:
- To see the directions given to ACCJC Visiting Teams Regarding Implementation of New U.S. Department of Education Regulations, see this memo from the ACCJC :
- To see a yearly record of SMC’s institution-set standards and targets and whether each was met, see the SMC Institutional Effectiveness Dashboard