Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a regional post-secondary accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. Accreditation communicates to the public that an institution has been assessed using broadly accepted standards, facilitates student mobility between institutions, and allows students to receive federal financial aid.
WSU’s accreditation website provides the most up-to-date information on the university’s accreditation cycle and status. This site has information about accreditation standards and the NWCCU statement on accredited status.
Program Assessment Supports WSU’s Accreditation
Program assessment is key to WSU’s demonstration of regular and systematic assessment, where teaching faculty are responsible for evaluating student learning, as required by NWCCU. Program activities, data, and reports are part of WSU’s accreditation reporting (see NWCCU Standard 4) and provide information to guide decision-making, planning, and practices to enhance student learning in departments, colleges, campuses, and the institution.
NWCCU Requirements for Assessment
Faculty often ask, “Is our program’s assessment process good enough for the accreditors?” The NWCCU standards require programs to assess student learning, selecting the methods and approaches that work best for their discipline and unique context. Accreditors expect departments, colleges, and institutions to select the process that works best for them. At the same time, they offer several clear expectations.
- Identify and publish student learning outcomes.
- Regularly assess student achievement of learning outcomes, regardless of the course format (face-to-face, online blended, or other).
- Document an effective and regular system of assessment; faculty with teaching responsibilities are responsible for evaluating student achievement and discussing results.
- Use assessment results to inform decisions that support teaching and learning and enhance student achievement.
Professional Accreditation of Departments and Colleges
Many WSU departments and colleges also assess their programs as part of their accreditation by professional accrediting agencies.