Peer review is central to the ACCET accreditation process and serves as the foundation for validating an institution’s compliance with ACCET standards. Therefore, ACCET is committed to the selection of on-site team evaluators with knowledge of the ACCET standards, an understanding of the ACCET process of on-site peer evaluation, and extensive experience in institutional management and/or specific curriculum content areas.
The Commission expresses its sincere appreciation to all volunteers who serve as evaluators. It is through this accreditation review process that institutions continue to improve the quality of the education and services delivered to their students. If you are interested in being considered as an ACCET on-site evaluator, please review the information below, write a letter of interest, and submit it along with an current resume to email@example.com. Participation in the ACCET Evaluator’s Workshop is also highly recommended.
General Requirements for Evaluators
- Knowledge of ACCET standards, specific field criteria, and accreditation process;
- Professional, objective, and astute;
- Capable of working independently as well as part of the team;
- Without any known or potential conflict of interests relative to institution to be reviewed.
Team Evaluator’s Workshop
As a peer-review organization, site visit volunteers are a key part in fulfilling the ACCET mission. The Team Evaluator’s Workshop is designed to prepare volunteers to be on-site evaluators on ACCET team visits. While attendance at a workshop is highly encouraged, it is not required to serve as a volunteer evaluator. The Team Evaluator’s Workshop is held annually at the ACCET Conference and is free for all attendees.
Guidelines for On-Site Evaluation Teams
The on-site evaluation team will visit and conduct a review of the institution based on the ACCET Standards for Accreditation. The institution’s self-analysis (ASER/BASERs) will provide the framework for the team to evaluate the institution’s operational activities/results in the context of ACCET’s standards, policies, and procedures. The policies and procedures that guide the selection and activities of the on-site evaluation are outlined in ACCET Document 7 – Guidelines for On-Site Evaluation Teams and Document 7.1 – Affirmation of Professionalism and Ethics.
Type of Evaluators and Responsibilities
Each on-site team is comprised of a Management Specialist and Curriculum Content Specialist(s). The Commission Representative may serve in one of these roles for a two-person team. One team member will serve as the Chair of the visit. The Commission Representative may not serve as the Chair on a team visit. The smallest team size for an avocational institution is two team members; for vocational institutions the smallest team size is three members.
All evaluators must be professional, protect the confidentiality of the institution, and be able to objectively identify, compile, and report findings. Each evaluator will work and report independently on a set of standards assigned prior to the on-site team visit. However, as a team, all members must agree on all reported information, strengths/weaknesses, and assigned ratings.
The Management Specialist will review the standards that relate to the administrative and financial operations of the institution. ACCET standards typically reviewed by the Management Specialist include:
- Standard I: Mission, Goals, Planning
- Standard II: Governance and Management
- Standard III: Financial Capacity and Responsibility
Curriculum Content Specialist
Each program will be evaluated by an outside Curriculum Content Specialist. The Curriculum Content Specialist will review all aspects of the program’s curriculum, instructional delivery and methodology, instructional personnel, participant satisfaction, and any other pertinent information regarding the programs under review. The Curriculum Content Specialist will typically review the following ACCET standards:
- Standard IV: Curricula Design and Development
- Standard V: Instructional Delivery and Resources
- Standard VI: Qualifications and Supervision of Instructional Personnel
- Standard VIII : Student Assessment and Achievement
- Standard IX: Institutional Effectiveness (only Standard A and C)
- A: Student Satisfaction
- C: Certification and Licensing
Role of a Team Chair
A Chair may be any team member other than the Commission Representative. The Chair’s role on a team visit is to serve as a leader for team members and to communicate to the institution any areas of weaknesses the team finds, in conjunction with the Commission Representative. The Chair may also lead the introduction and exit briefing. The Chair will also review the final team report before its submission to the institution to ensure that the report reflects the consensus findings of the team.
Conflict of Interest
Before confirming an evaluator, both the institution and evaluator should consider any conflict of interest, either real or perceived. The institution will have the opportunity prior to the on-site visit to challenge or reject a team member if there is a question concerning conflict of interest, such as:
- Prior or current employment with the institution
- Prior or current service as a consultant for the institution
- Any personal relationship with an employee of the institution
- Any competitive relationship with the institution
Before the on-site visit, each team member will review and sign Document 7.1 – Affirmation of Professionalism and Ethics.
All travel arrangements will be made by the Commission Representative, with the exception of travel to/from the evaluator’s home airport; however, this travel expense is reimbursable. Before the visit is conducted, the Commission Representative will contact each team member to coordinate and finalize travel arrangements. For flight arrangements, the Commission Representative will require the following information: date of birth, name as it appears on official ID, preferred airports and flight options, cell phone number, and email address.
Team visits are typically two days. Team members usually arrive the day before an on-site visit and leave the evening of the second day. For institutions that require long-distance travel, team members may stay an additional night and leave the morning after the second day.
Reading the ASER
It is essential to the on-site visit that each member of the team thoroughly reviews the Analytic Self-Evaluation Report (ASER) before visiting the institution.
What to Bring
Each team member should bring a laptop computer for drafting the team report during the on-site visit, before the consolidated report is transferred into ACCET’s Accreditation Management System (AMS) by the Commission Representative. If a team member does not have access to a laptop computer, please inform the Commission Representative before the visit so other arrangements can be made.
Pre-Visit Meeting and Orientation
Before arriving at the institution, a pre-visit meeting of the team will take place to allow team members to get acquainted, receive a brief orientation, review the visit schedule, and discuss any issues or questions that arose while reading the ASER/BASER.
Preparation of Team Report
The team report is a consensus document drafted by all the team members during the visit utilizing the format of Document 9.3 – ACCET Visit Examination Team Report. Following the visit, the Commission Representative will finalize the team report as drafted by the team to ensure that it is clear, complete, consistent, and correct. Before being sent to the institution, the Team Chair will verify that the team report is an accurate representation of the team’s findings.
As the team prepares the team report, consider the following:
- The evaluation team report represents the written findings of the members serving on the on-site team. For each ACCET Standard, the team has, by consensus, arrived at agreement on the pertinent facts, rating, and any strengths and/or weaknesses. Certain standards are complimentary to others; therefore, the ratings should be consistent. For example, if completion rates are low and students generally do not believe that they are benefiting from the training, then Standard I-A, Mission may also note a weakness, particularly if the institution states in its ASER that completion/placement are used as indicators to evaluate the institution’s success in meeting its mission.
- Remember that the first purpose of the team report is to convey facts and information. If the message is not clear, the institution will not know how to respond, and the Commission will not know how to make a final determination. Remember that everything stated in the report should be substantiated by data – specific facts, figures, etc.
- Typically, the Management Specialist, Curriculum Content Specialist(s) and the Commission Representatives are responsible for reviewing the following ACCET Standards and drafting the sections of the team report pertaining to these Standards:
- Management Specialist: Standards I, II, III
- Curriculum Content Specialist: Standards IV, V, VI, VIII, IX-A, C
- Commission Representative: Standards VII, IX-A, B, D
- Verify that each standard is completely addressed. Refer to the standards and to the questions that were responded to by the institution in the ASER as well as information provided during the on-site visit in order to demonstrate the institution’s compliance with the standard.
- All areas of Document 9.3 must be completed. If a standard is not applicable, so state with a brief sentence explaining why.
- Complete pertinent facts and include ratings, strengths and weaknesses, and any supporting documentation. In writing the pertinent facts, fully address the bulleted items provided under each ACCET Standard in the team report.
- Compose a succinct report, but with sufficient detail to “tell the entire story.” The institution should be able to readily identify areas of strength and weakness and be able to respond appropriately.
- Make certain that pertinent facts and strengths/weaknesses support the ratings.
- Ensure that the information presented is accurate to the best of the team’s ability.
Required Exhibits for the Team Report
All documents can be found on the ACCET website under the Documents & Forms tab.
|Affirmation of Professionalism and Ethics
|Review of Instructional Materials
|ACCET On-Site Visit – Personnel File/Qualifications Checklist
|Completion & Placement Statistics
|Catalog Guidelines and Checklist
|Enrollment Agreement Checklist
|On-Site Financial Review Checklist
|On-Site Financial Aid Review Checklist
|On-Site Compliance Checklist Relative to Enrolled Non-Immigrant Students
Documents for On-Site Evaluators
ACCET documents to be completed or used as reference by the Management Specialist and Curriculum Content Specialist during the on-site evaluation visit will be provided by the Commission Representative. Documents are also available on the ACCET website under the Documents & Forms tab.
Post Visit Evaluation
In order to assist the Commission in its ongoing assessment and improvement of ACCET standards, policies, and practices, ACCET asks that all team members complete a post-visit evaluation survey to provide an assessment of the performance/abilities of the other team members and the Commission Representative on the on-site evaluation visit.