About the Mid-Cycle Review

In 2014 the WASC Senior College and University Commission instituted a "Mid-Cycle Review" of each institution near the midpoint of its period of accreditation. The purpose of the Mid-Cycle Review is to "identify problems with an institution's …continued compliance with agency standards" while "tak[ing] into account institutional … strengths and stability" (Code of Federal Regulations, §602.19(b)). The Mid-Cycle Review focuses particularly on student achievement, drawing on evidence from an update of the institution’s Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (IEEI) and retention and graduation data.

At its November 2013 meeting, the Commission approved the following change in language to the 2013 Handbook of Accreditation, page 37, Commission Actions, to reflect this process:

Reaffirmation is granted for a period of 6, 8, or 10 years and will be accompanied by a requirement for a Mid-Cycle Review to enable the Commission to discover any areas of potential non-compliance with its Standards. The Commission may also request other reports and/or special visits or may issue a formal Notice of Concern.

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Why is WSCUC required to conduct a Mid-Cycle Review?

The U.S. Department of Education requires that accrediting agencies regularly monitor institutions:

§602.19(b) The agency must demonstrate it has, and effectively applies, a set of monitoring and evaluation approaches that enables the agency to identify problems with an institution's or program's continued compliance with agency standards and that takes into account institutional or program strengths and stability. These approaches must include periodic reports, and collection and analysis of key data and indicators, identified by the agency, including, but not limited to, fiscal information and measures of student achievement, consistent with the provisions of 602.16(f). This provision does not require institutions or programs to provide annual reports on each specific accreditation criterion.

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When does the Mid-Cycle Review take place?

The Mid-Cycle Review takes place at or near the midpoint year of each institution’s accreditation cycle. For example, if the institution is reaffirmed for 6 years, the Mid-Cycle Review takes place in Year 3; if the institution is reaffirmed for 10 years, the Mid-Cycle review takes place in Year 5.

 

What Is the Mid-Cycle Review Process?


 1.   Mid-Cycle Review Data Elements

Following are the factors examined, the relevant WSCUC CFR, source of the data, and the reference point for making comparisons.

 

 

Factor

CFR

Source of Data

Data Point

Absolute Graduation Rate (AGR)

1.2

WSCUC Graduation Rate Dashboard

Regional average:  65%

4 year graduation rate

1.2

College Navigator

Regional average: 42%

6 year graduation rate

1.2

College Navigator

Regional average:  60%

Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions: minimum 25%

 

6 year graduation rate disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender

2.10

College Navigator

No specified data point

Enrollment changes

3.4

WSCUC Annual Report

WSCUC practice: 20% increase or decrease

Pell grant recipients

1.4

College Navigator

Regional average: 40%

Median graduate borrower debt

1.6

College Navigator

Regional average: $21,455

Student default rate

1.6, 3.4

College Navigator

California Student Aid Commission: less than 15.5%

Composite score

3.4

Federal Student Aid

US Department of Education: minimum 1.5

Student/faculty ratio

2.1, 3.1

College Navigator

No specified data point

Faculty/degree ratio

2.1, 3.1

Calculated from College Navigator

WSCUC practice: minimum 1

 

A review is also conducted of the institution website’s student achievement link, submitted in the Annual Report, to determine whether:

 

  • student achievement data are easy to find
  • data include:
    • retention rates, aggregated and disaggregated and for multiple years
    • graduation rates, aggregated and disaggregated and for multiple years
    • brief and focused evidence of student learning (i.e., typically learning outcomes assessment results)
  • data and evidence are displayed in a user-friendly way

 

 

A review is made of the institution’s updated Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (IEEI) to determine:

 

  • whether learning outcomes have been developed (for programs and general education)
  • where outcomes are published, what evidence is used to assess outcomes, who interprets results and what the process is, and how findings are used
  • the date of each program’s Program Review  

 

2. Results of the Mid-Cycle Review

Depending on the initial review of the available data, WSCUC staff may request additional information or clarification from the institution.

If there are no issues resulting from the Mid-Cycle Review, staff will inform the institution.

If there are issues that may indicate a problem with continued compliance with WSCUC standards and hence warrant Commission Action, staff will inform the institution and forward its evaluation of the Mid-Cycle Review to the Interim Report Committee (IRC). The staff report will cite the relevant Criteria for Review (CFR) or policy, and the institution will be invited to submit a brief response for consideration by the IRC. The Interim Report Committee will convene a special panel to talk with the institution, undertake additional investigation as needed, and determine if the issues warrant Commission attention.

  • If the IRC finds that the issues raised by the Mid-Cycle review do not warrant Commission attention, the institution’s accreditation history will note that the IRC found no issues resulting from the Mid-Cycle Review. 
  • If the IRC’s review finds a problem with the institution’s continued compliance with WSCUC standards, the IRC will report its findings to the Commission and the Institution, and may recommend a possible action. The Commission will take appropriate action at its next regular meeting. The institution’s accreditation history will reflect the issues of concern that emerged during the Mid-Cycle Review as well as actions required.

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What do we submit for the Mid-Cycle Review?

Institutions are only required to complete the following for the Mid-Cycle Review:

Annual Report. WSCUC will pull information and data needed from that report to inform the Mid-Cycle Review.   The Annual Report opens on May 1 and closes on May 31.

An update of your Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (IEEI). This is submitted as part of the Annual Report.

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    Can we combine the Mid-Cycle Review and the Interim Report?

    Though there are potential parallels between the Mid-Cycle Review and an Interim Report, they have key differences in purpose and process:

    • The focus of an Interim Report is set by Commission Action in terms of both time and content, is specific to an institution, and is processed through an established peer review panel using set protocols.
    • The Mid-Cycle Review, by contrast, is a review of the institution's data with a key focus on student achievement, is based on a uniform template, calendared by a set formula, and is reviewed by staff.
    • Not all institutions are required to do an Interim Report; all institutions will be required to have a Mid-Cycle Review at the mid-point of their accreditation cycle.

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