Regular program-level assessment is typically focused on student learning and effective teaching. It occurs on an annual basis until programs have demonstrated that they have sufficient assessment systems in place to move to a biennial reporting cycle.
For those on a biennial reporting cycling, an interim report is submitted that provides a progress report on course and curricular changes that were suggested by the previous year’s assessment report findings.
Program review self-study occurs every five years and includes program-level assessment, but it is also designed for units to go beyond the assessment of student learning and effective teaching.
A program review self-study should involve a broader and deeper self-evaluative study of the entire program (e.g., enrollment trends, degree/major completion trends, faculty hire, research/scholarship trends) with an eye toward identifying overall areas of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
The HLC reaccreditation process currently occurs every 10 years if full institutional reaccreditation was recommended after the last comprehensive institutional site visit.
However, the HLC and other regional accrediting bodies maintain the right to alter reaccreditation criteria and processes over time, including the duration and content and number of criteria for the reaffirmation of accreditation. A fundamental part of institutional reaccreditation involves a self-study of the entire institution.
Therefore, the annual and biennial assessment reports and the regular cycle of program review self-study are key components that help to sustain institutional reaccreditation.