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Accreditation Update: What is Student Achievement?

June 7, 2021

NWCCU’s accreditation Standard One begins, “the institution articulates its commitment to student success, primarily measured through student learning and achievement, for all students, with a focus on equity and closure of achievement gaps, and establishes a mission statement, acceptable thresholds, and benchmarks for effectiveness with meaningful indicators.”

Institutional effectiveness, highlighted in our last accreditation informational post, along with student learning and student achievement, comprise Standard One. Standards 1.D.1.-1.D.4. address student achievement, ensuring admitted students understand academic requirements and are supported so they can successfully complete their degree programs in a timely manner. NWCCU 2020 Standards are available here.

New to the 2020 standards is an emphasis on disaggregating data to examine differences across groups of students so that institutions can more precisely identify where achievement gaps exist.  There is also increased emphasis on comparisons with peer institutions in order to set reasonable goals.

Our Core Themes include indicators for student learning and student achievement. Core Theme One, Learning and Discovery, includes indicators such as the number of students participating in career-related internships/practica and the percentage of students participating in undergraduate research. (The full list is here.) Core Theme Two, Access and Opportunity, includes the percentage of full-time, first-time, bachelor-degree seeking students who graduate within 150% of time, and the percent of degree-seeking undergraduate students completing gateway math within two years, along with other indicators that measure student achievement. 

ISU analyzes the data to identify ways to support its students in achieving their academic goals and is making progress on some measures, such as the percentage of students who self-identified as having improved their academic progress as a result of counseling sessions (2.2.1). The University also identifies that it needs to improve in others, such as university enrollment (2.1.1.), and the percent of first-time, full-time bachelor degree-seeking freshmen graduating within 150% of time (2.2.4).

Visit for a complete analysis of measures of student achievement.


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