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   Criteria III - Institutional Effectiveness
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III. SACS Criteria Listed and Numbered

IV. SACS Handbook for Peer Evaluators

V. Compliance Audits
   A. Instructions
   B. Criteria Audits
   C. Institutional Effectiveness Audit

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The concept of institutional effectiveness is at the heart of the Commission's philosophy of accreditation and is central to institutional programs and operations. It pervades the Criteria for Accreditation. This concept presumes that each member institution is engaged in an ongoing quest for quality and can demonstrate how well it fulfills its stated purpose. The quality and effectiveness of education provided by each member institution are major considerations in accreditation decisions. Although evaluation of educational quality and effectiveness is a difficult task requiring careful analysis and professional judgment, each member institution is expected to document quality and effectiveness by employing a comprehensive system of planning and evaluation in all major aspects of the institution.

The Commission advocates no single interpretation of the concept of institutional effectiveness. It does, however, expect each member institution to develop a broad-based system to determine institutional effectiveness appropriate to its own context and purpose, to use the purpose statement as the foundation of planning and evaluation, to employ a variety of assessment methods, and to demonstrate use of the results of the planning and evaluation process for the improvement of both educational programs and support activities. Educational quality will be judged finally by how effectively the institution achieves its established goals.

It is implicit in every requirement in the Criteria for Accreditation mandating a policy or procedure that the policy or procedure be in writing, be approved through appropriate institutional processes, be published in appropriate institutional documents accessible to those affected by the policy or procedure, and be implemented and enforced by the institution.

3.1 Planning and Evaluation: Educational Programs

3.1.1 Educational activities of an institution include teaching, research and public service. Planning and evaluation for these activities must be systematic, broad based, interrelated and appropriate to the institution.

3.1.2 The institution must define its expected educational results and describe its methods for analyzing the results. The institution must

3.1.2.1 establish a clearly defined purpose appropriate to collegiate education

3.1.2.2 formulate educational goals consistent with the institution's purpose

3.1.2.3 develop and implement procedures to evaluate the extent to which these educational goals are being achieved

3.1.2.4 use the results of these evaluations to improve educational programs, services and operations.

3.1.3 The institution must develop guidelines and procedures to evaluate educational effectiveness, including the quality of student learning and of research and service.

3.1.4 This evaluation must encompass educational goals at all academic levels and research and service functions of the institution. The evaluation of academic programs should involve gathering and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate student achievement.

Measures to evaluate academic programs and general education may include the following: evaluation of instructional delivery; adequacy of facilities and equipment; standardized tests; analysis of theses, portfolios, and recitals; completion rates; results of admissions tests for students applying to graduate or professional schools; job placement rates; results of licensing examinations; evaluations by employers; follow-up studies of alumni; and performance of student transfers at receiving institutions.

3.1.5 The institution must evaluate its success with respect to student achievement in relation to purpose, including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates.

3.2 Planning and Evaluation: Administrative and Educational Support Services

3.2.1 In addition to providing evidence of planning and evaluation in its educational program, the institution must demonstrate planning and evaluation in its administrative and educational support services.

3.2.2 For each administrative and educational support service unit, the institution must

 3.2.2.1 establish a clearly defined purpose which supports the institution's purpose and goals

 3.2.2.2 formulate goals which support the purpose of each unit

 3.2.2.3 develop and implement procedures to evaluate the extent to which these goals are being achieved in each unit

 3.2.2.4 use the results of the evaluations to improve administrative and educational support services.

 Each unit, in its planning and evaluation processes, should consider internal and external factors and should develop evaluation methods which will yield information useful to the planning processes of that unit.

 3.3 Institutional Research

 3.3.1 Institutional research must be an integral part of the institution's planning and evaluation process.

3.3.2 It must be effective in collecting and analyzing data and disseminating results.

3.3.3 An institution must regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its institutional research process and use its findings for the improvement of its process.

The institutional research process may be centralized or decentralized but should include the following activities: ongoing timely data collection, analysis and dissemination; use of external studies and reports; design and implementation of internal studies related to students, personnel, facilities, equipment, programs, services and fiscal resources; development of data bases suitable for longitudinal studies and statistical analyses; and related activities in support of planning, evaluation and management.

3.3.4 Institutions must assign administrative responsibility for conducting institutional research, allocate adequate resources, and allow access to relevant information.

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