Standards for Accreditation

"What does WASC want?"

Contrary to what some fear, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC, referred to orally as "WASC") is not in the business of telling institutions HOW to assess student learning. On the contrary, the WSCUC Standards of Accreditation reflect agreement among member institutions throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific about educational effectiveness. Through a peer-review process, the Commission "encourages continuous institutional improvement and assures the membership and its constituencies, including the public, that accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good" (  

Following is a series of questions about student learning drawn verbatim from the Handbook of Accreditation. See for yourself. They're not unreasonable questions.

  • What knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes should students possess when they graduate with a degree from the institution?
  • What are the key learning outcomes for each level of degree?
  • What are the standards of performance for students? How are these standards set, communicated, and validated? 
  • What methods are used to assess student learning and achievement of these standards?
  • When is learning assessed in these areas (e.g., close to graduation or at some other milestone)? 
  • What evidence is there that key learning outcomes are being met? 
  • What steps are taken when achievement gaps are identified?
  • How are teaching and learning improved as a result of assessment findings?