Redefining the Rules: The CCE Changes Its Standards
From Quantitative to Qualitative
SOURCE: Todays Chiropractic
By Randy Southerland
Early next year, chiropractic colleges across the nation will adopt a new set of accreditation standards. Significantly, this will be the first wholesale rewriting of the standards in more than three decades.
Set by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), these rules define what programs must do to gain or maintain CCE accreditation. In a marked departure from past years, the standards will now allow greater freedom in how D.C. programs admit and educate students, while requiring more accountability for producing competent professionals. “It’s a change in the way institutions go about delivering education,” says Dr. Brian McAulay, executive vice president and provost at Life University.
The new standards, which take effect in January 2012, are less prescriptive, with fewer demands that programs offer specific courses or use particular teaching methods such as requiring D.C. students to deliver 250 adjustments. Rather, the standards reflect an emerging focus on setting and measuring learning outcomes for students. It’s a trend that has become commonplace in higher education nationally, but is only now being adopted by the chiropractic profession, according to McAulay.
“Rather than focusing on credit hours and the amount of time a student spends in a seat, an outcomes approach asks ‘What has a student actually learned?’” he explains. “This approach is about holding institutions accountable for being very clear on what the student is expected to learn, and then being very good at measuring and assessing whether that learning has taken place.”
The U.S. Department of Education charges accrediting agencies such as the CCE with periodically reviewing standards to ensure they reflect best practices in the profession and in the broader field of education. A team comprising personnel from CCE-accredited programs began this process in the summer of 2006. Its mission was to look at every aspect of the agency’s accrediting standards, and then bring them more in line with current thinking and practices in higher education. (more…)