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Subject: Accreditation

Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)

AQIP is an accreditation pathway for post-secondary institutions managed by the HLC. It is focused on quality assurance, institutional improvement, and continuous quality improvement.

Note: PCC’s seven year strategic plan, “Destination 2022: Imperatives for Student Success” is a document that provides a comprehensive overview of goals and key performance indicators for PCC’s continuous quality improvement. 


Accreditation is a process of validation by which colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning ensure that the higher education learning experiences meet acceptable levels of quality.


A continuous process used by educators using a wide variety of methods or tools to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or educational needs of students.

Note: Assessment of Student Learning is focused on student achievement and NOT evaluation of instructors.

(See also: Rubric, as rubrics are referred to as “Assessments” in eLumen)

Closing the Loop

Closing the loop refers to follow-up actions that occur after interpreting assessment results to identify gaps in learning and opportunities for improvement. The assessment “loop” is an ongoing, recursive process, so “closing” that loop does not mean ending that cycle but rather beginning its next step: implementing improvements based on the findings. Quite the opposite of “closing out” an assessment project, “closing the loop” should instead be seen as the catalyst for an improvement plan (See also: Improvement Plan).

Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region of the United States.

Improvement Plan

An improvement plan identifies gaps in student learning revealed through previous assessment activities and outlines specific action steps to be taken in order to fill those gaps. Improvement plans may include changes to instruction, course content, curriculum, rubrics, or the assessment process.

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