Accreditations like AACSB or EQUIS are the keys to access the club of the world's most prestigious schools in Higher Education. No need to say these accreditations are expensive, exhaustive and require drastic transformations of a school's processes and organization. Getting them, renewing them and entertain continuous improvement can be a real hassle.
First thing first, it is important to understand what accreditations like AACSB clearly ask for:
- They want data-backed (quantitative & qualitative) decisions
- Rapid execution and testing
- Constant feedback
- A focus on how students learn
- A culture of innovation
You probably know that the goal of getting accredited is to open a loop of continuous improvement that you'll be able to close and continue to improve if the committees of the accreditation decide that you nailed it. What they want to you to do is to ensure them that students are learning well. That's Assurance of Learning (AoL).
As the process of accreditation is tough!
AACSB is first about reading and understanding it
Understanding the organization, its values and processes are not that hard. There's a whole library of documents that just wait to be read. Nevertheless, it's complicated to understand but it's the best thing to do before applying to the accreditation.
It is about integrating EVERYONE in the process
Often, the complexity of the accreditation process pushes accreditation and school managers to isolate themselves in a high tower trying to sort out a way of getting things done. First and definitive mistake. AACSB, like other labels, is a matter of teamwork. Everyone must be on the same page, from the top management of the school to the students themselves. How?
- By forming the school management and the faculty to learning optimization
- By forming teachers and faculty to innovative solutions to give them autonomy
- By calling students to rally around the flag and motivating them to take initiatives, from entrepreneurship to student life projects
Basically, it means telling everyone what's going to happen and why it's good.
It is about managing a team!
Calling everyone for participation is great. Organizing each group and process actions is even greater. The goal is thus to plan and attribute roles and problem-solving methods between all the actors. But hey! Youâ€™re not alone. Never forget it. Mentors and committees are here to help you carry this out thanks to their pragmatic experience.
Organization and processes to adopt vary a lot according to schools and their cultures. Nevertheless, adopting an organization and processes based on constant communication and rapid execution between groups is crucial.
For example, you can do:
- A first analysis of the state of the school according to the criteria, goals, given by AACSB (or another accreditation) and a benchmarking of all issues or things to improve. That's opening the loop.
- Prioritize your goals and communicate them to the faculty and professors, assign them roles and goals per program.
- Communicate with your Data analytics department (if you have one or do it yourself) a data collection and analysis process (weâ€™re talking about Learning Analytics). Decide which data youâ€™ll record to follow the evolution towards the achievement of your goals. That's the innovative management part of the loop.
- Professors must be formed with the platforms if theyâ€™re not already, youâ€™ll use to follow data and feedback. They must organize their courses according to the goals you prioritized and communicate them to students in their syllabi, learning goals, learning objectives and learning outcomes and in any other ways possible. Let them be creative.
- Their results will show up through data and feedback they get from students.
- Then, do a regular follow-up to add qualitative feedback and ideas on how to improve your learning processes. That's the pedagogic innovation part of the loop.
- Call for initiatives and projects from students to let them be active in continuous learning improvement. Remember, letting them engage and produce knowledge and innovation is ensuring they learn and are prepared for their present or future projects. Most importantly, by letting them do, you give impact to your school, you get access to more qualitative and quantitative data, you're being innovative, you ensure your AoL.
- Then, do regular follow-up to add qualitative feedbacks and ideas on how to improve your learning processes. That's, again, the pedagogic innovation part of the loop.
Process this organization and cleanly close the loop, you're ready to be an accredited, top innovative institution!
Get a learning optimization process
Take a look at this process. Part Design thinking, part Growth hacking, we adapted it to learning processes. The goal is to quickly operate tests and changes following feedbacks from professors or students, thus you can easily accelerate your accreditation process and improvement cycles.
Learn more about learning optimization here.
Finally, hear what your mentor has to say. This one seems super easy but still is crucial. Mentors are here to help you get that accreditation. Plus, the school he or she comes from already is, so they know how to do it.
TestWe helps you optimize your learning processes!
Closing the loop means entering constant optimization and improvement of your learning processes. Whether you're applying for an accreditation like AACSB or if you're already accredited, TestWe helps you optimize learning.
First, because we offer a solution that let's collect, store, analyse and report one of the most precious data you need to benchmark your AoL and continuous improvement: academic data. Simply put, to get or renew easily your accreditation. That solution is e-Exam.
By digitizing your exam processes, we do not only save you time for your exam creation or exam grading. We do not only let your students take their exams on their own laptop or tablet in a secure way. We let you have access to their academic data reports through a data visualisation tool, facilitating thus analysis.
By inputting learning outcomes, learning goals and objectives as well as professors qualitative feedback on each of the students' assessments, we help you track their skills acquisition, thus facilitating learning processes improvement.
Want to know more? Sure, take a look at this white paper, you'll find other tips and testimonies from accredited schools.