Student Achievement Standards


ACICS defines standards for student achievement that include Retention Rates, Placement Rates and Licensure Examination Pass Rates. These rates are calculated using data on retention, job placement and licensure pass rates submitted and reviewed annually through the Campus Accountability Report (CAR). The relevant terminology is defined and the formulas are described in the Guidelines and Instructions for the Campus Accountability Report (CAR Guidelines and Instructions). Quantitative Standards are applied at both the program level and the campus level, as described below.

Benchmark - Benchmarks are intended to encourage campuses and programs whose student achievement is below average to improve their performance and to ensure that they avoid falling below the Council Standard. A campus and/or program whose rates fall below the Benchmarks must develop and implement an Improvement Plan.

Council Standards - Council standards are intended to ensure that a substantial majority of students at ACICS-accredited campuses are retained, pass licensure exams where applicable, and find employment related to their fields. Once determined to be out of compliance with Council expectations for student achievement, a campus must come into compliance within established time frames or its grant of accreditation may be withdrawn or a program may be terminated.


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 Image: due process for student achievement standards 2016


Deferral - The first year a campus and/or program reports student achievement retention or placement rates or program-level licensure pass rates below standards, it is considered on student achievement review. The campus and/or program must develop and implement an Improvement Plan that is fully incorporated into the Campus Effectiveness Plan (CEP). The Improvement Plan must include the required elements and may be reviewed during any onsite evaluation visit.

Compliance Warning - The second consecutive year a campus and/or program reports student achievement retention or placement rates or program-level licensure pass rates below standards, it will be placed on Compliance Warning status and found to be out of compliance. A campus and/or program on Compliance Warning status is required to evaluate, analyze and, if necessary, revise the Improvement Plan implemented while on student achievement review. Council reserves the right to request submission of the evaluation and analysis of the Improvement Plan for Council review. As a result of being found out of compliance, the campus and/or program will have one year to bring themselves into compliance with the applicable standard.

Withdrawal by Suspension or Termination of a Program - If a campus reports three consecutive years of below-standard retention or placement rates, the Council will issue a withdrawal by suspension action. The Council will require the campus to submit it an ACICS-approved teach-out plan. If a program reports three consecutive years of below-standard retention, placement, or licensure pass rates, it will be required to cease enrollment and terminate the program of study.

Established time frames for Compliance - When a campus and or program is determined by the Council to be out of compliance, it will be required to bring itself into compliance within one year. Failure to bring the campus and/or program into compliance with retention, placement and/or program licensure pass rates within one year will result in implementation of an approved teach-out plan. The Council reserves the right to take immediate adverse action once a campus and/or program is found out of compliance.

Data Collection and Verification - ACICS standards are applied by the Council to data collected from each main and branch campus through the annual Campus Accountability Report (CAR). The Council calculates campus-and program-level a retention and placement rates and program-level licensure pass rates where licensure is required for employment in the state the campus is located. The CAR reporting year is July 1 to June 30 and placement is accepted through November 1st of the CAR reporting year. 

In addition to the Council review of data on an annual basis, CAR data is reviewed during an on-site evaluation visit.


Learn about disclosing student achievement information.