CAP Quality Standards Program Review

What is a CAP Quality Standards Program Review?

CAP Quality Standards Program ReviewIn 2011, the Council for Accelerated Programs Executive Board researched and developed the hallmark Standards for Accelerated Programs. In this time of accreditation and legislative unrest, institutions need to document and prove the quality of all “nontraditional” delivery formats.

Institutions are using these standards to evaluate their own programs and addressing them in self-study reports. Regional accrediting agencies and the Council for Accelerated Programs are using the standards and working to address the scrutiny that nontraditional programs are now subject.  Accountability is being stressed by outside agencies.  These standards assist institutions in answering that call.

A CAP Quality Standards Review can greatly assist: current accelerated program leaders prepare for an upcoming accreditation visit; leaders who are considering launching an accelerated program at their institution; enthusiastic leaders who wish to inform traditional university decision-makers and external constituents of the importance and relevance of this quality delivery.


Quality Standards Review Details:

  • The review includes a site visit and a report submitted to the institution according to the CAP Quality Standards.
  • The site visit is a day and ½ event where the reviewer meets with the accelerated program director(s) and staff, the university leadership (including the President, Chief Academic Officer, and Chief Financial Officer), and liaison officers (financial aid, library, Registrar, career services, bookstore, student services), and a faculty member and students in a class.
  • Institutions prepare a self-study according to the Quality Standards booklet.

All Program Reviews are conducted by a CAP certified consultant.  All consultants have at least 10 years experience working with accelerated programs.

CAP Institutions who have undergone a successful CAP Program Review will be provided a logo from CAP that can be placed on their website or other marketing materials. This logo acknowledges that CAP has evaluated the program(s) against the CAP Quality Standards and Model for Good Practice.

Nine Quality Standards Areas:

The Quality Standards of Accelerated Programs are divided into nine areas encompassing administration, leadership, and student services.  Each area is fleshed out with benchmarks for institutions to measure their performance.  A brief overview of the nine areas is listed below:

  1. Program Mission and Integrity: The program has a mission statement that reflects an educational philosophy, goals, purposes and general intent for its adult accelerated programs and clearly complements the institutional mission.
  2. Leadership and Administration: The program’s leadership and administrative structures are sufficient, appropriate and stable for accomplishing the program’s mission. In addition, the institutional leaders demonstrate a commitment to, and embrace the concept of, accelerated adult learning models.
  3. Educational Offerings: The degree programs offered are consistent with adult learning theory, the institution’s mission, and student and stakeholder needs. They demonstrate academic rigor and congruence between learning objectives and outcomes. The program provides diverse learning experiences that incorporate the characteristics and contexts of adult learners while meeting established academic standards.
  4. Assessment and Program Evaluation: The program provides evidence of continuous assessment of its various components to ensure the maintenance of quality, the assurance of accountability, and the achievement of desired outcomes for its future development and improvement.  In addition to the continuous assessment of learning outcomes, the program evaluates academic programs on a systemic basis, using longitudinal data, to ensure quality in all aspects of the program.
  5. Faculty Appraisal, Support and Appreciation:  The accelerated program’s curricula is developed, delivered, evaluated and facilitated by qualified, appropriately credentialed, professionals.  The program’s faculty share a commitment to serve diverse adult learners in an accelerated format and have the attitude, aptitudes, knowledge, and instructional skills to facilitate and assess the learning of these students.
  6. Student Support Services: Reflective of the institutional and programmatic mission, the program provides student support services appropriate to adult student strengths and needs, which are readily accessible regardless of place or delivery format.
  7. Planning and Resources:  The program conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its mission and uses the results of its assessment activities for program renewal.
  8. Facilities and Auxiliary Services: Facilities and auxiliary services necessary for the successful achievement of the program’s mission are readily accessible, available and responsive to program students, faculty and staff. This may include off-site locations, classrooms, bookstore, parking, security, safety, food services, library/media center, technology and housekeeping.
  9. Program Marketing and Recruitment:  The program demonstrates knowledge of student and market needs to ensure the continuing relevance of education programs and services.  Recruitment practices are within the standards identified by current legislation, accreditation, and regulatory guidance.


Mount Mercy University was one of the first schools to undergo the CAP quality standards review, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made.  The reviewer, Dr. Royce Ann Collins, spent two days with our school and staff members, learning and asking questions, and providing advice.  The entire experience was not only affirming, but empowering and educational, as our efforts were recognized and reinforced, and our weaknesses were strengthened.  The support we gained throughout the school, as a result of the review, has been tremendous.  The senior administration and staff offices that support our accelerated program have developed a sense of pride in serving this student population, and we owe a great deal of credit to the CAP quality standards visit.

– Tom Castle, Associate Provost, Mount Mercy University

“In preparation for our Higher Learning Commission site visit, we enlisted CAP for a CAP Standards Review of our accelerated program. It was tremendously helpful and was an excellent assessment tool for us to see where and how we could strengthen and grow our program. We took recommendations from the review to support budgetary needs that even created a new position to support our faculty more fully. I highly recommend it!”

– Joni Allison, Associate Dean, Center for Adult Learning, Lincoln College – Normal


  • CAP Member institutions    $2500 payable to the Council for Accelerated Programs
  • Non-member institutions $5000 payable to the Council for Accelerated Programs
  • The institution will cover the reviewer’s travel expenses (airline or mileage if driving), hotel, and meals while at the institution.

Schedule a Quality Standards Program Review or Learn More: 


Jeannie McCarron,
Royce Ann Collins,