Posted on: July 6, 2021
Author: Kevin Perry, Ed. D, IACET Commissioner
7 Insights from a Reviewer to Enhance your Organization's  Re-accreditation Application image

It’s Friday afternoon and like the end of many weeks as an IACET Lead Reviewer, I realize I’ve worked on several more re-accreditation applications.  I’m always energized by learning how different organizations structure and operate their CE/T units and impressed by how much work Applicants put into preparing their applications. 

While by and large Applicants do a great job submitting the evidence required, there are some interesting patterns that Reviewers often see.  I’ve captured some of this below thinking it might be information that an Accredited Provider up for re-accreditation would find useful.

  1. In Section 2, Organization Changes, Org Structure: We ask you to submit your org chart showing which unit and positions within its structure is responsible for compliance with the ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard for Continuing Education and Training.  Applicants typically submit a nice-looking org chart showing their CE/T unit, often showing how it’s nested within the larger organization.  Often missing though is an indication of who is designated as the IACET Standard compliance person.  Also, actual names should appear on the chart so Reviewers can cross-check those with the staff listing that is also requested in this area. 
  2. In Section 3, Self-Reporting: Reviewers are given your last four or five IACET Annual Reports to review.  Beginning in 2018, the Annual Report asks for two attachments:  your Element 1.5 process for how your periodic internal review is conducted to ensure compliance with all nine categories of Standard AND your signed/dated periodic reviews from the past five years (most commonly the IACET checklist).  In many cases, Accredited Providers do not include their 1.5 process or their periodic review or both.  And often when the self-evaluation review is included, it is not signed and dated.  Also, particularly with the IACET checklist, it is not uncommon to see a review with every Element checked YES, which leaves Reviewers wondering how any organization can year over year be in complete compliance with no changes or improvements required whatsoever.  This is a case of take seriously the Annual Report in terms of what is required and take seriously your periodic internal review, which is typically done towards the end of your fiscal year.  Keep in mind too that the Standard is updated every five years so it’s important to note the changes from the last Standard version and reflecting in your review what you did to ensure ongoing compliance.
  3. In Section 5, Review Compliance:  This is where we ask for 10 different types of evidence for three example courses, which is designed to verify you are adhering to the Standard in the way you design and deliver courses, communicate important information to learners, recognize learners for success or non-success, and manage your learning infrastructure.  While the evidence submitted for this section has gotten much better since the reaccreditation application was updated this past March 2021, a few areas are often incomplete.  The area that frequently falls short is item e., Evidence of learners being notified of all important information about a learning event prior to starting it.  A common omission is evidence of learners being informed of your proprietary interests policy (Element 1.7) and learner identity authentication policy (Element 8.1).  These were both added to the update of the 2018 Standard.  Be sure to include this evidence.
  4. Another thing that often occurs is discovering that one or more learning outcomes are not measurable (using verbs such as Understand or Learn) or do not have a time-based element (such as “At the end of this course, you will be able to…”).  Part of your periodic internal review ideally should include ensuring that all learning outcomes meet the SMART requirements (Element 5.1)
  5. Learner record:  Here we are looking for an actual learner transcript or record of all learning taken with you by that individual.  In other words, if a learner requests a copy of their records, what do you send them?  Often, applicants will submit a printout of all learners from a particular course showing they completed that course, which is not the evidence needed here.
  6. Section 5 involves a plethora of documentation so  Reviewers appreciate when Applicants provide a table of contents for items a-j and create a clearly labelled heading for each of these sections.  Also, resist submitting more documentation than is necessary; this only bogs down the review and can actually generate confusion.
  7. In Section 6, Continuous Improvement:  This is where you show a summary of evaluation data from the same three courses as in Review Compliance along with your analysis of those data including any corrective actions taken.  Be sure to include the analysis component.  This section also asks for a summary and analysis of learning assessment data from those same three courses.  Again, be sure to include the analysis piece.

Finally, don’t hesitate to add explanatory notes to documentation or insert a comment in the Applicant Explanation area for any given Element.  This can clear up any confusion or uncertainty Reviewers may have about your evidence.

Looking forward to next week and reviewing more applications.  Hopefully some of these tips are helpful as you prepare your re-accreditation application and maintain world-class distinction as an IACET Accredited Provider!

About the Author


Kevin Perry is a continuing education & training consultant specializing in the non-profit environment serving technical industries and higher education. His expertise includes growing a continuing education business through effective strategic planning, management, leadership, budgeting, and acquisitions.

At the end of 2018, Kevin retired as Director of SAE International’s Professional Development division, a position he held since 2001.  In this capacity, he led a staff that plans and delivers public training courses, in-company training, and a variety of multimedia/distance learning products for engineers who serve the automotive, aerospace, and commercial vehicle industries.  In 2014, he assumed management of Effective Training, Inc., a firm that SAE acquired, which focuses on geometric dimensioning and tolerancing training products.  Also in 2014, he established Probitas Authentication, a new SAE business that certifies aerospace auditors and training providers.  In 2015, Kevin led an effort to acquire the aerospace auditor and training provider business from the principal competitor to Probitas and in 2018 he led the acquisition of CALISO, an online ISO-standards training company.

Prior to his role as Director, Kevin worked as an Education Program Developer where he invented SAE’s Engineering Academy format, which earned the Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). 

Before joining SAE, Kevin worked in the continuing higher education field for nearly 12 years at both Penn State University and Duquesne University where he held positions as program developer, administrator, and marketing director.  His educational credentials include a B.S. in Education and M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Penn State University, and Ed.D. in Administrative and Policy Studies from University of Pittsburgh.  He also holds an MBA Essentials Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh Katz School of Business and Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Digital Badges from the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

His service work includes Board of Regents member for Baker College’s Graduate School and Online College, Governing Board Vice-Chair of the Michigan Alliance for Greater Mobility Advancement (MAGMA), and Education and Training Track Committee member for the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE).  From 2014 to 2018, he served on the IACET Board of Directors during which time he also chaired their Awards Committee and helped develop their Digital Badging Taxonomy.  In 2019, he became an IACET Commissioner.

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