Hallmarks of an Effective Self-Study Report

Every organization stamps its unique character on its self-study report.  While teams appreciate attention to effective presentation, they value substance over graphic design.  They need a self-study report that provides

  • A brief evaluative profile of the organization, including special qualities and distinctive programs
  • A summary of significant changes that have occurred since the last comprehensive evaluation
  • A brief summary of the organization's accreditation history
  • A brief evaluation of the thoroughness of the self-study process
  • A summary of the organization's understanding of and response to the major issues identified by the last team(s)
  • An explicit evaluation of how the organization fulfills each of the Criteria for Accreditation through meeting the Core Components

Teams also find the following very helpful

  • A clear explanation of the purposes of and audiences for the report
  • A clear explanation of how the report is organized
  • Identification early in the report of any requests for change that are included
  • A useful table of contents
  • Effective cross-referencing within the report
  • Indexed citations in the report corresponding to appendices to the report and exhibits in the resource room

Teams expect

  • Use of information and data to create evidence to support the organization's self-evaluation
  • Thoughtful analysis of evidence
  • Easily identified and succinctly stated institutional priorities for Improvement
  • Honest evaluation, not public relations, characterizes the tone and content of the report


More information is available in Chapter 5 of The Handbook of Accreditation.