COE approves changes to accreditation standards

Published on June 20, 2018

This information was sent earlier today to AVMA members who have subscribed to receive the COE Standard newsletter. To receive news and important information about the veterinary school accreditation process, overseen by the AVMA Council on Education, subscribe to the COE Standard at AVMA.org/Newsletters.


The AVMA Council on Education (COE) recently approved a revision to its accreditation standards related to outcomes assessment. The change adds language intended to enhance student learning by clarifying requirements for the assessment of student competencies.

The revision affects Standard 11, Outcomes Assessment, adding the phrase “formatively and summatively” in discussing the requirement for inclusion of student achievement in outcome assessment. The affected passage now reads in part (added language in italics): “The school/college must have processes in place whereby students/graduates are observed and assessed formatively and summatively, ….”

The council believes that assessment should support student development of knowledge and skills, and also provide a method for decision-making regarding successful attainment of the learning objectives of the curriculum. Formative assessment provides feedback for further development or remediation. Summative assessment determines whether the student has achieved the learning outcomes of the course and can therefore continue to progress through the curriculum.

The revised standard can be read in full in the COE’s online policies and procedures manual.

The COE also amended its policy on reports required from colleges to clarify reporting expectations for changes in class size. The edit clarifies what constitutes a substantive change to class size as defined in Section 9.1, Reports of Substantive Change. The revised text is as follows, with changes italicized:

“The COE must be notified and the COE must grant approval prior to implementation of any of the substantive changes in the program listed below. Approval of substantive changes is at the discretion of the COE based upon the information received and continued compliance with the standards. A site visit may be required to verify the reported substantive changes.

  • An anticipated entering class size change of 10 percent or more students from the last approved request or the most recent accreditation site visit.
  • A cumulative total enrollment change of 15 percent or more over 5 years.

The COE regularly reviews its accreditation standards to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the profession, veterinary students, and society. The council approved these changes after considering input received during a public comment period. The COE also determined that no revisions are required for Standard 2, Finances, as it is appropriate to meet the needs of the profession at this time.

The revised standards can be found in their entirety with the full set of COE accreditation standards on the AVMA website.

Volunteers sought for site visits

The COE is accepting applications through June 29, 2018, from veterinarians interested in serving as site visitors to conduct veterinary medical college accreditation site visits on behalf of the council. In particular, veterinarians engaged in private clinical practice – especially in mixed, equine or food animal practice – or other non-academic practice are encouraged to apply. A limited number of site visitors will be selected and trained in 2018.

All site visitors will receive training prior to participating in site visits and must be available for the 2018 training session. This training will be held in Schaumburg, Ill., on Sept. 21-23, 2018. The application and additional information about site visitors can be found in the volunteer opportunities section of the AVMA website.

Upcoming COE site visits

Comprehensive COE site visits are planned from August 2018  through May 2019 at the following veterinary medical colleges: Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, The Royal Veterinary College, Seoul National University College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bristol -  Bristol Veterinary School, Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science. A consultative site visit to Texas Tech University is scheduled for spring 2019. For more details, including dates of the visits, see the COE calendar of site visits.

The COE has scheduled its next meeting for Sept. 23-25, 2018.

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