COE Standard: Council approves changes to Standards of Accreditation; response to stakeholder feedback

Published on January 22, 2016
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The following message was sent on January 15, 2016 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

After extensive review including consideration of comments received during a period of public comment the Council on Education has approved changes to Standard 10, Research Programs; and Standard 11, Outcomes Assessment. The new versions of these Standards are:

Standard 10, Research Programs
The College must maintain substantial research activities of high quality that integrate with and strengthen the professional program. The College must demonstrate continuing scholarly productivity and must provide opportunities for any interested students in the professional veterinary program to be exposed to or participate in on-going high quality research. All students must receive training in the principles and application of research methods and in the appraisal and integration of research into veterinary medicine and animal health.

Rationale for change: The revisions are to further clarify the expectations of the Council with regard to the research program of the veterinary medical colleges and its integration with the veterinary medical program.

Standard 11, Outcomes Assessment
Outcomes of the veterinary medical degree program must be measured, analyzed, and considered to improve the program. New graduates must have the basic scientific knowledge, skills, and values to provide entry-level health care, independently, at the time of graduation. Student achievement must be included in outcome assessment. Processes must be in place to remediate students who do not demonstrate competence in one or more of the nine competencies.

The college should have in place a system to gather outcomes data on recent graduates to ensure that the competencies and learning objectives in the program result in relevant entry level competencies.

The college must have processes in place whereby students are observed and assessed, with timely documentation to assure accuracy of the assessment for having attained each of the following competencies:

  1. comprehensive patient diagnosis (problem solving skills), appropriate use of diagnostic testing, and record management
  2. comprehensive treatment planning including patient referral when indicated
  3. anesthesia and pain management, patient welfare
  4. basic surgery skills and case management
  5. basic medicine skills and case management
  6. emergency and intensive care case management
  7. understanding of health promotion and biosecurity, prevention and control of disease including zoonoses, and principles of food safety
  8. client communications and ethical conduct
  9. critical analysis of new information and research findings relevant to veterinary medicine

The Council on Education expects that 80% or more of each college's graduating senior students sitting for the NAVLE will have passed at the time of graduation.#

# Colleges that do not meet this criterion will be subjected to the following analysis. The Council will calculate a 95% exact binomial confidence interval for the NAVLE scores for colleges whose NAVLE pass rate falls below 80%. Colleges with an upper limit of an exact 95% binomial confidence interval less than 85% for two successive years in which scores are available will be placed on Probationary Accreditation. Colleges with an upper limit of an exact 95% binomial confidence level less than 85% for four successive years in which scores are available will, for cause, be placed on Terminal Accreditation. If no program graduates take the NAVLE, the Council will use other student educational outcomes in assessing compliance with the standard including those listed in 12.11.1.

Rationale for change:
The revisions are to clarify the expectations of the Council regarding the use of outcomes assessments in the veterinary medical educational program. Student assessment must be completed in a timely manner. Outcomes assessment must be used to remediate students who have not yet attained the requisite competencies and must also be used to improve the veterinary medical educational program. In addition, the revisions clarify the assessment of veterinary medical educational programs which do not have graduating senior students sit for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE).

Council approves response to stakeholder feedback
As part of the compliance report to the United States Department of Education the Council approved a report on the Council's analysis and response to the feedback received from stakeholders via a variety of avenues. The report details the avenues of data collection, the Council's analysis of the information gathered, actions taken as a result, and areas of process and policy that will continue to be reviewed and potentially modified.


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