In 2010, Project GOALS (Gaining Online Accessible Learning through Self-Study) received a FIPSE grant which, in part, focused on aligning institutional web accessibility with regional accreditation.Â GOALS along with consortium partner SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools â€“ Commission on Colleges) worked to identify ways in which web accessibility is, or could be, expressed in regional accreditation materials.
The result of this work is a set of materials that can be used by regional accreditors to introduce web accessibility into their documents and processes, assist review committees in assessing institutional web accessibility and aid them in providing support for their constituents.Â These works have been combined into a single document â€œWeb Accessibility and Accreditation: A Blueprint for Regional Agenciesâ€.Â This document is available online and in print.
The blueprint is introduced by Dr. Belle Wheelan the President of SACSCOC and is divided into three main sections:
The first section provides information on how to incorporate web accessibility into Accreditation Agency documents.Â It includes information on mapping existing agency requirements to accessibility and provides examples of diversity statements, position statements on web accessibility and language that can be included in resource materials.
The second section introduces materials that agencies and their constituent institutions can use to support web accessibility efforts during reaffirmation.Â This includes an analysis of the SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plans with suggestions on how quality improvement work can include accessibility; a Best Practices for Web Accessibility document; templates and examples to help institutions frame evidence of web accessibility work; information about the GOALS Benchmarking and Planning Tool; and other GOALS resources.
The final section outlines resources specifically created to assist review teams and accreditation staff.Â Assessing the quality of institutional web accessibility for an accreditation portfolio can be a complex issue. It can be especially challenging when those reviewing materials for quality are not familiar with the topic. To assist agencies as they review portfolios that include work on web accessibility, GOALS offers information to educate accreditors on the importance of web accessibility and how it can be used during reaffirmation along with a reviewer guidance document that provides specific advice on evaluating the quality of evidence provided in institutional portfolios.
View the Accreditation Blueprint