Milestone Achieved with first MPPR Cohort

When the initial cohort of 15 institutions who participated in the Mid-Point Peer Review (MPPR) came before the March 2019 meeting of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the final element of the renewed accreditation cycle was now in place.

The MPPR is conducted midway through the eight-year accreditation review cycle to review five years of accumulated financial data, student achievement data, and responses to Commission recommendations (if requested) submitted by the institution through a series of Annual Institutional Updates (AIU). Accreditation Review Cycle and Monitoring Procedures

In keeping with the multi-level decision making process used by the Commission, teams of peer evaluators analyzed each institution’s information and made a recommendation to the MPPR Committee. The Committee then reviewed the materials before sending proposed actions to the Commission for approval.

Once before the Commission, four possible actions are available to the Commission (Accreditation Actions Procedures):

  • Note that no concerns were raised
  • Stipulate specific areas to be emphasized in the next self-study report
  • Request further evidence in conjunction with the AIU
  • Request a focused report and focused team visit

The AIU is the source of trend data reviewed during MPPR and these trends are drawn from IPEDS data. Because these data may or may not reflect the most accurate picture of “institutional health” given the inherent limitations of IPEDS data, it is important for institutions to utilize the AIU “comment boxes” to provide a context for the quantitative data. For example, understanding that an institution’s mission is to serve non-traditional populations and/or a decision to retire debt early may inform how a particular trend should be being interpreted. The importance of providing contextual information will be reiterated in the 2019 AIU submission process.

“This is a new process for the Commission and one that will continue to be refined based upon the feedback of peer evaluators and Commissioners on the MPPR committee,” said MSCHE President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski. “Ultimately, the process encourages our membership to pay closer attention to their IPEDS submissions. The Commission understands the important role of data in accreditation, and in particular within the renewed accreditation cycle. The MPPR serves an important role in this regard, for the Commission and for our institutions.”

Next year 64 institutions will go through the MPPR process.