Important Update Regarding Changes to the Bright-Line Pass Rate Standards

The CAATE Board of Commissioners met in Washington, D.C. on February 25 and 26 for their winter board meeting where they further deliberated and discussed the impact of the bright-line pass rate standards (2020 Standard 6 and 2012 Standard 11) on programs and their students.
In considering the future use of the bright-line pass rate standards, the Commissioners reviewed a number of factors, including the historical objective of adding the standards, contemporary use of bright-line standards by other healthcare accrediting organizations, and the impact on student diversity and holistic admissions practices.
As a result of their ongoing discussions regarding this important matter, they approved the following changes:
(1) Vacate Standard 6 (2020 Standards) and Standard 11 (2012 Standards), and the first-time pass rate accreditation action algorithm, effective immediately.
(2) Charge the CAATE Standards Committee with replacing current Standard 6 (2020 Standards) and Standard 11 (2012 Standards) with a standard(s) directing programs to publicly post CAATE-determined Program Information and Outcomes. Note that these are the program outcomes tables that programs are currently required to post, and include the program graduation rate, program retention rate, graduate placement rate, and the 3-year aggregate first-time pass rate on the Board of Certification (BOC) Examination.
(3) Charge the CAATE Standards Committee with developing proposed standard(s) related to program-defined benchmarks for outcomes that must include, at minimum:  
  • Program graduation rate;
  • Program retention rate;
  • Graduate placement rate; and
  • Pass rate on the BOC Examination.
We have included the current language for Standard 6 (2020 Standards) and Standard 11 (2012 Standards) for your reference:
  • Standard 6 (2020): The program meets or exceeds a three-year aggregate of 70% first-time pass rate on the BOC Examination.
  • Standard 11 (2012): Data Analysis: Programs must meet or exceed a three-year aggregate of 70 percent first-time pass rate on the BOC Examination.  
As a result of this action taken by the Board of Commissioners, effective immediately, programs with first-time, three-year aggregate rates below 70% will:
  • No longer be found to be non-compliant with Standard 6 (2020 Standards) and Standard 11 (2012 Standards); 
  • Will still be required to complete analytics and action reports (for quality assurance); these reports will be reviewed and used to engage and support the program on a course of quality improvement (for both the program and for CAATE processes through feedback and support).
As has been previously communicated, all programs will be required to post a direct link to the CAATE’s Program Information and Outcomes results to ensure public protection and transparency. This is in accordance with the CAATE’s duty to inform the public, and to comply with the recognition requirements of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Vacating current Standard 6 (2020 Standards) and Standard 11 (2012 Standards) shifts the focus from what has evolved into an over-reliance upon a single quality assurance measurement toward looking more holistically at a set of accreditor- and program-defined outcomes measures.
This will enable programs to establish (and be held accountable to) institutionally-defined benchmarks for accreditor-defined outcomes, such as pass rate on the BOC examination, retention and graduation, and graduate placement metrics. They will be able to set appropriate programmatic benchmarks that make sense for their institution and reflect their student population, allowing them to take a more flexible, holistic approach to admissions and teaching.
The Commission is proud of their ongoing commitment to transparency, quality assurance, and quality improvement, and is confident that moving away from a bright-line pass rate standard toward evaluation of a more comprehensive set of accreditor- and program-defined outcomes with program-determined benchmarks is consistent with this commitment, and will ultimately improve program quality and student learning.
CAATE staff will be reaching out to all programs immediately impacted by this change (all programs that currently possess a 3-year aggregate first-time pass rate below 70%), and will be vacating probationary accreditation statuses based upon prior non-compliance with the pass rate standard. Additional information will be provided during the CAATE Town Hall on March 10. There is still time to register.
Thank you for your continued support. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the CAATE staff with questions.