For Staff Assessing Programs/Services

In a 2016 market research study, 51% of senior-level higher education administrators and 46% of entry-level administrators said their top reason for using CAS resources was to improve an existing program or service. Program review is designed to help you do exactly that - benchmark your existing programs and services against national standards. In the process, you'll develop a better understanding of your area's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve!

CAS Overview

If you are introducing CAS to a departmental colleagues or a program review team, we recommend you begin with the following resources:
  1. The CAS General Standards
  2. CAS mission, vision, and purpose
  3. CAS member associations
  4. List of CAS Standards
  5. Our basics on CAS

CAS Program Review or Self-Assessment

A primary way educators use CAS Standards is to evaluate the effectiveness and quality of their programs and services. One of the most common questions we hear from prospective CAS users is "How do I lead a program review process?"  

1. CAS recommends you plan to follow these seven steps to shepherd a program review from start to finish:
1. Plan the Process
Map out steps for process, develop timeline, build buy-in with all stakeholders, and explicitly identify desired outcomes of the self-study
4. Conduct and Interpret Ratings using Evaluative Evidence
Clarify team’s rating criteria; employ a process for rating [small group, individual, staff]; negotiate rating differences; and manage group ratings
2. Assemble and Educate Team 
3-5 (program) to 8-10 (division) comprised of stakeholders including students; train team on self-assessment concepts and principles
5. Develop an Action Plan
Identify discrepancies, corrective action, and recommended steps (e.g., identify strengths, weaknesses, benchmarks, resources, timeframe)
3. Identify, Collect, and Review Evidence
Define what constitutes evidence; then gather, collect, manage, and review evidence
6. Prepare a Report
Identify audience for report(s); describe self-study, evidence gathering, rating process, evaluations, strengths, weaknesses, and action plan; draft executive summary
7. Close the Loop
Put action plans into practice; navigate politics and secure resources; identify barriers; and build buy-in to the program review results

2. You will want to become familiar with the tool that walks you through a review, the CAS Self-Assessment Guide (SAG).

3. As you prepare your team for program review, providing an introduction to the CAS self-study process is critical.

4. We recommend you review some of these excellent examples of using CAS for program review.

5. Prepare to complete summaries and reports for your different audiences.

Still have questions? View our responses to Frequently Asked Questions about program review!

CAS Learning and Development Outcomes

As part of each set of standards, CAS requires that programs and services articulate and assess learning and development outcomes that students are expected to achieve as a result of interacting with them. CAS has identified six board categories of outcomes.
  1. The CAS outcome domains and dimensions
  2. How to develop learning outcome statements
  3. How to apply domains and dimensions to student affairs work
  4. Basic approaches to assessing learning outcomes

Stories and Testimonials

Learn how several different campuses have implemented CAS by reading their blog posts!

Check out Using the CAS Professional Standards: Diverse Examples of Practice, a practical text that highlights multiple ways to apply the CAS standards and guidelines. Written by student affairs faculty and practitioners, the book details how CAS can be used successfully to design new programs, develop learning outcomes, address organizational challenges, conduct program reviews, and compile and report on findings. Co-published with our colleagues at NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education & ACPA - College Student Educators International, Using the CAS Professional Standards can be purchased at **Discounted rates are available for NASPA members

Do you have a story to share? Contact with your CAS experiences.