Proposal for a DegreeInfo research project on the acceptance of NA degrees

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by John Bear, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Let’s consider doing our own research on the acceptability of DEAC accreditation

    I think we might be able to do the necessary research right here within the confines of DegreeInfo, In a fairly short time, we could have really useful data on the acceptability of DEAC (and other nationally accredited).

    The notion is to send an email to every Registrar and Director of Admissions of regionally accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. a short letter, asking just one question. Something like this:
    Dear Registrar/Director of Admissions
    The acceptance (or non-acceptance) of Nationally-Accredited degrees by Regionally-Accredited schools is a matter that has been discussed and debated for decades, without clear results. We are a group of people associated with the major online education forum, hoping to gather valuable information in this matter. To this end, may we ask you if your school accepts degrees from national accreditors such as DEAC, the Distance Education Accreditation Council, for student enrollment, or transfer,
    (a) always
    (b) usually
    (c) sometimes
    (d) rarely
    (e) never
    Results will be tallied in MailMonkey and reported on

    Thank you for your help. If you have questions or comments, please let me know.
    (Name, email)

    Suggested logistics; there can be a variety of approaches, of course.
    There are 5,274 colleges and universities listed in the annual Higher Education Directory. I don’t know (but it is knowable) how many are regional and how many national. Let’s say 80-20, for purposes of discussion.

    The number of available names, by job title (from President to coach) is 92,231, thus, say, 75,000 at RA schools. How many of these are registrars or admissions officers. Again, I din’t now know, but this is knowable. For purposes of discussion, let’s say 10,000, so that would be the number of emails to send out.

    Job 1: Take the list of 92,231 names with job titles and separate out those with relevant titles.
    Job 2: Send the same email to those with relevant titles.
    Job 3: Answer any questions or comments that come in.
    Job 4: Tally results.

    For Job 1, the complete list of 92,231 names and titles is available from Higher Education Publications without charge. I could imagine dividing this among, say, somewhere between 10 and 20 DegreeInfo people, each of whom would take 3,000 to 10,000 names and reduce it to the list of just Admissions and Registrars at regionally-accredited schools. Either those people, or others, could then send out the emails.

    I would be glad to do some general organizing and coordinating . . . and I would be just as glad NOT to do it, if someone else would like to. Either way, I think there is a good chance of getting some very interesting and useful results without any cost, and in a relatively short time.

    Is there enough interest here to give it a try? Please reply here or, if you prefer, with a private message to me.

    Thanks for your attention.

    John Bear
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Count me in!

    I'm always surfing school websites anyway, I just find them interesting.
  3. TomE

    TomE New Member

    This sounds like an interesting and excellent research project. Like Bruce, I scroll through school websites fairly often; why not do it for the sake of research?! Please let me know how I can assist.
  4. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Dr. Bear,

    This study would have the potential of yielding some very valuable and useful information. With a bit of background information, literature review and references, it could be an influential journal article. Having run national studies not unlike this one, I would be interested in helping.

    Considering the amount of time and effort to run the study, there are some things that you would want to consider:

    1. What is it that you REALLY want to know? Is this about the level of acceptance of just DEAC or of NA in general. One does not equal the other (see #3 below).

    2. Are you looking at acceptance of credits, degrees or both? I have seen some institutions that may not accept the entire degree program, but have accepted credits.

    3. If you are interested in NA acceptance in general, there are five NA institutional accrediting agencies recognized by the US Dept of Education: ACCSC, ACCET, COE, DEAC and TRACS. You may wish to consider whether these agencies all enjoy the same level of acceptance.

    4. Does the type of institutional control (public, private, private for-profit) or institutional level (associate, bachelor, master or doctoral granting) affect NA acceptance?

    While there is appeal in a single-item survey, it would be possible to run a much more robust study with just a few well-written survey items that are quick and easy to answer. I could help with that.

    As someone who is involved in acceptance of transfer credit at my institution (and who has approved applications with credits and degrees from NA accredited institutions), I would find a study incorporating the items above to be highly useful for registrars and admissions officers and for those pursuing their education at NA accredited institutions.
  5. farmboy

    farmboy Member

    Dr. Bear,

    For a number of years, I have browsed, enjoyed, and been frustrated with degreeinfo. I have posted little but overall I have counted it to be a profitable endeavor.

    Your proposal seems incomplete. Like Mr. Pina, I believe it a worthy project but perhaps it should be framed differently. There should be an true thesis proposal. That proposal might be something such as "We believe that NA accreditation is unacceptable to the majority of RA accredited institutions." The study then would determine the correctness or the incorrectness of the thesis statement rather than merely being a questionnaire.

    Just a thought,
  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Dr. Pina's and Mr. Farmboy's responses make good sense. Of course I'd love to see a rigorous and formal study, which I think would make a great Master's or even PhD project. But I've been wanting (and yammering about) such a study since the one-and-only rigorous one was done by Sosdian and Sharp in 1972-73. That's 45 years, folks. And the fact that 236 people (to date) read my recent post, and only one (thank you, Bruce) said, in effect, "Hey, let's do it!" does not bode well.

    It's 3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I could download those 92,000 names and emails by 4 pm, select 1,000 by job title, and send out 1,000 emails by the time Jeopardy is over this evening, and have (I'd guess) some interesting results by this time tomorrow, complete with modest processing with a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, or something equivalent. Or I can wait another 45 years. Or I can go get a burrito at LaPicante.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2017
  7. farmboy

    farmboy Member

    Great first step. Go
  8. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    The burrito?
  9. farmboy

    farmboy Member

    Well, yes, but NO.

    The questionnaire, I say go for it.
  10. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I think the list of colleges is larger than 5,274. When I did my thesis in 2013-2014, I specifically pulled the Dept of Ed list of all accredited colleges as a starting point.
    There are many campus locations for some schools, and policies can differ depending on the campus- so it's best practice to include each and eliminate as necessary.
    My starting point was around 27,000 before I began to filter.
    I went through and selected only RA colleges (I don't have this list on this computer and don't recall the number included), but then I went into every one looking if they had a culinary arts program. My culinary list contained 538 schools - it took me a LONG time to visit each website and collect information. A long time.

    As much as I am interested in the results, that project was a little like childbirth, and I'm afraid the memory is still too fresh for me to jump into something like that again!
  11. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I would suggest that farmboy's wording proposal and even John Bear's causes a problem. Farmboy's more so but still an issue. The phrasing of the question can bias the responses. I would suggest making it more neutral. For example:

    "National Accreditors are accreditors recognized by the US Department of Education and/or CHEA". Then the rest, "We are a group..."
  12. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Dr. Bear:

    My only concern is that a single question survey may, ultimately, not give you the results that you are seeking. If many of your respondents are thinking, "DEAC, OK, but ACICS, no way!" then you will get inaccurate results. Also, do you really want to get hundreds of emails back and have to manually calculate the results.

    We would not need anything as extensive as Sosdian and Sharp. I have created a survey with only 4 questions. The system will calculate and report the results and I can run a simple analysis of variance to compare institutional level and type for significance. Check out the survey at the link below and let me know what you think. We can run it at any time.


    Dear Registrar/Director of Admissions:

    The acceptance (or non-acceptance) of credits from Nationally-Accredited schools by Regionally-Accredited schools is a matter that has been discussed and debated for decades, without clear results. We are a group of people associated with the major online education forum, hoping to gather valuable information in this matter.

    The link below will take you to an online survey with four questions. The survey should take only 1-3 minutes to complete. IP address data has been disabled to assure anonymity. Results will be reported in aggregate.
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    DEAC schools seem to be the ones that come up the most often around here. Would it then make sense to do this specifically asking about them, and then just potentially follow up with a different survey asking about other NA accreditors if the results seemed to warrant it?

    Also, in that case, might DEAC sponsor such a study, and if so, would we want them to do so?
  14. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    I like this idea. Someone could, for instance, pick 10 degree-granting DEAC schools at random, and ask that very specific question of the RA schools: "Do you accept the degrees and credits of Henley-Putnam University/California Coast University/Lakewood University (etc.) always, usually, sometimes, rarely, never."

    You'd think the schools themselves in the US would want to do this. Perhaps some already have, but are not publishing results. During the 9 years that I did marketing for the Edinburgh Business School MBA, acceptance in the US was a key issue. I wrote to the 50 best (US News list) US business schools to ask those two simple questions: do you accept the Edinburgh MBA courses for transfer of credits, and/or the degree for entry into your doctoral program. With only a bit of nudging, got useful replies from all 50.

    I will not be doing this, but I will hope that one or more of the 32,000 members of this forum will consider it.

    As for the number of schools: CookDeRosa makes good sense. Different branches of a given school could well have different acceptance policies. Yet the Higher Education Directory, 2017, lists 5,274 "higher education Institutions" with a total of 22,673 accreditations. ( At least a place to start.
  15. timothyrx

    timothyrx New Member

    I apologize if I am intruding here, I have not looked at the forum lately especially since I finished my masters. An interesting question on the branches, I wonder if there are differences within a university? Would the University of Oklahoma for instance accept an NA degree for the Outreach Program for a Masters in Liberal Arts online, versus the College of Medicine? I don't mean to downplay one degree versus the other (and apologies if the example is bad) but the colleges may have different missions. One may offer degrees to working adults for advancement and others train for a PhD or professional license in an area. So one that competes in the online space may be more accepting than a college within the university that doesn't.
  16. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    OK. I’m bored and came here and found this thread. There is a problem with the proposed approach, it does not consider the general opportunity cost of higher education for real people.

    If there were a bright center to the traditional education universe, DEAC would be on the planet that is farthest from. Its still IN the universe, mind you, but not at its center.

    The best gauge of ‘acceptance’ is not really ‘can people move from non-traditional education providers (DEAC schools) and gain acceptance into next level traditional programs (RA schools)'. The measure should be more like ‘what is the benefit to people who hold DEAC accredited credentials compared to RA accredited credentials given their journey through the education market?’ It must consider the options the individual had, and what choices they made to maximize those options.

    Further, asking RA schools a question will simply give you an RA schools answer.

    Finally, there is a reason that this questions remains unanswered even after 16 quabillion degree info posts, which is that it is an attempt to measure the wrong thing. The correct measure, benefits to people, is not discoverable through this survey. Instead, a device to identify and measure benefits to real people based upon non-traditional educational choices is what is needed, not the volume/percentage of RA administrators that understand the proposed survey well enough to answer it.
  17. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    This is exactly what I was thinking. It needs to be neutral.
  18. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    You're right. In fact, most DEAC programs are not designed with transfer to RA school OR moving on to a grad program in mind.

    HOWEVER, "transferability" is often used as a proxy for acceptance in many contexts. I've encountered it in the Canadian regulator's ignorant decision letter that we were able to beat (BTW, I never had time to properly thank John for his letter of support. Thank you sir!). So the proposed survey is a simple way to get a useful piece of information. Yes it is an "RA answer", but for better or worth "RA" is the stick higher ed universe gets measured with.

    I would like to help if I can find time. If anything gets under way, do not hesitate to contact me - I'll help as much as I can.
  19. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    It appears to be a survey of acceptance for transfer credit.
    What about acceptance by employers?

    1. Government:
    Local, State, Federal
    2. industry - Engineering, IT, Healthcare etc
    3. Education - K12, Academic
    4. Military
  20. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    The average answers from those might go like this:

    1. Federal -Yes, Always. Local - Usually. State - Sometimes
    2. Engineering - Rarely. With ABET accreditation, usually. IT - Don't care much if they can do the job. Healthcare - Rarely
    3. Rarely
    4. Yes - Always
    5. The general employer - What? Who? Our Director graduated from Rochville. That's accredited, right?

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