If you are looking for something to help you assess your student media program, a helpful tool was recently created by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. CAS is recognized as the foremost national provider of assessment materials for non-academic programs in higher education. For the first time, CAS, with CMA as a partner, adapted its widely used assessment materials and processes to be applicable to student media programs.

The full CAS assessment covers 12 categories that CAS has determined to be essential to any successful program for college students, things like clarity of mission, program, organization, staffing and leadership (student and professional), adequacy of finances and other resources, and the like. CAS has long had a set of general standards that it considers applicable to all programs, and now it has added specific standards for assessment of student media programs. The complexity and variety of student media programs and the role of students in those programs are factored into the standards. The CAS assessment process for student media is adaptable to large and small programs at both private and public institutions.

The program assessment is ideally performed by professionals knowledgeable with student media but not from the program being assessed. Using CAS standards and protocols, and information from the program being assessed, the assessment team makes recommendations for the program based on its review. Program personnel then develop plans to address those recommendations. There is no grade, no professional certification, no accreditation, no award; just a final report and recommendations specific to that program.

CAS, a consortium of professional associations in higher education, promotes the use of its professional standards for the development, assessment, and improvement of quality student learning, programs, and services. Since it began in 1979, it has developed assessment standards for 45 functional areas on college and university campuses.

Members must log in to access the CAS Standards and Guidelines, which can be found in the Members Only drop down.

If you are already logged in, you can also click here for the most up-to-date CAS Student Media Programs (SMP) Standards and Guidelines, available for free to current CMA members.

The step-by-step guide for using the CAS Standards can be purchased from CAS. Click here for more information or to order the guide.