JDCC scores high: Accreditation report positive

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

By By Kerry Whipple Bean- publisher
The final report won't be in for a few weeks, but officials at Jefferson Davis Community College already know they earned high marks last week from an accreditation team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
SACS evaluates schools across the region to determine whether they earn accreditation. That accreditation is necessary for students to earn federal student aid and to transfer credits to other schools, McBride said.
The SACS team looked at nearly 100 standards and criteria on which to base its evaluation.
Such high marks are unique, she said.
In addition, the SACS team looked at the school's quality enhancement plan - in this case, a project to improve student learning in high-risk math scores. The team only made one recommendation on that project, McBride said.
McBride credited Dean of Instruction Kathleen Hall, Director of Admissions and Personnel Sherry Martin, quality enhancement plan director Beth Billy and math coach Loletta Redmon with the strong results, but she said all of the faculty shares in the high marks.
The math project, which JDCC has been working on for two years, will culminate next year with the opening of a student success center, with a math coach, tutors, new software and other tools to help improve math scores. McBride said the school chose the project because of student performance in that area.
While the success center won't open until next year, McBride said JDCC is already operating pilot programs with students to try to improve their scores.
Schools are evaluated for SACS accreditation every 10 years, so preparing for an evaluation takes months and even years of work. A final report will be released to the school within six weeks, and the SACS Commission on Colleges will meet in June to review reports and make its official decision on accreditation.
Among the most important evaluations the team must make about community colleges like JDCC is whether they are preparing students for the next step, McBride said.