Frequently Asked Questions

Programs

2020 Conditions

Condition 3: Program and Student Criteria

Per section 3.5.3 of the 2020 Procedures, a program should send a roster of passing students from the course(s) that satisfy SC.5 and the roster of passing students from the course(s) that satisfy SC.6, respectively. These should be two separate rosters provided in Excel or Word format and emailed as an attachment to accreditation@naab.org. NAAB has created a sample Student Roster Template in word format, which is an optional tool for programs to use. Rosters are sent at the end of the fall term for programs with a visit in the Spring and the end of the Spring term for programs with a visit in the Fall. Rosters should be sent no later than 60 days prior to the visit start date in order to provide the student work in the digital team room 45 days prior to the visit start date.

Note: Students may be duplicated between courses that satisfy each criterion and/or between the two lists. NAAB will randomly select students from the list of unduplicated names of students passing courses that satisfy each criterion. The program will then select all work from each selected student in each course that was listed as satisfying the criterion. NAAB’s random selection will be specific to SC.5 and SC.6, respectively, so there may or may not be duplication of students in our selection.

Additional information is available in the Guidelines for the Use of Digital Content in Accreditation Visits.

Yes. For purposes of providing the student rosters, both courses should be listed in the roster for each criterion.

If the student is only selected to demonstrate evidence for satisfying one criterion rather than both (for example, if Student X was randomly selected for SC.5 but not for SC.6), you can then annotate each example to provide respective course details and learning outcomes within the criterion being satisfied.

Yes. The requirement is for a list of students who passed the course. As an example, if there are seven assignments in a course that satisfies SC.5-6, and a student doesn’t pass one of the seven assignments, but the student still passed the course, the student would be included in the list of passing students to be randomly selected by NAAB. Alternatively, if, for example, three required courses are needed to show the complete evidence for SC.5 or SC.6, and in a cohort there is one student who did not pass all three of those courses, then that student’s work should not be included in the roster. If there were 45 students in that cohort, there would only be 44 names (or ID number) on the class list submitted to NAAB for SC.5-6.

The institution/program defines what is considered passing. The syllabus typically would have the grading rubric in it.  If a D is passing as defined by a program, then students receiving D would be included in the list of passing students from which work will be randomly selected. 

It is up to the school how they choose to provide this evidence. Lecture material is required but its format is up to the school. A summary of lectures will suffice.

Copies of blank exam forms should be included for all Student Criteria (SC). For SC.1-4, programs need to provide aggregated data that demonstrates that student learning outcomes are being achieved. For SC.5-6, programs need to provide graded student exams.

If the syllabus and learning objectives are identical for each section (same project, same topics, same grading rubric, etc), all sections are treated as one pool from which randomly selected student examples are taken. One syllabus would suffice with all faculty listed.

Programs and faculty have the flexibility to deliver content differently across sections, provided that student learning outcomes data can demonstrate that students are achieving those learning outcomes. A program does not need to show all the inputs for all sections to demonstrate that they are teaching the exact same things across all sections. However, since the 2020 Conditions are rooted in outcomes-based assessment, the program must have in place (and describe and demonstrate) a systematic process that ensures consistency of outcomes across sections. If a program provides exemplar lectures, it needs to demonstrate that student learning across sections is consistent, that it is assessed consistently, and that student achievement meets the benchmarks the program has set for student learning across all sections. Assessment data demonstrating the consistency of student learning is key to this approach.

If one course offers sections with different syllabi and learning objectives, the program must submit evidence from each section. The syllabus for each section must be provided and must all contain the information that NAAB requires).

Note: Each PC and SC is reviewed and evaluated separately, therefore syllabi need to be provided for each PC and SC that they are intended to satisfy.

For group work, include a summary of individual student contribution to the group work. Each student in the group must have received a passing grade for the class; if one student did not, that project should not be selected.  

As described on p. 11 of the Guidelines to the Accreditation Process, section 3.5.2 of the 2020 Procedures describes the types of evidence required for the assessment of SC.1 through SC.4. What evaluators are looking for is a description of how the program achieves and evaluates each criterion – and each part of each criterion – and evidence that the program has developed and regularly assesses student learning outcomes associated with the criterion, making changes to the curriculum and pedagogies in response to the results of these assessments.

As they prepare their evidence, programs should ensure that the evidence is identifiable and accessible to the visiting team in the supporting materials submitted: relevant syllabi, assignments, course schedules, and/or instructional materials. Consider tools such as a rubric in the program’s assessment that evaluates students’ ability for this part of the criterion and report on the results of that assessment. Demonstrate how the program has used those results to make changes or improvements to the program.

Programs may provide both curricular and non-curricular activities as evidence. The narrative in the APR and supporting evidence will need to demonstrate that all students had substantially similar learning experiences for each PC, even if not all students had the same experience. A curricular example would be all students taking one required elective from a list of three courses covering different aspects of the dynamics between the built and natural environments (PC.3).  A non-curricular activity might be a program requirement to work with a community group or organization that have different social contexts but provide opportunities to apply effective collaboration skills (PC.8).  

The program must collect all passing student work produced for the course(s) in which the learning outcomes associated with SC.5 and SC.6 are achieved within one year before the visit, or the full academic cycle in which the courses are offered.

Rosters are sent at the end of the fall term for programs with a visit in the Spring and the end of the Spring term for programs with a visit in the Fall. For fall visits, student work should be from fall and spring of the same academic calendar, or spring from the prior year’s calendar if needed. A visit taking place in fall 2023 should not be using fall 2023 student work.

There is a section in the beginning of the APR template that asks programs to provide a narrative regarding progress made on each Not Met SPC from the last visit. Depending on which SPC it is, it may be evaluated as part of a more comprehensive PC or SC as part of the 2020 Conditions. In this section, the program could state that the SPC is no longer specifically required under the 2020 Conditions and therefore the program decided to (options):

1. Include it within courses Arch xxx under PC.x (or SC.x).
2. Include it within their curriculum as an elective or other required courses that do not fulfill SC or PC.
3. Not include it in their program.

Yes. The program needs to provide primary evidence (2020 Procedures, section 3.5.3) for each area of the criterion.

Condition 5: Resources

NAAB does not recommend faculty workload or contact hours for studios. Programs must demonstrate that they have appropriate and adequate resources to support student learning and achievement. See Section 5.4, Human Resources and Human Resource Development, in the 2020 Conditions.

The 2020 Conditions for Accreditation do not specify the square footage of any program spaces. Instead, programs are asked to describe how their physical resources support and encourage the full range of student and faculty achievement. See Section 5.6, Physical Resources, of the 2020 Conditions.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

NAAB does not prescribe a definition, rather inviting programs to define and address EDI through the relevant activities, via Shared Value, Condition 5.5 and PC.8, related to EDI, in the context of their own program and their institution’s mission.

 NAAB Conditions are outcomes-based, thereby requiring programs to demonstrate how quality assurance is validated in their programs. Programs can aggregate data from 1) all students and 2) across all courses where these student learning outcomes are being measured/assessed. The Program Criteria (PC) require that the team verifies and documents (see p. 9 of the Guidelines to the Accreditation Process):

  • The program engages in assessment of each criterion on a recurring basis,
  • The program makes modifications to its curricula and/or associated program structures based on findings from those assessment activities.

Programs should continuously review and determine whether the established student learning outcomes are being met and implement changes and/or improvements as a result of this assessment. Programs can provide meeting minutes of the discussion and documentation of all changes/ improvements.

A program is not required to have one course dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The program should describe how the program achieves each criterion through curricular or non-curricular activities that all students experience. The program can infuse the content related to DEI/SEI throughout its curriculum and develop student learning outcomes specific to equity, diversity, and inclusion; identify the course(s) where these outcomes are being assessed; and anchor them with assessment measures in the course syllabi by noting how they are being measured (projects, assignments, etc.).

The PC/SC matrix helps you map how you infuse each criterion through the curriculum and co-curriculum and helps you identify points of assessment – how and where you assess whether the program “furthers and deepens students’ understanding of diverse cultural and social contexts and helps them translate that understanding into built environments that equitably support and include people of different backgrounds, resources, and abilities.”

Programs should describe and demonstrate how they deliver those learning experiences to all students, and how they check whether those learning experiences are achieving their desired outcomes. Programs should demonstrate that this is done and the process and data are discussed and analyzed by the faculty and that the results of this analysis are used to make changes in the curriculum.

2020 Procedures and Digital Guidelines

Applying for Accreditation

To be eligible to pursue NAAB accreditation of an architecture program, a program must be housed in a regionally accredited institution. A listing of regional accreditors can be found here. To begin the process of accreditation, a program should schedule a consultation with staff by contacting NAAB at accreditation@naab.org. Prior to starting the process of accreditation, programs are encouraged to review the requirements for accreditation outlined in the Conditions for Accreditation and Procedures for Accreditation.

Programs seeking candidacy may be granted an initial period of candidacy of no less than two years. Programs are required to apply for continuing candidacy every two years and must achieve accreditation within six years of the effective date of the term of initial candidacy.

NAAB terms of accreditation are effective on January 1 of the year in which the visit took place.

NAAB accreditation is a voluntary process. Programs elect to seek NAAB accreditation as a seal of quality assurance and ensure that students are able to meet architecture licensure requirements. To review jurisdictional requirements, please see NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool

Yes. See the list of NAAB-accredited programs outside the United States here.

No, ACSA membership is not required for NAAB accreditation. Requirements for eligibility for NAAB accreditation are outlined is section 5.2 of the 2020 Procedures.

FERPA Compliance

Anonymizing student work is not required by FERPA for accreditation purposes. Student work is also no longer to be marked as high-pass or minimum-pass.

FERPA allows schools to disclose these records, without consent, to accrediting organizations.

Virtual Site Visits

For virtual site visits through 2023, a physical visiting team room is not a requirement as all student work will be uploaded to the program’s digital platform. Programs will develop a virtual/video tour of no more than 15 minutes of the program’s facilities for the team that includes a typical classroom, studio, critique space, office, and the shops, labs, and libraries (see pg. 7 of the Virtual Site Visit Supplement.)

A professional video is not necessary; someone touring the building(s) and support spaces using an iPhone to show each type of space is perfectly acceptable as long as the audio and visuals are clear. Videos should ideally be no longer than 15 minutes.

  • Video Tour for Virtual Site Visit.
  • Documentation/evidence to support the narrative in APR for Condition 3 (Program and Student Criteria). Student work is only required for SC.5 and SC.6. Please see the Guidelines for the Use of Digital Content in Accreditation Visits for guidance on organizing content in the digital file room.

Student work required for SC.5 and SC.6 will be uploaded 45 days in advance of the visit. This gives the team the opportunity to review the work before the visit and ask any clarifying questions. Programs will walk the team through the location and organization of files but will not walk reviewers through each project. The team will look at all the student work provided and make a judgment as to the integration of the components of SC.5 and SC.6.

All material prepared for accreditation visits must be provided in English, including the APR, supplemental material, and student work to be reviewed by the visiting team (see sections 5.4.1 of the 2020 Procedures).

Additionally, programs whose curricula are not taught in English may be required to provide a translator to assist the team during a visit. Programs will be notified at least 30 days before the visit if they must provide a translator, who may not be affiliated with the program in any way. NAAB makes every effort to include individuals who speak the language of the program being visited; however, if this is not possible, a translator will be required (section 3.2.4 of the 2020 Procedures.)

Supplemental Information and Tools

Information on an Outcomes-Based Assessment Framework may be found on the Events and Trainings page on our website (2020 Conditions and Procedures: Outcomes-Based Assessment Framework).

Programs must submit a matrix which identifies each required course or activity with the PC or SC it fulfills for each accredited degree program and track of an accredited degree program. The Program Criteria (PC) and Student Criteria (SC) Matrix can be found on the Resources page of the NAAB website.

The program must limit the designations to the primary evidence source and courses in which the greatest evidence is expected to be found. While many programs use the matrix as a curriculum map, the matrix is used to map the primary points where programs assess achievement of outcomes related to each of the criteria. The team uses this matrix to quickly find the information it needs to verify the evidence required. For SC.5 and SC.6, samples of passing student work in each course identified as the primary evidence sources on the matrix will be used as required evidence of achievement of each of those criteria. Programs may also choose to designate courses on the matrix on a spectrum of introductory-developing-reinforcing or similar achievement levels and highlight those courses that present the primary source of evidence for student achievement of the criterion.

If any criteria are expected to have been met in preparatory or preprofessional education prior to admission to the NAAB-accredited program (see Condition 4.3), indicate as such using the provided columns in the top section of the matrix.

The inclusion of Shared Values in the matrix offers programs the opportunity to define the means and methods most appropriate to their mission, context, and pedagogy to prepare students with a set of core values that are essential and fundamental to the practice of architecture. Shared Values are included in the Matrix because they need to be woven through the curriculum. Further, a response for each value identifies how the program continuously addresses these values as part of its long-range planning (Condition 5.2). They are included in the matrix as a tool to help programs ensure they do so and ensure their APR and evidence submissions are complete and programs can move through the accreditation process.

A visit team is provided with a checklist that aligns with the 2020 Conditions. Therefore, the 2020 Conditions and the more detailed resource, 2020 Guidelines to the Accreditation Process, serve as a program’s best and most comprehensive template for this purpose.

Programs seeking to make a substantive change must first contact the NAAB in writing to determine which procedure is appropriate or whether the changes are sufficiently expansive to constitute a new, proposed program that may be required to pursue candidacy and initial accreditation. Substantive change applications must be reviewed by the NAAB before implementation by the program or institution and if approved, may not be applied retroactively. 

Section 7.1 of the 2020 Procedures outlines the Substantive Changes Requiring an application and review by the NAAB Review Panel, including the following overarching categories of change:

  • Professional Degrees and Curriculum Changes
  • Nomenclature Change
  • Institutional Changes           

The specific type of application and additional information required will vary by the category and specific type of change being proposed. See Section 7.2 and 7.3 of the 2020 Procedures for specific details or contact the NAAB staff at accreditation@naab.org on a proactive basis for any questions.

The 2022 revised Remote Location Questionnaire can be found on the Resources page of the NAAB website. It should be included in the submission of an APR for programs seeking accreditation status for remote locations, additional sites, teaching sites, and/or online learning. Programs are advised to contact NAAB staff at accreditation@naab.org for a preliminary discussion and guidance prior to submission.

NAAB has expanded our Workshops and Program Training page to include the ability to download pdfs of past trainings. We encourage you to use and share these trainings as you prepare for your visits.

The 2020 editions of these two documents are currently in effect. Visit the NAAB website for current and historic editions of the Conditions and Procedures.

 

Section 5.7 of the 2020 Conditions indicates that the program must demonstrate that it has the appropriate institutional support and financial resources to support student learning and achievement during the next term of accreditation but providing financial statements is not a requirement. Please see the Guidelines to the Accreditation Process, section 5.7, for guidance on what a program should include in its response.

Students

As required by the NAAB Conditions, each program must make its most recent VTR available on its website. In addition, VTRs from the past ten years are available on the NAAB website. NAAB publishes all VTRs after accreditation decisions are made, for use by current or prospective students and faculty, as well as the public.

Graduates of a program that loses its NAAB accreditation can still satisfy the education requirements for licensure if they graduate within two years of the date when the program lost its accreditation. See the NCARB Certification Guidelines for more information about the two-year rule.

NAAB accredits professional degree programs in architecture, not individual degrees. Licensure candidates who do not hold a degree from a NAAB-accredited program may apply for an EESA evaluation if their jurisdiction requires a NAAB-accredited degree and accepts an EESA evaluation in lieu of the NAAB-accredited degree. To review jurisdictional requirements, please see NCARB’s Licensing Requirements Tool.

NAAB does not rank its accredited programs. All programs that are granted NAAB accreditation are considered to have met the quality assurance threshold set by the NAAB Conditions and Procedures.