FAQs: Evaluation Practices

CEPH has shifted its emphasis from a granular focus on data inputs to clear statements about how schools and programs are accountable for their goals and the two main themes of advancing the field of public health and promoting student success. The intention is to allow for more flexibility in evaluation practices while also allowing reviewers to look at measures more rigorously and holistically. Schools and programs should develop truly meaningful evaluation measures and make sure that they align with their mission and goals.

For each measure, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What does the measure tell you about one of your goals?
  • Why do you track it? (Other than the fact that you can.) What are you looking for? Why does it matter?
  • Can you discuss the findings and act on them?

Schools and programs must collect information on alumni perceptions of their preparation for the workforce (or for further education, if applicable). Data collection must elicit information on what skills are useful and applicable in post-graduation destinations, areas in which graduates feel well prepared, and areas in which they would have benefitted from more training or preparation. The criteria do not require schools and programs to assess every competency individually; rather, the expectation is intended to allow schools and programs to identify areas of strength within the curriculum as well as areas that may need greater emphasis. Alumni perceptions may be collected using a variety of qualitative and/or quantitative methods.

While the criteria do not set a minimum threshold for response rates, schools and programs are expected to define qualitative and/or quantitative methods that maximize response rates and provide useful information. Schools and programs must document and regularly examine their methodology and substantive outcomes to ensure useful data. If your school or program is not receiving meaningful feedback, the Council expects you to adjust your data collection efforts to employ methods that produce better results.

Cohorts are tracked via an entry point defined by the program or school. An entry point could be enrollment in the first semester of classes, completion of a certain number of prerequisite credits, etc. For the purposes of calculating a graduation rate, the number of entering students, as defined by the entry point, constitutes a cohort. A school or program has the ability to determine when the clock starts for a student, as long as it is applied consistently. To adjust for students who are enrolled but never take a class, a school or program may redefine the entry point for all students.