QAR Samples - Introduction
The introduction of the QAR is an opportunity for you to give reviewers a first look at your program and context. In addition to clearly delineating the programs under the scope of the accreditation review, the introduction helps readers navigate the self-study report by describing its organization and any patterns of data reporting used in the report.
Note that these samples represent options for approaching the QAR and are not intended as prescriptive models or templates; they also may be missing elements that AAQEP introduced since the time they were written. When writing your own report, you may find it useful to incorporate a variety of the strategies presented across these excerpts.
Truman State University is a small, rurally located public university in Missouri. This QAR introduction begins with a brief overview of the university and shares just enough information so as not to overwhelm the reader as the authors introduce their institution and programs.
Use of hyperlinks helps keep the reader focused by offering navigation to information that is helpful but not central enough to include in the narrative itself.
Finally, the introduction is succinct and uses headings to help guide the reader through the narrative, spotlighting the importance of Truman’s context and the implications of its geographic location (see p. 7). (See also this QAR's conclusion.)
Northcentral University is a large, private, not-for-profit university that offers all of its programs online. The QAR introduction succinctly provides all the key elements to support a reader’s understanding of the provider’s context, beginning with a table of contents and acronym list.
A “Who We Are and Who We Serve” section on page 4 highlights the provider’s community of students with helpful descriptions. The Program Specification Table (see p. 7) clearly articulates which credentials pertain to each program across the provider’s complex set of offerings. These programs are further articulated via Table 2 on page 9 and through descriptions that offer additional understanding about the structure of the programs.
The introduction concludes with a summary of the evidence sources that will be used in support of Standards 1 and 2.
Salisbury University is a large public university in Maryland. The School of Education offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees with initial certification and a handful of advanced certificates as documented in the Program Specification Table on pages 14-15. Throughout their introduction, Salisbury authors assist readers by employing visual organizers such as headings, subheadings, and colors. A robust table of contents (pp. 2-5) makes it easy to locate information on standards, aspects, and appendices—the essential items a reviewer might need to reference quickly.
The university history section (p. 6), though brief, highlights important information that assists the reader in understanding the provider’s context. In the “Self-Study Overview” (p. 19), authors introduce readers to their data sources, which is particularly needed for locally developed measures but also helpful for proprietary assessments (even ones that are nationally available), as these may be unfamiliar to some reviewers.
The University of Missouri - St. Louis is a large public university whose self-study authors originally designed the QAR as a website. Noteworthy features of this QAR introduction include a letter from the College of Education’s dean and the articulation of four goals stemming from the self-study work. This unusually concise introduction also provides important context regarding the local effects of a prevalent extenuating circumstance, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Moyne College is a small private college in New York. The organization of this QAR introduction provides helpful and substantive contextual information as demonstrated in section headers such as these:
- The Culture of Teacher Education at Le Moyne
- An Enduringly Shifting Terrain
- Enrollment Challenges and Responses
- Current Curricular Responses
This introduction also clarifies a long and complex list of programs by organizing them into clusters aided by visual strategies. For example, the use of different colors in the Program Specification Table (pp. 16-18) clearly signals how certification areas are being grouped together.
Pacific University is a large private university in Oregon. The QAR introduction employs a variety of visuals to clearly communicate important information. Of note is Figure 3 (p. 18), which presents the structure of the QAR. In addition, the accompanying text on page 19 helpfully outlines how the report will present evidence for Standards 1-3 based on program type.
The QAR also provides a section (pp. 19-22) on preparation and planning, which is helpful not only for readers but also for the program to preserve a record of how the self-study was conducted. The introduction briefly summarizes each of the data sources to be presented for Standards 1 and 2, which helps scaffold what readers will expect to find as they move forward into the body of the QAR.