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N4A Academic Integrity Assessment


What is the Academic Integrity Assessment (AIA) Process?

The Academic Integrity Assessment is an online survey instrument intended to ensure the institution is aligned with NCAA standards regarding academic integrity and to help institutions proactively identify opportunities for improvement by ensuring the appropriate written policies, procedures, education and monitoring systems are in place. Additionally, if there are specific areas which the institution would like additional perspective, a limited number of questions can be added to the survey instrument to gather that information.

What are institutional benefits of the AIA process?

The AIA process provides the opportunity to proactively evaluate relevant academic support areas and make modifications to institutional policies, procedures, educational efforts or monitoring systems (if any). Significant benefit is also gained by stimulating broad based discussions between key institutional stakeholders regarding those topics that impact academic integrity. The assessment is not intended to identify violations in academic support functions or compliance related areas. The institution is in the best position to determine if the academic support services being offered are effectively meeting the needs of student-athletes (in the context of the institution and in relation to NCAA rules). As a result, items outlined in the summary report do not necessitate a need to make an adjustment as it may not be appropriate or pertinent based on the philosophy or mission of the institution.

Why is ensuring institutional academic integrity so important?

Academic integrity is a national priority and the purpose of the process is to assist institutions in distinguishing academic support functions they perform effectively and to assist institutions in recognizing academic support areas they might consider adjusting to ensure integrity and appropriate conduct within the organizational context. For purposes of the assessment, risk are factors associated with NCAA rules violations, academic integrity issues and the threat of public scrutiny relating to institutional processes evidenced in NCAA major infraction cases, secondary violation reports and highlighted by media reports. In addition, the four pillars of institutional control that encompass compliance systems (e.g., does a written policy exist), rules education programming (e.g., is the policy communicated to the appropriate individuals), monitoring systems (e.g., are procedures being followed and in a timely manner), and a commitment to compliance are inherent in the survey.

Who is involved with coordinating the survey instrument for the institution?

An institutional contact person should be identified (e.g., Director of Academic Support Services, FAR, Director of Compliance) for coordinating the process on behalf of the institution.

How is the AIA process administered?

The administration of the survey instrument will be facilitated by the assigned N4A consultant (as identified by the N4A leadership) and the NACDA staff liaison(s) in collaboration with institutional contact. Those individuals identified to complete the survey instrument will provide anonymous feedback relating to questions by ranking their level of agreement. The responses from each question will be outlined in an Institutional Effectiveness Profile. If an individual is not familiar with a specific process or area, they should respond with "Don't Know". Those questions answered with "Don't Know" will not be included in the overall calculations.

How much of a time commitment is required for the institutional contact person?

The time commitment associated with such coordination responsibilities are minimal as significant processes are already established and will be facilitated by the NACDA staff liaison(s). The institutional staff liaison will be required to participate in an orientation call with the N4A consultant and the NACDA staff contact(s). Additionally, a primary requirement of the liaison will be to provide contact information (i.e., e-mail addresses) for institutional survey participants.

How long does the survey take for a participant to complete?

The survey instrument is intended to be brief (e.g., 10 minutes to complete). Participants will have the opportunity to elaborate on their responses and their anonymous feedback will be for their institution only and not used for any other purpose.

What areas are considered in the AIA process?

The academic related processes referenced in the survey instrument include organizational policies, procedures and education; academic advising; tutoring; assistance for at-risk; advising support facilities; evaluation of prospective student-athletes; student-athlete degree selection; study hall/computer lab; mentoring; distance education/nontraditional courses; ethical factors; and organizational structure.

How long does the overall AIA process take?

Administration of the survey process generally takes 5 weeks to complete with the report being produced 2-3 weeks after the institutional survey has been closed.

What is produced from the AIA process?

Results from the survey are summarized in the Institutional Effectiveness Profile. Information summarized includes strengths, potential opportunities for improvement, an overall summary of responses for each question and a comprehensive summary of all comments. Items with a lower favorability ranking do not necessitate the need to make an adjustment to that process, as it may not be appropriate based on the philosophy of the institution. However, it does provide an opportunity to discuss and evaluate the topical area and make appropriate modifications relating to developing policies, communicating standards to applicable constituency groups or enhancing monitoring systems. CLICK HERE to review a sample final report.

What is the Self-Assessment component of the AIA process?

The Self-Assessment or structural aspect of the process is intended to be completed by the Director of Academic Support, Athletic Compliance Director, Faculty Athletics Representative, Provost and/or academic affairs personnel most familiar with and with direct responsibility for institutional policies and procedures. Full participation by all those identified is for component of the process is strongly encouraged.

What is the Comprehensive Assessment of the AIA process?

The Comprehensive Assessment or user component of the process is intend to ensure those involved with or who interact with institutional academic support functions (e.g., coaches, athletic administrators, student-athletes, advisors, tutors, mentors,) are fully aware of institutional and departmental policies, procedures and expectations. Understandably, some groups may have limited knowledge, occasional interaction or are not able to confidently assess the factors contained in a question. Therefore, "Don't Know" is available as a viable and appropriate response.

What type of follow-up will there be?

A sound academic support services program begins with senior-level administrators assuming leadership roles in establishing a commitment to academic initiatives. In that regard, a teleconference will be arranged to further analyze and discuss the contents of the report with the institutional liaison. If the institution would like to pursue a more in-depth analysis of their program, they will have the option to work with the N4A leadership to request a Program Review. Program Review is an extensive analysis of an institution's academic support unit which is conducted by a team of experienced and trained N4A consultants.  Consultants involved in a Program Review will not only evaluate and confirm that minimum standards are being met by an academic support unit for student-athletes, but will look beyond those components to provide an institution with more in-depth recommendations as it relates to the values, approaches and resources available and utilized by their academic support unit. 

What is the cost of the AIA?
The cost of the AIA is $300 per institution. As this is a member benefit, the AIA is only available to institutions represented within the N4A membership.

Will the AIA process prevent all academic integrity violations?

The challenge for every institution is to keep pace with amendments to NCAA rules, changes to university policy and turnover in staff. Accordingly, the process is not intended to be an investigation but to the best extent possible provide a snapshot of existing academic support processes and procedures in order to determine whether a revision, modification or new method might be undertaken. Even the soundest institutional programs can't completely eliminate a susceptibility to NCAA rules violations. However, this process can provide the opportunity to enhance the institution's ability to proactively deter and detect academic integrity related matters. Moving forward, the process might be used as a mitigating factor should incidents occur at the institution?

If I have additional questions regarding the process, who do I ask?

Additional questions regarding the process can be directed to Katie Newman via e-mail at knewman@nacda.com.