An on-site visit allows the assigned accreditation review team to assess factors that cannot be adequately described in written form. On-site visits are conducted for an initial accreditation review, for a regularly scheduled comprehensive re-accreditation review, and for an interim visit review.
The typical minimum review team size is three members; one team chair (TC) and two program evaluators (PEVs) for a single program visit. For a multiple-program visit, a review team typically consists of one TC and a PEV for each program. In certain cases counts may be adjusted. For visits involving a large number of programs or a single program delivered at multiple locations, a co-Team Chair may be assigned to assist the TC.
Visit Schedule & Activities
Typically, for programs located in the U.S, an on-site visit is scheduled between September and December, and lasts three days, usually Sunday through Tuesday. On-site visits to programs outside the U.S. may have a different visit schedule to accommodate team travel time, local culture, and customs.
During initial or comprehensive on-site visits the review team will:
- Verify the information provided in the Self-Study Report.
- Investigate issues identified during the review of the Self-Study Report.
- Interview students, faculty members, administrators, and staff.
- Review display materials.
- Visit classrooms, labs, and other key facilities.
- Determine compliance with the applicable ABET criteria and policies.
- Assist each program under review in recognizing its strong and weak points.
- Share suggestions for improvements or exchange best practices.
- Conduct an exit meeting to convey the team’s findings. This meeting is attended by the institution’s chief executive officer and any administrators s/he chooses. During the briefing, the team chair provides a Program Audit Form (PAF) for each program reviewed. The PAF briefly lists the preliminary findings along with an explanation of the seven-day period in which the programs can respond to any errors of fact in the oral statement or on a PAF.
Each program is asked to gather a variety of display materials that will assist the review team in its evaluation, including:
- Textbooks for each course in the technical curriculum
- Course syllabi
- Student work, including sample assignments, exams—ranging in quality from excellent through poor
- Assessment materials
Additional specific display materials may be requested by the review team. Programs located in countries where English is not the native language should be prepared to provide English translations for some displayed materials. Please check with the team chair assigned to your program regarding items that should be translated.
In some instances, a review team may include observers, who are individuals learning about the ABET accreditation process. Observers can be program evaluator trainees, members of licensure or registration boards, or representatives from our international partnerships. The inclusion of observers on any visit is at the discretion of ABET Headquarters, the team chair, and the institution being visited.
Interim Review Visits
An Interim Visit (IV) Review also requires an on-site visit. However, IV reviews only focus on shortcomings identified during the previous review. The review team will tailor its on-site activities based on the shortcomings from the previous review.