Essays in Education


Market changes within the aviation industry have increased the demand for aviation professionals worldwide (Christensen, 2013). The Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) represents the only specialized accrediting organization in the world for non-engineering collegiate aviation programs (Council for Higher Education Accreditation [CHEA], 2020), and their mission is to advance quality aviation education in partnership with industry (AABI, 2019b). In 2019, AABI expanded its continuous assessment criteria despite issuing citations previously to accredited collegiate aviation programs for non-compliance predominately with continuous assessment and improvement requirements (AABI, 2020). Program accreditation through AABI has demonstrated value to students (Bjerke et al., 2016; Christensen, 2013; Prather, 2007; Radigan, 2011; Smith et al., 2017); however, contextual variables may influence the efficacy and sustainability of continuous assessment (Elliott & Goh, 2013; Staub, 2019). Using a social constructivist theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to investigate the value of continuous assessment and improvement practices, specifically AABI Criterion 3.10, as perceived by collegiate aviation administrators and faculty at AABI-accredited collegiate aviation programs. Four programs, based on size and experience with AABI accreditation, were chosen. Interviews, supporting accreditation documents, and online data were analyzed concurrently with data collection. The findings suggested that most participating programs remained non-compliant with AABI Criterion 3.10; therefore, programs did not satisfy existing assessment requirements and were not in compliance with the newly revised criterion. Participants believed that faculty experience and workload most influenced assessment practices. They assigned the value of assessment to increased industry involvement and environmental adaptability. Overall, organizational improvements in response to continuous assessment activities generated expanded social interactions among stakeholders during unprecedented academic and industry conditions.



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