Frequently Asked Questions About the Annual Report Online
The following information was compiled to answer your questions about generating your annual report to the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) using the online form. These answers cover general questions as well as questions about students/trainees, graduates and faculty/supervisors.
What time period does this Annual Report Online (ARO) cover?
The 2015 ARO collects data that pertain to the 2014-2015 academic/training year. The ARO will be open from May 1, 2015, through Sept. 15, 2015. Do not include any information that is not applicable to the specified reporting year.
When is the Annual Report Online due?
The ARO is due on or before Sept. 15, 2015. Once the ARO is submitted, changes cannot be made.
In my program’s last Decision Letter, I was asked to provide a narrative response that was referred to as an Annual Report. How does this differ from the Annual Report Online?
An Annual Report narrative response is due only if specified by the CoA in the program’s most recent decision letter. The narrative response should address any questions raised during program review. Not all programs need to send in a narrative response, but ALL programs are required to complete the ARO each year. If you need to submit a narrative response, please mail those to:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
RE: Narrative Response
American Psychological Association
750 First St, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
What happens if I do not complete the Annual Report Online?
If a program does not complete the ARO by the due date, they may be deemed to have decided to voluntarily withdraw from accreditation (Accreditation Operating Procedures, Section 2.3c) (PDF, 253KB). If the ARO is incomplete or raises questions about the program's continued consistency with the Guidelines and Principles (PDF, 151KB), the CoA may, at any time, request additional information or an invitation for a site visit (Section 2.1).
I am a new program director, how do I get access to the CoA Portal?
Please notify our office of program director changes as soon as possible. After we verify the change, we can create your account. Please note that our office requests that all new program directors send us their abbreviated CV. Program directors will be the main contact for the accreditation office and only one person can be designated as program director in the CoA Portal.
How do I create an account for my staff person to enter information?
As Program Director, you have access to add users in the Program Users section. Once you log into the ARO you will be directed to the home page. The second link in the ribbon is the Program tab. After clicking the Program tab, the Users tab will appear on a secondary navigation ribbon. You have the ability to add program users on this page.
If I give another faculty or staff member full access to ARO, can they submit the report?
No, only the Program Director has the ability to formally submit the ARO.
I am responsible for completing the ARO for more than one program in our department. Will I be able to use the same log in for both?
Yes, Program Directors of multiple programs will only need to use one username and password to access their AROs. If the same faculty or staff member helps a Program Director with multiple programs, please contact us. The system currently does not allow programs to list a Program Staff user for multiple programs, but we can create their account for you.
Does all information have to be entered at once or can information be “saved” so that we can return to the report at a later time?
Although the ARO can only be formally submitted once, it can be accessed as many times as necessary and information can be entered as you collect it. Even if a section (i.e., Students/Trainees, Graduates, or Faculty/Supervisors) is marked as “Complete,” you can go back and mark the section as “In-Progress” and edit any information. When finished editing, you will need to mark the section as “Complete” again. Once the ARO has been submitted, you will not be able to edit any data.
How are the identification numbers assigned for students/trainees and faculty/supervisors?
Identification numbers are generated by a concatenation of: [Calendar Year Started with Program]+[Program Number]+[Numerical order person was entered into ARO system]. Numbers are assigned after the individual's start date is entered into the record, not when the record has been created. Once these numbers are assigned, neither programs nor the OPCA have the ability to change the numbers. If a record number is deleted, there is no way to reassign that number.
Why are we asked to enter names?
Programs are required to enter student/trainee and faculty/supervisor names for all records that are entered into the ARO. This is to assist programs in identifying individual records each year, as well as to provide greater accuracy in the collection and reporting of these data.
I have students/trainees or faculty/supervisors whose gender/race/ethnicity is not listed as an option. What do I do?
For gender, please list the gender the individual identifies as. Please select “Not Reported” if person does not identify with any of the listed categories. For race/ethnicity, the ARO uses the reporting system recommended by the U.S. Department of Education. Please check with their groupings for how to categorize the individual.
My dashboard says everything is complete, but I am unable to submit. What am I missing?
Users must press the “Mark as Complete” button at the top of the Student/Trainee, Faculty/Supervisor, and Graduates sections in order for the Submit button to appear. Users can then press “Mark as In Progress” button if they need to make further edits.
What group of students/trainees should be entered during this reporting year?
The 2014 ARO pertains to the 2013-2014 training/academic year. Any individuals entering for the 2014-2015 year should not be included.
If a student/trainee withdraws from the program before they are added to the ARO, should they be added and identified as withdrawn or should they be left off the ARO?
All students/trainees who started your program need to be added, even if they left the program during the reporting year.
For Enrollment Status, how should a student be classified if: working on dissertation, on leave of absence, or on internship?
Academic status should be determined by the tuition rate that the student pays. If they pay tuition reflecting part-time status, then they should be listed as “Part-time” and if they pay tuition reflecting full-time status, then they should be listed as “Full-time” enrollment.
Working on Dissertation: Students working on their dissertations should be classified based on the tuition rate they pay (full-time versus part-time).
Leave of Absence: Students on a leave of absence should be listed as “Not Applicable.”
Internship: Students on internship should be classified based on the tuition rate they pay (full-time versus part-time).
If a student enters the APPIC internship match process, but then withdraws from the process, does that count as applying for internship?
Yes, a student should be counted as applying for an internship if they entered the match process, even if they withdraw. Please note, a student does not have to enter the match process to be counted as applying for an internship.
We have students currently on internship who will graduate in September. Will they still be counted as a student and not a graduate when I complete the report the following August?
If the student’s date conferred on their degree is within your recorded academic year, then they will appear in the Graduates section during the following ARO. However, if their graduation date falls outside your program’s 2013-2014 reporting year, then they will still be listed as a current student for the following ARO, because they will be considered as active during a portion of that year.
The ARO has fields for the old and new versions of the GRE. Do we need to provide any conversions to answer all questions?
No, you only need to provide the scores for the version of the GRE that the student took.
If we forgot to include an individual in a previous ARO, is it possible to add them this year?
If you discover that your program has omitted someone in a previous year, please contact the Research Assistant. The ARO will not let users enter start dates outside of the current reporting year.
We are a new program and this is the first year we are completing an ARO. Which students should be included?
Any students/trainees present in the program during the 2013-2014 academic/training year need to be included in the ARO. You will need to contact the Research Assistant to create records for students that entered in previous years or for Graduates.
What date should we enter under ‘left date’ if the student successfully completed?
If successfully completed, choose the date of program completion on the official transcript noting when the person's degree was conferred. It is essential that this date is accurate since it is used to calculate doctoral programs’ Time to Degree Completion threshold (found on the Dashboard).
Why can’t I enter certain dates into the ARO?
Users are only able to enter dates that are within the current reporting period (specified by the program director when he/she first logs in). Furthermore, the ARO contains 30 day business rules that affect which dates you can enter. For instance, users can enter a start date that is up to 30 days before the start of the reporting period, but they cannot enter a start date that is within the last 30 days of the reporting period. Similarly, users can only enter left dates that are 30 days after the beginning of the reporting period up until 30 days after the end of the reporting period. If a student’s start or left date cannot be entered, contact the office and we can change the date for you.
What do I do if there is an error in my student’s internship or employment history table?
Users can submit edits to the internship history (doctoral only) and employment history tables (all programs). Please include your program number as well as the student/trainee ID number, name, and the specific changes to be made. Please use the data prep sheets found on APA's ARO help resources site to help you in providing the correct information. Keep in mind that there may be a delay in processing the request depending on volume of calls.
How do graduates appear in the Graduates section?
A record will be moved to the Graduates section during the ARO following the individual’s completion of the program. For example, if a program indicates that a student graduated during the 2013-2014 ARO, the student will appear in the Graduate section during the 2014-2015 ARO.
What information needs to be collected from program graduates?
The information required for program graduates changed in recent years. As of the 2012 ARO, programs were no longer required to collect the Annual Update information from graduates. However, the required Postdoctoral/Employment information changed at that time. Please see below for the specific directions for your program type:
Doctoral programs: When students successfully complete the program, they will appear in the ARO Graduates section or 10 years, or until they become licensed, whichever comes first. For the first three years, postdoctoral training and employment information is required along with licensure.
Internships programs: Graduates will appear in the section one year after completing the program. Internships are required to provide postdoctoral training and employment information.
Postdoctoral programs: Graduates will appear in the section one year after completing the program. Postdoctoral programs are required to provide employment information.
What if we lose contact with a graduate and no longer have information on his/her employment or license status?
Outcome data is a requirement of accreditation. Please continue to request graduate update information for the required amount of time. If you are unable to locate or get answers from an individual, please answer “No” for all questions.
What do we enter under “status” for records in the Graduates section?
We advise programs to enter “Not Applicable” in the status field for graduates.
Who should be included in the Faculty/Supervisor section?
Any individual that would be listed in the program’s self-study should be included in the ARO.
What date do I enter for the faculty or supervisor’s “date entered” field?
Please indicate the person’s first date of affiliation with the program (not the institution). If there was a break in employment, select the most current date of affiliation with the program.
How should we indicate if a faculty/supervisor did not contribute to the program this year but will next year?
Please contact our office if you need a record moved to or from the Archives. If a faculty/supervisor did not contribute during the current reporting year, then our office can archive that record for you so that you do not have to input annual updates. If that individual should return the following year, then our office can reactivate the record from the Archives.
What if you have a faculty member leaving the program and a faculty member joining the program during the reporting year? How should they be recorded?
The Programs and Admissions page asks for the number of faculty/supervisors for all three classification types. You should count all faculty/supervisors that participated in any portion of the academic/training year. The numbers listed on the Programs & Admissions page will then match the number of individual records present for faculty/supervisors.
Do we need to include full profiles for our Other Contributors?
Currently, “Other Contributors” are entered into the ARO at program discretion. However, they are required for the self-study and in future AROs this information can potentially be available to automatically populate the self-study tables when self-studies are completed online. Providing a number of “Other Contributors” on the Prog./Admissions page requires a full profile for each individual to be completed into the ARO/CoA portal (see Faculty data preparation sheet).
Questions on the Program and Admissions page correspond to the reliability check feature in the ARO. This check is available on the Submit page during the ARO. The system will test whether the number of students entered for these items match the actual content of individual records. If the number of profiles in the ARO Students section does not match the number of students here, the ARO will not allow submission. Please note, these categories are limited to the ARO and do not interfere with the interpretation of data provided for other accreditation purposes.
The reliability check has four mutually exclusive categories:
- Students for whom this is the year of first enrollment (i.e., new students who entered program in the 2014-2015 academic year).
- Students whose doctoral degrees were conferred on their transcripts (i.e., successful completion).
- Students no longer enrolled for any reason other than conferral of doctoral degree.
- Students still enrolled in the program, excluding new students, graduates, and withdrawals.
Note: Each student should be listed in only one category. Therefore, the total of these four categories will equal the number of records in the Student section.
“Number of students for whom this is the first year of enrollment” indicates that this includes only those who began in the 2013-2014 academic year. Where do I count my students (or interns) that begin in 2014?
Any individuals who join your program for the 2014-2015 academic/training year should not be entered into the ARO until the 2015 ARO. Questions in the ARO pertain to the year that has just ended or which will be ending soon, so those that have not completed a year should not be included.
“Number of students still enrolled in program, excluding new students” is flagged. Why?
This number should exclude anyone who withdrew or graduated from the program. The number listed in this category should only include those students who are not counted in the other three categories. Again, “new students” refers to those that were new for the 2013-2014 academic year. New enrollees for the fall of 2014 will not be accounted for in the 2013-2014 ARO.
ARO Data Entry Prep Sheets
Contact the OPCA Research office with any questions regarding the 2014-2015 ARO at (202) 336-6016.
Doctoral — Program & Admissions (PDF, 58KB)
Doctoral — Student (PDF, 128KB)
Doctoral — Graduate (PDF, 44KB)
Doctoral — Faculty (PDF, 68KB)
Internship — Program & Admissions (PDF, 57KB)
Internship — Intern (PDF, 55KB)
Internship — Graduate (PDF, 59KB)
Internship — Supervisor (PDF, 61KB)