The effects of the accreditation process of National Commission for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (NCAAA) and its impact on quality of medical education in Qassim University College of Medicine (QUCOM)


AbdulRahman Al Mohaimeed
Farid Midhet
Issam Barimah
Mohamed Nour-El-Din Saleh


Accreditation/International dimensions of medical education


Accreditation/Quality assurance


qassim university


 An increasing number of post-secondary institutions in Saudi Arabia necessitates government regulation to ensure quality of higher education. For this purpose the National Commission for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (NCAAA) was established in 2005. Our aim was to describes the accreditation process of National Commission for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (NCAAA) and its impact on quality of medical education in Qassim University College of Medicine (QUCOM).


NCAAA accreditation process, in and of itself, was successful in improving the quality of medical education without imposing radical changes in curriculum philosophy or orientation.

Take-home Messages

The NCAAA accreditation process had a Hawthorne effect, in a positively constructive manner, on the quality of medical education in QUCOM.

Summary of Work

 Quantitative and qualitative study conducted during March – June 2010. Faculty and students’ perceptions about the NCAAA accreditation process and its impact on medical education recorded through semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and structured questionnaires.

Also recorded perceptions about the relevance of accreditation process to the quality of medical education: Focus on the changes in curriculum and its implementation that were regarded as a direct effect of the accreditation process.
Data on perceived quality were compared with information prior to accreditation where available.

Summary of Results

The accreditation process lasted about two years, culminating in the preparation of a self-evaluation report and a visit of external reviewers. The process itself brought significant changes in the educational processes and administration and implementation of the curriculum. Our analysis also indicated significant improvements in the quality of medical education in the College. However, there were questions about the applicability of the NCAAA accreditation process on medical education. The process can be modified to suit the special requirements of medical colleges in Saudi Arabia


The findings from this study are based on a comparison between freshly collected data and the self-evaluation report submitted to the NCAAA in 2008. It is clear that these processes made the faculty and students more conscious and aware of quality issues in medical education. It is difficult to provide information on all areas of impacts of NCAAA accreditation.  However, we have presented an account of some of the initial impacts of the first accreditation exercise in the College.

Our study suggests that, the impact of the accreditation processes (including intense data collection and analysis, documentation, and participation of and feedback to faculty members and students) was clearly felt at all levels. The role of accreditation in quality assurance and quality improvement is well-recognized. However, there are differences in opinions regarding the mechanisms by which an accreditation process affects the quality assurance and quality improvement processes. Many educationists have stressed upon the fact that accreditation is useful not only to evaluate the educational quality of new and established programs, but also to allow individual institutions to monitor, reflect upon, and provide a means of continuous improvement of the curriculum.




This study was made possible by a research grant SR- D-010-426 from the Deanship of Research, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. Due thanks for all participants for giving their time.

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Take-home Messages
Summary of Work
Summary of Results
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