Guidance on Monitoring Reports for New Programs and Cyclical Program Reviews

Monitoring is an essential aspect of the process both for New Program Approvals and Cyclical Program Reviews. Diligent and engaged monitoring closes the loop on continuous improvement, that is to say, it ensures that good intentions for program improvement are put into practice, and, in turn, evaluated.

A formal monitoring process is required by the Quality Assurance Framework for both new program proposals and cyclical program reviews. While the QAF provides some parameters (see QAF 2.9.2 and QAF 5.4.1), universities may decide for themselves on the structure and timing of monitoring reports for new programs and cyclical program reviews. The guidance below may help in developing a rigorous and realistic process.


  • For new programs: While some Universities opt to have preliminary interim reports / monitoring reports to assess the success of a program in its very early years, it can also be very helpful to schedule an interim report for after the first cohort has completed the program. This will allow the program to assess the performance of students in the program, as a whole.
  • For Cyclical Program Reviews: The monitoring report should be scheduled with enough time for units to make progress on the implementation items, but not so far out that momentum of implementation is lost and/or the reporting interferes with the preparation for the next cyclical program review. Many institutions find that 18 months – 4 years is appropriate, and some IQAPs include a multi-phase monitoring process.
  • Frequent meetings / check-ins in between formal monitoring report submissions can help ensure that progress is being made on implementation items.

Content and Structure:

  • For new programs: QAF 2.9.2 notes that the interim report should carefully evaluate the program’s success in realizing its objectives, requirements, and outcomes, as originally proposed and approved, as well as any changes that have occurred in the interim, including any notes (see Footnote 2, Section 2.6.3) from the Appraisal Committee. The interim report should also provide an update on the implementation of any outstanding action items in response to the external reviewers’ recommendations.
  • For cyclical program reviews: The monitoring report should clearly indicate what progress has been made toward the implementation of each item on the implementation plan. If progress has not been made, or has been inadequate, the monitoring report should refer to any barriers to implementation and present a path forward. If there have been changes in the institution and/or the program and/or the discipline that make the implementation of an item unfeasible, a clear and detailed explanation should be provided for why an action item will not be implemented.
  • The process should include a provision for additional monitoring, including additional reports, should the monitoring process find that adequate progress has not been made.
  • Monitoring reports should include key process details, such as the date the report was due, the date it was approved, the date of the next report (if applicable), and information about who prepared and approved the report.

Distribution and Access:

  • For new programs: Interim reports are not required to be posted on the university’s website.
  •  For Cyclical Program Reviews: Monitoring reports (along with the Executive Summary of the Final Assessment Report) must be posted on the university’s website, minus any sensitive / confidential information, which may be contained in a separate addendum.
  • Some universities have found it helpful to make the past several monitoring reports for a program available to an incoming Chair, which helped maintain momentum and continuity of quality assurance processes.

Additional Resources and Examples:

The Key Contact Exchange Forum held on March 2, 2022 included a discussion of advice for increasing engagement with the monitoring process. The notes and recording from that session are available to Key Contacts here: Monitoring Processes – Key Contact Exchange Forum. A summary is available to the public in the 2021-22 Omnibus Report.