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ACCREDITATION for Dummies...

In order for the “status” to be conferred to an organisation, there are three core requirements that must be present: 
  1. a set of specific criteria, requirements or standards.

  2. a “trusted” and “professional” authoritative body or agency able to provide external verification that an organisation meets or exceeds these criteria and standards.

  3. a formal system designed to assess or evaluate an organisation according to the accepted criteria and standards. It is this formal evaluative or assessment system that constitutes the “process” and, upon successful completion of the process, an organisation agrees to uphold the quality standards set by the accreditation body or agency and also submit to any periodic accreditation renewal review. It is for these reasons that accreditation is most often defined as a form of “external quality review” or “external scrutiny of quality assurance”. However, it is also important to note that accreditation is not only used to confer status or evidence quality or excellence through evaluative processes – it has also been used to improve or enhance levels of quality in many different contexts. Perhaps, the best-known (for educators) of these initiatives involved the creation of the American Medical Association (AMA) in the early 1900s – and its mandate to judge medical schools across the states and ensure that all such institutions operated in line with the Harvard and Hopkins “standards”.

Accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the community has a right to expect and the education world endorses. Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school's performance. According to Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):
Accreditation is a process of external quality review used by higher education to scrutinize colleges, universities and higher education programs for quality assurance and quality improvement. The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), a specialized English language programme accrediting agency in the US, defines accreditation as:
…a process by which experts in a particular field determine common standards and choose to regulate themselves according to those standards. In order to become accredited, especially in the field of education, a program or institution participates in a voluntary process of peer review, designed to improve and assure the quality of the program or institution. All three of these definitions highlight the emphasis on both “status” and “process” involved in an expert, external review. Accreditation bodies that use these approaches frequently list their benefits as the best way “prove” levels of quality, demonstrate public accountability and cultivate a positive image for the organisation - in addition to being an effective means to foster wider stakeholder involvement. Furthermore, accreditation bodies in education frequently highlight the learning and “quality improvement” dimensions of accreditation:
Although no two educational accreditation bodies use exactly the same standards (and this can be a little frustrating for many educators wanting to learn more or compare accreditation bodies) the vast majority focus in on some very similar areas or themes:
  1. Philosophy, Mission & Purpose

  2. Governance & Leadership

  3. Organisational Culture & School Climate

  4. Regulatory Compliance & Institutional Integrity

  5. Policy Framework & Strategic Planning

  6. Systems Development & Management 

  7. Curriculum & Assessment

  8. Educational Programmes, Offerings & Services

  9. Student Engagement, Success and Achievement

  10. Student Services, Welfare & Guidance

  11. Student Tracking – Recruitment, Promotion & Advancement 

  12. Health, Safety & Security

  13. Premises, Facilities, Equipment & Supplies

  14. Resource Management & Development

  15. Information Resources & Technology

  16. Finance & Fiscal Capa