What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary dual-purpose process that schools (1) must be worthy of the trust placed in them to provide high-quality learning opportunities and (2) clearly demonstrate continual self-improvement.
An accredited school is focused on a mission and goals for students; it is student-oriented and examines its students' performance continuously; it accepts objective evaluation from a team of outside peer professionals trained by WASC; it maintains a qualified faculty within an effectively organized school; it collaboratively assesses the quality of its educational programs on a regular basis; and it plans for the future.
Who benefits from accreditation?
Everyone. WASC accreditation is a valuable service to the public, students and educational institutions themselves.
- The public is assured that accredited institutions are evaluated extensively and conform to general expectations of performance and quality. Because accreditation requires continual self-evaluation, frequent reports, and periodic external review, the public can be assured that the educational quality of programs and services offered by the institution are current, reflect high standards of quality, and are offered with integrity.
- Students can be assured that the institutions in which they seek to enroll have been reviewed and the educational programs that are offered have been evaluated for quality and currentness.
- Educational institutions benefit from the stimulus for self-study and self-improvement provided by the accreditation process.
Also helpful is the ongoing counsel provided by the accreditation commissions and the hundreds of peer experts used in the process of external evaluation.
Accreditation status also increases opportunities for public and private funding for both the institution and students and enhances the institution’s credibility and reputation.
- Certification to the public that the school is a trustworthy institution of learning
- Validates the integrity of a school’s program and student transcripts
- Fosters improvement of the school’s programs and operations to support student learning
- Assures a school community that the school’s purposes are appropriate and being accomplished through a viable educational program
- A way to manage change through regular assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring and reassessment
- Assists a school/district in establishing its priority areas for improvement as a result of the perpetual accreditation cycle that includes
- School self-assessment of the current educational program for students
- Insight and perspective from the visiting committee
- Regular school staff assessment of progress through the intervening years between full self-studies.
Information from: http://www.acswasc.org/