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 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 ACS 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. ACS WASC accreditation is a school improvement process and therefore is a process that serves as the foundation for quality education. An accredited school is a statement to the broader community and the stakeholders that it is trustworthy institution for student learning and committed to ongoing improvement.
The public is assured that accredited institutions are evaluated extensively and conform to expectations of performance and quality. Because accreditation requires continual self-evaluation and monitoring of its programs and operations in relation to the impact on student learning 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.
Educational institutions benefit from the stimulus for self-study and self-improvement provided by the accreditation process.
What are the criteria used to evaluate schools?
ACS WASC criteria are research-based guidelines of systemic school improvement that focus on student achievement of the schoolwide learner outcomes aligned with the academic standards. The criteria guide a school in evaluation of its organization and program, e.g., leadership empowerment, continual professional learning by staff.