The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) have officially adopted new accreditation standards that help streamline the accreditation process and make it even more meaningful and relevant to today’s educational environment.
The new “Standards for Accreditation School Edition 2021” will be in effect for all schools and school systems starting the self-study period in spring 2022 and thereafter.
These new standards were thoughtfully researched and designed over the past two years by Middle States staff with involvement and input from commissioners, visiting team leaders and volunteers. The Middle States team also consulted with educators within member schools, who have achieved accreditation and have a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the Middle States process.
In addition, Middle States conducted a pilot of the new standards in more than 12 schools, here in the United States and abroad. The pilot enabled Middle States to further refine the standards to ensure they meet the unique needs of its diverse membership.
Among the changes, the number of standards has been reduced from from 12 to five by removing redundancies and ensuring that each standard is relevant to the daily operations of schools and school systems. The revised standards are:
Governance & Organization
Teaching & Learning
Each of the standards are organized around several key concepts, indicators of quality and required evidence. Among the most significant modifications is the inclusion of recommendations from the International Task Force on Child Protection in the Student Well-Being Standard.
Also, the standards now include special purpose indicators for specific areas not fully addressed in the five Standards for Accreditation and that may only apply to certain programs or types of schools, for instance online learning programs, early childhood education programs, faith-based schools, and boarding schools.
“For more than 130 years, the Middle States Association has been a worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement,” said MSA-CESS Interim President President Henry Cram, Ed.D. “Throughout our history, we have continued to grow and change, just like the schools and school leaders we work with. We are confident you will find the New Standards for Accreditation School Edition 2021 valuable as you also strive to grow and improve.”
Middle States recognizes the challenges that have been placed on educators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and wants to do all it can to support you. If you have questions about the new standards or the accreditation process more generally, please contact your accreditation liaison directly.