Fortunately, like most things that have survived for more than a century, the school accreditation process has evolved.
When it was first undertaken in the late 19th century, the accreditation process was an inspection of educational inputs. Early accreditation models presumed that if a school was resourced, organized and following standard practices, it must be providing quality education.
In the 20th century, data about educational inputs and student performance were gathered and analyzed to inform improvement plans that would serve as the basis for making changes.
Today, the accreditation process encourages schools to develop quality educational programs and share results with peers through action research and proven practice.
At MSA, we encourage schools to design solutions to the educational challenges they face, share the results of that research with the larger educational community and document exemplary programs. We believe that through this collaborative process, we will help schools to provide high quality education for every student.
To facilitate this, we recently launched a Best Practices Resource Library where you will find action research conducted by MSA member schools, descriptions of exemplary programs and related educational resources.
MSA’s new strategic plan, Taking Accreditation to the Next Level, includes a goal to be a “recognized educational resource.” The Best Practices Resource Library is one way that we are realizing that ambition.
Middle States’ Sustaining Excellence protocol and Programs of Distinction encourage member schools not only to continuously improve but to collaborate internally and with other schools to develop and then share proven practices.
School improvement is the process of planning, implementing, evaluating and improving on our previous best. The power of the process, however, is not in the efforts of individual schools and educators, but in the collective passion and commitment of all of us to find out what is best for every student.