At the recent Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) meeting held in Boston one of the workshop topics was the future of accreditation. A conversation that I hope will generate further discussion among the accrediting agencies.
It caused me to take stock of the innovations that MSA has been implementing during the past decade and to measure those changes against the need to redesign and promote accreditation as a catalyst for school improvement and change.
Beginning with the introduction of Accreditation for Growth in 1997 MSA has pursued a strategic planning accreditation model. We have shortened the length of the accreditation cycle and reduced the size of visiting teams and dramatically reduced the cost of accreditation without sacrificing the quality or the integrity of the process.
Schools are encouraged to incorporate into their self-study and accreditation process, plans for improvement and accountability measures that may already have in place, eliminating redundancies for those schools engaged in related certification processes or obligated by accountability systems from other agencies.
The accreditation protocols available from MSA are designed to guide schools in determining what changes may need to made and encourages them to redesign their organization and delivery of services using what we are constantly learning about teaching, learning and the nature of the learning environment.
MSA has multiple protocols, each designed to develop, nurture and eventually sustain a culture for change, provide the requisite skill sets necessary to plan for change and develop the capacity to implement systemic change.
In adapting to the future we have introduced a series of credentials for schools with distinguished programs in a variety of areas. Recipients of the distinguished program credentials are being networked and serve as resources for schools seeking to improve or implement similar programs at their schools.
In addition MSA networks with more than 23 accrediting agencies to increase the availability of our protocols, credentials and services beyond our 2,700 members in the U.S. and in more than 90 countries. This collaboration is designed to share best practices and to gain broader experience, to inform our own ongoing improvement efforts and to fulfill our mission of promoting educational excellence and recognizing it where we find it.
With Middle States Accreditation the future is now!