Since the turn of the 20th century, accreditation has had a major impact on American education, with Middle States Association among the pioneers in the field. Today it is a concept that few people understand and yet one from which many could benefit.
At its inception, accreditation responded to the public demand for improved quality and greater accountability for schools serving society's needs. The U.S. Department of Education- describes approved accrediting organizations such as Middle States as a "reliable authority as to the quality of education." Accreditation is an external, objective validation of school quality and student achievement that fosters continuous school improvement.
Profile of a Middle States-Accredited Institution:
- Adheres to the Middle States Standards for Accreditation;
- Uses its mission, beliefs, and goals as the basis for daily decision-making;
- Operates in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practice;
- Accepts responsibility for the level of performance of its students;
- Remains committed to continuous improvement in student learning and to its capacity to produce the levels of learning desired and expected by its community;
- Operates in a collegial and collaborative way with all of its stakeholders;
- Sustains its focus on implementing recommendations, addressing monitoring issues and correcting stipulations that may be part of its notification of accreditation and fulfills its maintenance requirements to the Commission.
World Class Standards for Schools Worldwide
Today, more than 3,000 schools, school districts and educational institutions throughout the United States and in more than 85 countries around the globe are accredited by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).
MSA-CESS standards, protocols and accreditation services reflect the latest research on school effectiveness and school improvement and uses volunteers trained in critical peer review to provide an external validation of a school's or school district's performance.
MSA accreditation provides its members with the knowledge and processes necessary for implementing school improvement and achieving higher levels of student performance.
Recent research suggests the critical differences between schools that make the grade and those that struggle are the:
- Degree to which the school clearly understands what it needs to do to improve;
- Extent to which the plan to improve is supported by school and community stakeholders; and,
- Capacity of, and commitment by, the school to implement and sustain its plan to improve over time.
- Middle States accreditation helps a school critically review its current performance, set a course for improvement and build the commitment and support necessary for significant and long-term improvement.
- Accreditation helps ensure that schools are making the most efficient use of available resources. Middle States accredited schools are better positioned to use time, talent and money in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Whether a school or district looks to build on its record of high performance and solid reputation or is interested in setting a new course for continuous school improvement, Middle States Accreditation is a catalyst for making every school and ultimately every school district, better.