International Alliance for School Accreditation
The Council of International Schools (CIS), the Middle States Association (MSA), the North West Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) met in Boston during the AAIE conference in February to formalize an Alliance among the accrediting agencies that has been developing for the past several months.
The five agencies endorsed a general proposal for collaboration and adopted a mission statement expressing their desire to work cooperatively to strengthen accreditation practices, improve communications among the accrediting agencies, and to facilitate improvements in each associations’ standards and protocols. The five agencies agreed to work together to promote, support and improve the process of self-study and standards based peer review which is the basis for their respective accreditation processes.
The new Alliance will provide a forum for developing more efficient, effective and better coordinated services from all of the participating agencies and facilitate for all institutions eligible for accreditation the opportunity to seek co-accreditations from the various agencies. As an example, the New England Association, Western Association and Middle States Association are working to develop a new 8th edition of CIS’s protocol which will be used cooperatively with international schools around the world. Similar bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements among the Alliance members are also being developed to address the need for national, multi-national, corporate and trans-regional accreditation.
At the Alliance meeting proposals were presented for further cooperation with both the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Council of Private School Accreditors that will likely lead to bi-lateral agreements between those two organizations and some of the Alliance members. This will increase the opportunity for member schools of both organizations to add multiple regional accreditations to their existing association accreditations. Both organizations have been invited to join the Alliance.
The Alliance plans to meet semi-annually to advance accreditation and to increase both the cooperation and collaboration among the members. Through the Alliance members hope to continue improving and increasing accreditation services to the member institutions and better coordinate services to those institutions seeking co-accreditation.
According to the interim chair of the Alliance, Dr. Henry Cram the Alliance is recognition that, “We can compete with each other and cooperate in ways that will strengthen each of our organizations, guarantee quality to our respective members and provide choices for schools seeking accreditation around the world.”
The group plans to meet again this year in Philadelphia and to hold another session in conjunction with AAIE in February 2011. Other accrediting agencies and related associations are encouraged to join the Alliance. Interested organizations can contact any of the current members for more information.