Questions and Answers - Public School Accreditation
Q&A for Public School Accreditation
Public Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
How does a public school become Accredited?
Schools which voluntarily demonstrate through the relevant NEASC Commission on Public School Committee's assessment processes that they meet established Standards are Accredited and thus become members of NEASC. Member schools must undertake a community-wide self-reflection (formerly called "self-study") involving the participation of faculty, administrators, staff, students, community members, and board members.
What support do we get from NEASC during the accreditation process?
NEASC provides on-site and/or electronic technical support and materials during the candidacy and self-reflection phases of the accreditation process. The Commission office will set up the peer review team with input from the school, and it will ensure that reports are completed and returned in a timely fashion. Finally, the Commission office is available to assist schools in preparing and submitting reports to the Commission during the follow-up period.
What does a school do after it receives Accreditation?
School personnel respond to recommendations stated in the Accreditation Visiting Team Report by designing and implementing short-term and long-range plans for improvement.
Will the accreditation process raise test scores?
The accreditation process will not of itself raise test scores. However, involvement in and completion of the process will directly impact the climate for teaching and learning and, as a result, affect test scores.
What if my school is underperforming? Can we still be accredited?
The accreditation process can serve as a guide for an underperforming school. Rather than enter into an immediate self-reflection, the school becomes a pre-candidate and uses the Standards as a guide to determine those areas in need of priority attention. The NEASC staff is available to assist the school in setting both direction and priorities to ensure continuing progress toward shoring up its weaknesses by meeting the Standards. The school and the NEASC work in partnership to determine when the school is ready to begin the full accreditation process.
Can an online school obtain NEASC accreditation?
Yes. As educational models have shifted, NEASC has adjusted to meet the accreditation needs of online schools. Online schools follow the ACE Learning pathway for NEASC accreditation, a framework that is well suited to the innovative world of online learning. Online schools must meet the same Foundation Standards as brick-and-mortar schools, but in a contextually appropriate way.
NEASC considers applications from online schools who:
- have been fully operational for at least two full years
- offer a full-time educational experience to students via an online experience
- function as a learning community where relationships between stakeholders are strong
- are able to benefit from the NEASC accreditation process including a rigorous Internal Reflection process
- are legally authorized to operate as an online school in the headquarters location
- offer an English-Medium curriculum that is publicly accessible for students from a variety of countries
If your online school is interested in NEASC accreditation, the first step is to set up a call to discuss the school’s eligibility to apply. Contact email@example.com.
Technical and Career School/Centers
Who is on the NEASC Committee on Technical and Career Institutions?
The NEASC Committee on Career and Technical Institutions is a subgroup of the Commission on Public Schools. The Committee consists of faculty and senior administrators from member institutions, as well as representatives of the public who have worked outside education. View the list of members who currently serve on the Committee on Technical and Career Institutions here.
Who are the peer reviewers that visit schools during an accreditation assessment?
NEASC maintains a database of more than 2,000 experienced educators from technical schools who have volunteered for the important task of serving as a NEASC Accreditation Visiting Team member. They are carefully selected and trained to observe and review institutions according to the NEASC Standards for Accreditation.
Does NEASC accredit the professional program at my institution?
NEASC accredits institutions as a whole. Therefore, if the institution is accredited by NEASC, then that status encompasses the entire institution. For information about whether the program has specialized (or programmatic) accreditation, consult the institution or the accreditor in that field.
I need to prove that I graduated from an accredited institution. Can you help me?
Contact the registrar of your institution, who can validate its accreditation status and provide proof that you received your certificate/diploma.
How can I get a copy of an institution’s accreditation report or Self-Study?
NEASC does not release institutional reports or correspondence (view NEASC policies for more details). Some institutions post their reports and self-studies on their websites. You can also contact the chief executive officer of the institution.
What happens to my records if my school closes?
The closing institution arranges with the state department of education or other appropriate agency to file all academic records as well as financial aid information. You should receive a notice from the school about arrangements made for filing student records. Begin further inquiries by contacting the education agency in the state where the institution was authorized to operate. If the college merges with another institution, that institution will receive the records. If you need further assistance, contact a member of the NEASC staff.
How was the NEASC Committee on Technical and Career Institutions formed?
In 1968, the then Executive Committee of NEASC appointed an ad hoc committee to survey vocational, technical education in the six New England states to determine if the need existed for an accreditation process to serve that community of institutions. Following an intensive two-year study, the ad hoc committee in 1970 recommended to the Executive Committee that a Commission on Vocational, Technical Institutions be created.
The Executive Committee favorably acted upon the recommendation, and the Commission was established effective December 2, 1970. The Executive Committee, in consultation with the ad hoc committee and the [former] Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, determined that the purview of the new Commission would be secondary (9-12 and 9-PG) and postsecondary institutions (non-degree and associate degree). The name of the Commission was officially changed to add the word "Career" on December 7, 1975. A further name change was approved in 1992 when it became the Commission on Technical and Career Institutions. In 1994, the Commission was granted baccalaureate degree jurisdiction for institutions that offer a baccalaureate degree and whose mission remains career and technical in nature. In 2002 it was determined that all degree granting postsecondary institutions would move to the [former] Commission on Institutions of Higher Education over a five-year transition period. That process was completed in December 2008.
What happens if my school's mission is updated (substantive change)?
The accreditation of an institution by NEASC signifies that the institution has undergone a successful peer group review, and the Commission has confirmed for the public interest that the institution is achieving the mission and goals which it has set for itself. When an institution is accredited -- or the accreditation is continued -- it is important to remember that the review was made of conditions and programs at the institution at a particular point in time. Since institutions grow and adapt to changes in the external environment, NEASC requires that all institutions be periodically reevaluated.
The decision by an institution to modify its mission/goals is the prerogative of the institution, and NEASC encourages its member institutions to be innovative and entrepreneurial. When an institution plans a change that is substantive in nature — a change that is a basic alteration of the mission or scope of the institution, the control of the institution, or the ability of the institution to maintain the quality of the instructional program — NEASC is obligated to monitor such changes to determine the impact of the substantive change on the institution's effectiveness and integrity. View the NEASC Commission on Public School's policy on Substantive Change.