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Middle States Accreditation
What is Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools?
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) was established in 1887 and is a nongovernmental, nonprofit, peer-administered organization. MSA provides leadership in developing and recognizing quality in education for its member schools throughout the United States and in nearly 100 countries around the world.
Together, the elementary and secondary Commissions of the Middle States Association—operating as the Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools—serve institutions providing early age education through secondary and post-secondary non-degree granting programs. The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and provide accreditation services to US State Department Office of Overseas Schools.
Mission – The Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, building on the rich history of the Middle States Association, aspire to improve the quality of education in the United States and around the world by assisting schools to achieve excellence through the process of accreditation, by affirming to the public a member school’s trustworthiness and commitment to continuous improvement, by providing the network and resources for the promotion of proven practices.
What is accreditation by Middle States?
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.
The 12 Standards
The Middle States Standards for Accreditation are qualitative statements that reflect research-proven practices for schools pursuing continuous school improvement. The Middle States Standards have several important functions in the accreditation process. Most importantly, they serve as a mechanism for improving a school’s capacity to produce the levels of student performance that are both desired and expected by its community of stakeholders. Because they are based on research and reflect proven practices, they serve as a qualitative guide to expectations for an accredited school. The Standards are not designed to make all schools look alike. The Middle States accreditation process respects the individual nature and character of each school. The diversity of Middle States member schools reflects this important principle. Although it is required that all schools meet the same Standards for Accreditation, there is sufficient flexibility within the Standards so that different schools can demonstrate they meet the Standards in different ways.
The Standards serve as the primary basis upon which the Commissions make accreditation decisions. The Commissions offer a variety of protocols for self-study and accreditation, each of which begins with the requirement that a school meets the Standards for Accreditation. Then, building on the requirements of the Standards, a school proceeds to establish a plan for growing or improving student performance and the school’s capacity to produce the levels of student performance desired and expected by its community of stakeholders.
The Standards for Accreditation and Indicators of Quality are numbered for ease of reference only. No relative weight or other significance should be attributed to those numbers.
- Governance and Leadership
- School Improvement Planning
- School Organization and Staff
- Health and Safety
- Educational Program
- Assessment and Evidence of Student Learning
- Student Services
- Student Life and Student Activities
- Information Resources
For more information on the Middle States organization and accreditation, visit http://www.msa-cess.org/