What is AdvancED (Advancing Excellence in Education)?
AdvancED is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
AdvancED is dedicated to advancing excellence in education worldwide through accreditation, research and professional services. AdvancED is the world’s largest education community, serving more than 34,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in more than 70 countries that educate over 20 million students.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by American universities and secondary schools designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards.
Accreditation ensures a standard of value among credits, courses, and grade level placements between schools and universities around the world. It also authenticates the equivalency of diplomas and certificates to other accredited schools and universities.
The accreditation process is used at all levels of education to effectively drive student performance and continuous improvement in education. Institutions seeking to gain or retain accreditation must meet AdvancED standards and participate in an external review, completed by a team of highly qualified external peer evaluators who examine the institution’s adherence and commitment to the standards.
As part of the External Review, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS CASI) will evaluate the Jefferson City School System and its schools on a wide variety of criteria, from teaching and learning to stakeholder communications. Accreditation is a result of how well all the parts of the education system – the district, school and classroom – work together to meet the needs of students.
Why is accreditation important?
District accreditation is an assurance of academic excellence. The accreditation process ensures quality control among schools and universities around the world.
What is the process?
The district accreditation process occurs every 5 years. An External Review Team makes a three-day visit to gather data and evidence, interview a wide range of system and school level stakeholders and conduct classroom observations. The accreditation process involves two phases: Internal and External Review.
During the Internal Review and in preparation for the visit, the system and each of its schools must complete the following steps:
- Conduct and analyze stakeholder surveys from parents, students, and certified staff
- Analyze and summarize student achievement data from state and local assessments
- Conduct a self-assessment of the current level of performance in regard to the five AdvancED accreditation standards
- Develop an executive summary from the information in the self-assessment
Two years after accreditation is complete, the school district will submit a progress report to explain its progress in the implementation of the recommendations by the External Review Team.
The External Review is a rigorous process that includes the following:
- Review of artifacts
- Interviews with stakeholders
- Observations of instruction, learning and operations
The External Review Team will provide the system with substantive, focused feedback and Improvement Priority(s) that will assist in strengthening the system. A brief exit report will be provided, as well as a written report reflecting the team’s professional observations on each of the AdvancED standards.
Who serves on the External Review Team?
The number of team members varies depending on district size. JCS will have a five-member External Review Team. The team chair/lead evaluator is nationally-certified, and team members are selected for their expertise and fit with district needs. The team includes both in- and out-of-state members.
Who participates in the accreditation process?
The accreditation process involves all stakeholder groups:
- Teachers and support staff – serve as representatives on
- Students – complete surveys; student representatives will be part of subcommittees
- Parents – complete surveys and serve on both school and district level standard committees
- Community partners – serve on district subcommittees and school council/executive boards
What are the standards for quality school systems?
- Purpose and Direction
- Governance and Leadership
- Teaching and Assessing for Learning
- Resource and Support Systems
- Using Results for Continuous Improvement
How has the accreditation process changed since the last External Review was conducted in 2012?
The new protocol is a performance based system in which the External Review Team assigns an IEQ (Index of Education Quality) rating that is compared to the AdvancED Network average scores. The new process is a shift from previous emphasis on the school/district to a focus on continuous improvement.
There is a major focus on classroom observations. The External Review Team is focused on what the students are doing in the classroom. Team members conduct walkthrough observations using the ELEOT (the Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool).