What does accreditation mean for a school anyway?
It seems these days, every school, whether online or brick and mortar, is accredited. Accreditation has become so prevalent that many families have no idea what the definition really is.
Accreditation is defined by AdvancED as "a voluntary method of quality assurance developed over 100 years ago by American universities, and designed to distinguish schools adhering to a set of educational standards." In layman's terms? Accreditation ensures a school is offering a quality education by periodically reviewing the school's entire organization. Accreditation also means a school is striving to continuously improve student learning and the school as a whole.
The accreditation process often take a school years of preparation including applying for acceptance, being reviewed by peers and accrediting body, and implementing recommendations for improvement after acceptance.
History of Accreditation
With the boom of K-12 school options in the last 100 years, the academic landscape changed dramatically. Unfortunately, some schools didn't, or couldn't, keep up standards. This caused the public became unsure of school quality. Schools then showed their K-12 accreditation status as proof. To this day, accreditation is used as a benchmark of assurance that a school is who it says it is.
Accrediting bodies are not created equal. While many respectable accrediting bodies exist, there are some of low repute as well. These organizations offer accreditation to any school regardless of quality, for a price. As a parent, it's vitally necessary to research accrediting bodies thoroughly to ensure they offer high standards and are widely recognized.
Here's the good part! Accreditation of a K-12 school, through a quality organization like AdvancED, means that your student has assurance of many valuable academic benefits. What's in it for your student? A few benefits of accreditation are
- Improved acceptance of high school credits by colleges or universities
- Ability to transfer high school credits to other high schools
- Increased opportunity for college scholarships and federal student aid
- Ability to earn an official high school diploma
- Complete grading and transcription by the school
- Guarantee of holistic school quality and rigor
The benefits of a school's quality accreditation are valuable to your student, whether he learns in an online or traditional environment. As a parent, your responsibility is to be informed on what accrediting body reviews your student's school. Choose your K-12 school carefully based on this; your student's educational future may depend on it.
Do you think accreditation is important for your student's school to have?