Accreditation comes from the Latin word credito–meaning to trust since the late 1800’s. American schools and colleges have had their trustworthiness and quality validated through accreditation. Recently some online educational programs have sought accreditation. The value of being accredited is that the quality of the online instructional program is validated through Self-Study and on-site evaluation by educational professionals.
Benefits to Students
- Increased performance. Accreditation focuses the program on improving learning for all students. A six-year study of schools actively engaged in the accreditation process revealed that 79% made verifiable gains in student achievement.
- Transfer of credits. In addition to raising student achievement, accreditation eases the transition of students as they move from an online program to another accredited school. The regional nature of accreditation allows a receiving school in the same or another state to assess the quality of the online learning program and accept the incoming student’s credits and academic record. This ease of transfer applies across the nation through reciprocal agreements between the regional accrediting agencies.
- Access to programs and scholarships. Accreditation can also benefit web-based students as they participate in specific sports programs, apply for federal grants or scholarships, or pursue admission to colleges, technical schools, or military programs that require students to come from accredited schools.
Benefits to Parents and the General Public
Accreditation assures parents and the public that the program is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation. Accreditation extends across state lines, assuring parents and the public that the online learning adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice.
Benefits to Educators
Accreditation provides the online instructional staff with a proven process for raising student achievement. Educators benefit from multiple resources (publications, manuals, software, professional development, and conferences), all of which assist in educational improvement. In addition, educators gain access to a network of schools to share best practices and professional knowledge. Educators gain valuable information about effective practices in other programs through participation on peer review teams. Through the accreditation process and resources, the online program improves its ability to analyze data and make sound educational decisions based on that data. Finally, accreditation provides program administrators with deserved recognition for going above and beyond the minimum to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to quality and to success for all