From SCOME Wiki
Accreditation is a process by which an accreditation body evaluates the quality of a higher education institution as a whole (institutional accreditation) or a specific higher education programme (programme accreditation) in order to formally recognise it as having met a certain predetermined minimal criteria or standards.
- Accreditation is the process by which a (non-)governmental or private body evaluates the quality of a higher education institution as a whole or of a specific educational programme in order to formally recognize it as having met certain predetermined minimal criteria or standards. The result of this process is usually the awarding of a status (a yes/no decision), of recognition, and sometimes of a license to operate within a time-limited validity. The process can imply initial and periodic self-study and evaluation by external peers. The accreditation process generally involves three steps with specific activities:
- a self-evaluation process conducted by the faculty, the administrators, and the staff of the institution or academic programme, resulting in a report that takes as its reference the set of standards and criteria of the accrediting body;
- a study visit, conducted by a team of peers, selected by the accrediting organization, which reviews the evidence, visits the premises, and interviews the academic and administrative staff, resulting in an assessment report, including a recommendation to the commission of the accrediting body;
- examination by the commission of the evidence and recommendation on the basis of the given set of criteria concerning quality and resulting in a final judgment and the communication of the formal decision to the institution and other constituencies, if appropriate.
- The instrument by which one institution, without its own degree awarding powers or which chooses not to use its awarding powers, gains wide authority to award, and/or gains recognition of its qualifications from another competent authority, and to exercise powers and responsibility for academic provision. This authority might be the State, a government agency, or another domestic or foreign higher education institution.
The terms refer to the accreditation of the whole institution, including all its programmes, sites, and methods of delivery, without any implication as to the quality of the study programmes of the institution.
Regional Accreditation (United States)
Accreditation granted to a higher education institution by a recognized accrediting association or commission that conducts accreditation procedures in a particular geographic area (usually that of three or more states). The United States has six regional accrediting commissions.
====Specialized Accreditation==== The accreditation of individual units or programmes (e.g., professional education), by "specialized" or "programme" accrediting bodies applying specific standards for curriculum and course content.
Duration of Accreditation
Accreditation decisions are time-limited. The duration of validity of the accreditation license is established by the accrediting body, which generally holds the right to suspend and/or to renew the license, upon the satisfactory resolution of any identified issues.
Accreditation of Prior Learning
The process by which individuals are awarded credit toward qualifications based on their prior learning and (sometimes) experience (also called experiential learning). The credit is awarded upon clear evidence that the respective learning has resulted in the student’s having achieved the appropriate learning outcomes.
The formal recognition benefiting an institution or specialized programme for meeting the appropriate standards of educational quality established by the accrediting body at a regional, national, or specialized level.
The evaluation of an institution to identify its level of compliance with the applicable standards of the accreditation body and to make determinations concerning its accreditation status. The survey includes an evaluation of documents and information (evidence) provided by the personnel of the higher education institution, following on-site observations by mandated visitors.
Portfolio for Accreditation
An accumulation of evidence (record of achievement) about specific proficiencies and the characteristics of an institution in relation to a specific type of activity, especially to learning standards. This operation can be accomplished either by a concerned institution or by an external observer/assessor.
A (non-)governmental or private educational association of national or regional scope that develops evaluation standards and criteria and conducts peer evaluations and expert visits to assess whether or not those criteria are met. It is entitled to accord formal status and sometimes a license to operate to individual higher education institutions or programmes, following the successful examination of the application and evaluation of the respective educational unit. There are different types of accreditation bodies (e.g., agencies, councils, commissions, etc.), focused on general accreditation, specialized accreditation, professional accreditation, regional accreditation, national accreditation, distance education accreditation, etc.
As defined in the Bologna Declaration, the study structure of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) should essentially be characterised by two cycles – undergraduate and graduate. Accreditation is a central instrument to support the necessary processes of changes in European higher education systems. Like evaluation, accreditation serves to assure quality when implementing new degree programmes and also to monitor existing ones. Accreditation, i. e. certification of a degree programme, will take place after review of the minimum standards for content and specialisation, the vocational relevance of the degree to be awarded and the coherence and consistency of the general conception of the degree programme. It will be awarded for a limited period of time within the frame of a transparent, formal and external peer review. Thus, the degree programme has to be reviewed after a certain time. The process of a peer review is steered by agencies, which are also reviewed through regular external evaluation. The instrument of accreditation of certificate degree programmes is relatively new in Europe but is increasingly gaining acceptance in the countries involved in the Bologna process.
- Council of Europe (CoE)
- Council of Europe - Recommendation on Criteria and Procedures for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications
- UNESCO / Council of Europe - Code of good practice in the provision of transnational education
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- UNESCO Guidelines for quality provision in cross-border higher education
- UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of higher-education teaching personnel
- World Federation for Medical Education (WFME)
- WFME's Standards on Basic Medical Education that Medical Schools shall fulfill