WASC Accreditation Information
According to the U.S. Department of Education www.ed.gov accreditation is the process used to ensure that schools and colleges meet and maintain minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academics, administration, and related services. Both federal and state governments recognize accreditation as the mechanism by which institutional and programmatic legitimacy are ensured.
Schools in California are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Other accrediting agencies in the U.S. are identified by geographic areas, including New England Association of Schools and Colleges; North Central Association of Schools and Colleges; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; and the Northwest Accrediting Commission. (These commissions also oversee accreditation of schools in countries throughout the world.)
According to WASC, “An accredited school is focused on a mission and goals for students; it is student-oriented and examines its students’ performance continuously; it accepts objective evaluation from a team of outside peer professionals trained by ACS WASC; it maintains a qualified faculty within an effectively organized school; it collaboratively assesses the quality of its educational programs on a regular basis; and it plans for the future.” www.acswasc.org
Accreditation ensures colleges that high school students are being taught valid curriculum by qualified educators who follow the WASC process. The student’s transcript then becomes a record that meets the WASC standard and serves as a qualifying entrance requirement to colleges and universities.
WASC accreditation follows a 6-year cycle. Each school participates in a Self-Study, writes a report that demonstrates its overall practice to support student achievement, and is visited by representatives from WASC who validate that the school is fulfilling its promise to students.