Saturday, June 7, 2014

Accreditation - What Value Does It Provide?

Every school goes through a periodic accreditation process - often multiple, duplicative processes. I have been part of accreditation processes at schools in Montana, Japan and now Spain. This year my current school is completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program accreditation process as well as initiating the Middle States Association of School accreditation process for grades PK-12.

I do believe it is important that schools are accredited by a third party, but my issue/concern is that most staff who get involved in the process quickly become more focused on "completing the paperwork" associated with the process than with critically assessing the actual day-to-day functioning of the school and developing a detailed action plan focused on making the school better. Most action plans that get developed are put in place to meet the paperwork requirements of accreditation. They are then quickly forgotten...until the next accreditation cycle begins 5-7 years later. It is no wonder staff members are reluctant to take the repetitive accreditation processes seriously or to invest their limited time in taking part in accreditation teams and committees.

I am part of the accreditation team and process this year at our school. My goal is to try to keep a positive attitude and focus on completing the self-assessment critically and developing an action plan for the mathematics focus area that can actually be implemented and tracked over the next 5-7 years. Although I will be long gone, and the action plan may be quickly forgotten, I hope to do my part to critically evaluate how our school is doing in helping our students become better in mathematics.

Wish me luck!

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