ERIC Number: ED209997
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Accreditation and Quality: Minimal Requirements versus Distinguishing Characteristics.
Green, Kenneth C.
Perspectives concerning accreditation standards for colleges and universities and assumptions about institutional quality are considered. The various accrediting agencies and associations focus on a broad set of criteria that are generally perceived and promoted to be attributes of institutional program quality. The accrediting criteria of the six regional associations are used as guidelines to determine the extent to which institutions achieve their stated goals and objectives. The professional associations generally have developed more specific criteria. Accrediting criteria provide guidelines for program assessment, whereas standards establish baseline or minimum requirements for a number of program components (e.g., curricular structure and sequence skill development). Accrediting has two distinguishing characteristics relative to considering quality: accreditation focuses on the institution's capacity to achieve, and the extent to which it does achieve, articulated goals and objectives; and accreditation evaluations are not competitive (i.e., institutions are not compared and ranked). Although the public may view accreditation as a pass-fail assessment of institutional quality (and stability), it is claimed that in practice accreditation is an assessment that does not generally distinguish or promote high institutional performance and capacity beyond accreditation standards (guidelines and requirements). With respect to the assessment of quality in higher education, the literature suggests that accreditation describes (usually in very general terms), rather than distinguishes, the characteristics of institutional quality. (Author/SW)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Accreditation (Institutions), Accrediting Agencies, College Programs, Curriculum Evaluation, Educational Objectives, Educational Quality, Evaluation Criteria, Higher Education, Institutional Evaluation, Organizational Objectives, Professional Associations, Program Evaluation
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: EXXON Education Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: N/A