Program accreditation can result in several possible benefits. For example, given that early childhood associate degree accreditation is voluntary, the efforts send a strong message to the community that the college values external review and provides quality assurance in its programs. Since the Core Standards for two-year and four-year programs are the same, accredited associate degree programs may articulate more easily to universities, providing further options for students. In addition, the self-study may support existing models or serve to inform new models of quality practice in program review.
Colleges considering whether to pursue ECADA should ask a series of questions:
- How does the institution’s own assessment model support data collection?
- How are assessment results disseminated and how is the information used?
- Beyond the initial application fee and expense of the site visit, does the institution value accreditation enough to sustain it as a permanent line item?
- How does program accreditation fit within the overall mission and context of the institution?
- Is receiving and maintaining program accreditation perceived as adding value to the college?
Ultimately, the decision to seek accreditation should be a collaborative one that includes faculty, administration, and stakeholder groups such as advisory committees.
Link information http://www.league.org
by Martha Muñoz
“Receiving NAEYC Accreditation for the AAS degree would be validation on the work we are doing, and a roadmap for improvement. We strive to prepare students for the work force and give them the tools necessary to provide developmentally appropriate care to young children. In receiving accreditation, it would be written proof that we are doing what our goal is.”- Saundra Stiles, Roane State Community College
“I am thankful to have joined the Early Childhood Department at Nashville State just as they were preparing for the initial accreditation site visit in fall 2007. Beginning with my first ECKERS assessment as a brand new pre-k teacher, I saw the value of assessment systems. Years ago, I learned in preparation for my first ECKERS assessment the process of reflecting on my practices and looking at my classroom offered the opportunity for professional growth that forced me to change some of my practices for the better. Since the initial self-study and accreditation of our program at NSCC, I have witnessed the same to be true for the accreditation of our early childhood program. Although we were accredited 7 years ago, we continue to be a reflective program focused on growth and change in light of what we learn by collecting data on student performance in relation to the NAEYC Initial Standards. As we have now submitted our self-study in anticipation of a reaccreditation site visit, our program has been continually strengthened through the process of looking at our program holistically and even in setting new goals for the future!”- Amy Davis, Nashville State Community College