Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by freddyboy, Mar 7, 2015.
Those are excellent points.
Thank you, but you'll note that one of those points is really driven by a numbers game.
The vast majority of accredited universities are RA. So if I earned an NA undergrad degree, I would be limiting myself to a very, very small segment of schools relative to the number of schools in the U.S.
So that might mean it is better for me to have an RA degree, but that doesn't mean that RA is, necessarily, a better accreditation.
As I noted above, another way I could have avoided any issues with NYS state employment would have been to select an NA school that is registered with the NYS Board of Regents (registration is separate from the Board of Regent's accreditation program. Registration is the NYS version of "state approval"). There are a number of ACICS schools offering undergraduate degrees in New York. So, I would face little issue securing a state government job with a degree from one of those.
But none of this objectively proves that any one form of accreditation is actually "better" than the other. That's really the only point I was trying to make.
The reason one can argue that one level of accreditation (i.e., regional accreditation) is better than another (i.e., national accreditation) is utility. There are many venues a nationally accredited degree is acceptable and serves its purpose well. And in some cases, the rigor and substance of the nationally accredited degree may have been equal to the regionally accredited degree. But whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, regional accreditation has more utility than national accreditation. This would be a good topic for your doctoral dissertation (if you decide to earn one). Survey HR persons, construct your questions along the lines of regional accreditation versus all other forms of accreditation, then share your results with us.
Well, I don't think I'm going to be earning a doctorate, to be honest. But I wouldn't completely rule out eventually doing some research.
I agree with you that RA's main benefit is in utility. And I couldn't possibly argue with that. Heck, it was the reason why I wrote off the possibility of earning an NA bachelors.
About two years ago my SHRM chapter did a survey of approximately 50 employers on the topic of employee education and professional development. I was able to wiggle a few accreditation specific questions into the survey. We included the following questions:
1. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree from an institution accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) (responses were Yes/No/It would depend upon the employee/It would depend upon the specific program/It would depend upon the program and the employee/I don't know enough about this agency or otherwise lack enough information to decide)
2. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree from a regionally accredited institution (same responses)
3. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) (Same responses)
4. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree accredited by the New York State Board of Regents (same responses)
5. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree accredited by any accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (same responses)
6. My company would pay for an employee to earn a degree which lacked institutional accreditation (same responses)
Hardly graduate level research. However, it showed some very interesting results.
ACICS received more "Yes's" than DETC (DEAC). Question 4 received the most "Yes" responses. But question 5 only received either "Yes" or "It would depend upon the program and the employee."
The scary part was that number six resulted in a lot of "I don't know," "it would depend upon the employee and program" and "Yes" responses. Only about 15 of the surveyed members gave a flat answer of "No" for unaccredited degrees. Also, to highlight how little many HR professionals seem to know about accreditation, two or three respondents gave "No" responses to an RA accredited program.
Very informal and very rough but the results were a bit surprising to me. I have considered taking a course or two in research methods and giving it another go. I don't really want a doctorate but I would like to see myself moving toward more research to try to advance my field.
Most of the judgements are based on comparisons of accreditation guidelines. The central question lies in how many of those judgements are left up to subjective interpretations of rigor?
My view is that most legitimate accreditors have similar guidelines and processes, so to me where one accreditor separates itself from another is in the ability of an accreditor's staff to evaluate schools and accredit them accordingly. It's not much news that one accreditor may have more competent staff than another. Figuring out how to rank them based on that is a big difficulty, but if it could be done it would certainly change the conversation.
This makes it sound like you think that most of the people with opinions on this have actually read the guidelines from the regional accreditors and the national accreditors. Surely that's not the case.
From time to time, I mention (and now do again) that I think very meaningful and useful research on one major aspect of this issue could be conducted very very quickly for almost no cost.
1. Get a list of the emails of the registrars and admissions officers of all 3,000+ RA schools. (I know how to do this for free.)
2. Send them all a very short questionnaire, probably using Survey Monkey or equivalent, asking them one (or at most, two) questions:
At my school, we accept nationally-accredited (DEAC, ACICS, etc.) degrees, for purposes of transfer of credits, hiring, etc., ( )Always ( )Usually
( )Sometimes ( )Rarely ( )Never. And maybe same question regarding California-approved schools.
One could have results in a matter of weeks.
I did essentially this in 1999 using the US mails. Expensive and time-consuming, and surely things have changed since then. I'd be glad to help someone do it now, but I'd want someone else to take the lead, or indeed to do it all. The results would, I believe, be extremely welcome as a presentation at the next AACRAO national conference.
I would be very interested in doing this, although I won't be in the dissertation phase for another year and it would be ideal for me to have them tied together....
I'm just thinking the regular users here who comment on it often have done that. If not, they probably shouldn't be making any judgements at all on the matter.
If uninformed opinions were made illegal today then tomorrow we would still have just as many uninformed opinions. We'd just have a lot more criminals.
I'm not suggesting the opinions should be outlawed. I'm just saying it's not the best idea to make them on this matter without having some actual research behind it. After all, thousands upon thousands of people are watching, many of which aren't versed at all in these things. They read some of these unresearched negatives, and suddenly their whole perception is misguided because of it.
...Ok, I wasn't suggesting that uninformed opinions be outlawed. I was simply pointing out that if there were a legal requirement to have an informed opinion, there would be a lot of criminals in the world. i.e., even if compelled by law, people would continue to be blissfully ignorant.
I can understand being confused about accreditation pre-internet. For the average person to do that sort of research would be a pain with very little (perceived) ROI. Today, the information is there. You can learn about accreditation in five minutes by reading the Wikipedia page. Yet, people still don't. The presence and accessibility of information does not impact many people because many people simply don't care to have an informed opinion.
Dr. Bear, Do you have a link to the 1999 results? I think I have seen them previously, but would be interested, I co-chair our HR Personnel Committee and teach an SHRM certification course.
Audit Guy: Dr. Bear, Do you have a link to the 1999 results?
John: Not easily. Most of my stuff is in deep storage in a rental locker 150 miles away, while I try to figure out what to do with my archives. The findings were presented at the AACRAO national registrar's conference in Seattle in 2000. I've made cursory efforts to try to get something from them, but no luck so far. My "presenter" (introducer) there was named Jason Vorderstrasse. I find someone of that unusual name now with the State Department, perhaps Mexico. I shall inquire, just in case he is one who saves paper.
Usually a lot of times most of the countries around the worls have national accreditation.
RUssia for example awards degrees - national format diplomas by universities accredited by the Ministry of Education.
Same for many other countries. The National accreditation is the standard in these countries.
Beyond that it would stand to reason that "national" accreditation would be a bit broader than "regional" accreditation. The nation is, after all, larger than a region. An international airport is bigger, better and has more services than a regional airport (typically).
Part of the problem is the usage of the word "national." In the countries you cite, universities have "national accreditation" by virtue of being accredited by the nation (typically by way of the Ministry of Education). Those institutions have the highest level of accreditation/approval that the NATION offers.
In the U.S., National Accreditation isn't accreditation by "the nation" it is, like regional accreditation, accreditation by a private accrediting body recognized by the national government. Regional accreditors don't have "super approval" by USDOE. They operate with the same authority as the faith based accreditors and the "national" accreditors. What makes the national accreditors "national" is that, traditionally, their accreditation was not limited to institutions within a specific geographic area.
The confusion comes into play because national accreditors are called such because of the lack of geographic limitation in their accreditation activities. People see the word and assume, though, that it refers to a higher level of authority.
Then, of course, add to the confusion that all schools require state approval to be accredited and some state approvals require more rigor than others. Then add in the outliers (like NYS Board of Regents which is a USDOE recognized accreditor).
So yes, people get confused. But that's largely because, in true American spirit, we made the most convoluted system imaginable that enriches countless private parties while sapping the federal government of resources. Even with the internet, few people are going to sit down and actually try to untangle this mess. And should they even have to? States are responsible for establishing the legitimacy of a number of businesses and professionals. Your doctor could be Ivy League trained all the way but without a license from the state s/he cannot legitimately practice medicine. Likewise, your local hospital requires a license from the state to legitimately function. But a university licensed by the same state is considered by many to be completely "illegitimate" unless it has acquired membership in a private association as well.
I believe this applies to many other non-education systems as well. Take, for example:
Here are the summary results from the way back machine on the limitations for credit transfer.
"12-07-2002 05:48 PM -John Bear - Senior Member?
In my survey of 338 collegiate registrars two years ago (presented at the AACRAO registrars' convention in Seattle last year),
19% always accepted DETC-accredited degrees for credit transfer or admissions purposes
10% usually accepted it
8% sometimes accepted it
The rest ranged from rarely to never."
Separate names with a comma.