what is really accredited?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by morleyl, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    It seem there is a lot of semantics with the word accredited. what is the true definition in the US. I felt that accredited mean that a school has been legally evaluated by third party agency to meet a specific standard.

    based on the impression I get from this forum, it seem that Accredited means an agency directly recognize by the US DOE. As far as I can see thats not the legal definition of the term.

    On the flip side some schools setup their own accrediting agnecy to say they are accredited. To me that is not accreditation but if a genuine agency decides to perform the function then they should at least be given a chance to prove themselves
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    It would be hard for anyone to view an "in-house" accrediting agency as genuine.
  3. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    I mean independent of any school ties or affiliations. Thats what I meant by genuine.. Sorry
  4. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    The US Dept. of Education recognizes accreditors who agree to follow their very precise financial aid and student loan guidelines. Some major accreditors, from veterinary to business, choose not to do this.

    The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (chea.org) are the people who recognize accreditors based on their merit. CHEA recognition is generally believed to be a more useful criterion.
  5. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    So if a school gets accredited from an agency thats not CHEA accredited then they are legally accredited, right?
  6. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Hmmmm... I kind of like the sound of Dave's Distance Learning Accreditation Association. I think my first list of accredited schools will include Harvard, Stanford, U of Chicago, AND Kennedy Western! Think CHEA might bite? :) :) :)
  7. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    A lot of times it all comes down to the name of a school. Even if Harvard becomes unaccredited, people would still treat them with higher regard than some that are accredited.

    My point is that we should focus more on the standard of the agency or institution. I am sure you would easily find a lof of them very lacking in how they operate but maybe there are a few that is trying.

    I do not endorse any of these agencies but I do believe in allowing new ideas to come forth and to see where it leads.

    we can eliminate self-accreditation as an option from now.
  8. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    In my opinion, what you are missing Morleyl is that we already have a fluid and flexible system. While RA is the gold standard in accreditation they have competition in DETC, TRACS, and others. The accreditors that are totally discredited are the ones that clearly give their endorsement in exchange for cash.

    If I could ask you a question, please name 5 accreditors you see as legitimate that are not considered valid by our educational establishment?
  9. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    My point is, "Why reinvent the wheel?" If there are already adequate accreditation resources available to all schools, resources that actually do a good job, then what purpose would an alternate source of accreditation serve? If a new accreditation agency is going to "try" to do a good job and uphold the standards as specified by CHEA, why would they be a preferred choice over one of the more established accreditations (RA, DETC, etc.)?
  10. galanga

    galanga New Member

    questions for morleyl

    If Harvard were to lose its accreditation, it would have gone through such a terrible (and very public) decline in its ability to teach students that the place would fly apart and work to rebuild itself. It has the reputation it does because of the quality of the institution.

    I do not think your suggestion that "name," accreditation, and quality are not closely related is correct.

    I noticed that your posts have generally focused on the matter of accreditation and the process of verification of credit for life experience. It's an important subject, and I have a couple of questions for you.

    1. In some detail, how might a substantive portfolio evaluation proceed? What would you require of candidates if, for example, you were asked to develop an evaluation process for a BA in biochemistry via portfolio?

    2. In general terms, what's your educational and employment history? I find myself wondering if your posts have some of your own history driving your interest in the subject.

  11. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My only objection to that is with your use of the word 'legally'. I don't think that there is any generally accepted legal definition of the word 'accredited', although various codes, statutes and licensing regulations might define their own use of the word more precisely. (State licensing laws often define 'accredited' as meaning accredited by particular accreditors named in the text of the law.)

    But in general usage, as opposed to the technical usage in particular laws, 'accreditation' simply means credible external quality assurance but doesn't specify the source. That exposes us to questions of interpretation. Which accreditors are credible? Credible to whom, in what circumstances? Many of our familiar Degreeinfo controversies (RA/DETC for example) inhabit that grey area.

    To the extent that legal definitions of the word 'accredited' exist, that often is the definition. The much-discussed Oregon statutes are examples.

    That's already the way things are, isn't it?

    If you want to start a new accreditor, nobody is stopping you. Accreditors face far less government regulation than the universities they accredit.

    The problem for a new accreditor is that its accreditation is worthless until it is recognized as credible by those whose judgement is important: employers, clients, colleagues, the trade media, professional organizations, funding sources, licensing bodies, government legislators and so on.

    And since many of those parties aren't in the position or in the mood to personally investigate each and every unknown institution (which would defeat the whole purpose of accreditation) they often simply defer to the judgement of the US Dept. of Education and CHEA as to who the credible accreditors are.
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Morleyl, I believe that the best attitude to take with accreditation is to first learn the way that things really work. (A hint here, there's certain people who's statements cannot be ignored in that regard and I'm not saying that I'm one of them.) Once that is accomplished then some intellectual discussions on what some improvements might be, could be interesting. Those go on around here all the time.
  13. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    To answer the questions about myself and my focus that may help the misunderstanding here.

    1. I am currently completing a Masters in Computer Engineering with an accredited UK university (De Montfort University).

    2. The method used in their program uses the model of experience and a learning contract to achieve the final outcome. The research is done but my experience is a base that I build on.

    That said, I notice that there is a double standard about the concept of getting a degree by previous learning (especially on this forum). TESC allows full degree by this means but if other schools offer the same method or approach they are called Diploma Mill right off the bat. A lot of them are diploma mills but we should focus on what makes them really a diploma mill and not just base it on the concept.

    Of course I do believe in high standards for education but I also think we need to be more creative for the adult learner. I think the credit based system does not necessarily mean the best approach to getting a degree especially at the undergraduate level.

    In respect to accrediting agencies, I have no interest in seeing new ones or have any problem with existing ones. I just throw out the question about what is considered legally accredited.

    All I am saying is that if John Brown starts a new accrediting agency we should question and hold them to high standard instead of saying that he is bogus and diploma mill related.

    So the question I have; what is legaly considered an accredited school?
  14. Han

    Han New Member

    I think accreditation depends on what one is trying to do with a degree, within limits. For example, there is much debate on my need for an AACSB business doctorate. I have found that this accreditation is what I need for my desires and use. Others think RA will suffice. It is dependant on the person.

    I do have an issue with the degrees where there is no work (or life experience, though I will not make a strong statement about that until I learn more about it, and read some more threads here on degree info). If you just purchase a piece of paper, it is obviously for fraudulent reasons, and it should be considered illegal, which it seems to.

    My employer requires RA for undergrad and AACSB for graduate. That sets the standards for me, and is what I considered accredited, though from this forum I know for others it might be a broader scale.

    My two cents.
  15. Han

    Han New Member

    On last point. I see the topic brought up about what would happen if Harvard lost their accreditation. I agree with the responses, but since Harvard does not attempt to just meet accreditation, but surpass it in almost all aspects, it does not make it a reasonable argument when comparing to schools who are just trying to meet the bare standards.
  16. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    I am sure Harvard is not in situation where they would lose their accreditation. Remember, one reason that a school can lose such is bad business management, not just academics.

    My point was more along the line that not all acredited schools are the same. Everyone look up to the Harvards as the standard for education in the US. I am sure that there may be smaller colleges that may have higher standards than Harvard or other big schools.

    I tend to focus on standard more than specifically a name.

    Respect to someone getting a degree based on experience, I think we should approach on a case by case basis. Was there an very thorough evaluation of the persons knowledge? Is the school legal and legally empowered to offer degrees.

    So maybe we should question the authorities that give the school legal standing without any real standard for awarding a degree.
  17. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    In the USA, this is a very minor issue. Almost all the degree mills based in the USA would satisfy this relatively minor detail. It is the degree mill owners and the degree mill apologists that love to concentrate on that issue.
  18. Jeff Hampton

    Jeff Hampton New Member

    I think there are two problems with this:

    1) An employer receives 100 applications for a job opening. Do you really expect them to do a throrough investigation of the education process at 100 different colleges? Moreover, do you really think that all, or even most, employers have the knowledge to do this in any reasonable way?

    2) How exactly would one go about assessing the education process at most unaccredited schools? Do you think that any "unacreddited school" is actually going to willing give you enough rope to hang them?
  19. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    Hi Jeff:

    I can respond to you easily about these. This is based on your points.

    1. Employers do not need to spend a lot of time investigating a school or college. Maybe you think I am proposing the spreading of large quantities of accrediting agencies? no I am not. I am just asking what is the legal concept of accreditation in the US.

    2. Firstly, I belive in honesty and if a school is not open enough to allow scrutiny and follow proper process then their degree would not have any worth.

    I guess my point is if there are reputable accrediting agencies which already exist to some extent and people avoid those agencies then that brings up a question.

    My question was more about what is considered legal as oppose to what is considered recognized. Remember that US DOE recognition is mostly for financial aid purposes.
  20. Jeff Hampton

    Jeff Hampton New Member

    Since you have advocated St. Regis, do you believe that their system is open enough to allow scrutiny and to insure that they follow proper process?

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