What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is the public recognition bestowed on a school that meets established qualifications and educational standards through initial and subsequent periodical evaluations by peer reviewers. It concerns itself with both quality assurance and continuous improvement, and is distinguished from certification or licensure, which apply to individuals.
Who Provides Accreditation?
In 1985, the U.S. Department of Education’s General Counsel ruled that it had no authority to accredit or recognize any accreditation agency for elementary and secondary schools. Following this 1985 ruling, efforts to obtain recognition from the Department of Education for K-12 accreditation programs ceased.
“The U.S. Department of Education does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools, and the Department does not recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of private or public elementary and secondary schools. However, the U.S. Department of Education does recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of institutions of higher (postsecondary) education. If an accrediting body which is recognized by the Department for higher education also accredits elementary and secondary schools, the Department’s recognition applies only to the agency’s accreditation of postsecondary institutions.”
–Source: U.S. Department of Education
Numerous independent agencies have been established to provide accreditation for elementary and secondary schools by ensuring that the content and quality of the program has been peer evaluated and meets standards set by the profession. Many of these agencies specialize in serving the needs of specific types of schools (e.g. religious schools, public schools, etc.).
Why Become WGNA Accredited?
The purpose of WGNA accreditation is to help schools delivering instruction in a web-learning environment to improve the quality of their educational programs. For schools that are new or are just beginning their implementation of web-learning, WGNA provides guidance and training to maximize student success and institutional effectiveness.
The WGNA accredited status validates the equivalency of diplomas and certificates to other accredited schools and indicates that the institution is meeting standards of excellence in web-learning practice. The accreditation status is also intended to aid schools in receiving reciprocity of credits, courses, and grade-level placements with schools and universities around the world.