Accreditation involves the deliberate evaluation of an institution or programme for the purposes of assuring quality and targeted planning of future enhancements. Organisations that would like to pursue accreditation may do so voluntarily by approaching the right accrediting agency. The accrediting agency, on the other hand, is tasked to develop and provide appropriate quality standards and ensure they are met by candidates by carefully reviewing certain elements within their institution or programme.
At its best, accreditation serves the interest of both organisations and students. It does this in three different ways:
Through careful evaluation, the strengths and limitations of an institution or programme are determined. From there, recommendations on how to maintain those strengths and address those limitations are made. The end result is an institution or programme that is centred on driving improved outcomes and better quality education.
Organisations that opt to get accredited are given the opportunity to review all aspects of their institutions or programmes based on set standards. This, in turn, enables them to reflect upon their effectiveness in delivering education to students and prepare them for external review.
Rather than being a one-time process, accreditation is designed to be a cycle. This pushes organisations to continuously strive for excellence, while assuring students they are attending in an institution or a programme that is duly recognised and offers a route to professional success.
There are hundreds of accrediting agencies throughout the UK, giving organisations a variety of options to choose from. However, as not all accrediting agencies are on par in terms of quality, it pays to know if a particular agency has good accreditation system in place to make sure that it will be able to deliver on its promises. Below are some of the attributes of a good accreditation system.