Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Pamela Cross Young
Accreditation occurs at many levels in the United States. Essentially the accreditation process represents a type of “membership” that allows higher education institutions to demonstrate the quality of their programs. Regional accreditation bodies (e.g., the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools) recognize schools in the United States for their ability to demonstrate certain program quality characteristics. There are currently six regional accreditors in the United States that accredit higher education programs. Within all higher education institutions, the individual program areas (e.g., business, law, education) can and do pursue accreditation, which is typically voluntary. This entry focuses on the accreditation of educational unit programs that are housed within the regionally accredited higher education institutions. Over the past century, the accreditation movement has been strongly affected by a shift toward centralization and away from local control of teacher certification and licensure. In an age that values accountability and transparency, the process ...