AdvancED and NWAC

About NWAC

The sheer enormity of the social-educational challenges that SASE grapples with means there is a critical need for strategic relationships with noteworthy organizations in the field of education. Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), USA, our principal partner and affiliating body, has more than one hundred years’ reputation for advanced school improvement and systemic improvement programs, both in the USA and around the world. NWAC brings unparalleled strength to our mission.

 The Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools was constituted on 5 April, 1917, as a voluntary organization. At inception, it was made up of 25 secondary schools and 8 higher institutions in four states, across the Northwestern United States. By December of 2007, its membership stood at 1900. Today, the organization accredits schools and colleges across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

In December 1974, the organization’s name was formally changed from Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools to Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In December 2001, its name was again changed to Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities. Further changes to the name saw it renamed to Northwest Association of Accredited Schools in February 1, 2004. And then finally, in 2010, following restructuring plans, the current name was adopted; Northwest Accreditation Commission. 

The Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools was constituted on 5 April, 1917, as a voluntary organization. At inception, it was made up of 25 secondary schools and 8 higher institutions in four states, across the Northwestern United States. By December of 2007, its membership stood at 1900. Today, the organization accredits schools and colleges across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

In December 1974, the organization’s name was formally changed from Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools to Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In December 2001, its name was again changed to Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities. Further changes to the name saw it renamed to Northwest Association of Accredited Schools in February 1, 2004. And then finally, in 2010, following restructuring plans, the current name was adopted; Northwest Accreditation Commission. 

GEOGRAPHY
Over the years, the geographic extent of NWAC’s accreditation activities has changed considerably. Up till 1988, it was still confined to seven states in the Northwestern region. However, in 1991 the organization joined the other five regional accrediting associations as volunteer Council of Regional School Accrediting Commissions. This move expanded NWAC’s activities to include “national schools” outside the United States. 

NWAC’s national school accreditation program began with Togliatti, Russia in 1992. This development was seen as desirable and necessary due to the United States increasing participation in the global economy and also due to the growing adoption of English as an international language. And beyond its global accreditation efforts, the commission is being sought more and more within the United States for its expertise in accreditation of distance schools.

THE COMMISSION
The commission has had a long history of association with the colleges’ commission, which goes all the way back to 1917, when the two commissions always met for the annual meeting of the association. This arrangement persisted until changes in 1994 necessitated the next evolution in the relationship between the school commission and commission for higher education. New conditions led to the separate incorporations of their own commissions by two regions, although they retained the regional name, for identification purposes. The resolution to separate the commissions was due to there being almost no issues of mutual interest between the two, and it also reflected the national trend.  

THIRD-PARTY ACCREDITATION
In 1998, the Northwest Association began work on a concept for third-party accreditations and through its Strategic Planning Committee developed 15 points of quality assurance. These were guidelines outlining the evidences third-party agencies must provide as proof that they had “equaled or exceeded” the commission’s expectations for accreditation. And following deliberations with some of the agencies that would be most affected; NWAC finally developed and released a protocol for implementing the third-party accreditation program.

It also approved nine third-party agencies, or NW Partners, for the accreditation program, namely, PNAIS, NIPSA, NLSA, SDA, ACSI, CSI, ACTS, WCEA, and NAEYC. Today, up to ten percent of NWAC member-schools have attained that status via third-party accreditation. The third-party accreditation program constitutes an important element of the NWAC accreditation system, and has enabled an approach that is not only effective and inexpensive, but also modern. 

EBSE
Following on the heels of the limited success of the School Improvement Plan was the Evidence-Based School Evaluation (EBSE). It fully systematizes the accreditation process by introducing common formats and uniform identification systems for all accreditation documents and forms. Its goal is a process that is comprehensive, yet easy to adopt and integrate. It is linked to the Revised Accreditation Standards; a pilot program that was a joint effort of all member schools during the fall 2006 annual reporting process.

NORTHWEST ACCREDITATION COMMISSION
In spring 2010, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools presented a plan for restructuring the commission. Following approval by the association’s members, the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools became the Northwest Accreditation Commission. The new plan called for each State Accreditation Committee, International Committees and Transregional Accreditation Committees to have representatives on the commission to protect their member schools’ interests.

AdvancED
On December of 2011, during its annual meeting, NWAC, along with the Board of Trustees, voted in new bylaws that formally made NWAC a division of AdvancED. As a result of that decision, all operations of NWAC, from July 1 2012, came under the governance of AdvancED, through that body’s Northwest Regional Office.