NEW AND IMPROVED TOOLS FOR THE ACCREDITATION AND APPROVAL PROCESS
By: Edward Rotchford, Accreditation Specialist and Volunteer Services Manager
Since the passage of the 2012 Standards nearly one year ago, NAACLS has been working feverishly to complete the rest of the work needed for the transition to these new Standards. Two task forces were created and appointed by the NAACLS Board of Directors to create the new documents and policies. This past September, after much revision and refinement, the Board of Directors approved and adopted two new documents: The Guide to Accreditation and Approval, and the Standards Compliance Guide. These new documents can now be found on the NAACLS Website.
The Guide to Accreditation and Approval replaces the old separate accreditation and approval guides, and will be applicable to programs submitting their self-studies in or after Fall 2014. Among the new policies that have been adopted as part of new Guide:
- Extension of the maximum accreditation award length to ten years (interim reports will be required halfway through a ten year award)
- Extension of the maximum approval award length to five years
- New requirements for preliminary reports from programs seeking initial accreditation/approval
- Implementation of process for annual reporting of outcomes measures and significant changes
- Implementation of review process for programs that do not meet NAACLS’ approved benchmarks for outcomes measures during both the cyclical review process and in between accreditation/approval reviews
- New operational characteristics for consortia and multi-location sponsors
Among the cosmetic changes to the new Guide are:
- Shorter length, due to NAACLS Standards remaining a stand-alone document and the transfer of several forms/matrices to the Standards Compliance Guide
- Accreditation and Approval policies and procedures all in one place instead of in separate guides
The Standards Compliance Guide is a brand new document that includes required and/or suggested documentation to demonstrate compliance with the 2012 Standards during a review, and is intended for the convenience of program officials. In this document, each Standard has three sections: Contents of Narrative for Self-Study, Accompanying Documentation for Self-Study, and Proof of Compliance for Accreditation Site Visits & Joint Accreditation/Approval Site Visits. The Standards Compliance Guide is also where one would find NAACLS’ approved benchmarks for outcomes measures, as described in NAACLS Standard II. It is recommended that program officials of all NAACLS Accredited and Approved programs, as well as those that are interested in going through the initial accreditation or approval process, download these new documents and review them at their earliest convenience. The NAACLS Board of Directors, Review Committees, and Staff are all very excited to move on to this new chapter with our agency, and the NAACLS News blog will be the first place to hear about any new updates as we move forward!