New accreditation process replaces old SACS rating

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By David Meade

Anderson School District One Board members recently heard a presentation on the AdvanceEd accreditation program which the district will go through March 20-23, 2016. Schools are required to go through the evaluation and accreditation process every five years. AdvancEd replaces the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation process that schools used in past and uses some different measurements and ratings designed to help schools improve.

AdvancED was created through a 2006 merger of the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)— and expanded through the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) in 2011.

AdvancEd Director Dr. Darrell Barringer explained that the performance based process is used to accredit schools throughout the US and in 72 countries worldwide. The non-profit accreditation organization is comprised of all volunteers, according to Barringer. The evaluation team will consist of six volunteers, three from South Caorlina and three from another state.

Barringer said he will be available as a coach and that Dr. Michael Lodico of Waynesville, NC will lead the evaluation team. Internal reviews will focus on standards, student performance and staff and board feedback. Evaluation is based on five standards including purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems and using results for continuous improvement.

Reviews cover classroom observations, the learning environment, interviews and observations. After internal and external reviews, schools will be scored on an four categories including Index of Education Quality, Teaching and Learning Impact, Leadership Capacity and Resource Utilization. The scores will show how District One schools compare with scores of schools on a national and international basis.

Barringer said instead of using old terminology on status such as accredited or accredited with probation, the index of education quality is based on teaching and learning impact, leadership capacity and resource utilization.

“This represents a move away from a system of labels and statuses,” he said.

Under the new system of evaluation, schools are ranked in four categories with index scores on a scale of 100 to 400, with 400 being the best score. Barringer said 282 is an average score and 288 is a good score. A score of 222 or lower results in a status of Accredited Under Review.

The highest score in SC has been 310 and the lowest, 229.

According to Barringer, South Carolina does not receive one of the lowest rankings in the country on education as it has traditionally done on other studies which are not consistent in their measurements.

In SC, 74 of 81 school systems have been accredited by AdvancEd.

The evaluation process will include all 14 District One schools and the Anderson District One & Two Career and Technology Center.