What is accreditation?

Accreditation is defined as a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of an educational institution or program are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency. In most countries in the world, the function of educational accreditation is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the United States, however, the quality assurance process is independent of government and performed by private membership associations, such as Western Association of Schools and College (WASC)/Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). ACCJC is the accrediting body for Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

New to Accreditation? Check out the ACCJC Accreditation Course – An online course on the basic principles of accreditation

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Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation assures that college course credits, associate degrees, and occupational certificates will be recognized by other colleges and universities, guaranteeing that academic work may be transferred in pursuit of advanced degrees. Accreditation also assures the business community that the academic work a student completes best prepares her/him for employment in the workplace. In addition, our accredited status allows us to offer federal financial aid assistance to eligible students who apply.

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What is the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)?

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is the accrediting body that reviews community colleges and other associate degree granting institutions in the Western region of the U.S. It is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The ACCJC is one of seven regional accrediting commissions. It is authorized to operate by the U.S. Department of Education through the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

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How is accreditation conducted?

There are four phases to the accreditation process involving internal evaluation, external evaluation by professional peers, Commission evaluation, and institutional self-improvement to meet evolving regional and federal standards. Every seven years ACCJC members have agreed to undergo the comprehensive process to determine whether they are meeting the established Accreditation Standards and to develop ways to improve their future ability to serve students.

First, accreditation review starts with an internal evaluation. An ACCJC member institution engages in comparing itself to the Accreditation Standards, writes an internal self evaluation report, develops its plans for improvement where needed, and submits the self evaluation report to the ACCJC for review. Second, a trained team of education professional peers from member institutions conducts an external evaluation, which includes examining the self evaluation report, visiting the institution, examining institutional practices, and writing an evaluative report with recommendations both for meeting standards and for improving institutional practices. Third, the ACCJC evaluates all the information and makes the decision on the accredited status of the institution. The Commission may also provide recommendations and direction for institutional improvement in areas where standards are not met or improvement is needed. The fourth phase is about self-improvement and each institution uses the recommendations of the external evaluation team and the Commission to guide changes that make their educational quality better.

Member institutions work to improve institutional performance between comprehensive reviews. The Commission may monitor and advise an institution on meeting and exceeding the quality expectations. If an institution is out of compliance with the Accreditation Standards, the Commissioners may require a follow-up report from the institution, or another team visit, and/or may impose a sanction and deadlines for the institution to come into compliance with all Accreditation Standards. A sanction signals the institution and the public that there are institutional issues that need to be addressed if quality is to be maintained. While on sanction, institutional accreditation continues and the institution works to resolve any such issues.

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Who is involved in the accreditation process?

Faculty, classified staff, administrators, and students participate in the process of evaluating our performance to determine if the College meets established Accreditation Standards and its own stated goals.

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What are Accreditation Standards?

The Accreditation Standards are the basic tool used by member institutions to gauge their success in providing high quality education and to continually improve. The Accreditation Standards focus on institutional practices that support student completion of certificates and degrees, and student learning. The current eligibility standards and Accreditation Standards adopted in June 2014 are available at the ACCJC website. You can also view the current standards, cross-walked with glossary terms.

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How often are colleges evaluated?

Colleges follow a seven-year cycle during which institutional review is continuous. These reviews include an Annual Report, an Annual Fiscal Report, a Midterm Report, completion of a comprehensive institutional self study, and an evaluation review by a team of peers. The ACCJC frequently requests other reports.

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Have a student and public complaints against institutions?

Information on filing a complaint against the college to the Commission regarding a possible violation of accreditation standards can be found on the ACCJC website at: ACCJC | Complaint Process

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Want to participate?

For those interested in participating in our ongoing accreditation process, please contact the President’s Office, ext. 7052.

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More Questions?

You can find our more information about accreditation at the ACCJC website, www.accjc.org and at the Department of Education website. Also check out the ACCJC publication with answers to Twelve Common Questions About Regional Accreditation. If you have questions, comments or concerns, e-mail or call the following accreditation representatives:

Accreditation Liaison Officer – Vice President, Pathways and Instructional Affairs

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