Stakeholder Assurance of Quality
ICAA accreditation maintains an emphasis upon the historical operating definition and purpose of accrediting bodies – VOLUNTARY PEER RECOGNITION. This concept of voluntary peer recognition is based on the principle that schools sharing common purposes and distinctives are better able to assist one another in achieving educational excellence and responsiveness to their stakeholders. All principles and procedures, including standards of accreditation, are designed toassist Christian schools in achieving excellence and assuring quality consistent with their founding purposes.
Through its accreditation process, ICAA provides assurance to the public regarding the performance, integrity and quality of the school, concurrently provides the school with a program of self-assessment and continued improvement and can be important to provide a buffer and protection to a school from unwarranted governmental intrusion.
ICAA Accredited status represents an assurance of recognized and accepted standards of quality and excellence; additionally, the process of accreditation with its points of validation and institutional self-study is equally significant. There are also important additional benefits accreditation brings to a school (See Services and Benefits on this website homepage.).
Mission-Focused Improvement Process
Accreditation is as much a process as it is a result, and in the process of becoming, institutions find help, encouragement, and a maturing into the kind of school that God called them to be. This cooperative effort among like-minded institutions exemplifies the biblical accounts of the Body of Christ as it functions and works together to become strong and mutually beneficial under the headship of Christ (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4).
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”
Ultimately, accreditation leads a school to answer the question, “To what extent is the school fulfilling its God-given call (purpose), and is it doing it with integrity and excellence?” and provides objective validation of that answer to the school’s stakeholders and community at large. Schools find the answer to this important question through the ICAA accreditation process. In addition, as a school progresses through the accreditation process, a culture of continuous improvement is developed in which the school is always seeking to build on its strengths and strengthen its weaknesses. The school learns to regularly evaluate its operations, practices, and programs, leading to the development of improvement plans, implementation of improvement strategies, and making appropriate changes/adjustments leading to improvement.
An additional, and just as important, response to the question, “Why Accreditation?” for Christian schools is the fact that the concept of accreditation is firmly founded upon biblical principle.
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs . . .”
Accredited comes from the same root word as credible (to believe or trust). Accreditation, therefore, acknowledges an institution’s credibility—its believability. Although some might see an accrediting agency as giving credibility to an institution, in actuality, the process of accreditation ascertains and acknowledges the institution’s credibility by providing external witnesses.
The concept of external witnesses has always been a biblical principle for credibility. Jesus said: “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true . . .” (John 5:31 NIV).
Jesus then set forth in the Book of John His list of witnesses, which included John the Baptist, Moses, His disciples, God the Father, the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and His works. These all bore witness to Jesus’ credibility that He was (and is) all that He said He was—the Christ, the Son of the living God.
A valid accreditation process provides standards and procedures whereby an institution can establish its credibility before witnesses. The International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA) accreditation process has several steps that provide for a firsthand witness and validation of the institution’s credibility and adheres to the biblical principle that “every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2 Cor. 13:1 NIV).