When Accreditation Gets An F

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When an actual scholar grades it. “First, it is unbelievably complex –there is not one or even a handful of accrediting agencies but literally hundreds,” economist Richard Vedder wrote in Forbes last month. “For example, instead of a single organization to do general accreditation of institutions, there are six regional accrediting groups, each with its own set of evaluation criteria.”

“And there are a myriad of agencies doing accreditation of specific subjects, everything from engineering and business to education and physical therapy. Second, the system is costly. Schools spend millions gathering data, preparing reports, and hosting visits of academics and administrators who make assessments. Many schools have full-time high-priced administrators just to oversee accreditation matters. Third, the system is excessively secretive and non-transparent, with full accreditation reports often not made public. A school may receive overall accreditation but in the detailed report, it is heavily criticized for weaknesses in, for example, its undergraduate advising. The public often only hears ‘XYZ University was accredited.'”