An In-depth View of the IAO Accreditation System
I have been writing quite a lot about my newly found interest i.e. International Accreditation Organization. Here I want to enlighten my readers about the IAO Accreditation and Ranking System as how it works actually.
The Unique Patented Assessment Procedure at IAO
Since accreditation is a voluntary process, each institution must make its own choice: to seek accreditation or re-accreditation or not. Schools desiring accredited status from IAO are expected to agree in going through a series of steps that are outlined below. Institutions seeking accreditation or re-accreditation assume the burden of proof in presenting themselves as meeting the established benchmark by IAO.
The institution seeking accreditation status is required to get initial information about the accreditation standards, procedures and requirements via an online presentation or telephonic briefing.
To begin the accreditation process for IAO accreditation, any key person from the applicant institution need to provide the applicant institution’s details through the eligibility application form available on IAO website. Through these details, the committee at IAO gets an overview of the institution, its basic structure, functions and other key factors. Moreover, the applicant institution is required to fill in and submit a detailed application form, which covers the organizational and academic management and performance of the institution. Here the applicant institution is also asked to provide information on its mission, institute, and the programs offered etc.
On the basis of all the submitted documentary evidence through the detailed form and letter, the applicant institution is evaluated for candidacy as an accredited institute based on IAO’s unique patented profiling system. The IAO will award institutions with an accreditation candidacy and provide the unique points profile© about which I will explain later on this page.
Once the candidacy status is granted, the IAO evaluates the applicant institution’s educational system for full accreditation through its location and/or online education provision system, through student involvement and through IAO’s proprietary variable. At this step, full accreditation is be awarded and the final points profile© will be granted based on IAO’s evaluator(s’) visit and assessment of the applicant institution’s (i) location and / or (ii) online or distance learning platform and system.
So you can see, every step is defined and the whole process is structured, vigorous and transparent. The steps are designed to be quick leaving no room for any uncertainty or misinterpretation. As I compare the IAO accreditation process with the traditional US accreditation process, I find IAO process to be stronger and effective. When we talk about US Education and Accreditation system, it is designed to be large, complex, and not centrally controlled. There are about 7,000 accredited institutions of post-secondary education in the country. Some are publicly controlled, some are private; some are nonprofit, some for-profit; some are degree-granting, some non degree-granting; some are focused on specific technical or career training. This immense variety of institutional types and missions is largely an outcome of the fact that the U.S. does not have a centralized, homogenizing Ministry of Education designing and overseeing higher education. I am not criticizing the US education and accreditation system but I am emphasizing on the point that things could get better once we have a centralized and global system like the one IAO has presented.
Amidst so many accreditation agencies, how does the accreditation process works in USA? Well, there is no defined process. Briefly speaking, accreditors set the benchmark, requirements and conditions under which institutions or programs are eligible to request accreditation. These standards vary with each accreditor. Eligible institutions then apply for accreditation, and are examined by teams of expert examiners from peer institutions to verify assertions and data in institutional self-studies, to determine whether all accreditation standards have been met. As you notice, there is no set criterion for standards to be met.
Points Profile System by IAO is better than the US News Ranking System
As the IAO website defines the Points Profile System:
“Each accredited institution is fully assessed on the IAO’s unique patented profiling system, which classes the applicant institution against the IAO’s bench-marked standards in global working adults’ education’s best practices. The IAO has 18 organizational management metrics, 6 academic management metrics and 3 institutional performance metrics. On the basis of this assessment the IAO will award applicant institutions with its Accreditation and provide them with a unique Points Profile© that scores all quantitative measures of that intuition deemed fit towards best practices in working adults’ education. Furthermore, since there are many measures that are subjective and cannot be part of the quantitatively scored institution’s points profile©, they are gauged against the IAO’s accreditation type classification. There are three types of classifications: Green – indicates the institution does not have this subjective factor; Blue- indicating the institution has this subjective factor but it does not address working adults; and Red- indicating the subjective factors in this section are fully met and explicitly address working adult’s needs.”
As compared to the Points Profile System by IAO, the biggest flaws I have noticed in US News and World Report Ranking System are:
- Keeping all the institutions at the same level for the ranking weakens the diversity and uniqueness of the institution. This result in institutions trying harder to improve their rankings and in turn creating an irresistible pressure toward similarity and homogeneity.
- No matter at what angle you look at these rankings, they always reinforce a perspective of education that is based on extrinsic goals like fame, prestige or wealth.
- To increase the popularity of one institution these rankings can also manipulate data and distort institutional behavior. Since these rankings depend heavily on unaudited, self-reported data, there is no way to ensure either the exactness of the information or the reliability of the resulting rankings.
So, in my opinion IAO’s accreditation procedures and Points Profile system are far better than the Traditional US Accreditation System and US News Ranking Systems in practice.