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Accreditation and Validation in Online High School Education: Ensuring Quality and Recognition


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Every parent dreams of providing their child with a world-class education. Thanks to online homeschooling and distance education programs, you can do that today. Online learning programs are highly interactive and are designed to cater to the needs of individual students. Additionally, they are easily accessible via the internet and very affordable. However, not all programs are equal. This is why parents need to be aware of the validation processes and accreditations for online high school education that ensure quality and impart recognition to online high schools and the high school diplomas they award to students.

Understanding Accreditation

Every parent wants to see their child graduate high school with a diploma that is recognized by colleges and employers for further education or employment opportunities. Verifying the accreditation status of an online high school is crucial in this process.

Accreditation is a validation process used to evaluate schools regularly to determine if they adhere to the required federal and state education standards. Both traditional brick-and-mortar schools and modern online schools in the United States must be accredited by government-approved agencies. Validation involves assessing curriculum, teaching methods, assessment procedures, and overall educational practices to ensure quality standards are met.

The Importance of Accreditation

Accreditation is essential when selecting an online high school as it verifies the school's legitimacy. Accreditation ensures that credits earned at the school can be transferred to other institutions, provides consistency in education standards across the country, allows students to take certification examinations, and promotes self-regulation and improvement within the accredited school.

Due to the rise of online frauds, parents must conduct due diligence before enrolling their child in an online high school to avoid illegitimate institutions. Accreditation offers credibility and quality assurance, protecting students from "diploma mills" that award fake degrees.

Types of Accreditation

In the United States, there are two types of accreditation:

  • Regional Accreditation
  • National Accreditation

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation, granted by regional boards, is the most recognized form of accreditation in the United States. Each region has its accrediting agency responsible for evaluating and accrediting schools in its area.

The six Regional Accreditation boards in the United States are:

  • The Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools (MSA)
  • The Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities (NASC)
  • The North Central Association of Colleges & Schools (NCA)
  • The New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC)
  • The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS)
  • The Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC)

National Accreditation

National accreditation is usually granted to schools offering career and vocational training. The three National Accreditation agencies in the United States are:

  • Distance Education & Training Council (DETC)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Understanding the differences between regional and national accreditation is vital for parents enrolling their child in an online high school, as it impacts their future opportunities for education and employment.

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