The Accreditation Workgroup held an all-day meeting in Washington DC on September 11 focused on finalizing model accreditation standards for postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disability (ID). Congress required the National Coordinating Center to create this Workgroup of experts when the Higher Education Act was reauthorized in 2008. The first report to Congress and the Secretary of Education was published in 2016.
Since then, the Workgroup has field tested and obtained additional public input on the model standards contained in that report. At the September 11 meeting, the Workgroup considered the field test results and other public input on each standard and made progress in revising the model standards and guidance. Once this work is complete, the Workgroup will write and submit another report to Congress and the Secretary. The report will be submitted by September 30, 2020.
Another important aspect of this effort is developing recommendations regarding the use of the model standards and guidance. The Workgroup Accreditation Outreach Committee has contacted a number of potential accrediting agencies and researched the possibility of creating a new agency. At the meeting, the Committee shared results from the survey they conducted of the programs listed on the Think College database. Of the 107 programs that responded to questions about participating in accreditation, over 80% reported that, if an accrediting body for postsecondary education programs for students with ID were created, they would be “highly likely” or “likely” to participate in the accreditation process. This interest is important to the success of program accreditation for these programs.