Assignment: The Accreditation Process—Past, Present, and Future
If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.
Over the last few weeks, you have become immersed in the evaluation tools which programs use to assess interventions, children’s academic and social-emotional progress, and teacher/family relationships. You have also explored how programs select their “it” or evaluation focus. You now observe the accreditation process, a powerful tool which assists programs in evaluating their programs as a whole.
In the field of early childhood, achieving accreditation is the hallmark of program excellence. Accreditation associations not only provide standards and benchmarks for which programs should strive but they also provide a framework for an ongoing commitment to quality. Building upon the latest research, accreditation associations evolve their processes to meet the dynamic needs of today’s populations.
In this Assignment, you examine the accreditation process, exploring how it has evolved over the last decade. You also consider how this process compares to other program evaluations which you have begun to explore in this course.
Watch this module’s media presentation, in which the presenters share their experiences with undergoing program accreditation. Then, use the Learning Resources, as well as your own research, to explore how the accreditation process has been shaped by various factors throughout the last decade. In addition, reflect on how the accreditation process might continue to evolve over the next five years.
By Day 7 of Week 4
Submit a 2- to 4-page paper that addresses the following:
• Select at least one accreditation process with which you are familiar, have read about, or have experienced. For example, you might discuss QRIS or NAEYC accreditation.
o Briefly describe the accreditation process you have selected.
o Explain how this accreditation process has changed in your locality over the last decade.
o Explain how this accreditation process may continue to evolve. Describe at least three factors that might influence future change(s); for each, include why it is a factor and how it might be of influence.
Accreditation and Evaluation
• From the outside looking in, it might be easy to confuse the accreditation process with program evaluation. As a leader, it is important that you are able to differentiate between the two.
o Explain at least two ways accreditation and evaluation processes differ.
o Explain at least two ways accreditation and evaluation processes overlap.
Cite at least three references in APA format to substantiate your thinking.
|Subject||Early childhood development||Pages||4||Style||APA|
The Accreditation Process
Over the years, research has shown that the first five years are critical for a healthy cognitive, social, and emotional development of any child (Vardanyan, 2013). It, therefore, follows that providing them with high quality and well-documented form of learning is eminent in their development while also reducing problems that emerge later during their school life. Therefore, an accredited and well-reviewed form of education directly correlates to a high quality early learning and thus influencing positive long-term outcomes in the children’s lives. This paper examines an accreditation process – the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation (NAEYC) – exploring how it has evolved over the years. Moreover, the paper also considers how the accreditation process compares and correlates with other program evaluation processes.
The NAEYC Accreditation Process
NAEYC is a national non-profit organization which exists for the main purpose of leading and consolidating the efforts of several individuals in order to achieve a healthy development as well as a constructive education for all young children who are in early childhood education. It, therefore, sets research-based standards for early childhood education, promotes a high quality and professionally enhanced development for early childhood staff and teachers, provides the resources for improved childhood education, while also educating the public on the importance of high quality of early childhood education (Vardanyan, 2013). The NAEYC has a voluntary and simple accreditation process consisting of four process including enrollment, application and formal self-assessment, candidacy, and meeting the decision/ the accreditation decision (Blackwell, 2015). In the first criterion, the process ensures a shared understanding of the key concepts of the accreditation. This is followed by an application and formal assessment of the institution after which candidacy is submitted and determined. The last process involves meeting the standards set aside by the NAEYC after which the accreditation decision is made.
Changes in the Accreditation Process
While trying to maintain a well-developed and sufficient system, NAEYC has had several revisions over its developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) since it was developed in 1929. One of the most significant changes was developed where the NAEYC changed its mission statement by broadly defining its DAP. This was a response to criticism that pointed out a lack of child-sensitive teaching approach. Therefore, the system adopted a process that addresses issues of culture and diversity by adjusting its DAP to include knowledge of children’s social and cultural contexts – thus developing a child-sensitive form of teaching (Vardanyan, 2013). Other changes include increasing the education standards for the preschool teachers, thus improving the level of pedagogy they provide. Moreover, the NAEYC developed a strategy that would encompass children with special needs by incorporating in their process, a standard that would ensure that every classroom is appropriate for all children. These and many more has led to the improvement of early childhood education and its accreditation.
This accreditation process continues to change and evolve in many ways due to many different reasons. This is since many different issues arise, especially in a radical world as this, leading to different adjustments encompassing the same. These changes can be influenced by different factors that continue to develop and evolve with time. For instance, criticism is a factor that would greatly influence the changes experienced in the process of accreditation of NAEYC. This is because some radical thinkers may discover issues or glitches currently existing in the process adopted, thus formally criticizing it and emphasizing for change. This has been experienced before, leading to several changes such as adjustments in DAP. Another factor that might influence future changes include continuous research in the field of early childhood and children educational needs. This is because several conclusions may be inferred from continuous research leading to a different view of concepts pertaining to the process of accreditation, thus influencing change in the same process. Moreover, national and state standards may change with time due to different reasons, thus affecting the process of accreditation. This might be experienced due to changes and amendments of laws and also development of new laws that might affect the current process and operation of the accreditation. Finally, changes in education system may induce a change in meeting the standards of operation, thus changing the whole process of accreditation.
Differences and Similarity between Accreditation and Evaluation
Accreditation and evaluation of early childhood education, though might be seen to be one and the same, varies in many ways. First, accreditation involves meeting the standards set by a certain accreditation process thus improving the quality of pre-schooling programs according to the process designed while evaluation process involves actions that are carried out to evaluate the learning process (Mertens, 2014), thus instigating change to a desired outcome. It therefore follows that evaluation process is a requirement in all learning institution while accreditation is not. Secondly, the evaluation process consist of three types – the common, the technical, and the professional vision, which helps to meet important roles in childhood education – while the accreditation process has several types depending on the institution that carries out the accreditation process.
Furthermore, accreditation and evaluation overlap in many ways. For instance, they both focus on children and the quality of education they receive. This is evident as both evaluation and accreditation evaluates and assesses both the child and the teacher, leading to improvement of quality of education. Moreover, they both help keep the school focused on the quality of education offered as well as the standard of teaching to be adopted. This helps to develop the child intellectually in various aspects of the society and also reducing problems developed during further studies.
In conclusion, it has been developed that early childhood education is critical for the development of the child, thus ought to be effectively accredited. The accreditation method discussed in this paper – NAEYC – has been developed as the widely used and accepted in the country. However, several changes have been developed in order to improve the whole process and its efficiency over the years – changes which are also projected to come in the future. This paper has discussed the differences between the accreditation process and evaluation process while ascribing to the similarity substantiated in the two processes. This concludes that they are both processes that are effective in developing a better education for children, thus better development for them.
Blackwell, K. M. (2015). Examining the NAEYC early childhood program standards and accreditation criteria for evidenced based practices to address challenging behavior (Doctoral dissertation, San Diego State University).
Mertens, D. M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage publications.
Vardanyan, K. (2013). The Significance of National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation in Elevating Quality of Early Childhood Education: Administrators’, Teachers’, and Parents’ Beliefs about Accreditation and its Process.