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Standards of Accreditation

Standards of Accreditation

Our Standards

In June 2020, the ATS Commission membership overwhelmingly adopted new Standards of Accreditation to replace the prior Standards of Accreditation adopted in 2010-2012. Their approval was the culmination of a two-year process that broadly and deeply engaged the membership and others (see list of articles providing updates throughout this process). The new standards, which became effective July 1, 2020, are principle-based and focus on educational quality, accreditation clarity, and contextualized flexibility. To assist schools in implementing the new standards, the ATS Board of Commissioners has adopted a set of “self-study ideas” that accompany each standard (see Standards of Accreditation with Self-Study Ideas), as well as a set of Implementation Procedures (effective until June 2022). In addition, the Board has adopted a new Self-Study Handbook, which contains a cross-walk between the 2020 Standards and the 2010-2012 Standards (see Appendix C). For further information about how the new Standards of Accreditation are implemented and interpreted, schools should also consult the new Policies and Procedures, adopted by the membership and Board in 2020. An Annotated Version of the new standards with notes explaining various revisions approved in 2020 is also available.

*NOTE: The ATS Commission has also developed a new website called Understanding the Standards. It provides many helpful resources for those wanting to become familiar with the new Standards, as well as with the new Policies and Procedures, with tips also for those engaged in self-studies and in evaluation visits.

Note about Notations (now warnings)

Previous versions of the Standards of Accreditation and the Policies and Procedures used the term “notation” to refer to instances where a member school was not meeting or not fully meeting one or more standards. In June 2020, the membership and Board adopted a new set of Policies and Procedures that replace the term “notation” with “warning.” Policies and Procedures III.G describe the new term as follows: “Issuing a warning is a public action (the lowest level of three public sanctions; see III.H-I for the other two) that is taken when the Board determines that an accredited school substantially meets the standards but is at risk of not meeting one or more standards."

"The Board may issue a warning based on information from an evaluation committee (for a comprehensive or focused visit), a required report, regular monitoring activities, or other appropriate sources. Issuing a warning is a reviewable action (see VIII.A).” Section III.G.1 of that document further states: “In issuing a warning, the Board will cite the standard(s) that the school is at risk of not meeting and stipulate any reports and/or visits required of the school, within a timeframe specified in the Board’s action letter to the school [typically not to exceed two years].” Per the Board-approved Implementation Procedures, any school that received a notation prior to June 2020 must address that notation in light of the new Standards of Accreditation. A list of pre-2020 Notations is also available.

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