The CIS Accreditation Process is a flexible, yet rigorous, vehicle for continuous school improvement which leads, if successful, to the most highly valued and sought after international recognition of the school. The process involves evaluating the school in the light of:

  • the school’s own Guiding Statements (i.e. Philosophy/Mission/Vision for Students/Educational Objectives/etc.), always referenced to the CIS Code of Ethics for members;
  • the CIS School Evaluation Standards.

The initial requirements for participation in the accreditation process are:

  • The school must be a member of CIS.
  • The school must be committed to continuous school improvement.
  • The school must continue to adhere to the CIS Code of Ethics after becoming a CIS Member.
  • The school must have been in operation for at least two full academic years.
  • The whole school must be ready to be included within the accreditation process - accreditation is not offered to a part of a school.

Once a school obtains CIS School Membership and applies for participation in accreditation, the process involves a continuous cycle of steps.

The steps include:

The Preparatory Evaluation for first time accreditation, or for re-accreditation

A Preparatory Evaluation lasting four days is carried out by two CIS representatives, including a CIS School Support & Evaluation Officer. The purpose of the visit is to ascertain the school's readiness to undertake the Self-Study, to embark on the accreditation process and to clarify the accreditation process to the school community.  

THE Self-Study Process

The Self-Study process is arguably the most important part of the whole evaluation and accreditation cycle, both in terms of time and effort and in the value to be derived. A Self-Study normally takes between 12 and 18 months to complete. While identifying and celebrating the school’s strengths, this process also involves the identification of areas for improvement and initiates actions to address them. Schools invariably find that considerable improvements in alignment with the CIS School Evaluation Standards and Evaluation Criteria occur during this vital Self-Study stage.

The Self-Study requires a considerable time commitment from all members of school personnel as well as from a number of parents, Board/ Governing Body members and students. The Self-Study Report emerging from this process should present an honest, broad-based view of the school and should not represent the views of any one particular group.

Every academic staff member and many support staff should have one (preferably more) meaningful assignment(s) within the Self-Study Committees established for the process, with one typically being related to their own area of responsibility and the others involving an overview of the school's operation.

Team Evaluation

Soon after completion and submission of the Self-Study Report, the school is visited by a team of volunteer Peer Evaluators: suitably qualified and trained school leaders and teachers drawn from other CIS Member Schools.

The primary function of the Evaluation Team is to assist the school by providing an objective evaluation of the conclusions of the Self-Study and the process by which the conclusions have been derived. The Evaluation Team visits the school for up to a week, with evaluators observing all types of learning contexts and talking with students, parents, faculty/staff and members of the school’s Board/Governing Body. The team analyses all aspects of the school in the light of the Self-Study Report, the school's own Guiding Statements, and the CIS School Evaluation Criteria.

Decision on Accreditation

CIS Accreditation staff and selected Advisors carefully review the Evaluation Team Report and consider the Team’s recommendations with respect to accreditation. A recommendation is then made to the Director of School Support & Evaluation, who oversees the review process on behalf of the Council of International Schools, as delegated by the Executive Director and ultimately, the Board of Trustees. The decision can be one of the following four categories:

A. Award Accreditation or Re-Accreditation
B. Award Accreditation or Re-Accreditation with specific qualifications
C. Postpone Accreditation or Re-Accreditation for some specified reason(s)
D. Not award Accreditation or Re-Accreditation

Subsequent Procedures

After achieving CIS Accreditation, a number of procedures must be successfully accomplished to retain accredited status. Starting with CIS International Accreditation, 2016, re-accreditation takes place every 5 years.

  • A report is submitted annually by the school, one year after the Team Evaluation in response to the recommendations contained in the Evaluation Team Report, as well as updating essential data, reporting on developments in governance and leadership, and any substantive changes in the school, such as a change in ownership, leadership or the development of a new building or campus.
  • A Preparatory Evaluation to initiate the next cycle aimed at re-accreditation.

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