Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Our school is already accredited. What is the added value of an additional accreditation through CIS?
There are a number of considerations.
- The fact that CIS is a non-national, non-regionally affiliated body is significant in giving a message about your school’s quality to potential parents/students, irrespective of their location, cultural context and national background;
- CIS is the leader in the field of school evaluation/accreditation worldwide. For international schools, the three regional US accrediting agencies (MSA/WASC/NEASC) partner us in the protocol we use (developed jointly with NEASC);
- There are significant professional benefits for faculty and leadership members who may join accreditation teams and visit diverse schools all over the world;
- CIS accreditation confers the truly international recognition to stakeholders all over the world;
- The enlarged network of leading, accredited international schools of all types, that CIS accreditation brings with it to benefit the school; and
- The manageability. CIS/NEASC, WASC and MSA are accreditation partners and a joint accreditation process is followed, minimising any excessive bureaucracy for the school.
Q: What is the difference between the British inspection model and the CIS evaluation/accreditation model?
CIS evaluation, leading to accreditation, is distinctively different to evaluation/inspection. The CIS evaluation and accreditation process is led by peers in a full Visiting Team (i.e. colleagues from other CIS accredited schools rather than full-time evaluators). The OFSTED sub-contracted inspection system uses colleagues from schools and recent retirees to inspect schools. However, in a CIS evaluation and accreditation exercise, CIS has a long term relationship with the school concerned, from the point at which the school applies to be a member, to the Preliminary Visit and onwards through the ten year accreditation cycle. CIS will have visited the school on several occasions in the cycle through full-time, professional colleagues working on school support and evaluation, and CIS will know the school well: it is a long-term relationship and therefore, the evaluation may be contextualised by the school and its longer term school improvement goals. OFSTED inspections, be they by any of the sub-contracted providers, tend to be single week episodes.
CIS is a non-nationally affiliated, non-regionally affiliated global organisation. It does not favour any regional or national curricula over any other, nor does it form government partnerships that may jeopardise its non-partisan nature. CIS is not an inspection body in the way that the British government defines school inspection, i.e. through OFSTED, a non-ministerial government department.
Q: How will a CIS evaluation and accreditation team match the needs of the school?
CIS is a non-nationally affiliated, non-regionally affiliated global organisation: we are ideally placed to bring teams together in a manner that is bespoke to the school/college’s needs. Furthermore, through the School Support and Evaluation Officer (SSEO) network, we align a member of the Accreditation Team with each institution, so that a relationship develops and so that the context is better-known, and the SSEO is able to provide a lens through which the school/college is able to see itself and its school improvement goals, through a longitudinal relationship.
Q: How does CIS help schools to keep evaluation/accreditation costs down?
As a not-for-profit dealing in a high quality service, CIS is intent on providing members with good value for money and a continuous, productive and sustainable relationship. This extends to the development of Visiting Teams and the need to minimise costs to the receiving institution. Though it is sometimes valuable to have perspectives from beyond the immediate region, we assemble teams with the institution’s needs, the quality of the personnel and the costs in mind.
Q: What can the most successful schools expect to gain from the evaluation/accreditation process?
The Evaluation/Accreditation protocol is rigorous yet is interpreted with sufficient flexibility to cater for all types of international education settings. Because it is driven by the school’s mission, vision and values and the extent to which these are implemented well for the benefit of the students, it is customised to needs. CIS’ goal is to drive upwards the quality and consistency of evaluation so that every visit adds considerable value to the school/college improvement process. The most successful institutions we deal with must know how well they are doing, not only relative to others but also relative to the capabilities, in the widest sense, of the students they serve.
Q: I wish to make a complaint against an Accredited School.
It is CIS’ policy not to intervene in disputes between individuals and schools over specific incidents. CIS will only become involved if it appears that Standards for Membership or Accreditation are being systematically broken.