The Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC, extends its services to over 5,000 public, independent, church-related, and proprietary pre-K–12 and adult schools, works with 18 associations in joint accreditation processes, and collaborates with other organizations such as the California Department of Education (CDE). CDE has collaborated with ACS WASC in order to align the accreditation process with the planning process for California public schools required by state and federal statues in the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) and the Local Control Accountability Plan; the ACS WASC/CDE Focus on Learning (FOL) Joint Process Guide is the collaborative process that helps schools identify and implement school improvement needs and supports accountability. Another example is the partnership with the University of California regarding the a-g course requirements.
The philosophy of the Accrediting Commission for Schools centers upon three beliefs: (1) a school’s goal is successful student learning; (2) each school has a clear purpose and schoolwide student goals; and (3) a school engages in external and internal evaluations as part of continued school improvement to support student learning.
Accreditation is integral to a school’s perpetual cycle of assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, and reassessment based upon student achievement. It fosters excellence in elementary, secondary, adult, and postsecondary education by encouraging school improvement through a process of continuing evaluation and to recognize, by accreditation, schools that meet an acceptable level of quality in accordance with established criteria. In addition to its official title, WASC also means We Are Student-Centered.