Accreditation Critics Propose A New Approach

NEW RULES, NEW MODELS: New approaches to accreditation in higher education are emerging in light of the U.S. Department of Education's pilot exploring alternative models of quality assurance. The pilot, Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), unlocks federal student aid dollars for providers outside of universities to work with accredited institutions on designing new programs. In return, the partnerships must include a “quality assurance entity” (QAE), a third party that will evaluate and attest to the rigor of the programs.

New QAEs are already raising their hands. Industry mavens Paul Freedman, founder of Entangled Ventures, and Michael Horn, author of “Disrupting Class”, put forward an outcomes-based model in a white paper issued November 12. Freedman formerly founded a joint program between Ivy Bridge College and Tiffin University that was forced to close in 2013 after the Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting body for Tiffin University, questioned its quality. Now it’s his turn to define and measure quality.

Their framework is likely the first of many that will emerge over the coming months as the EQUIP program takes shape.

Need to stay up to date on eager QAE groups? Check out the list we’re actively updating. 

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