National Accreditation Commission (NAC)

Last Updated: 04/04/2024

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Overview

The National Accreditation Commission (NAC) is an emerging programmatic accrediting agency that is seeking recognition in 2024 with the U.S. Secretary of Education for non-degree and noncredit workforce development programs. The proposed approach is to use a "data first" student-centric model that integrates federal, state, industry, and institutional data sets, including available student achievement data to guide the development of innovative workforce development programs.  The mission of NAC is to use data-driven insights and cross-sector collaborations to enhance the quality, relevance, and impact of noncredit workforce programs and credentials needed for the future of work.

NAC is building an Accreditation Information Hub (AiHub) to provide a framework for policy, practice, and data analysis.  This framework builds on a variety of existing systems and connects state, federal, and institutional data, through:

  • Leveraging workforce-focused accreditation and policy manuals the NAC has drafted.
  • A commitment to cross-sector collaboration and workforce-focused standards.
  • Leveraging a consortium of workforce development experts, peer evaluators, education and training providers, and industry leaders to design and engineer an AiHub that will utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to guide program development and assess alignment with market needs more effectively and expeditiously.
  • AiHub would aggregate and integrate available program, federal, state, employer, and public achievement data to verify the validity and reliability of noncredit training programs. It would ensure that acquired knowledge, skills, and conferred credentials remain interoperable, portable, and continuously validated.

If approved, NAC’s plan is to accredit postsecondary noncredit and non-degree programs throughout the U.S.  including distance education and correspondence programs offered at those institutions.

Background

Noncredit credentials are in the rise in the U.S.  These credentials include badges, certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships, and microcredentials. Assessing their quality is challenging due to the lack of uniform accreditation standards.  State entities, employers, workers, and students need tools to recognize quality credentials for informed decision-making and investment.

Accreditation Standards - As of 2.23.24

  • Standard 1. Mission, Leadership, and Planning - The program has objectives and strategies that align with the institution’s mission and are compatible with the mission, scope, and standards of the National Accrediting Commission (NAC). Program leadership has an effective planning process for continuous improvement which outlines programmatic performance in terms of student achievement.
  • Standard 2. Program Design and Delivery -The program design and instructional materials are contemporary, educationally sound, and appropriate for the expected outcomes. The program utilizes effective instructional methodologies and an innovative framework to deliver technical and durable skills that cultivate curiosity, resilience, and purpose.
  • Standard 3. Faculty, Instructors, and Staff - Faculty, instructors, and staff have appropriate credentials, such as degrees, certificates, or licenses, in the field or discipline in which they teach, and/or relevant professional experience in the field in which they teach; and demonstrated effective teaching skills; and participate in orientation, training, evaluation, and professional development activities that enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities in teaching and learning.
  • Standard 4. Recruiting, Admissions, Enrollment and Support Services - The accreditation applicant operates with transparency and efficiency in recruiting, admitting, and enrolling students, complies with state and federal laws, and ensures all promotional and informational materials, statements, and claims are accurate and truthful and do not mislead, deceive, exaggerate, or distort the program, facilities, services, or accreditation status. The accreditation applicant enrolls students based on their needs, expectations, and preferences and provides appropriate support services.
  • Standard 5. Learning Recognition and Student Services - The accreditation applicant creates pathways for transferability of credit and learning recognition from noncredit, credit, and prior learning programs and provides students with comprehensive career, personal, and academic support services.
  • Standard 6. Administrative and Fiscal Capability - The accreditation applicant has clear and effective administrative and fiscal capabilities and capacity to accomplish its program objectives.
  • Standard 7. Student Achievement The accreditation applicant documents, tracks, and reports completion, credential attainment, certification and licensure, and labor market outcomes, including gainful employment and earnings.

References

https://nationalaccreditation.org/

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