What is Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools?

    "The Commission on Secondary Schools is one of three Commissions that function within Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The others are the Commission on Higher Education and the Commission on Elementary Schools. The Commission on Secondary Schools serves both public and non-public schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. In addition, it accredits schools in the Caribbean as well as various locations around the world.

    The Commission on Secondary Schools (CSS) was established in November 1920 to promote the improvement of secondary education and to secure better coordination and understanding between secondary schools and institutions of higher education. It serves public and non-public middle, intermediate, and/or secondary schools, non-degree granting vocational technical and postsecondary institutions, special purpose schools, supplementary education centers, and distance education institutions. These institutions may be ungraded or have designated grade levels, including a post-graduate level."

    From: "Who Are We?" Commision on Secondary Schools: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. 18 May 2006. CSS-MSA. 12 January 2009.  <http://www.css-msa.org/about/accredit.html>.

    What is accreditation by Middle States?

    "Accreditation is the affirmation that a school provides a quality of education that the community has a right to expect and the education world endorses. Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school's performance. When the Commission on Secondary Schools accredits a school, it certifies that the school has met the prescribed qualitative standards of the Middle States Association within the terms of the school's own stated philosophy and objectives.

    The chief purpose of the whole accreditation process is the improvement of education for youth by evaluating the degree to which a school has attained worthwhile outcomes set by its own staff and community. This is accomplished by periodically conducting a comprehensive self-evaluation of the total school. Through the accreditation process, the school seeks the validation of its self-evaluation by obtaining professional judgement from impartial outsiders on the effectiveness of the total school operation. The intent throughout the process is more than to focus on shortcomings; the chief goal is to seek remedies for inadequacies and to identify and nurture good practices.

    Accreditation of a secondary school is on an institutional basis. It should be noted that the whole school, not just one program such as the college preparatory courses, is covered by the accreditation.

    The following are some of the many benefits of accreditation:

    • greater clarity of purpose
    • stronger internal relationships 
    • wider professional participation
    • more effective methods of planning for school improvement
    • improved consistency between educational purpose and practice" 

    From: "What Is Accreditation?" Commision on Secondary Schools: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. 18 May 2006. CSS-MSA. 12 January 2009. <http://www.css-msa.org/about/accredit.html>.

    The 12 Standards:

    The Middle States Visitation team serves to validate the school's evaluation and vision of itself using the following 12 standards:

    • Mission and Philosophy
    • Governance and Leadership
    • School Improvement Planning
    • Finances
    • Facilities
    • School Climate and Organization
    • Health and Safety
    • Educational Programs
    • Assessment of Student Learning
    • Student Services
    • Student Life and Activities
    • Information Resources and Technology
    For more information on the Middle States organization and accreditation:


    Please visit http://www.css-msa.org/index.html