Since 2011, QSI Astana has been proud to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, a worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement.
Based in Philadelphia, the Middle States Association is the worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement. For over 130 years, Middle States has been helping school leaders establish and reach their goals, develop strategic plans, promote staff development and advance student achievement. With more than 2,500 accredited schools and school systems in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in over 110 countries, MSA-CESS is proud of its continuing legacy and its ongoing innovations to meet the challenges of improving education in the 21st century. For more information visit www.msa-cess.org.
QSI International School of Astana has been accredited by the Middle States Association since 2011.
Middle States accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.
The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school or school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States member schools conducts a peer review visit.
QSI Astana is proud of its accreditation with MSA. Below are some of the main reasons why our accreditation matters:
- Focus on Self Reflection
- Commitment to Involving the Community of Stakeholders
- Culture of Planning
- Openness to Feedback and Input
- University Admissions and Scholarships
The accreditation process plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of self-reflection within schools. Engaging in a comprehensive self-study process, which spans 12-18 months, encourages schools to conduct a deep and thorough examination of all aspects of their programs and operations. This self-study is not a one-time event; it recurs every seven years, ensuring that schools continuously revisit and evaluate their practices, policies, and outcomes.
Moreover, the accreditation process mandates periodic reviews at least annually. These regular reviews keep the school focused on self-assessment and improvement throughout the accreditation cycle, rather than just in the lead-up to the comprehensive review. This ongoing reflection helps schools like ours to stay aligned with our mission and goals, adapt to changing educational needs, and consistently strive for excellence in teaching, learning, and student well-being. Such a sustained commitment to self-reflection and continuous improvement is vital for maintaining high educational standards and effectively serving our diverse student community.
Our school's accreditation with the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS) enhances transparency and educational quality. This accreditation involves a thorough review by a team of peer educators from other MSA-accredited schools, who rigorously evaluate every aspect of our school program. This process includes an in-depth assessment of our mission, the effectiveness of our teaching and learning methods, and our commitment to student well-being. Such scrutiny ensures that we consistently meet high standards and fosters a culture of continuous improvement, which is essential for providing the best possible educational experience to our diverse student body.
Accreditation significantly involves parents, students, and staff in our school's continuous improvement process. During the self-study and review phases, these key stakeholders actively contribute to evaluating and reflecting on our school's practices and policies. Their perspectives are crucial in understanding the school's impact and areas for growth. Additionally, during the accreditation team's visit, parents, students, and staff have direct interaction opportunities, offering insights that shape the evaluation. This inclusive approach ensures that the goals set for the school's future are deeply informed by those who are most intimately connected with its day-to-day operations and community, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and collaboration in our journey towards excellence.
The accreditation process plays a pivotal role in fostering a culture of strategic planning within our school. This focus on planning is integral to our commitment to continuous improvement and is evident in several key aspects:
Structured Planning Framework: The accreditation process provides a structured framework for planning. It guides us in systematically reviewing all aspects of our school — from teaching and learning to student well-being — and in identifying areas where we can enhance our performance. This structured approach ensures that our planning is comprehensive and aligned with best practices in education.
Setting Clear Objectives: A major part of the accreditation process involves setting clear, measurable objectives as part of our growth and improvement plan. These objectives are not arbitrary; they are based on thorough self-study and feedback from the school community, including staff, students, and parents. By setting well-defined goals, we create a roadmap for our future development, ensuring that every initiative we undertake is purposeful and directed towards tangible improvements.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement: The process of accreditation instills a mindset of continuous improvement. By engaging in regular self-assessment and external reviews, we are constantly reminded of our commitment to evolving and adapting to meet the changing needs of our students and the wider educational landscape. This ongoing commitment ensures that our school does not become complacent but remains dynamic and forward-thinking.
Inclusive Involvement in Planning: The accreditation process requires the involvement of the entire school community in planning for the future. This inclusive approach means that the plans we develop are reflective of the diverse needs and aspirations of our stakeholders. It fosters a sense of ownership and collaboration among all involved, making the implementation of these plans more effective and sustainable.
In essence, the accreditation process with MSA CESS is a catalyst for our school to cultivate a robust culture of strategic planning. It ensures that our plans for growth and improvement are well-informed, inclusive, and aligned with our ongoing commitment to providing high-quality education.
The decision by our school to voluntarily seek accreditation with the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS) demonstrates a significant commitment to being open to feedback and external evaluation. This openness is reflected in several ways:
Voluntary Participation: Our choice to seek MSA CESS accreditation, a non-mandatory process, highlights our willingness to embrace external feedback and assessment for improvement.
Meeting High Standards: Committing to MSA CESS standards demonstrates our openness to critical feedback aimed at maintaining and elevating our educational quality.
External Feedback for Improvement: The accreditation involves peer reviews from educators in other schools, providing objective and valuable insights for our continuous growth.
Community Involvement: Involving students, parents, and staff in the feedback process ensures diverse perspectives and reinforces a culture of valuing internal and external feedback.
Responsive Action: Our response to accreditation feedback involves making informed changes, showcasing our readiness to adapt and evolve based on constructive criticism.
Graduating from an accredited high school can significantly aid in university admissions and scholarship applications due to several reasons:
Recognized Academic Standards: Accredited high schools are recognized for maintaining high academic standards, assuring universities of the quality education their graduates have received.
Competitive Edge in Admissions: Students from accredited schools often have a competitive edge in university admissions, as accreditation signals a consistent level of academic rigor.
Eligibility for Scholarships: Many scholarship programs require applicants to be graduates of accredited high schools, opening up a broader range of scholarship opportunities for these students.
Preparedness for College-level Work: Accredited schools typically offer college-preparatory curriculums, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses, demonstrating students' readiness for college-level work.
Transcript Credibility: Transcripts from accredited schools are more credible in the admissions process, as their academic achievements are validated by the accreditation.
Global Recognition: For students applying to universities abroad, accreditation provides global recognition of their academic background, easing the understanding of their educational qualifications across different educational systems.
These aspects collectively enhance the opportunities and recognition for students graduating from an accredited high school in their higher education pursuits.
For additional details about the QSI Accreditation process, including our current goals related to student performance and organizational capacity, please visit qsi.org/why-qsi/accreditation.