Accreditation Process

CEA policies and procedures and its review process are based on U.S. Department of Education requirements for recognized accrediting agencies and the good practices of education accrediting agencies. The CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions are the basis of the review process.

The steps in the process follow:

  1. Application for eligibility: A site completes the application form and submits required documents, including curricular documents, a list of faculty and staff with training and experience, information about student services, and the administrative structure. CEA staff reviews the documentation to ensure that the program can be reviewed based on the areas of the CEA standards.
  2. Workshop: CEA invites a site that meets eligibility requirements to attend a 2-day workshop. Participants learn more about the standards, receive guidance on how to complete the self-study report, and get an overview of the site visit and review for accreditation decision by the Commission. Workshops are held each year at TESOL conventions and twice yearly at the CEA office.
  3. Self-study plan: One month after the workshop, the site submits a plan for its self-study. The plan includes a timeline for the self-study, a target date for the site visit, a list of committees and members. CEA staff provides feedback on the plan.
  4. Self-study report: The CEA self-study is a reflective activity. A site explains how it believes it meets each of the 44 CEA standards, documents compliance, evaluates how well it meets the standard, and recommends areas of improvement, if any. CEA provides a template for the report as well as requirements for submission.
  5. Site visit: A three-person team reads the self-study report prior to conducting a 3-day on-site visit. The visit includes class visits, a tour of facilities, and interviews with administrators, faculty, and students in order to verify the contents of the self-study report. The team applies the CEA Standards in its review process. The review team report includes its findings related to each of the 44 CEA standards. The site receives the report and writes a response to the findings.
  6. Review by the Commission: The 13-member CEA Commission uses the self-study report, the review team report, the response from the site, and a review of finances to make its accreditation decision. The Commission judges the site based on its compliance with the CEA Standards. For initial accreditation, the Commission may grant 1-year or 5-year accreditation. For re-accreditation, the Commission may grant 1-year or 10-year accreditation. Sites that receive 1-year accreditation must respond to requirements before being considered for continued accreditation.

The accreditation process promotes continuous improvement during the process of the self-study as well as through feedback in the review team report and from the Commission. Follow-up and annual reporting ensure that improvement continues throughout the period of accreditation.

For more information on the CEA accreditation process, see the CEA Policies and Procedures