NIAD-QE's Certified Evaluation and Accreditation

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Certified Evaluation and Accreditation

A mandatory evaluation process for universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology, and professional graduate schools, covering conditions of education and research conducted by certified evaluation and accreditation organizations. Subject institutions must select from the certified organizations and be assessed in the timescale stipulated by the government. There are two types of certified evaluation and accreditation: Institutional Certified Evaluation and Accreditation and Certified Evaluation and Accreditation for Professional Graduate Schools.

In Japan, all higher education institutions (universities, junior colleges, and colleges of technology) are obliged to regularly assess their activities in order to assure and enhance the quality of the institution. In addition, they must undergo certified evaluation and accreditation periodically, conducted by organizations certified by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This legal framework of self-assessment and certified evaluation and accreditation supports each institution's continual and autonomous process of quality assurance.

Certified evaluation and accreditation was introduced in 2004, as a new national evaluation scheme, to contribute to the further development of Japanese higher education. Organizations which undertake this scheme must fulfill the concept and function required by law, but has the discretion to develop original strategies for their quality assurance arrangements. Consequently, the criteria and methods vary.

NIAD-QE conducts certified evaluation and accreditation in line with the following objectives: 1. To assure the quality of education and research in higher education institutions 2. To enable the institutions to make use of the evaluation results to improve the quality of their activities 3. To assist the institutions in fulfilling their accountability, as public organizations, to the general public on their status as public organizations.

Accreditation

- The process followed by NIAD-QE principally involves reviewing the overall institutions' education and research based on the Standards for Evaluation and Accreditation and making a judgment as to whether or not the institution satisfies the Standards. The Standards set out the criteria that NIAD-QE considers necessary for institutions to meet in order to maintain their quality. This performs the main function of certified evaluation and accreditation, which is to ensure that higher education institutions maintain their quality subsequent to the approval of their establishment.

Evaluation

- There is another dimension to NIAD-QE's certified evaluation accreditation process: emphasis on analysis leading to the identification of 'good practices' and 'areas for improvement'. Where a higher education institution is judged to satisfy the standards but it is recognized that there are some areas in need of improvement, these are specified to the institution along with the accreditation result. Conversely, points of good practice are also communicated to the institution. NIAD-QE believes this feature of 'evaluation' promotes quality enhancement and individualization of the higher education institutions.

Certified

- The School Education Act stipulates that certified evaluation and accreditation be conducted by a body certified by the Minister of Education as an appropriate and impartial organization to carry out a fair process. This emphasizes that this scheme is a publicly credible system. Therefore, note that 'certified' in its context does not imply any official approval of the reviewed institutions.

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