Our accreditation process involves three different stages.
Stage 1 – Scrutiny of Application Form and Accompanying Documents
The initial information provided to us will be inspected and assessed, including a study of the online lesson material, by a member of our Accreditation Committee. If it meets our required standards, we can then move onto the next stage in the process. If it does not, we may inform the college why they are unlikely to gain an accreditation at this point, and then provide advice and guidance on ways they can improve or rectify the problems we find.
Stage 2 – Initial Inspection Visit
(Please note: for international institutions, the Stage 2 and Stage 3 inspection visits may be combined and will normally include two or three inspectors for two or three days depending on the size of the institution.)
The inspectors will focus on how the institution complies with immigration regulations; the quality of management and student support; the health and safety of the premises; and the suitability of the available resources for the courses.
The inspectors will need to examine procedural documentation, attendance recording systems, examples of marked work and feedback forms from students, and statutory documentation, such as approvals from the local Ministry of Higher Education and fire regulations.
During their visit, the inspectors will also meet with key management staff and the Principal. After the visit, they will prepare and submit a report, which will recommend whether or not Stage 3 should take place. If there are any areas the institution needs to improve on before moving on to Stage 3, these will be identified in the report.
This report will be carefully considered by the Accreditation Committee, who will then weigh up the information contained and decide whether or not to proceed onto the next stage. If they decide that the institution is not ready to move onto stage 3, the institution will be informed of this and given the chance to appeal against the decision, if they can provide grounds for reconsideration.
Stage 3 – Accreditation Inspection Visit
This stage is mainly focused on assessing what was observed during the inspection visit and weighing up the evidence of the institution’s ability to uphold and maintain the standards needed for an accreditation. We will carefully consider the documentation provided to us before the inspection, and the information gathered in the inspection itself.
A major element of the inspection process for online, distance and blended learning institutions is to ensure the integrity of the assessment process.
During Stage 3, the inspectors will need to meet the Principal and CEO, and possibly the institution’s owners. If possible, a meeting will be held with staff, where everyone will be informed of the nature of the inspection. Then detailed surveys and assessments will take place, teaching sessions will be observed, and the inspectors will meet privately with students to gather their opinions and viewpoints. Inspectors may also undertake skype interviews, telephone conversations and observe the delivery of the online programmes. For some online, distance and blended learning institutions we will send feedback questionnaires to remote students and staff. Finally, there will be a final meeting with the Principal where the inspectors will provide an informal report and feedback on their findings.
The final decision on accreditation will be decided by the Accreditation Committee. The exact type of Stage 3 visit will vary depending upon the size, location and type of institution – this will usually have already been discussed during Stage 2.
The fees charged will depend on the following issues:
- The number of students attending the institution for full-time study.
- The number of days required for the inspection.
- Whether the institution is applying for re-accreditation, or if this is their first application to ASIC.
- Whether or not the institution has already been accredited by another agency.