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					                                       SECTION 6

                                Educational Programs

Overview
An effective educational program for a school consists of both carefully planned and well
executed curriculum programs and solid instructional pedagogy. Also fundamental to a
successful educational program are the means to assess student performance and growth as well
as programmatic evaluation. Thus, curriculum, instruction, and assessment are often considered
to be the “heart” of any school since these three components have such an impact on the total
school experience of students. The curriculum outlines what students should know and be able
to do. Instruction identifies effective ways for teachers to ensure student learning takes place.
Assessment indicates at what level students are able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and
attitudes.

Because of MSA’s diversity and the variety of educational program structures within the
membership, the Educational Programs self-study has five subheadings. The chart below shows
these five segments and provides guidance on which schools should complete which segments.


          Levels within the school              Segments(s) to be Completed
          Pre-kindergarten through grade 12     6A—All schools
                                                6B—Infant and Early Childhood
                                                6C—Elementary
                                                6D—Middle
                                                6E—Secondary
          Ungraded programs or Special needs    6A—All schools
          programs                              other sections that are most
                                                applicable
          Early childhood center                6A—All schools
                                                6B—Infant and Early Childhood
          Elementary/lower school               6A—All schools
                                                6C—Elementary
          Middle school                         6A—All schools
                                                6D--Middle
          Upper/secondary                       6A—All schools
                                                6E—Secondary




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Key Definitions

   Educational programs—refers to curriculum, instruction, and assessment processes within
    a school or school system

   Vertical Articulation—refers to the way in which learning experiences and skills at a given
    level form a foundation to support successful learning at the next higher level

   Horizontal Articulation—refers to the integration of skills, learning, and experiences across
    various curriculum areas at the same level


Frequently Asked Questions
Which curriculum areas must be included in the self-study review? Should we include
after-school courses or non-credit electives?

Typically, MSA expects the school to include any curriculum area for which students can receive
credit and/or which are required. In most cases, after-school or non-credit courses would not be
included in the self-study process.




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              THE SELF-STUDY FOR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Process Used to Complete this Section of the Self-Study: Describe how the school completed
the review of the Educational Programs section.

This assessment was completed via the following method(s):

a.) a subcommittee comprised of the following individuals:

Committee Member Name                            Role in the School Community (e.g. teacher,
                                                 parent, student, etc.)




**NOTE: Committee size and composition may vary depending upon school size, the topic to
be addressed, etc. If needed, add lines to the above chart.

b.) the compilation of __________ surveys distributed to: (indicate number in each category)
______administration         ______faculty     ______students     _____board members

______parents                ______other: _____________________________________________


c.) Other methods used to determine this assessment:

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________



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Analysis of Indicators Related to the MSA Accreditation Standard: The overall Middle
States Association Accreditation Standard must be met in order for a school to be accredited by
MSA. In addition to the standard, MSA has identified key indicators of quality that exemplify
how the MSA standard can be met. While it is expected that nearly all schools will endorse and
strive to meet most, if not all, of the individual indicators, a school may find that some indicators
are more applicable and important than others. Likewise, schools may differ in the evidence
they can provide to demonstrate implementation of the indicator. For each indicator below, use
the following scale to describe the school’s self-assessment.

        Degree of Applicability of the Indicator        Evidence of Implementation of the Indicator
        1.    Is not applicable to our school           1.     No evidence
        2.    Limited applicability to our school       2.     Minimal evidence
        3.    Some applicability to our school          3.     Some evidence
        4.    Generally applicable to our school        4.     Good evidence
        5.    Completely applicable to our school       5.     Excellent evidence
        DK    Don’t know                                DK     Don’t know


               The Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on
                               Educational Programs

The Standard: The educational programs consist of both carefully planned and well executed
curriculum programs that include appropriate standards, solid instructional pedagogy, and
appropriate assessment based on research and best practices. The educational programs are
sufficiently financed, periodically reviewed, and mission-appropriate. They are developed to
meet and address the needs of students and are designed to produce student learning at all levels.
Effective policies and practices are in place, along with instructional materials, technology, and
equipment that are appropriate, functional, and well maintained.


                                           SECTION 6A
                                           For all Schools
Degree of                 MSA Indicator                                       Evidence of
Applicability                                                                 Implementation
                          The educational program (including curriculum,
                          instruction, and assessment) is clearly defined,
                          approved by the school’s governance, and is
                          consistent with the philosophy, mission, beliefs,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              and/or objectives of the school.                      1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The educational program defines desired student
                          outcomes as expressed in terms of student
                          understanding, knowledge, attitudes, skills, and
1 2 3 4 5 DK              habits.                                               1 2 3 4 5 DK


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                          Written curriculum guides are current, functional,
                          available, and in use. They define scope and
                          sequence of the educational program as well as
                          program objectives and reflect sound approaches
1 2 3 4 5 DK              to teaching and learning.                               1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Resources required to implement the educational
1 2 3 4 5 DK              program are available and utilized.                     1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Instructional materials are up-to-date, sufficient,
                          and appropriately supported through adequate
1 2 3 4 5 DK              funds provided in an annual budget.                     1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Consideration is given to the ages and varying
                          levels of ability of students and the instructional
                          program is designed to meet students’ needs in
                          accord with the school’s philosophy, mission,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              beliefs, and/or objectives.                             1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Curriculum and instruction policies and
                          procedures provide direction to the staff and
                          administration in the development,
                          implementation, and improvement of the
1 2 3 4 5 DK              educational program.                                    1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Provision is made for both horizontal and vertical
                          articulation and coordination among and between
1 2 3 4 5 DK              the levels within the school/district.                  1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Admission and placement procedures are well-
1 2 3 4 5 DK              defined, well-administered, unbiased and equitable      1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The educational program, school policies and
                          procedures, and other pertinent information
                          relating to the student are available in printed form
1 2 3 4 5 DK              to students and parents.                                1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Educational programs are aligned with state, local,
                          and district requirements as necessary and are
                          supported by adequate record-keeping and good
1 2 3 4 5 DK              communication.                                          1 2 3 4 5 DK




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For any indicator rated as “not applicable to our school” or “limited applicability to our
school,” explain the reasons for that rating in the space provided below.




List any indicators that the school wishes to add that demonstrate how the organization
meets the Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on Educational Programs.




                                    SECTION 6B
                For Schools with Infant and Early Childhood Programs
Degree of                 MSA Indicator                                          Evidence of
Applicability                                                                    Implementation
                          The infant and early childhood education
                          experiences in early literacy, communication,
                          problem solving, and number skills are based on
                          current knowledge of child development and
                          learning, as well as knowledge of individual
1 2 3 4 5 DK              children and their families.                            1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Materials, technology, equipment, activities,
                          practices, and expectations are appropriate for
                          young children’s’ development and their families’
1 2 3 4 5 DK              cultures.                                               1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The infant and early childhood educational
                          program offers opportunities for the development
                          of children’s learning in the visual and performing
1 2 3 4 5 DK              arts.                                                   1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The infant and early childhood educational
                          program offers opportunities for children’s
                          development of positive social skills in interaction
1 2 3 4 5 DK              with adults and peers.                                  1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The daily schedule provides a balance of activities.
1 2 3 4 5 DK                                                                      1 2 3 4 5 DK




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For any indicator rated as “not applicable to our school” or “limited applicability to our
school,” explain the reasons for that rating in the space provided below.




List any indicators that the school wishes to add that demonstrate how the organization
meets the Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on Educational Programs.




                                     Section 6C
                 For Schools with Lower/Elementary School Programs
Degree of                 MSA Indicator                                         Evidence of
Applicability                                                                   Implementation
                          The elementary educational program places
                          emphasis on the development of cognitive,
                          psychomotor, and affective skills, plus the
                          knowledge and competencies that establish the
1 2 3 4 5 DK              basis for understanding.                               1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The elementary educational program provides
                          instruction in language arts (including reading,
                          speaking, writing, and listening skills),
                          mathematics, science, social studies, health,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              physical education, and the arts.                      1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The elementary educational program provides
                          experiences aimed at promoting critical thinking,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              reasoning, and problem-solving skills.                 1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The elementary educational program provides
                          experiences that prepare students for successful
1 2 3 4 5 DK              transition to middle and secondary school settings.    1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The elementary educational program offers
                          opportunities for the development of social skills
1 2 3 4 5 DK              in interaction with adults and peers.                  1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Students learn study techniques and effective time
1 2 3 4 5 DK              management skills.                                     1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Students receive instruction in library skills and

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1 2 3 4 5 DK              the use of technology as a tool for learning.         1 2 3 4 5 DK



For any indicator rated as “not applicable to our school” or “limited applicability to our
school,” explain the reasons for that rating in the space provided below.




List any indicators that the school wishes to add that demonstrate how the organization
meets the Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on Educational Programs.




                                         Section 6D
                          For Schools with Middle School Programs
Degree of                 MSA Indicator                                         Evidence of
Applicability                                                                   Implementation
                          The middle school educational program provides
                          instruction in the basic subject areas of language
                          arts (including literature/reading, speaking,
                          writing, and listening skills), mathematics, the
1 2 3 4 5 DK              sciences, and social sciences.                         1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The middle school educational program provides
                          experiences in the fine and practical arts, health,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              world languages, and physical education.               1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The middle school educational program provides
                          experiences aimed at promoting critical thinking,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              reasoning, and problem-solving skills.                 1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Students learn effective techniques of study,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              research, and use of the library/media resources.      1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The middle school educational program includes
                          instruction in effective uses of information
1 2 3 4 5 DK              technology.                                            1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The middle school educational program offers
                          opportunities for the development of social skills

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1 2 3 4 5 DK              in interaction with adults and peers.                  1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Materials, equipment, activities, and expectations
1 2 3 4 5 DK              are appropriate for the early adolescent.              1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The school provides activities and experiences that
                          assist early adolescents in identifying their
                          aptitudes and interests, self-decision-making and
1 2 3 4 5 DK              building self-worth.                                   1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The middle school educational program facilitates
                          a smooth transition from the elementary school to
                          middle school, and from the middle school to the
1 2 3 4 5 DK              secondary school.                                      1 2 3 4 5 DK


For any indicator rated as “not applicable to our school” or “limited applicability to our
school,” explain the reasons for that rating in the space provided below.




List any indicators that the school wishes to add that demonstrate how the organization
meets the Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on Educational Programs.




                                     Section 6E
                  For Schools with Upper/Secondary School Programs

Degree of                 MSA Indicator                                         Evidence of
Applicability                                                                   Implementation
                          The secondary school educational program
                          provides instruction in the basic subject areas of
                          language arts and literature (including speaking,
                          writing, and listening communication skills),
1 2 3 4 5 DK              mathematics, the sciences, and social sciences.        1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The secondary school educational program
                          provides experiences in the arts, health, world
1 2 3 4 5 DK              languages, and physical education.                     1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          Students learn effective techniques of study,
1 2 3 4 5 DK              research, and use of information resources.            1 2 3 4 5 DK


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                          The secondary school educational program
                          includes instruction in effective uses of
                          information technology and provides opportunities
1 2 3 4 5 DK              for application.                                      1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The secondary school educational program offers
                          opportunities for the development of social skills
1 2 3 4 5 DK              in interaction with adults and peers.                 1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The secondary school educational program
                          facilitates a smooth transition from the elementary
1 2 3 4 5 DK              or middle school to the secondary school.             1 2 3 4 5 DK

                          The secondary school program provides
                          appropriate educational programs for those
                          concluding formal study as well as those planning
1 2 3 4 5 DK              further education.                                    1 2 3 4 5 DK


For any indicator rated as “not applicable to our school” or “limited applicability to our
school,” explain the reasons for that rating in the space provided below.




List any indicators that the school wishes to add that demonstrate how the organization
meets the Middle States Association Accreditation Standard on Educational Programs.




Reflections on Standards of Quality                                                        82
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Responses to Self-Assessment Questions: The school should respond to the following self-
assessment questions in as full and rich a way as possible. Where appropriate, it is important
that effort be given not only to description, but also to reflection, evaluation, and
prioritization.


SUMMARY OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: Complete the chart below to
summarize the major curriculum areas addressed by the educational program. Indicate the total
number of minutes of instruction per week.

             TOTAL NUMBER OF INSTRUCTIONAL MINUTES PER WEEK
Grade      English/ Math Science Social  The  Other  Health/ Tech-                    Other:
Level      Language              Studies Arts Lan-   P.E.    nology
           Arts                               guages
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12


Describe the overall structure for the educational programs (including curriculum,
instruction, and assessment) of the school. Identify any gaps or omissions.




Describe and evaluate how the curriculum areas and time distributions are consistent with
the philosophy, mission, beliefs, and objectives of the school.




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Describe the requirements for graduation and for moving from division to division,
including the number of credits, required subjects, and any other required performance
measures (e.g. senior project, community service).




Describe and evaluate the extent to which the educational program is clearly defined.




Describe and evaluate the process by which the educational programs are approved by the
school’s governance. Indicate the most recent approval dates.




Describe and evaluate the means by which curriculum decisions are made.




Describe and evaluate how well student outcomes, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are
identified by means of a scope and sequence or some other approach.




Describe and evaluate how frequently the educational program is reviewed.          Indicate
whether a specific curriculum review cycle exists. If so, attach a copy.




Describe and evaluate school-wide policies on

   homework

   volume of academic work expected of students

   transfer of credit (acceptance from other schools, summer school)




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CURRICULUM GUIDES: Complete the table below by indicating in which areas written
curriculum guides are available. Use n.a. (not applicable) for subjects not included in the
school’s educational programs.

Curriculum Area              Written Curriculum   For What Grade     Last revision date?
                             Guide? yes/no        levels?
Art (painting,
sculpture, etc.)
English/Language
Arts
English as a Second
Language (ESL)
Family and Consumer
Science
Health and Physical
Education
Languages Other than
English
Mathematics
Music
Religion/Theology
Sciences
Social Studies
Technology/Computer
Science
Other:
Other:
Other:


Describe and evaluate the usefulness, quality, and comprehensiveness of written
curriculum guides.




Describe and evaluate the adequacy of resources necessary to implement the educational
program. Indicate whether an annual budget is provided for the educational program.
Attach a copy of the budget where possible.




Describe and evaluate the adequacy, quality, and relevance of curriculum/instructional
materials.


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Describe and evaluate distance education programs, if provided.




Describe and evaluate student exchange programs, if provided.




Describe and evaluate how the educational program is tailored to the ages and varying
levels of students. Describe and evaluate provisions made for students whose interests,
abilities, or learning styles make the regular program inappropriate for them.




Describe and evaluate how curriculum, instruction, and assessment policies provide
direction to the staff and administration in developing, implementing, and improving the
educational program.




Describe and evaluate processes to ensure vertical and horizontal articulation, i.e.
communication and coordination among and between levels within the school.




Describe and evaluate admission and placement procedures regarding the educational
program. Are they well-defined, appropriately administered, and equitable?




Describe and evaluate how the educational program, school policies, and procedures are
communicated to students and parents.




Describe and evaluate how educational programs are aligned with local, state, and national
requirements.




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Describe any memberships, workshops, seminars, or projects relevant to the curriculum in
which staff members have participated.




Using the completed School and Community Profile, describe and evaluate how the
educational programs help to ensure that the needs of the students and the expectations of
the community are effectively addressed.




Using the completed self-study of the Philosophy, Mission, Beliefs, and/or Objectives,
describe and evaluate efforts taken to ensure that the educational programs are consistent
with the philosophy, mission, beliefs, and/or objectives of the school




Describe and evaluate improvements related to Educational Programs made within the
past five years.




List the significant strengths of the school in the area of Educational Programs.




List the significant areas for improvement of the school in the area of Educational
Programs.




Based on the strengths and areas for improvement, describe the 3 to 5 most important next
steps or strategic priorities related to Educational Programs.




Reflections on Standards of Quality                                                     87
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Evidence to Support the Self-Assessment: The following evidence should be gathered as a part
of the self-assessment process. Please note that some materials must be included in the self-study
document, while other materials can be made available to the Visiting Team in the team work
room. Please note that some listed materials may overlap with those identified in another
section.


The following evidence must be included as a part of the self-study document and attached
to the Analysis of Indicators and Response to Self-Assessment Questions.
     Educational programs budget
     Curriculum review cycle


The following evidence, where applicable, should be made available in the Visiting Team
Work Room:
    Curriculum guides
    Master schedule
    Printed program of studies (for students and families)
    Evidence of vertical and horizontal articulation/integration efforts
    Scope/sequence charts (showing vertical/horizontal articulation)
    Department meeting minutes
    Faculty memberships in curriculum organizations
    Awards from organizations for students and teachers
    Instructional materials such as textbooks used
    Teacher interviews/student interviews re: curriculum
    Written criteria for placement of students
    Ad hoc and standing curriculum committees
    Admissions criteria




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