Accreditation outcomes are on a continuum of performance from exemplary status to non-accreditation, as depicted below.

The categories have some elasticity—that is, there is some overlap (plus or minus 5-10%) between the accreditation categories.These bands, depending on context, can be referred to as standard errors, confidence intervals, or errors of prediction. Tighter bands of confidence will emerge as the accreditation process matures, more field experience is gained, and with standards that have been in the field for several years. Nonetheles— and despite inherent variability— the process is designed to be robust, valid, and reliable.

Following are the four categories of accreditation outcomes.


Outcome/ Status Metrics Award & Comments
Accreditation, Exemplary Ranks as exceeding standards on 25 or more of the core standards. 5 year award
Accreditation, Standard Ranks as meeting or exceeding standards on 20 or more of the core standards. 3-5-year award
Accreditation, Provisional Ranks as meeting or exceeding standards on 15-19 of the core standards (and requires performance improvement on the other standards). 1-3 year award (during which the organization needs to address key standards that were not met); required to resubmit for accreditation within that time. Performance improvement plan required
Non-accreditation Ranks as requiring performance improvement on 17 or more of the core standards. No award; Resubmit within 1 year if desired after improvement activities

The decision of which outcome to grant is driven by: (1) the Accreditation Self-Study conducted by the applicant, (2) the scoring and impressions from the Peer Review Site Visit, and (3) the judgment of the Accreditation Review Committee. The goal is to find the “best fit” on the continuum for each organization, given its implementation of the standards.

At the discretion of the Accreditation Review Committee, within any of the categories:

  • variable lengths of accreditation (years) can be awarded
  • organizations may be required to submit a performance improvement plan in order to receive accreditation
  • a follow-up visit may also be required.

← Step 7: Receive Accreditation Determination | The Performance Improvement Plan →

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