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Are accredited schools better?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by chiefoyibo, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    And herein lies one of the problems I found with the IB authorisation and evaluation processes. They are willing to authorise schools that just don't have the necessary infrastructure, in any of the aspects that gulfgolf has listed,to successfully implement the programmes.

  2. I worked at BIS in caracas, which was accredited. I had worked for an non accredited school prior to that, and I wish I'd not left!
    Most of the problem was down to the head and I know he has left now.
  3. head of a royal school perhaps smtdude?
    such partizan defence would suggest so...and i stand by my opinions and my weary sentence construction...
    I think a certain long standing "grandee" of COBIS would applaud your wishing to silence all dissenting voices...

  4. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    No, I am not head of a royalist institution - bit of a Cromwellian, in fact.
    However I do have secondhand acquaintance with the strengths and weaknesses of the monarchy, and also know something about COBIS and CIS, but admittedly - not to labour the point - little more than can be gleaned by anyone reading their web sites with an attentive and unprejudiced mind.
    Nor, emphatically, do I wish to 'silence dissenting voices' but rather to engage with them, offering in counter-argument such facts as I possess.
    Apologies, then, for unpleasantness at the end of my last post. Since we are no longer allowed to be scathing about students' work, the nasty bully latent in every teacher of English must perforce find an outlet in safe anonymous environments.
    But not with grudges, and much less with any desire to impose silence.
    On the contrary, let fruitful and hard-hitting discussion continue - perhaps with some suggestions how international schools could do better than COBIS/ISI and CIS in providing effective mechanisms for quality control and school impprovement, thereby offering solid guarantees of good teaching and decent management to prospective parents, students and staff.
    It is clear from many hundreds of comments in this forum that the need exists. If COBIS and CIS are not doing a proper job of it, they need more pertinent and constructive critics than those who believe that everyone is in the game for money, status or a brown nose.
  5. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I'll probably be in trouble for diverting the thread but I can't resist revealing that, through his mother, my grandson is descended from Col. Daniel Axtell, Cromwell's Deputy in Ireland, who was hanged, drawn and quartered in 1660 for his role as Captain of the Guard at King Charles the First's execution.
  6. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Yo SMTdude,
    What makes you think that we never discussed effective planning before CIS arrived?
    I find that patronising in the extreme.
  7. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Accept your rebuke, qatar. It was wrong to assume that your staffroom was not a-buzz with planning-related controversy before the impenetrable CIS document winged its way into the pigeonholes.
    I am not trying to suggest that all non-accredited schools are benighted deserts (although many of them are in the middle east) nor that accreditation is an infallible panacea. Just opposing the cynics who shrug off the whole business with ostensibly knowing but crudely misinformed conjectures.
    And to answer the OP's question, 'are accredited schools better'? I'll stick my neck out (not quite as far as Charles I was forced to do) and say, 'yes, er, on the whole I think there is some reason to believe they may be...
    Cap'n... 'a BIT of a Cromwellite...' To describe Colonel Axtell thus, would be to say that Osama Bin Laden is somewhat inclined to take an Islamic view of things, or that the government of Myanmar harbours one or two doubts about democracy.
    Who was it that said, 'I judge a man on just one thing - on what side he would wish his ancestors to have fought at Marston Moor'?
    Whenever I ask myself that question, the answer is a resounding "dunno". Time for more self-study, no doubt.
  8. Thanks for the replies, and sorry to have bored some people.
    My own view is that at least if a school has gone through an accreditation process they will have had to meet a few standards, and in general, I believe that CIS and COBIS are worth the time and effort.
    As for the other issue, well Charles was a spoiled fool, but let's not forget that Oliver Cromwell cancelled Christmas.
  9. Well SMT dude i'm both heartened and disarmed by your measured and reasonable reply, bravo to you sir...
    I have to admit i was busy girding my loins (too much information?) anticipating more of the "weary flatulent" type of remark, but was most pleased to remove said girding.
    It's not so much that i think CIS does a "bad" job, i think they do a pretty good (but also somewhat expensive) job of looking at certain areas of a school. Having been through one or two visits from them i can see much to recommend. However the timescale of the self study and the sometimes rather collegial nature of the teams does make for a perhaps less effective means of really reviewing a schools strengths and weaknesses. Also i find that given the real nature of many heads positions (with the average international school heads tenure being three years...) the degree of honest self reflection might be somewhat hampered. This of course is not the fault of CIS.
    As for COBIS and ISI i'm aware that they do some very good work and can be effective. However i would stand by my point that they are not as "independent" as one might wish them to be which is where i find that CIS has the upper hand in terms of credibility. My main issue here is with COBIS more so than ISI i would point out and i concede you point that ISI has worked very hard to become more aware of the international needs and (dare i say it) marketplace.
    Schools acreditation in the international setting is always going to be a difficult one with such a wide range of structures and settings.
    Now to put on my thinking cap and see if i can come up with something more constructive that simple reflections and opinions!
    yours humbly
  10. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    i think they do a pretty good (but also somewhat expensive) job
    Yes, it costs money all right. In our case, once the team had been flown in from distant lands and accommodated at a comfortable hotel with a proper meeting room, the gig ended up costing just a bit less than a teacher's salary for the year. Most would say it was still worthwhile, (depends which teacher, I hear you say) but it's the kind of expense that will deter a cost-cutting establishment, or one that sees the business as simply logo-purchasing.
    the real nature of many heads positions (with the average international school heads tenure being three years
    Yes but it takes two to tango. Some of these heads do fall victim to stupidities from owners or governors. Just as many resign in a theatrical pet over some small issue, or hear of a better-paid job somewhere sunnier and wander off to it, And some, it must be said, are just victims of the Peter Principle. This could/should be discussed in a thread of its own. The forum does not lack posters willing to discuss SMT incompetetnce...
    the sometimes rather collegial nature of the teams
    Sure. CIS pride themselves on being peers coming in to help the school improve, rather than OFSTED types with clipboards looking to find fault. On one issue where the parents had been moaning, you could see the visitors empathising with their fellow teachers and dipping generously into the whitewash for us. But in other areas where we deserved a wrist-slapping, they administered it sharply. While perfectly friendly and cordial, the visitors were careful to resist the really quite exceptional powers of charm and seduction possessed by our staff.
    My main issue here is with COBIS
    Perhaps that organisation needs to redouble its efforts to win hearts and minds across the globe. It really is a lot less sinister than some anxious posters imagine, and it runs some very good conferences.
    Now to put on my thinking cap
    Good luck! It is truly a complex issue, but one that has got a good airing in a useful thread. With the added joy of juxtaposing the 17th century with the 21st: one imagines the CIS team informing Charles I that standards in Governance and Management are not being met, that he has fallen short of Performnce Targets 1, 3 and 5 as stated in his annual appraisal, that he has failed to appoint a Student Council, that Financial Procedures are far from transparent...
  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I thought that was Alan Rickman. Oliver was a strange mixture. Apparently his favourite composer was the Catholic, Richard Dering and Noll and three others used to sing Dering's music for fun.
  12. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    How many schools are accredited by NEASC? I taught at a school that was accredited by them, but it doesn't appear to be too common. The inspection team were genial enough, but I had the distinct feeling they had their own agenda that they were following, and some of their recommendations seemed interesting but not really practical.
  13. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    It is indeed common for CIS/NEASC to do a joint visit.
    Our fiesta was run that way, with a chair from CIS, dubbed 'Robespierre' by the staffroom wags, and a co-chair from NEASC, nicknamed Senator Kennedy. (RIP)
    Five of the rest of the team were representing NEASC, but there were no differences of approach.
    Of the five, two were Europeans working for Uncle Sam on the old continent, while three flew in from the US. As often, it was a delight to work with affable, energetic, totally uncynical positive 'can-do' Americans. There are some pockets of EuroTrash anti-Americanism in our community (as opposed to reasoned opposition to US foreign policy, which is altogether different) and the visit was educative in that area.
    How many schools are accredited by NEASC?
    Hundreds of 'em, mostly 'over there' of course, but dozens of others all over the world. And Universities, too: it's waaaay cool for us hill-billy Ruritanians to brag that we are accredited by the same people who set their seal of approval on Harvard.
  14. Thank you all for your replies. Is there any reason why there is no CIS and COBIS "double" accredited school apart from practical reasons? Is it to do with a conflict of philosophy, i.e. international vs British? Any thoughts?
  15. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    EmilyChu, brava, bravissima! You have asked the big, big question.
    If 'practical reasons' mean that schools are reluctant to bash through both accreditations, then why do the two bodies not bed snugly down together, as NEASC and CIS have already done?
    Why can CIS and ISI not marry their standards and procedures so as to satisfy the British government and the internationalists in one fell swoop?
    Is it down to genuine ideological, cultural or methodological differences?
    Is it that the two bodies have intrinsically different visions of what constitutes quality in the curriculum, facilities and governance of schools?
    Or does it perchance have to do with territory, politics, and the egos of individuals at CIS and ISC?
    Alas, I cannot answer these questions for you.
    For unlike brave, beautiful and brilliant 'Belle de Jour', aka Brooke Magnanti, I cannot 'out myself' just now.
  16. grandslam2005

    grandslam2005 New commenter

    Accreditation and standards are mixed depending on the organisation. My last school which has been the subject of much discussion on this very forum had actually got ECIS accreditation. All I can assume is that the necessary paperwork was put in place and then as soon as the team had left the normal status quo resumed.

    I guess it is very difficult for bodies to monitor once accreditation has been acquired.
  17. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Readers found this so fascinating that I felt morally obliged to make a similar survey of BSME.
    They have their own cheerful message from the chairman on the web site, envisaging a 'new and exciting period for BSME and for education in our region!' which will see the organisation offering 'many more services to students, teachers, parents and heads.'
    Accreditation, however, does not seem to be one of the excitements in prospect.
    69 institutions are listed on the site, where the template for school details does not offer space to mention accreditation.
    So it was easier for me to go to the lists at CIS and COBIS to find out how many schools took their paths.
    FIVE for CIS
    Grand total of 7 out of 69 schools, some 10%.
    Not to say, let us repeat, that there are not some excellent unaccredited schools among the sands, oases and megacities of this beguiliing region.
    But picky posters like myself who would only look at accredited schools, would see their options severely limited.
  18. SMT dude, I have found your posts rather interesting and enlightening. Thank you.
    It is fascinating that some Kiwis/Australians are rather strong supporters and advocators of British education!
  19. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Many children in some of the toughest schools in London would not have any education at all, were it not for their hard-working and versatile Aussie and Kiwi teachers.
  20. <u>up</u>

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