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Commission on International Education Policies

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Individual Policies

1. Principles


CIE, on behalf of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges, shall have overall responsibility for matters which relate to accreditation of institutions as defined by the CIE Mission. The Commission’s scope of responsibility extends to:

  • Award of initial Accreditation
  • Denial of initial Accreditation
  • Award of Candidacy for Accreditation
  • Denial or termination of Candidacy for Accreditation
  • Placement of school on Probation
  • Termination of Accreditation.


Schools accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges are expected to operate in the public interest and in accordance with ethical practices with respect to the rights, responsibilities, health, and safety of faculty, students, administrators, board members and all others associated with the school. Ethical practices are defined by the CIE Standards of Accreditation.


Schools whose application has been approved by CIE and which have been authorized to initiate an institutional Self-Study in preparation for hosting a team of peer reviewers are considered “Candidate Schools for Accreditation.” They may display the NEASC logo with the notation “Candidate School for Accreditation.” Candidate status entitles schools to provisional membership in NEASC. Candidate status lapses if a school fails to submit a Self-Study within 2 ½ years of having attained candidate status.

Schools which, upon hosting a team of peer reviewers, are granted initial (or continued) accreditation are considered full members of NEASC for the duration of their accredited status. A school which holds accreditation from another accrediting body recognized by CIE may apply for provisional membership in NEASC, but may not become a full member until CIE representatives have confirmed, by means of an onsite visit, the good standing of the school at the next appropriate stage of the accreditation cycle (see also 1.6. below).

Provisional membership means that an institution

  • is assessed regular annual dues;
  • may attend NEASC events;
  • benefits from NEASC services at membership rates;
  • may display the NEASC logo with the notation “Provisional Member of NEASC”;
  • has no voting rights at Annual Meetings.

If a school chooses to withdraw from CIE accreditation or if its accreditation is terminated by CIE, membership in NEASC automatically ceases.


Schools applying for NEASC/CIE candidacy and subsequent membership status must:

  • Commit to a process of self-evaluation, peer review, and on-going systematic improvement, utilizing CIE’s accreditation standards.
  • Use English as a primary language of instruction and communication throughout the school.
  • Demonstrate their commitment to internationalism.
  • Provide a curriculum which in content, design, implementation, and assessment reflects best practices in international education.
  • Prepare students to be able to transfer to similar schools worldwide or, upon graduation, to enter colleges, universities, or other institutions of higher learning where English is a primary language of instruction.
  • Have guiding documents (e.g. faculty handbook, student handbook, written curriculum, employment contracts, staff evaluation procedures, governing board policies, and job descriptions).
  • Demonstrate financial stability, transparency, and good business practice, and submit an independent audit report and current budget.
  • Have at least two years of successful operating history.
  • Be willing to release faculty members and other personnel to serve on visiting teams for accreditation visits to other similar schools.
  • Be prepared to pay the dues/fees in accordance with the schedule established by NEASC.


A school’s initial accreditation shall become effective on the day the Commission votes to approve the award of accreditation. Accreditation shall be awarded to a school for a finite period of time and shall continue only until CIE’s consideration of the school’s next report.


Schools accredited by another regional or international accrediting association recognized by CIE and wishing to seek accreditation with NEASC/CIE must:

  • Obtain written confirmation from their current accrediting organization that the school is in good standing and is not on probation or similar status, or provide contrary justification for the adverse action;
  • Provide CIE with the most recent external assessment report;
  • Agree to host a visitor from CIE who will make a recommendation to the Commission regarding the school’s request.

If accreditation is recommended and granted, the school remains in NEASC accredited status for the duration of the previous association’s accrediting cycle, and subsequently enters the regular CIE accreditation cycle.


CIE shall publish the following information on its website and in other publications of the Association:

  • Name and mailing address of accredited and candidate schools
  • Date of initial accreditation or attainment of candidate status
  • Grades in school
  • Head of school.

Schools whose accredited or candidate status has been terminated must immediately remove any reference to NEASC membership from their website and publications and may not use the NEASC logo in any printed or digital materials.

2. Reports


CIE shall review the visitors’ or visiting team’s draft report, making revisions it deems prudent in consultation with the team chair or individual visitor. Visitors and teams must not share draft versions of the report which they prepare for CIE consideration with the school.

CIE considers all school evaluation reports prepared by visiting teams or its representatives documents which are made available to the head of school and the chairperson of the governing board.  Distribution of the report within the school community is the responsibility of the head of school.

The prime concern of a visiting team is to assess the quality of the school’s educational program in terms of student needs, the school's philosophy and goals and CIE's Standards for Accreditation.  Neither the evaluation report nor any of its subsections are to be interpreted as an evaluation of any individual’s performance, but rather as a professional appraisal of the school as it appeared to the visitors.

The evaluation report shall remain the property of CIE.

2.2. REQUIRED REPORTS; SPECIAL VISITS (refer also to Appendix)

Schools seeking initial accreditation with CIE must submit

  • an application and, subsequent to the application being approved by CIE;
  • prior information in anticipation of the Preliminary Visit.

 Schools seeking continuing accreditation with CIE must submit

  • preparatory information in anticipation of the Preparatory Visit (in year 9 of the decennial accreditation cycle);
  • the school’s Self-Study;
  • the First Report on Progress and Planning (within two years of the award of accreditation);
  • the Five-Year Review Report.

Five-Year Review Reports and Preliminary/Preparatory Reports also require member institutions to host a visit by one (or more) CIE representatives.

Special reports and/or special visits by CIE representatives, prompted by serious concerns related to accreditation or substantive changes within the school, may be requested of member schools at any time deemed necessary.

The cost of travel, lodging and meals for visiting teams or individual visitors shall be borne by the evaluated school.

Member schools are required to submit an annual report noting school enrollment, grade structure and any substantive change not previously reported.

Failure to submit a required report or other documents may be cause for CIE to recommend that a school be placed on probation or that its accreditation be terminated.


The head of a member school must report any substantive change relating to CIE's Standards for Accreditation which takes place in the school or affects the school.  Examples of substantive change include:

  • The appointment of a new head of school
  • Modifications to the governance structure
  • Shifts in the student population that cause program or staffing modification(s)
  • The addition of grades not yet accredited
  • Offering online courses in addition to or in lieu of classroom-based courses
  • The creation or addition of a new campus location.

Any report of substantive change must describe the circumstances which led to the change and comment on the impact which the change has had on the quality of education, governance, or financial stability in the school.

3. Adverse Accreditation Actions


A school's candidacy status or accreditation may be terminated for failure to:

  • comply with the CIE Standards for Accreditation
  • meet candidacy and/or membership criteria
  • comply with the established accreditation process and cycle
  • submit a required report
  • pay established dues or fees.


CIE may terminate a school’s candidate status if the school fails to undertake and submit an institutional Self-Study within 2 ½ years of being granted the status “Candidate for Accreditation.”


A school which has been denied initial accreditation may apply for reconsideration within one year from the time of evaluation by submitting one or more special report(s) which address CIE and Visiting Team recommendations. CIE reserves the right to verify the school report through a special visit to the school prior to making a decision on whether to grant initial accreditation.

The above does not pre-empt a school’s right to appeal a decision to deny initial or continuing accreditation (see below, 3.6. Appeals).


If CIE determines that a member or candidate school is in violation of CIE Standards of Accreditation, it may place the school on probation, stipulating that it address its deficiencies, refrain from certain activities, or initiate corrective actions within a stated period of time.

During the specified probationary period the school retains its candidate or accredited status.  If, at the end of the probationary period, the school has not made reasonable progress to resolve the cause of its probation, CIE may vote to terminate the school’s candidacy or accreditation.  A school whose accreditation is terminated may invoke the appeals procedure established by the Association (see below, 3.6. Appeals).


A period of no less than one year following the termination of candidate status or accreditation must elapse before CIE will consider a reinstatement request. Schools seeking reinstatement of accreditation are required to submit a written report to CIE.  Upon receipt of this report, CIE shall schedule a focused visit of Commission representatives.  Following review of the report of the visit, CIE may deny the request or reinstate candidacy or accreditation.


A school shall have the right to appeal certain adverse accrediting actions made by CIE. Adverse accrediting actions which may be appealed in accordance with policies and procedures established by NEASC include

  • termination of candidacy for accreditation
  • denial of initial or continued accreditation
  • termination of accreditation.

4. Commission


CIE shall hold meetings at least three times a year; such meetings are open to CIE members, Association officers and staff, and invited guests. 


The quorum shall consist of no less than ½ of the Commission members. A simple majority of Commissioners in attendance shall be necessary for CIE to act on business at its meetings.


During CIE meetings no CIE member shall vote on, or participate in discussion of, matters affecting any school in which the member has a professional affiliation.  CIE members must disclose any other potential conflict of interest which may affect or negate their participation in discussion or decision-making.


The CIE Chair shall serve for one year beginning at the conclusion of the Association’s annual meeting.  The Chair's duties are to:

  • prepare with the CIE staff the agenda for CIE meetings
  • preside over CIE meetings
  • present the Chair's report at CIE meetings
  • represent CIE, together with the Director of the Commission, at meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Association.

The CIE Chair is elected annually by the Commissioners, subject to NEASC Board confirmation. There is no limit to the number of terms a CIE Chair may serve.


No fewer than 12 and no more than 16 members shall serve on the Commission. Commission members shall represent, through past or current expertise and experience, the American and international schools accredited by CIE. There shall also be at least two members representing the public interest.

Commission members may be proposed by the CIE Chair, the Director of the Commission, the NEASC President, or by other Commission members. The appointment of Commission members requires the joint consent of the CIE Chair, the Director of the Commission, and the NEASC President.

Commission members are appointed for a term of three years. They may serve no more than two consecutive terms, but may be re-appointed after the expiration of at least one year.


The Commission, in consultation with the Director:

  • Hears and discusses reports provided by the Director and/or other CIE staff members.
  • Reviews reports submitted on behalf of CIE by visitors and visiting teams.
  • Makes decisions with respect to a school’s accredited status (see also above, 1.1).
  • Develops, reviews and revises CIE Policies.
  • Participates in discussions about CIEs strategic direction.
  • Participates in training and development workshops.



1. Preliminary Report

A school seeking Candidacy for Accreditation shall submit Prior Information, detailing its compliance with CIE’s Standards for Accreditation. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more CIE representative(s). CIE may then:

  • Recommend Candidacy for Accreditation
  • Defer Candidacy, request a Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit.

2. Preparatory Report

Prior to the beginning of the decennial evaluation cycle, a school shall submit a Preparatory Report, indicating its readiness to undergo a Self-Study and host a CIE visiting team. The report will be followed by a school visit by one or more CIE representative(s). CIE may then:

  • Direct the school to begin its Self-Study
  • Postpone Self-Study, request a Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit.

3. Visiting Team Report

Prior to hosting a visiting team, a school shall submit its Self-Study to CIE. The visiting team will submit its evaluation report, containing its conclusions on the quality of the school’s Self-Study and on the school’s compliance with CIE Standards for Accreditation. The team shall provide a recommendation on the school’s accreditation status. CIE may then:

  • Recommend initial accreditation until next report
  • Defer initial consideration, request a Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit
  • Continue accreditation until next report
  • Continue accreditation, request Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit
  • Place an accredited school on probation
  • Deny initial accreditation.

4. First Report on Progress and Planning

The First Report on Progress and Planning, submitted within two years of a team visit, represents the school’s response to each visiting team recommendation. CIE may then:

  • Continue accreditation until next report
  • Continue accreditation, request Special Report and/or schedule Special Visit.

5. Five-Year Review

Prior to hosting one or more CIE representative(s) a school submits a Five-Year Review Report, indicating the status of all visiting team recommendations and containing the school’s reflections about anticipated challenges and opportunities in the future. The visitors submit their own report to CIE. CIE may then:

  • Continue accreditation until next report
  • Continue accreditation, request Special Report and/or schedule Special Visit.

6. Special Report/Visit

CIE may request a Special Report or schedule a Special Visit at any time in the decennial evaluation cycle if special circumstances or developments warrant. The school must provide the information requested and may be asked to host one or more CIE representative(s) to corroborate the school’s report. CIE may then:

  • Recommend initial accreditation or continued accreditation until next report
  • Continue accreditation, request a further Special Report and/or schedule a further Special Visit
  • Place a school on probation.

7. New Program/Campus

A school may decide to add new programs/grades to its offerings which it wishes to have accredited. The school must complete the process defined for The Evaluation and Accreditation of a New Program or Campus and, if necessary, host one or more CIE representatives. On the basis of the visitor(s)’ report CIE may:

  • Grant accreditation for the new program and/or campus
  • Defer accreditation, request a Special Report and/or schedule a Special Visit.