Impact of institutional evaluation: An analysis of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' evaluation process, 1982-1992

William Pitman Coan, Fordham University


The New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Public Secondary Schools (NEASC/CPSS) began evaluating public high schools in 1960. The process was accepted until reformers in the 1980s highlighted the weaknesses in the American educational enterprise. Like other components of American education, accreditation came under scrutiny. The goal of this qualitative study was to determine the effectiveness of accreditation in changing schools and how the NEASC/CPSS process changed between 1982 and 1992. The components of the study included (a) identification of a single school site for participation in the study, (b) visits to the school site and the NEASC/CPSS offices, (c) collecting and analyzing documents related to the NEASC/CPSS process, and (d) interviewing selected school site and NEASC/CPSS personnel. The major findings indicated that: (a) the NEASC/CPSS incorporated a number of changes in its evaluation process (public disclosure, full school involvement, revised and stringently enforced standards between 1982 and 1992 that reflected educational reforms of that period; (b) the school's staff saw both strengths and weaknesses in the process as it was applied in their school; (c) the selected school actively responded to the changes in the process and the evaluation report recommendations; and (d) the NEASC/CPSS process exhibited limited success in affecting substantive changes in certain components of the school's culture. The researcher concluded that in order for the NEASC/CPSS to become a more effective reform agent that it should (a) refine its mission, (b) provide more training and instruction for its volunteer evaluators, (c) reassess its existing time and personnel resources that are applied to the evaluation process, (d) better focus on the essentials of the teaching/learning process, (e) insure its process is grounded in evaluation and educational research, (f) clearly define its audience, (g) provide for longitudinal school studies, and (h) share its information on successful secondary educational practices with member schools.

Subject Area

School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Coan, William Pitman, "Impact of institutional evaluation: An analysis of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' evaluation process, 1982-1992" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9631024.