Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Accreditation is a process of rigorous and consistent evaluation of the total quality of an institution on part of the institution as well as by peers and an accrediting organization. It involves a comprehensive process of self-evaluation, followed by an evaluation of the same by a third-party independent organization.

Accreditation is like a fitness test for institutions and the qualification of the same implies that an institution is above its other peers in terms of its total capability and quality.

To be fit and prepared for accreditation, an institution must be ready to:

  • Comply with the rigorous standards set by the accrediting organization
  • Design, Develop and Execute an Institutional Effectiveness Plan
  • Implement an Institutional Development & Growth Plan
  • Undergo a regular audit and review of its financial stability, growth and development
  • Undergo planned and unannounced visits by the accreditation team

When an institution is accredited, its entire spectrum of operations and academics is evaluated.


  • Helps an institution understand and meet minimum standards of quality
  • Helps the students and parents determine acceptable institutions for enrollment
  • Involves staff, faculty, students, graduates, and advisory boards in institutional evaluation and planning
  • Creates goals for self improvement and development
  • Provides a self-regulatory alternative for state oversight functions

"Accredited status" means that students and the community at large can expect that the school delivers what it promises. It also implies that a student can have confidence that the school along with its program and credentials have both value and recognition. For the community and public, an accredited school is a symbol of worth and quality. For students, accreditation provides value related to not only judging quality, but also obtaining employment, receiving student aid and transferring credits.

  • Underlines confidence in the school and its activities
  • Elucidates maintenance and monitoring of quality
  • Assists with student mobility
  • Provides easier access to scholarships and financial aids

Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) is the largest community of education professionals in the world. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of Pre-K-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While our expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) is far from a typical accrediting agency. Our goal isn't to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, our commitment is to help schools improve.

Combining the knowledge and expertise of a research institute, the skills of a management consulting firm and the passion of a grassroots movement for educational change, we serve as a trusted partner to 34,000 schools and school systems—employing more than four million educators and enrolling more than 20 million students—across the United States and 70 other nations. Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) was created through a 2006 merger of the Pre-K-12 divisions of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)—and expanded through the addition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC)/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) in 2012.

Kindly find the Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) Performance Standards for schools here.

For the purpose of accreditation, the U.S. Federal Govt. divided the entire country into six regions geographically and appointed one body for each of the six regions. These bodies were the designated six Regional Accrediting Agencies. They are as follows:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

The Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools was formed as a voluntary organization on April 5, 1917 with a membership of 25 secondary schools and eight higher institutions in four Northwestern states. By December 2007, this membership increased to over 1900. Presently, the organization accredits in seven states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

In December 1974, the title of the organization was changed to: Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In December 2001, the association's name was changed to the Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities, and on February 1, 2004 the association's name was changed to the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. In 2010, as a result of a restructuring plan, the name was changed to Northwest Accreditation Commission.

School For E-education Research & Development (SERI) is the accreditation support arm for Cognia (Formerly AdvancED). It works as a collaboration partner/ESA for Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) and aims to identify and introduce schools of quality and repute to Cognia (Formerly AdvancED). Additionally, SERI endeavours to work towards the holistic improvement of K12 education at a global level, thus bringing the best global practices for improvement to schools, academia, students and the education fraternity at large.

We are committed to facilitate the essence of quality teaching and learning for the students to seek knowledge and achieve their goals. Our basic aim is to facilitate a one-stop classroom destination for ambitious students. We aspire to achieve our mission through the following step by step method.

  • Catering to the courses with bright future prospects
  • Exposure to the industry requirements and global education environment
  • Research based course curriculum for competitive edge
  • Innovation and continuous improvement in educational delivery
  • Developing students with an objective to broaden their horizon of knowledge and lead the professional life
  • Value based teaching to create better synergy with the today's competitive world
  • Motivate and inspire students to develop their own point of view to help them take better decisions and lead the way.

Our vision is to transform schools into superior learning centres with standardized accreditation, thus enabling the students to outshine in the present competitive scenario. We facilitate the students with well structured courses through NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) accredited schools, thereby creating an authentic learning experience to enable them lead the world of future. We aim to fulfil this vision through.

  • Collaborative learning environment where knowledge is shared seamlessly to all
  • Global educational standards to enable our students to compete in the borderless world
  • Integrating professional environment to prepare students for a bright prospect ahead
  • Impeccable faculty development program to enhance their capabilities and create a unique delivery methodology
  • Stringent quality policies to monitor and control the educational delivery without compromise

Our endeavors' primarily revolve around the following:

  • Educating all stakeholders about the salient features of NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) accreditation
  • Quality and accreditation support to schools
  • Providing framework of NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) operations to schools
  • Monitoring continuous improvement at school level
  • Enhancing the learning experience through schools

The 12 Year High School Diploma Program is a widely accepted and revered K12 qualification globally. It aims to develop the physical, cognitive and meta-cognitive skills of students, thus churning out well-developed young global citizens. An important cog in the wheel in this regard is the High School Diploma Program Curriculum prescribed by SERI to schools seeking NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) accreditation. The curriculum prescribed by SERI has been designed and structured by an extremely experienced, enthusiastic and visionary group of academicians. It is coherent with the prescribed guidelines of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. It also takes into account various recommendations of research, primarily in the fields of early-child education, experiential and participative learning, equal-opportunity learning, paperless-education and vocational training among other subjects. It is designed to integrate and harness the positive energy of all stakeholders including school management and leadership, students, parents and teachers. SERI is also dedicated to utilize Information Technology resources for Reporting, Assessment & Improvement.

With the development of technology and opportunities globally, students started to migrate from one country to the other in search of better avenues and education. Every country's Department of Education needed an assurance that the qualification completed by the student was valid and recognized in the native country of the student. The recognition of a student's education in the original country of his/her education was a barometer of acceptance in the new country.

Association of Indian Universities is the Central Government authority in India that is bestowed with the power to grant equivalence to foreign qualifications. Association of Indian Universities has awarded equivalence to the High School Diploma Qualification from schools accredited by the six Regional Accrediting Agencies and considered it equivalent to 12 Year Senior Secondary School Certification from Central Board of Secondary Education and other recognized boards in India.

These are the stages to identifying schools of quality:

Inquiry Stage
The communication with SERI can begin through an interest generated from the school leadership or the Governing Board of the school. The school showcases its basic profile and infrastructure facilities through online or telephonic conversation. The staff at SERI evaluate the school through a series o f basic questions and discussions.

Prospect Stage
The SERI team sends basic information and collaterals where the school leadership gather and assimilate more knowledge about NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) and its policies and procedures. At this stage the school leadership is advised to devote time and attention to study every minute detail to their satisfaction. The school leadership and management then fill a basic form and submit a report outlining the interest, capability and quality of the school. The detailed report is based on the amalgamation of quality requirements of NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) and the Indian Education system.

Evaluation Stage
After the evaluation of all the information sent by the school, a school is regarded as a prospect for the Evaluation Stage. The Evaluation Stage involves a 2-3 day visit by an evaluator from the SERI team. The evaluator studies every minute academic, infrastructural and service aspect of the school to figure out its preparation level for accreditation. The school is informed of the outcome of the Evaluation Stage during the visit itself.

Conversion Stage
Once the school is deemed ready and fit for accreditation, the Readiness visit of the NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) team is planned. The Readiness visit hosted by the school is precursor to being formally introduced into the NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) network. After a successful Readiness visit, the school hosts an External Accreditation Team from NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) for formal accreditation.

A credit is a commonly used term to represent the time and work allocated to a certain subject.

A "CREDIT HOUR" is the unit of measuring educational CREDIT, usually based on the number of classroom hours per week throughout an academic term or academic year. In a broader and more modern sense, it is designed to include the total course hours spent in classrooms, laboratories, activities and research.

The credit system prescribes a minimum number of credits that a student has to complete in order to earn a passing/qualification status in a certain subject or grade.

Credit to Credit hour conversion table

Grade/Level Credit to Credit hour conversion for core subjects Credit to Credit hour conversion for Elective/Language subjects
PLP (I-V) 1 Credit = 120 Hours 1 Credit = 120 Hours
MLP (VI- VIII) 1 Credit = 120 Hours 1 Credit = 120 Hours
SLP (IX-X) 1 Credit = 180 Hours 1 Credit = 180 Hours
HSLP (XI-XII) 1 Credit = 180 Hours 1 Credit = 180 Hours

A sound development of child at the school level is possible only when the teaching community keeps evolving and re-discovering newer and more evolved teaching techniques. Additionally, being a great teacher is not just about being great at teaching techniques only. An effective teacher encourages and increases the self-learning ability of a child eventually making learning a habit and not just a class-based process. The development of the teacher as an academician and a social mentor is thus internal to the effective overall development of the child.

The T3 modules have evolved through extensive research which included multiple rounds of discussions and interviews with parents, teachers, school management, students and child psychiatrists from various nationalities and cultures around the world. What evolved and is still evolving is a program that encourages teachers to think like the school going students. T3 is an activity based multi-level training program that creates real-life classroom scenarios for teachers. In the absence of a formal post-education training for teachers in most parts of the world, T3 will serve to simulate learning and thinking scenarios on a regular basis.

The seven primary aims and objectives of T3 are:

  • Including high social and community content in training
  • Understanding individual differences and implementing learning strategies for all
  • Developing collaborative work among educators on local as well as global level
  • Establishing teacher training through interpretative and critical paradigms
  • Encouraging contextual preparation and learning among the teaching fraternity
  • Formalizing a Cross-Categorical and Multi-Tiered teacher learning platform
  • Mentoring teachers through their interactions with experienced teachers

EPC is Effective Parenting Course. Our parenting program concentrates on filling this need-gap and making efficient and effective utilization of the limited time available for parents with their wards. Through research and practice, we have concentrated on developing a parenting program which is evenly spread over the entire K12 lifetime of the child. EPC is designed to be an effective foundation for a harmonious relationship between the child and his/her parents.

The salient features of EPC shall revolve around:

  • Understanding cultural differences in parenting
  • Needs of the child in infancy and primary years
  • Encouraging Effective Communication between the child and his/her parents
  • Understanding Child Psychology and behavior
  • Developing Learning Techniques in children
  • Developing the child's brain to its optimal capacity
  • Encouraging child to gather information and conversion of Information to knowledge
  • Assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the child
  • Understanding the needs of growing child
  • Skill Development among children
  • Encouraging children to express
  • Vedic & Ancient aspect of parenting
  • Developing child into a socially responsible citizen
  • Global Best Practices in Parenting

That the fee or any charges applicable to the said academic course/examination is non-refundable. SERI/NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) Regional Office shall not be responsible to refund any fee or amount, in any case, and any dispute with regard to the same shall not be entertained.

SERI/NWAC/Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) Regional office or any of its associates do not take any responsibility for any rejection for the candidate, in any case including but not limited to refusal of acceptance of admission by any institute/school/college/university etc. or refusal of grant of eligibility / acceptance for any Central Govt./State Govt./Private Job/vacancy by any Govt. or Private body whatsoever the case maybe, on the basis of this AHSDP qualification or the Diploma/Transcript related to this AHSDP qualification/examination, and under any such case or any other pretext/reason, there shall be no fee refund (whether part or whole).

For international (Outside of India) inquiries specifically:

Yes, Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) has recognised and accredited SERI, as an Education Service Agency (ESA). It is our endeavour to support Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) in its quest for providing quality K-12 education to students around the world. SERI also offers an accredited (by Cognia (Formerly AdvancED)) American High School Diploma Program and does so, in partnership with schools, institutions and organisations of quality. In its quest to support the vision and mission of Cognia (Formerly AdvancED), and thus take quality K-12 education to various territories around the globe, SERI associates with schools, institutions and organisations in various countries. Such associations come under the umbrella of Education Service Sub Agencies (ESSA) of SERI.

SERI engages in a holistic process of shortlisting and designating an ESSA in a particular country. It evaluates the academic, infrastructural and technical knowhow of interested parties, and assesses how they will absorb and radiate the shared vision of Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) and SERI. It also tries to understand and analyse how a particular ESSA shall take this shared vision to schools and students in the respective region. We are dedicated to provide world-class K-12 education around the world, in collaboration with committed and focused organisations that share our vision, and want the students, schools and parents in their respective region to benefit from our joint quest for educational excellence. Any institution/organisation dedicated to propagate this shared vision, can apply to us for evaluation and assessment of its candidature for an ESSA.

To understand the process of allocation of an ESSA, kindly click here