Looking at Cognia now, it’s hard to imagine that our organization has existed in three centuries—beginning in the late 19th, growing strong through the 20th, and building even more ways to serve education in the 21st. Our vitality comes not from our years, but from embracing change. Partnerships with education organizations large and small around the world open our eyes to what’s really happening in teaching and learning—and to new areas in which we can help.

See how Cognia has come to be an international nonprofit reaching educators and students in 90 countries, from its beginnings with two regional accrediting organizations.

History of Cognia


An enduring foundation

Two accrediting organizations are founded: North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)


Research at the core

National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE, then called Cooperative Study of Secondary School Standards) founded.


A new vision for assessment

Drs. Richard Hill and Stuart Kahl incorporate Advanced Systems in Measurement and Evaluation, and win statewide assessment contracts in Connecticut and Maine.


Partnership from the start

Advanced Systems is awarded an assessment contract by the Massachusetts Department of Education, beginning a partnership that continues uninterrupted.


A conviction that every student can learn

We begin providing alternate assessments for students with the most severe cognitive disabilities with a groundbreaking program in Colorado.


Restating our commitment

To acknowledge the company’s mission and values and better align with its clients, Advanced Systems changes to nonprofit status and becomes Measured Progress.


Early adopters

Measured Progress develops early online tests delivered in Georgia.


Making collaboration work

Measured Progress responds to three states’ common and individual requirements with innovative design and wins contract to create the New England Common Assessment Program—the first multi-state assessment consortium in the U.S.


Unifying an approach to school quality

NCA CASI, SACS CASI, and NSSE come together as AdvancED, creating a single, comprehensive organization dedicated to advancing the quality of education for students worldwide. Dr. Mark Elgart is CEO.


Leadership transition

Martin Borg joins Measured Progress as president, additionally becomes CEO in 2011.


Extending a global reach

AdvancED acquires the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA), expanding its reach to 50 states and 65 countries and eventually accrediting over 80 countries.


Increasing impact

The number of accredited school systems exceeds that of individual schools. More than 12,000 institutions participate in the AdvancED School System Accreditation model, which leverages improvement across an entire school system.


Technology for educators

AdvancED releases the Adaptive System of School Improvement Support Tools (ASSIST™), a web-based platform that merges process, content, and technology for end-to-end management of school improvement and accreditation processes.


A new direction

Measured Progress introduces its first formative assessment offerings for districts with an item bank, testlets, and benchmark assessments.


Widening our circle

The Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) joins AdvancED as the third accreditation division providing services to institutions across seven states. AdvancED becomes the largest accrediting body in the world.


Next-generation assessments

Measured Progress wins several of the contracts for the newly funded assessment consortia: PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and Smarter Balanced.


STEM pioneers

AdvancED launches a pilot program for STEM Certification to test the content validity of the Standards and Indicators and the effectiveness, pliability, and reliability of the certification process. Today, Cognia offers STEM certification worldwide.


A new approach

Measured Progress releases a new interim and summative assessment program for districts and states. Maine adopts it as its statewide summative assessment, continuing a partnership begun in 1983. We introduce Assessment Services for district assessments and offer STEM Gauge® formative resources.


Focus on improvement

AdvancED launches the Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool® (eleot®), a student-focused framework to gather objective information about what happens in classrooms. Our next-generation school improvement platform, eProve™ becomes available to members to centralize and align their improvement efforts.


Momentum and growth

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awards its highly anticipated new program, “Next Generation MCAS,” to Measured Progress, continuing a partnership of more than 30 years.


Strengthening our hallmark

AdvancED launches new Accreditation Performance Standards and the Continuous Improvement System (CIS), a data-informed school improvement and effectiveness framework, building on accreditation services to support education institutions’ efforts to create a culture of continuous improvement.


A new beginning

From the 2018 merger of AdvancED, the leader in continuous improvement and the world’s largest accrediting body, and Measured Progress, an innovator in standards-based assessment, the new organization Cognia is born. It offers unique and far-reaching services to educators and institutions, focused on data-driven tools for school improvement. Dr. Mark Elgart leads the unified nonprofit organization.


Legacy and change

Cognia marks 125 years recognizing excellence through accreditation. We respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with free resources, and share members’ stories in our new network newsletter, the Insider. New solutions LINCspring® and MyVoice™ expand our offerings to members. We launch Cognia Assessments and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force.


Forging new paths

In the age of COVID-19, Cognia boosts its service to learners and educators with new resources and timely content: a Teacher Observation Tool for formative feedback, Performance Standards effective in 2022 that emphasize culture and equity, Leadership Circle for system leaders and their teams, a Leader Chat podcast series, and more.


A new professional learning experience

Cognia adds a new 24/7 resource for educators: the Cognia Learning Community, a professional learning platform and educator community that strengthens teacher/leader practice and gives educators ownership of their own learning. In a new approach to professional learning, the platform hosts a network of educators from across the globe, offering high-quality content and collaboration tools to solve problems and accelerate improvement.


Supporting targeted improvement

Cognia marks 10 years of administering diagnostic reviews that have helped hundreds of schools and systems identify strengths and areas for targeted improvement. By partnering with Cognia and the customized review process, institutions leverage a system with proven results of elevating practices for learners, teachers, and leaders.