Pillars of Continuous Improvement

Cognia Performance Standards define excellence in every aspect of education. With Cognia standards as your guide, assure your learners high-quality schooling that prepares them for their next steps in education or career anywhere in the world.

What makes a good school?

Evolution and innovation

Today’s Cognia represents the next chapter in the fusion of AdvancED and Measured Progress. Our combined expertise has broadened to create a comprehensive vision of school quality and the connections between school performance and student achievement. While we’ve been evolving, changes across the world and in our communities have had indelible impact on learners and learning.

We welcome change for the new ideas it can bring. Cognia’s Performance Standards for 2022 exemplify growth and innovation with a new vision for school excellence in today’s world.

Relevance for our times

Cognia formally reviews and updates our Performance Standards for education institutions every five years. This cyclical process helps assure that the standards that guide our improvement and accreditation strategies continue to be viable and relevant to education in today’s world.

Read about the process

The development process includes:

  • Review of standards rating data from the past five years to determine practices where institutions struggled and demonstrated success
  • Environmental scans and research review
  • Input from practitioners on innovative practices in education
  • Multiple peer and external reviews
  • Approval by Cognia’s Global Accreditation Commission

More information on the standards and protocols will be available to members of the Cognia Improvement Network over the 2021–22 school year.

New standards for 2022

The new Cognia Performance Standards go into effect in July 2022. They build on many of the themes in our previous standards, and apply the lessons and influences of recent years to stimulate thinking about schooling with significant new concepts.

See what's new

The new standards exemplify four key characteristics of high-quality schools and systems:

Healthy culture for learning: the institution’s focus on the challenges, joys, and opportunities for learning, and coherence with its mission and vision

Leadership for learning: the responsibility of an institution’s leaders to influence and impact all aspects of the institution in positive ways

Engagement of learning: the inclusion of all learners in the learning process, and their development of confidence and love of learning

Growth in learning: the growth of learners in the programs and curricula provided by the institution and their readiness to successfully transition to next levels of learning

In addition, the standards for 2022–23 help educators address issues relevant to our times. These include a focus on the learner, including student voice and agency; the demonstration of equity for every learner across all aspects of the institution; and an emphasis on learner well-being, beyond instruction.

One set of standards now applies to all K–12 and postsecondary institutions. Details relevant to different types of institutions will be addressed in other Cognia Accreditation resources.

Who’s affected and when

The standards in effect for your Accreditation Engagement Review depend on when your current accreditation expires—or when you begin the accreditation process. The current standards apply for school year 2021–22. The new standards will apply for school year 2022–2023.

Get the details

The new standards, effective July 1, 2022, apply specifically to:

  • Institutions that are applying for accreditation for the first time and scheduling a Candidacy Review after February 1, 2022
  • Institutions renewing their accreditation and scheduling Accreditation Engagement Reviews during the 2022–23 school year
  • All Cognia solutions and services, which will align with the new standards as they are refined or developed

During school year 2021–2022, members of the Cognia Global Network will see more information about the new standards.

When your education institution adopts Cognia Performance Standards for accreditation, certification, or improvement, your stakeholders can be assured that learners are benefiting from a high-quality education recognized around the globe. Learn more about Cognia membership or Cognia Performance Standards.

We can’t just ‘do the work’ and then forget about it… We have to change what we’re doing right along with the times. The Cognia model is making a difference for schools that want to be better."
Dr. Mark Vollmer
Minot (North Dakota) Schools
Member since 2010