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?
Hallmarks of excellence
Relevance for our times
Cognia formally reviews and updates our Performance Standards for education institutions at least every six 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
Standards and protocol
The current Cognia Performance Standards went into effect in July 2022. They build on many of the themes in our previous standards and stimulate thinking about schooling with significant new concepts. The updated protocol extends the accreditation term from five to six years for most institutions. It builds in more opportunities for support and collaboration with Cognia, to help your institution’s team achieve a shared vision and understanding, and to achieve progress in your improvement initiatives.
Read about the Standards
The new standards and rubrics exemplify four key characteristics of high-quality schools and systems, demonstrated across the institution:
Healthy culture for learning and coherence with the institution’s mission and vision
Leadership for learning—leaders’ responsibility for positive impact and influence
Engagement of learning to include all learners and develop their love of learning
Growth in learning, showing learners’ readiness for transitions
One set of standards now applies to all K–12 and postsecondary institutions. Details relevant to different types of institutions is addressed in other Cognia Accreditation resources.
Read about the Protocol
The six-year cycle gives you more time to implement initiatives, evaluate them, and prepare for your next cycle, and provides additional support for your institution. Other changes include:
Guidance and support from Cognia experts throughout your accreditation and improvement activities
Orientation and training for your team to prepare for success
Self-Assessment phase to gather your evidence and identify your strengths and needs
Progress phase, providing more collaboration from Cognia to sustain momentum
When your education institution works with Cognia for accreditation, certification, or other continuous improvement, your stakeholders can be assured that learners are benefiting from a high-quality education recognized around the globe. Learn more about Cognia membership and far-reaching paths to improvement.
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 VollmerSuperintendentMinot (North Dakota) Schools
Member since 2010