School Audits – AuditED
Eduvisors School Audits & Accreditation or ‘AuditED’ is a method of quality assurance developed over years through process and infrastructure audits of K-12 schools globally and is designed primarily to distinguish schools adhering to a set of high educational standards. The AuditED process is well-known for its ability to effectively drive student performance and ensure continuous improvement in education.
While accreditation is a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating an educational institution’s effectiveness, AuditED is far more than that. AuditED considers the whole educational institution, including – programs, processes, cultural context, community of stakeholders and infrastructure – to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students and the goals of the educational institution.
AuditED is not only a significant recognition of an institution’s quality of education but also an enriching process for the institutions to get an opportunity to improve on the existing standards of delivery. Unfortunately, many schools consider AuditED and other audit programs or initiatives as a burdensome task which must be completed to get the seal of ‘certified’, and the faster they somehow meet the requirements, the sooner they can get back their attention to running their institutions. In fact, it is such educational institutions that see the untapped transformative power in process audits that are able to build real capacity to improve student learning and make continuous school improvement a distinctive reality.
When approached with professional rigour, the internal self-assessment an educational institution conducts against a set of research-based quality standards can produce a wealth of rich insights. A truthful and sincere self-assessment is incomparable in its ability to discover and bring into sharp focus special challenges for an institution that may not have been otherwise fully recognised or understood. The external and unbiased review is the hallmark of the AuditED process, and like the internal self-assessment, it energizes and equips the leadership and various stakeholders of an institution or school system to address such areas that may be adversely affecting the desired performance levels.
AuditED raises the performance and effectiveness standards of educational institutions. The process acts as a catalyst for transformative excellence. AuditED’s certification process is designed on a standards-based framework to feed continuous improvement and transform education to global standard.
AuditED is inextricably tied to institution and educational system improvement and gives equal importance to measurement and improvement. The certification process requires institutions and systems to critically evaluate its vision, strategies, priorities, leadership, programs and resources. The process of earning and maintaining the certification provides institutions and educational systems with clear and compelling direction for implementing changes required and move toward excellence.
AuditED covers the following aspects for Audit, Certification and Improvement purposes:
- Learning & Organization
- Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
- Culture & Community
- Regulatory Conformity
- Professional Development
- Administration Planning and Resource Allocation
- Policy Frameworks
- Learning Environment
- Environment Responsibility
At Eduvisors we confront each challenge sans any preconceived notion; our solutions are based on facts rather than opinions.
AuditED is designed to assist educational institutions enhance their ongoing performance efforts for the benefit of their students and other stakeholders. AuditED insists on a relentless pursuit of excellence – for itself and for the institutions it certifies. This ethic of excellence ensures that institutions find significant benefits from certification and that parents can confidently make well-informed decisions about their children’s education, knowing their child’s school is certified. AuditED Certification is important and relevant because our students deserve the highest level of educational excellence possible.
Educational institutions that engage in AuditED Certification:
- Join a global network committed to standards of educational excellence.
- Reduce cost of operations by addressing the improvement opportunities as identified in AuditED QAR Report.
- Earn the distinction of quality through the recognized seal of AuditED certification.
- Develop the ability to create a charter related to school development plan.
- Experience a unified, clear, and powerful certification process with a scalable and sustainable evaluation of education quality.
- Establish higher probability of attracting superior student talent.
- Get external and unbiased validation of the areas in which they are doing well, and the areas for continuous improvement.
- Benefit from AuditED research that shapes educational policy and improves learning practices.
- Get exposed to the best available ideas and thinking on education practices and trends through innovative products, educational technologies, and the collective knowledge of peers.
- Gain from shared expertise and powerful professional learning through workshops, training, conferences, and personalized service.
Through experience from the process of AuditED, students and their parents:
- Experience consistency in transfers from one school to another.
- Gain from their institution or educational system’s commitment to raising student performance and accountability.
In order to earn AuditED Certification, the following are mandatory for any school or school system (chain or group of schools):
- Meet or exceed the certification standards, policies, and procedures of AuditED
- Host and interact with a Quality Assurance Review (QAR) team at least once every two years
- Actively engage in continuous improvement
- Timely submit all required certification reports
- Pay required certification fees.
The revision and adoption of the certification policies and procedures of AuditED is the responsibility of Eduvisors. Eduvisors does, from time to time, update the policies and procedures of AuditED. It is Eduvisors’ endeavour to make the updated policies and procedures available to the public on this website.
1.1 Term. A school is certified for a two year term, as long as the school continues to satisfy the conditions for certification:
- The school adheres to the AuditED Certification standards and policies and actively engages in continuous improvement in process and procedures to achieve the desired results.
- Between six months and four weeks prior to the Quality Assurance Review (QAR), the school completes and submits the AuditED Self Assessment Report
- The school hosts a Quality Assurance Review at least once every two years
- One year following the Quality Assurance Review, the school completes a progress report on the team’s required actions.(A school that is not Certified Outstanding, if required, must submit more frequent progress reports as communicated by the AuditED Quality Assurance Review Team)
- The school pays certification fees as required
1.2 Additional Requirements. In addition to satisfying the conditions outlined above, a school must adhere to the following:
- Compliance with Applicable Statutory and Regulatory Requirements.The school must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirement, including any requirement for approval, recognition, or affiliation from any national, state or local body. A school’s loss of its regulatory approval, recognition, or affiliation may be grounds for a certification review and monitoring visit that may result in a change in certification status or level in accordance with the procedures outlined.
- Non-discriminatory Admission of Students.Schools certified as AuditED are expected to not discriminate on the basis of caste, colour, sex, age, or disabilities or act unlawfully in the administration of their educational policies and admission procedures. This includes the admission related to provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2010
- Records Retention and Retrieval.Schools are required to maintain and implement a records retention system that meets applicable requirements for all regulatory, operating, financial, personnel, vendor related and student records. The records retention system applies to paper and electronic records, includes appropriate back-up systems, and details consistent processes for records destruction. All such records must be maintained using a method and in a format that makes it easy to retrieve the records/data as and when required by AuditED. Schools must identify processes for the ongoing maintenance and retrieval of all relevant records in the event of school closure.
- Institutional Integrity.A school is required to represent itself accurately in all aspects of the certification process. If a school misrepresents itself, including certification status or certification level, to the public; has any condition that may be detrimental to the clientele of the school; or falsely reports its compliance with the policies and standards for certification; the school’s certification may be dropped by AuditED.
- Substantive Change.A school must report to AuditED (Eduvisors) within sixty (60) days of occurrence any substantive change in the school that changes the scope and/or has an impact on the school’s ability to meet the AuditED standards and policies. The report of a substantive change must describe the change itself as well as detail the impact of the change on the quality of education in the school. Substantive change areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Consolidation or reorganization of the school Society/Trust or Section 25 company
- Mission and purpose of the institution
- Governance structure of the school including, a change in ownership
- Grade levels served by the school
- Staffing, including administrative and other non-teaching professional personnel
- Managing committee structure
- Available facilities, including upkeep and maintenance
- Level of funding
- Change in school brand related aspects
- Student capacity
- Establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus
- Student population that causes program or staffing modification(s)
School’s failure to submit a substantive change may result in changes to the school’s certification level and/or loss of certification.
1.3 Eduvisors Responsibilities. In carrying out the certification policies and procedures of AuditED, Eduvisors is responsible for ensuring school adherence to the AuditED standards and policies, conducting a Quality Assurance Review to every school at least once every two years, reviewing all school reports, granting certification levels and certification status for all schools, responding to complaints by and about schools, and maintaining accurate, complete, and timely records.
- Code of Ethics. In performing the responsibilities outlined above, all the team members of Eduvisors shall adhere to the AuditED Code of Ethics.
- Gifts. Members of Quality Assurance Review Teams and other team members of AuditED Certification Council who provide services to schools are prohibited from accepting gifts, other than school logo or brand related items of minimal value, from schools. Any gift of minimal value that is received and accepted by any AuditED Quality Assurance Review Team must be not exclusively produced or made for the recipient.
- Investigations. In performing its duties, Eduvisors may investigate a certified school on any matter related to possible violations of AuditED standards and policies at any time. AuditED Certification Councils shall use judgment and discretion in determining if a complaint rises to a level justifying an investigation. Investigations will only be initiated when supported by substantial evidence and when they involve matters that could seriously hinder or disrupt the educational effectiveness of the institution and ability of the institution to meet the AuditED Certification Standards. All investigations shall be conducted with proper attention to due process, and procedures shall be followed to protect the rights of all parties. The certification status of a certified school may be changed as deemed appropriate through the investigative process, and timelines set forth in Policy may not necessarily apply to special investigations and subsequent monitoring visits. When warranted by a change of status recommendation, the results of an investigation shall be reported to the appropriate AuditED Certification Council for appropriate action.
- Maintenance of and Access to School Records. AuditED maintains a record retention system that includes procedures for maintenance and access to school records. AuditED retains all school final certification reports and official correspondence for a minimum of 10-year period, documenting five full terms of certification. Upon request, certified schools must provide the public access to the Quality Assurance Review Report, Certification Progress Report, and any special or interim certification reports, subject to any nominal costs for copying and handling.
2.0 Certified Levels and Non-certified Statuses
2.1 Certified Levels.There are four certification levels that may be conferred on a school as a result of a Quality Assurance Review Team’s visit. The levels of performance referenced in the descriptions below are defined in the AuditED certification documentation, which may be obtained on request to Eduvisors after payment of appropriate fees. No provisions in the Policy prevents a school’s certification level or status from being changed upon a different timeline established due to the findings of a special investigation and/or possible subsequent monitoring visits.
AuditED following a model with four (4) improvement layers and three (3) building blocks each:
- Certified Outstanding. The school performs at Outstanding Level and has excelled on all or most standards and requirements of the certification process and any required actions noted do not detract to a serious degree from the quality of the school’s educational program and/or violate AuditED standards or policies. Schools with any noted required actions must report their progress made to address the required actions in the Certification Progress Report. A Certified Outstanding school must complete all actions related to vital improvement opportunities as provided in the Quality Assurance Review Report.
- Certified Great. The school performs at the Great School level broadly on all standards and requirements of the certification process and has high degree of chance to move to Outstanding school level over a period of 2 years. Required actions will focus on area(s) of improvement so that the school performs at or above Great school level on all the standards. Schools with any noted required actions must report their progress to address the required actions in the Certification Progress Report. The report is reviewed to ensure sufficient progress is being made. If sufficient progress has been made and the required actions have been addressed, the school’s Certified Great status may be removed and upgraded to the next level. If the school does not address the required actions or fails to submit a progress report, the school may be moved to the lower certification level or status. Depending on the progress achieved by the school in addressing the required actions, additional progress reports may be required by AuditED.
- Certified Good. The school performs at the Good school level in one of the standards or requirements of the certification process and the resulting required actions identify an area(s) that seriously detracts from the quality of the school’s educational program and/or violates AuditED standards and/or policies.
The school has been Certified Great and has failed to address the required actions or submit the Certification Progress Report. The school is provided up to a year to demonstrate progress toward addressing the required actions. Before the end of the year, the school submits a progress report. The report is reviewed to ensure sufficient progress is being made. If the required actions have been addressed, the school’s Certified Good status may be changed to Certified Great status. If the school does not address the required actions or fails to submit a progress report, the school may be moved to Certified on Probation status.
If the required actions are being addressed but still remain, the school may remain on Certified Good status and must file a progress report after the first year. If the required actions have been addressed, the school’s Certified Good status may be changed to Certified Great. If the required actions have not been addressed by the second year too, the school may be moved to another certification Certified on Probation status or Dropped status.
- Certified on Probation. The school performs at the Average Level on multiple of the standards or requirements of the certification process and the resultant actions are deemed to indicate serious impact on the school’s educational program, limit the school’s ability to fulfil its mission, cause potential harm to students, prevent continuous improvement of the school and/or show failure to authentically adhere to the AuditED Standards.
The school has been Certified Good for one year and has failed to adequately address the required actions or submit a progress report or make substantial progress towards addressing the required actions.
If the school is given Certified Good status, it may be given up to one year to address the required actions. A Special Review Team visits the school to assess progress on the required actions and has the authority to recommend a change in certification level or status. If, in the opinion of the Special Review Team, the required actions have been addressed or sufficient progress has been made, the certification level or certification status may be changed upon approval by the appropriate AuditED Certification Council. If the required actions have not been addressed, the team shall be authorized to recommend that the school’s certification level or certification status be dropped upon approval by the AuditED Certification Council.
2.2 Non-certified Status. There are three non-certified statuses that may be conferred on a school.
- Applicant. The school has submitted formal application for certification but has not yet hosted the readiness visit. A school may also be considered as an applicant if it has submitted formal application, hosted a readiness visit, and been found by the readiness team to not have the capacity to meet the standards required to earn certification. A school may remain an applicant for no more than one year. If the school fails to achieve certified status within said one year period, said school must wait one more year from the date of application and begin the process anew.
An applicant school may not project future or expected certification level or certification status. All applicant schools are not certified until such status is officially granted. In any public announcements or communication regarding the school’s pursuit of certification, the applicant school must avoid any implication that applicant status equates with certification or automatically leads to certification. AuditED’s Certification Council shall have full authority and discretion to deny certification level or status to any school determined by AuditED to be in violation of this policy.
- Candidate. The school has submitted formal application and has hosted a readiness visit. The readiness team finds that the school has the capacity to meet the standards required to earn certification, but the school has not yet hosted a Quality Assurance Review Team. A school may remain in candidacy for no more than two years. During candidacy, the school pays full certification fees.
A candidate school may not project future or expected certification status. All candidate schools are not certified until such status is officially granted. In any public announcements regarding the school’s pursuit of certification, the candidate school must avoid any implication that candidacy status equates with certification or automatically leads to certification. AuditED’s Certification Council shall have full authority and discretion to deny certification status to any school determined by AuditED to be in violation of this policy.
- Dropped. The school:
- Performs at the Average or below levels majority of standards or requirements of the certification process; or
- Finds it is no longer able to meet the AuditED Standards and/or certification policies and notifies the respective Eduvisors office that it wishes to have its certified status dropped; or
- Fails to pay certification fees; or
- Has been Certified on Probation and fails to make substantial progress on the required actions within the time frame established by AuditED policies and procedures or review team recommendation; or
- Has been found by an investigative team to no longer adhere to the standards and certification requirements or procedures or fails to cooperate with any certification team investigation or request for information.
The dropped status is effective on the date of official action by the AuditED Certification Council to drop the school. A school that has been dropped from certification must remove all references to its certified status from school certificates, websites, buildings, literature, and the like.
A dropped school may seek reinstatement within one year of receiving the dropped status. After one year, the dropped school must reapply and follow the same procedures as new schools.
2.3 Ongoing Monitoring. The certified/non-certified status of a school is regularly monitored by AuditED Certification Council and may be changed based on new or corrected information provided by the school, Quality Assurance Review Team reports, reports from special visits, complaints submitted, or other sources.
2.4 Reinstatement. Schools may request reinstatement of their certified status with their original date of certification if they were dropped from certified status in the preceding one year. The steps for reinstatement are as follows:
- School contacts AuditED (Eduvisors) Office to obtain the Request for Reinstatement form.
- School completes the Request for Reinstatement form and submits its current dues to the AuditED office.
- The AuditED office contacts the school to confirm receipt of the request.
- The Certification Office includes the request for reinstatement with its certification actions/recommendations for review by the AuditED Certification Council
After the afore-mentioned requirement are met, the school’s certification term continues and the school is reinstated in its original certification term.
3.1 Overview. Schools seeking initial certification must demonstrate that they meet the AuditED standards and policies, have the capacity to support school improvement, and are fully committed to growth in student learning and institutional effectiveness.
3.2 General Guidelines. Following are general guidelines for all schools seeking a certification:
- A school must be in operation for at least one year with demonstrated financial stability before it may be certified.
- A school must certify that it possesses the appropriate regulatory approvals to operate.
- A school must host a readiness visit within three months after applying.
- A school must host a Quality Assurance Review visit within six months after becoming a candidate.
- A school that does not host the readiness or Quality Assurance Review visit within the prescribed time period must re-apply.
3.3 Application Process. The school must complete and submit all required application materials, including application dues/fees.
The new school application fee applies to any new school that is making application as a single school. Schools which are part of a chain or a group or a franchisee network apply as independent schools and the fee applicable will have to be paid by each school.
3.4 Readiness Visit and Candidacy Status. Upon receipt of completed application form and other materials, the appropriate Eduvisors office coordinates a readiness visit to the school. The purpose of the visit is to:
- Assess if the school has the capacity and integrity to meet and adhere to the AuditED standards and policies
- Evaluate if the school has the capacity to support continuous school improvement.
- Determine if the school should become a candidate for certification or remain as an applicant.
Upon achievement of candidate status, the school completes the Self Assessment and prepares for the Quality Assurance Review Team’s visit.
3.5 Quality Assurance Review and Certification Recommendation. The candidate school hosts a Quality Assurance Review within six months of receiving candidacy status. The Quality Assurance Review Team makes certification recommendation that is reviewed, along with other documentation and by the AuditED Certification Council, which grants the final certification level. In addition, Quality Assurance Review Team provides via AuditED QAR Report a list of improvement opportunities that are classified in three types: Vital, Essential and Desirable. These are 3 different types of opportunities as identified and classified by the AuditED Quality Assurance Review Team. The identification of the improvement opportunities is a result of the audit of the school and the classification is done based on a variety of factors including, urgency, importance, doability, criticality and capability.
3.6 Earning Certified Status. Upon achieving certified status, the school engages in the tasks required of all schools to maintain their certified status.
3.7 Remaining in Candidacy Status. If certification is not conferred on the school, the school remains as a candidate for certification. To achieve certification, the school must meet the requirements specified in the Quality Assurance Review report within one year. It must submit documentation to AuditED Certification Council, which will make certification recommendation for review and approval. If the school fails to meet the requirements specified in the Quality Assurance Review report, its candidacy status is removed.
3.8 Extension or Branch Campuses. An extension or branch campus of a school may be certified as part of the main campus provided all of the following conditions are met:
- The extension or branch campus is under the direct supervision of the administrative head of the main campus school.
- The extension or branch campus serves students from the main campus (it does not serve students from more than one school)
- The extension or branch campus provides services that are a part of the total educational program (it does not duplicate services)
- The director or supervisor of the extension or branch campus reports directly to the administrative head of the main campusschool
- The extension or branch campus operates under the same state education agency school number as the main campus.
4.1 Written Complaint. Any complaints submitted by and about schools must be submitted in writing, both paper or electronic notices are acceptable. All complaints should include the following information to allow for proper review and if determined, in the sole discretion of AuditED Certification Council, appropriate investigation:
- The name, address, phone number, email address and other pertinent contact information of the complainant.
- A description of the circumstances or events and any relevant documentation that support the complaint
- A statement of relationship with the individual involved, if the complainant is not the aggrieved individual. Complaints concerning individual students will only be investigated or sent to the school if the complaint is made or authorized by a student of majority age or by an individual that has the legal authority and right to represent the student
- The name, address, email address and other contact information for the individual at the school that has been contacted by the complainant to resolve the problem or situation
- Permission for representatives of AuditED to access any records concerning the complainant if such records are not available to the public
- A statement of first-hand knowledge of the substance of the complaint, unless the complaint is supported by reliable and verifiable documentation
4.2 Individual Grievances. Stand-alone and individual grievances between a school and person are not adjudicated. Complaints of such nature, documented and signed by the person initiating the complaint, will be forwarded to the school. The school shall respond to the complaint within thirty (30) working days. A copy of the complaint and the school’s response to it will be retained by the appropriate AuditED office. If several individual complaints against a school suggest a particular violation or pattern of violations that might affect the school’s ability to meet AuditED standards or policies, further investigation may be authorized and shall occur within a reasonable period of time.
4.3 Investigation of Complaints. Complaints that are determined by AuditED to sufficiently identify potential violations of AuditED standards or policies will be investigated. Said determination of whether sufficient grounds exist to begin an investigation is at the sole discretion of AuditED.
- If the investigating body believes that a school’s response to a complaint does not address the complaint or if a school fails to address the complaint in a timely manner, the information about the complaint will be shared with the Quality Assurance Review team scheduled for the next review of the school or with representatives of a special investigation team being sent to the school to conduct a special review into the complaint and empowered with the ability to make a recommendation as to the Certification level of the school. The special review team is charged with investigating said complaint, as well as, investigating the possible violation of any other AuditED standards and policies that may be discovered through a diligent and thorough investigation.
- The findings from an investigation of a complaint may result in changes to a school’s certification level or status. The AuditED Certification Council do not have civil authority to impose any order of settlement on a school or its representatives. Complainants seeking a settlement, payment, or compensation should pursue their concern through the channels offered by a State Department of Education or other legal authority in the state.
4.4 Right to Appeal. A school has the right to appeal a decision to drop its certification status of change the certification level. A certified school remains certified until the final disposition of the appeal.
A school’s appeal is heard by an independent appeals panel that is separate from the AuditED Certification Council and serves as an additional level of due process for the school. The Appeals Panel has no authority concerning the reasonableness or appropriateness of eligibility criteria, policies, procedures, or accreditation standards. The Appeals Panel is not empowered to overrule the AuditED Certification Council’s decision by imposing its own determinations on what the Appeals Panel believes should constitute adequate procedures, institution response times or other administrative policies promulgated by the AuditED Certification Council. The Appeals Panel can only affirm, amend, remand or reverse a prior decision of the AuditED Certification Council.. Its role is to determine whether the AuditED Certification Council’s adverse action was not supported by the record or was clearly erroneous. The school, both initial applicant and accredited school, always have the responsibility of proof in demonstrating that an adverse action of the AuditED Certification Council was not supported by the record or was otherwise erroneous.
4.4.1 Appeals Panel Constitution. Appeals Panel will comprise three (3) members – a representative of Eduvisors, a non-academic expert with a minimum of 20 years of work experience and an expert from academia with a minimum of 20 years of work experience. The Appeals Panel members shall be nominated from a pool of talent by Eduvisors.
4.4.2 Appeal Procedures. A school desirous to appeal shall do so in accordance with the procedures set forth below:
- The school shall file its intent to appeal a certification decision within ten (10) days of receipt of the decision. The intent to appeal shall be submitted via a registered post mail to the AuditED Office.
- The school’s written grounds for appeal shall be submitted within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision. The school’s written grounds shall set forth the basis for its appeal. Only evidence previously submitted to AuditED may be included in the submission. New evidence will not be considered.
- The school shall submit to the AuditED Certification Council a Demand Draft for Rupees Two Lakhs (Rs 200,000) with the written grounds for appeal. After the costs of the appeal have been deducted from the amount of the demand draft, any unused portion of the amount shall be returned to the school. If the costs of the appeal exceeds the amount of the demand draft, the school shall pay the additional costs to AuditED.
- The Appeals Panel will meet within sixty (60) days of receipt of the school’s intent to appeal. The school has the option of sending representatives to the hearing.
- All expenses of the appeal, including all expenses of the members of the Appeals Panel, are to be borne fully by the school submitting the appeal.
- The Appeals Panel can either uphold the decision of the AuditED Certification Council or remand the decision to the AuditED Certification Council for reconsideration. If the Appeals Panel upholds the decision of the AuditED Certification Council, the action of that Council shall be deemed final.
- If the Appeals Panel remands the decision to the AuditED Certification Council for further consideration and the AuditED Certification Council adheres to its original decision, the matter shall be considered final.