Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition (especially with respect to educational institution that maintains suitable standards).
Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external agency to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency.
In some countries in the world, the function of educational accreditation is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the U. S. and in many other countries, schools are accredited by private organizations.
The U.S. accreditation process developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century after educational institutions perceived a need for improved coordination and articulation between secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, along with standardization of requirements between the two levels.
The source for most of the information found on these pages is AdvancED, our accrediting association and the world's largest education community, serving more than 34,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in more than 70 countries that educate over 20 million students.