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Standards for Programs
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Updated January 2020

Membership in EnglishUSA is contingent on accreditation by one of the following accrediting bodies: (1) the Commission of English Language Accreditation (CEA); (2) the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) (3) one of the seven regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) The seven regional accrediting bodies are:

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges;
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Proof of accreditation must be included in all new member applications. Achieving accreditation is a rigorous process that requires English language programs and schools to demonstrate the highest standards of practice in the field. Including this requirement as part of membership to EnglishUSA ensures that EnglishUSA upholds a strong commitment to excellence and high standards in our profession.

The following standards outline the essential components of best practice in English language programming:


The English language program (ELP) communicates to the public a written statement of its mission that is reviewed periodically. The mission is consistent with the program offerings and courses.

The ELP director and academic administrative personnel have the qualifications to support the goals and objectives of their program. Program policies and procedures, organizational structure of the program, responsibilities of each position, statements concerning working conditions, and personnel policies for both faculty and staff are available in written form to all employees.

Program administrators seek input from administrative personnel, ELP faculty, and students in making operational and instructional policy decisions. The program administration takes responsibility for budgeting and financial management to maintain a continuing program of high quality. The ELP is administered in accordance with the law and with regard for the safety and welfare of all employees and students.

IEP Faculty
In order to maintain instructional continuity, there is a core of regularly employed teachers who have at least master's degrees in TESL or training and/or experience appropriate to their course assignments. ELPfaculty demonstrate a high quality of instruction, cross-cultural knowledge and sensitivity, and adherence to the ethical standards of the ELP and/or host institution.

Curriculum & Instruction

The ELP has a written curriculum, periodically updated, which includes measurable performance objectives for all levels of instruction and programs. The curriculum specifies the criteria for advancement and completion of the program. The length and intensity of program sessions are sufficient for the accomplishment of curriculum goals.

The program has appropriate assessment tools and procedures for initial placement of students into courses, and to measure student progress towards course learning goals and attainment of English language proficiency. Written reports that outline results of assessments and progress are given to students.

Adequate, up-to-date materials are available for instruction and evaluation of each student.

Additional resource materials are available to enable teachers to draw from the best sources in the ESL field to meet the widest range of needs. Adequate supplies, equipment, furniture, and classroom space are available to achieve the program goals.

Student Admissions Policies and Procedures
ELP admissions policies are clearly articulated in ELP literature, and are implemented by trained personnel within the institution. ELP admission policies abide by criteria set out by USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the institution. 

Students and Student Services
Information related to program and living costs, scholarships, financial assistance, insurance, and refunds are clearly and completely communicated to students prior to their admission to an IEP program. The ELP provides students with a complete orientation to the language program, to policies concerning students, to related academic institutions, and to the surrounding community. Expectations of appropriate student conduct and responsibilities to maintain enrolment status, grievance procedures, and other student services are clearly communicated to students in writing.

Marketing and Recruiting
The ELP follows ethical standards for the recruitment of students and in the promotion of its programs, and in any recruitment transaction, student interests and well-being are paramount. ELP recruiting staff, admission personnel, academic advisors, and all promotional materials provide accurate information about instructional programs and other services available to students.

Program Evaluation
The ELP engages in periodic self-study and evaluation to review its stated mission and goals, and to measure accomplishments. The process of review is conducted by a wide range of stakeholders and includes a comprehensive review of data including test results, observations, teacher evaluations, student evaluations, enrolment figures and relevant budget information. The ELP effects program changes based on recommendations resulting from this review.