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Setting Standards for Adult ESL
U.S. Department of Ed Recognizes CEA
The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
(CEA) announced on June 10 that it has won recognition from the U.S. Department of
Education as an official accrediting body for intensive English programs (IEPs) in the United
States. CEA was recommended to receive a 2-year recognition, which is the longest period
awarded to initial applicants. Recognition by the U.S. Department of Education is a major
milestone for the agency, and the culmination of many years of effort within the ESL/EFL
profession to establish a common set of standards for English language instruction at the
postsecondary level in the United States.
CEA’s quest for recognition can be traced to the early 1990s, when Teachers of English to
Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) began to look at the development of standards
for IEPs in the United States. In 1995, TESOL created an accreditation advisory
committee, and charged it with drafting standards and developing the structure for an
accrediting body. Following the publication of the standards, the accrediting agency
separated from TESOL, and became independently incorporated as CEA in October 1999.
To support the new agency and its efforts, TESOL provided a $250,000 grant and a
$50,000 loan to aid in its foundation.
Current U.S. law requires international students to attend schools that have been certified.
One method for schools to receive this certification is through accreditation by a nationally
recognized agency. Recognized as an agency that offers both programmatic and
institutional accreditation, CEA is the only specialized accreditation agency whose
standards, policies, and procedures are focused on best practices in the field of English
language education and administration.
For more information on CEA and its accreditation program, go to http://www.cea-accredit.
org, or contact Teresa D. O’Donnell, Executive Director, at 703-519-2070, or by email
at email@example.com. For
more information on TESOL, contact Charles S. Amorosino, Jr., at 703-836-0774.
Press Release by TESOL, Inc., Alexandria, VIRGINIA
2003 ESL MiniConference Online