Achieving accreditation is a rigorous process by which a private school is audited and must adhere to certain requirements on governance best practices, financial transparency, curriculum quality, student safety, and staffing. All accredited schools in Texas must annually administer a national norm-referenced test approved by the school’s accrediting agency.
Until 1989, the state of Texas was responsible for accrediting both public and private schools. Limited resources caused TEA to end this service for private schools, and in 1986, and a private commission was created called the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC). TEPSAC ensures quality in private schools through well-run monitoring organizations whose accrediting criteria are constantly evaluated and updated.
Accreditation standards are often more rigorous than public school standards in operations, curriculum, staffing, and instruction. These standards include: consideration of the school’s goals and objectives; compliance with state and federal statutes; effective administration and governance; the teaching of a rigorous curriculum; hiring qualified instructional leaders with college degrees; student achievement; and quality of learning standards.
Texas’ Commissioner of Education recognizes the accreditation commission, which allows for the transfer of student credits earned in accredited non‐public schools to Texas public schools, and recognizes teacher service in accredited private schools for compensation purposes in Texas public schools.
Texas private schools are accredited by one of 17 agencies approved by the TEPSAC:
- Accreditation Commission of Baptist Schools (ACTABS)
- American Association of Christian Schools (AACS)
- American Montessori Society (AMS)
- Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS)
- Association of Christian Schools International South‐Central Region (ACSI)
- Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (ACTS)
- Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS)
- International Christian Accrediting Association (ICAA)
- Lutheran Schools Accreditation Commission (LSAC)
- National Christian Schools Association (NCSA)
- Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS)
- Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES)
- Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools (TAAPS)
- Texas Catholic Conference Education Department (TCCED)
- Texas Seventh Day Adventists School System (TSDA)
- Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod School Accreditation (WELSSA)