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The ACE Accreditation process consists of three phases:

Phase 1: Application -Application | Foundations Review (visit)
Phase 2: Candidacy  -Core Learning Principles Review (visit)
Phase 3: Evaluation  -External Review (visit)

Once a learning community has been accredited through ACE subsequent accreditation cycles encompass Phase 2 and 3 only; however all NEASC/CIE-accredited institutions submit annual reports, validating that they continue to be aligned with ACE Foundation Standards.

Phase 2A - Candidacy – Core Learning Principles Review (Visit)

With the Core Learning Principles Review visit the focus shifts from the Foundation Standards to the core of ACE – The 10 Learning Principles. As this shift occurs, the language of accreditation mirrors the shift by emphasizing the transformative design process, which lies at the heart of ACE’s learning eco-system.


In preparation for the Core Learning Principles Review Visit, the learning community submits an Initial Review Report, addressing, briefly, the following questions:

  1. Where, on the Transformational Learning Continuum, does the learning community believe it currently stands with respect to the 10 Core Learning Principles?
  2. Where does the learning community “want to be” in the future?
  3. What are the “drivers for change” and potential challenges faced by the learning community in implementing change? How will the learning community demonstrate Conceptual Understanding, Commitment, Capacity, and Competency?
  4. What aspects of its learning architecture, culture, and ecology does the learning community invite the Visitors to focus on?

There is a template for each of the 10 Core Learning Principles. The Initial Review Report is an opportunity for the learning community to conduct an initial, thoughtful self-assessment of its alignment on the Transformational Learning Continuum and to articulate its future aspirations, but it is not necessary, at this stage, to involve the entire learning community in preparing the report. However, in order to ensure that this initial self-assessment reflects consensus among the leaders in the learning community and is based on appropriate evidence, all who hold leadership positions should be invited to participate in preparing the report.

An updated operational budget/balance sheet summary must also be submitted together with the Initial Review Report.

Purpose & Process

Two Core Learning Principles Review Visitors will spend three days with the learning community, engaging in a series of structured conversations, observations, and learning activities with all constituencies.

The purpose of the three-day Core Learning Principles Review Visit is:

  1. To “sign off” on the Foundation Standards and verify that identified deficiencies have been remedied/addressed;
  2. To observe learning;
  3. To understand where the school currently is in its progress towards becoming a true learning community;
  4. To assess the learning community’s conceptual understanding of and commitment to the ACE Learning eco-system as well as the community’s capacity and competency for implementing change;
  5. To explain the Internal Reflection process and agree on a timeline for submitting the Internal Reflection Report and hosting the External Review Team.

During the Core Learning Principles Review Visit the Visitors

  • Observe classes
  • Meet with learners, faculty, learning community leaders, parents, and members of the Governing Body
  • Conduct a ½-day workshop for the entire faculty and invited learners, parents, and Governing Body members.
  • Conclude with an exit meeting with the learning community’s leadership during which the Visitors share their perceptions, findings, conclusions, and chief recommendations with regard to the initiation of the Internal Review.

NEASC/CIE and the learning community agree on a visit schedule ahead of the Visit, and the Initial Review Report prepared by the learning community must be submitted to NEASC/CIE at least 4 weeks in advance of the Core Learning Principles Review Visit.

Learning Community Preparation

Please complete the following templates for each of the ten Core Learning Principles (NB: boxes will expand as text is added). 

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