Reviewing and Commenting on NAST Standards


Over the next several years, NAST will be conducting a comprehensive review of its accreditation standards. During this time, the standards within each section of the Handbook and the standards as a whole will be reviewed. NAST looks forward to receiving comments during this period of comprehensive review. Your assistance is requested and would be appreciated.

Please use the Response Form (PDF) to submit your comments to the National Office.

Framework for Consideration of Standards

NAST asks that reviewers read the entire text and reflect on each standards statement both individually and as a whole. The most useful comments will include a citation to the current standard and offer specific language changes or additions. Unfortunately, generic comments such as “the standard is unclear” lack the specificity needed to understand the depth of any concern. As you comment on the current standards or revision drafts, please consider the following framework for the review of A) each standards statement, and B) the standards as a whole. In addition, NAST offers a set of Frequently Asked Questions.

A. Review each standards statement in terms of:

1. Content.
Consider the extent to which the content:

  • Is fundamental to learning and the development of competence;
  • Reflects consensus among knowledgeable experts;
  • Is stated in terms of knowledge and skills development, or in terms of resources and conditions necessary for knowledge and skills development, or health and safety;
  • Reflects an artistic/intellectual perspective;
  • Focuses primarily on functions to be served rather than methods to be employed; and
  • Promotes reflective thinking and productive analysis in institutions and programs.

2. Continuity, Timeliness, Innovation.
To what extent is the text:

  • Consistent with the fundamental principles that rarely change (for example, the need to define mission and goals);
  • Responsive to new or evolving practices or conditions; and
  • Supportive of responsible, thoughtful innovation in content or method.

3. Communication Issues.
To what extent is the text:

  • Clearly stated;
  • Appropriately detailed for professional users;
  • Sufficiently direct for non-professional readers; and
  • Presented in an orderly and logical manner.

4. Consistency and Compatibility.
To what extent is the text:

  • Conflict-free with regard to other standards;
  • Compatible with the entire set of standards; and
  • Useful in determining whether any potential change in one standard would require review or change in another standard.

5. Consistency with NAST Principles.
To what extent does the text:

  • Focus on issues of educational quality, not special interests, political action, or educational fashions;
  • Emphasize content or function over procedure;
  • Promote local analysis and action;
  • Respect institutional autonomy;
  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility; and
  • Compare with principles stated in “Code of Good Practice for the Accreditation Work of NAST” found in the NAST Handbook, Appendix III.A., and in other statements of principle found in the Handbook as a whole.

B. Review the standards as a whole in terms of:

1. Content.
Consider the extent to which the content:

  • Presents a logical whole;
  • Has reasonable and workable relationships between competency requirements and operational requirements with a primary focus on student learning;
  • Reflects consensus among knowledgeable experts;
  • Facilitates the development and achievement of an interrelated set of artistic, intellectual, and educational goals; and
  • Promotes thoughtful analysis in institutions and programs.

2. Continuity, Timeliness, Innovation.
To what extent does the text:

  • Respect transcendent principles of the art form, current practice, and innovative potential; and
  • Encourage multiple approaches and methods for solving common problems.

3. Communication Issues.
To what extent is the text:

  • Thoroughly descriptive of what is needed to meet accreditation requirements;
  • Organizationally and stylistically consistent; and
  • Clear, logical, and reflective of the nature of the profession.

4. Consistency and Compatibility.
To what extent is the text:

  • Appropriate for all sizes, scopes, and types of institutions; and
  • Coherent when institutions do not address portions that do not apply to them (for example, an institution that does not offer doctoral programs).

5. Consistency with NAST Principles.
To what extent does the text:

  • Focus on issues of educational quality, not special interests, political actions, or educational fashions;
  • Emphasize content or function over procedure;
  • Promote local analysis and action;
  • Respect institutional autonomy; and
  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility; and
  • Compare with principles stated in “Code of Good Practice for the Accreditation Work of NAST” found in the NAST Handbook, Appendix III.A., and in other statements of principle found in the Handbook as a whole.

Assistance and Submission of Comments

If you need assistance or have a concern regarding any aspect of the standards review, please contact Sarah Yount at the NAST National Office. Response Forms containing comments should be sent to Sarah Yount.