Association of Independent Living Groups

Accreditation Report Style Guide

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Please read this style guide before writing your reports. It contains some rules we have developed for formatting the reports to provide some uniformity and to get the most important information right up front.

The heading must include the date the report was completed, the name of the FSILG visited, the date of the visit, and the names of the reviewers, identifying the chair and the scribe. Also list the names of the representatives of the FSILG present for the review. If the FSILG brings more than 7 representatives, identify the principal participants, and indicate the total number present. A scanned copy of the attendance sheet will be placed in your team locker to assist you with spelling names correctly.

Section 1 must be just the overall finding. Please use only one of the following three options, worded exactly as below:
    Recommend Accreditation
    Recommend Accreditation with reservations
    Not Recommended for Accreditation

If the finding is "Recommend Accreditation with reservations" you MAY include "A revisit will be scheduled for next term." Do not include any other text in Section 1. Do not list the reservations. No other text goes in Section 1, none at all, under any circumstances. If there are special case changes to the revisitation schedule, please read "Revisitation schedule" below.

Section 2 General comments, introductory paragraphs:

If the finding is not "Recommend Accreditation", you MAY begin Section 2 with a BRIEF (15 words or less) positive statement (e.g. "While we were impressed with many things about XYZ," and you MUST use the text

"The visiting committee has the following reservations:"
in the case of a finding of Recommend Accreditation with reservations
"The visiting committee does not recommend accreditation for the following reasons:"
in the case of a finding of Not Recommended for Accreditation
followed by a brief, item by item list.

Do not go into great detail or make recommendations at this point; just list the problems. Use 3 lines or less to describe each problem, giving enough detail to make it clear that the problem is serious enough to rise to the level of a reservation (rather than just an area needing improvement) or a reason for withholding a recommendation to accredit. Your report will be subject to review by the AILG Board, who want to see this particular format. The Board will most likely send your report back for editing if this format is not used.

If the finding is "Recommend Accreditation", the format of your comments here is less strict. Your report won't be subject to review by the AILG Board.

Beyond the heading, the first section and the beginning of the second, which have specific content, we don't want to be overly strict about style, but do want an overall reasonably professional look.

Revisitation Schedule. The standard revisitation schedule is two years for a finding of "Recommend Accreditation", next term for a finding of "Recommend Accreditation with reservations", and occurs when intervention by DSL has completed for a finding of "Not Recommended for Accreditation".

For a finding of "Recommend Accreditation", if you have sufficient justification to recommend a visit in one year instead of two, you should state the reasons in the first part of section 2 and state that your committee "recommends that the accreditation committee schedule a review after one year."

For a finding of "Recommend Accreditation with reservations", if you do not believe that any of the reservations can be addressed in one term, then you may check the box on the submission form which will cause the following words to automatically be added to the cover letter: "The visiting committee recommends that the accreditation committee consider deferring the revisit by one semester to allow a full year to address the reservations identified in this report. The accreditation committee and the Associate Dean for FSILGs will determine the actual revisitation schedule at the beginning of the next semester." DO NOT include this recommendation in the report.

"2A. Best Practices and Other Areas of Excellence". Here's your chance to list best practices, to recommend these great ideas to other members of the Community, and to point out the great things about the organization, when appropriate.

Always consider whether any of the best practices you learned about are of general applicability to the community. Sharing these is one of the primary goals of the accreditation program. If this is the case, start this section with the single line: "The following best practices of general applicability to the community were identified during our visit." Then list them. End the list of best practices with the single line: "The committee also identified the following areas of excellence:"

"2B. Areas Needing Improvement" is where you describe the actual problems, going into detail on those listed in General Comments. This is where you may make recommendations on how to solve the problems listed as reservations or reasons for withholding a recommendation to accredit. List the most serious problems first, providing additional detail for any that were listed earlier. If you wish to make recommendations, make the recommendation after describing the problem.

"2C. Lessons Learned" is where you mention useful information for the FSILG community learned as a result of the review which is neither a best practice nor an area needing improvement.

The finding given in section 1 is our only recommendation to the Dean's office. Please do not make recommendations for action by MIT. We make recommendations for operational changes only for our member organizations.

Section 3. Suggestions to the Accreditation Committee about the review process and possible process improvements. This section is optional. Do not even include the section header if the section is empty. Since this will not be sent to MIT or included in the Annual report, you must include a page break before the heading to make it easy to separate this section from the rest of the report. If you format your report with page numbers (optional), please do not use "n of m", since the report will have this section removed.

What about private comments? As of December 2017 we are eliminating "Private Comments" from the reports. Everything that the visiting committee reports back to the organization is to be part of the report itself. In the extremely rare case that there is something extremely improper and sensitive observed during your visit that you need to communicate, please do that in a separate, private communication from the chair of the visiting committee to the president and a limited number of senior officers of the organization. Indicate clearly that this is a private message from the visiting committee to the organization's leadership which is not being shared with the Accreditation Committee, AILG Board, or MIT. We strongly recommend that committees do not normally send any separate communication to the FSILG and only do so in the case of extremely confidential situations.

Sending the report

After reviewing the guidelines above, to send the report please click here to submit the PDF of the report. You will be presented with a submission form which will accept the necessary information for completing the process.

If your finding is "Recommend Accreditation" your report will be automatically queued to the accreditation committee member on call, who will do a brief review for style and completeness within one business day. Accreditation committee members do not modify reports. They simply press an "approve" button or enter brief comments into the form to be sent back to the committee describing any necessary changes.

Once approved, the visiting committee will be sent a notification that their report has been automatically forwarded to the organization and a thank you for a job well done. The return address used when sending the report will be the committee's distribution list.

If the "one business day" period expires without a review by a committee member, the report is assumed to be approved and is sent to the organization automatically.

If your finding is "Recommend Accreditation with Reservations" or "Not recommended for Accreditation", your report will be subject to Board review after comments, if any, are received from the FSILG. We are not adding a review step by a member of the accrediation committee, but the report will be queued to the Accreditation Coordinator, who will review it only for general style (compliance with this guide, not content), after which it will be queued as above.

Based on your answers to the questions on the submission form, a "cover letter" composed composed substantially from the sample text provided will be generated automatically. The cover letter will be the main body of the email sent to the FSILG, not part of the report document.

Visitors will find a folder of sample reports in the team's private data repository.