The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) was founded in 1999 by English language professionals as a specialized accrediting agency. The purpose was to provide a means for improving the quality of English language teaching and administration through accepted standards. CEA conducts accreditation reviews in the U.S. and internationally.
In September 2003, CEA was recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions. This recognition gave CEA the distinction of being the only specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. In December 2005, the Commission expanded its mission to include the accreditation of English language programs and schools outside the U.S.
In addition to conducting accreditation reviews, CEA is engaged in a number of projects that will enhance the accreditation process and further develop the agency's ability to meet the needs of its constituencies: an extensive standards review project that takes into account reliability and validity issues; a review and revision of materials in the area of student outcomes assessment; a review of distance learning within the field of English language teaching and its affects on accreditation processes; an on-going regulatory review activity so that CEA can be responsive to any changes in immigration policy affecting international student education; attention to issues related to short-term teacher training offered by CEA accreditation independent language institutions; and on-going efforts to ensure site reviewer and commissioner knowledge and consistency in applying the standards and following CEA procedures. In addition, CEA continues on-going consultation with the profession through presentations at national conventions and local conferences and maintains close linkages with founding organizations (AAIEP, NAFSA, TESOL, and UCIEP) through its nomination process and regular distribution of news about accreditation decisions and CEA governance.