National Fire Academy Announces ACE Recommendation Implementation

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USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853

Emmitsburg, MD. – The National Fire Academy (NFA) subscribes to the American Council on Education (ACE) for academic review of its classes and programs.  To evaluate academic rigor and assess college-level course credits, ACE examines course objectives, outcomes, instructor qualifications, instructional methods, instructor guides, student manuals, other materials, and evaluations of learning.  On a rotating basis each year, ACE reviews the NFA curriculum packages and makes recommendations so that other institutions of higher education may consider granting transfer credit for NFA courses. In addition to course credit recommendations, the ACE review serves as an outside objective and independent academic review of all NFA curricula.

ACE has new rules which affected their most recent review (September 25-27, 2011) of the NFA.  These new rules and recommendations will affect the NFA and its students in the future.  The NFA will now be moving from a system of Pass / Fail to include a marking system.  The NFA will soon begin to issue grades that reflect the evaluation of a student’s performance, and also be keeping records of how they reached those final grade decisions.  The performance of each student on each exercise, quiz, group project and examination will now be graded.  In many classes, we have been keeping such records already.

In addition, the NFA is required to conduct formal evaluations of its instructors.  This is nothing new because NFA Training Specialists have been in classrooms observing instructors since the NFA opened.  The only difference is that the NFA must now have a more formal process with records of performance.  The NFA staff is also working on plans to accomplish these in a manner which is objective, fair, and satisfies ACE requirements and recommendations.  The USFA will be looking to state partners for occasional assistance in evaluating instructors who teach in predominantly off-campus classes.

These new requirements apply to 2-day, 6-day and 10-day classes sponsored by the NFA.  These changes do NOT apply to NFA courses delivered by the state partners unless that state has sought ACE recommendations on its own. 

The ACE allows 90 days to implement these changes on the 22 courses ACE has just reviewed.  Students and instructors will now see incremental implementation beginning fairly quickly. As courses are developed, revised, or ACE reviewed, the NFA staff will continue to implement these changes until the entire curriculum is completed.

The United States Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, residential sprinklers, and practicing a home fire escape plan.