The National Christian School Association is an educational association of more than 120 secondary schools in 30 states serving more than 40,000 students. Most NCSA schools are independent, governed by a self-perpetuating board. A few are a ministry of a particular congregation, children's home or university. All the schools have a strong relationship with the churches of Christ. Students of all faiths are welcome at member schools of the National Christian School Association.
The roots of the NCSA date back to annual conferences of Christian school administrators since 1975. The current NCSA began in 1980 as Partners in Christian education, a fraternal organization for schools associated with the churches of Christ. In 1988 the name was changed to the National Christian School Association. A Board of Trustees made up of administrators from member schools and headed by a president leads the NCSA.
Since 1988 the Association has been accrediting its member schools. A Board of Commissioners comprised of administrators from accredited schools and from Christian universities governs the process. The NCSA partners with AdvancED, the parent company of three of the nation’s regional accrediting bodies to offer dual accreditation with a single visit in more than 30 states. The NCSA now accredits schools in twelve states and three accrediting regions. The Association is a founding member of the Coalition of Christian School Accreditors, a consortium of several private school organizations dedicated to preserving the integrity of the accreditation process for thousands of private schools across the nation.
The NCSA is recognized by the Office of Non-Public Education in the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Educational Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The NCSA's Children's Crown and Lamplighter Awards for outstanding children's literature have been recognized by the Accelerated Reader corporation, which makes a diskette of questions from books on the list available to all public and private schools each year.
National Christian School Association member schools stress academic excellence in a Christian environment. Most member schools are accredited by one or more state, regional or private accrediting agencies. As a group, NCSA schools average between the 70th and 95th percentiles in standardized test scores. Graduates of NCSA schools typically score higher than their state averages on ACT and SAT scores. Two member schools have earned the "Blue Ribbon School" designation from the U.S. Department of Education, the nation's highest secondary school award. Each year, NCSA member schools in several states win athletic, music and forensics titles competing with both public and private schools.
The NCSA holds its annual convention the first weekend in March each year. Recent speakers at NCSA conventions have included former secretary of education and best-selling author William J. Bennett, Richard W. Riley, Secretary of Education for the Clinton administration and publisher Knight Kiplinger of the Kiplinger Report.