In the New Year 2014 issue of In Trust, Fernando A. Cascante of the Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana (AETH) is quoted saying, “In February 2013, the ATS Board of Commissioners recognized AETH’s certification standards as meeting the baccalaureate equivalency for admission in master’s programs at ATS schools” (“Latino Bible Education Is Exploding,” pages 14–15).
As the Board of Commissioners’ letter to AETH states (see www.aeth.org/ats-letter-of-approval/), this is correct.
Unfortunately, the interview did not include part of the action of the Board which follows directly from the statement cited. The full action states: “Recognize that upon AETH certification, the Board of Commissioners would consider a graduate of an AETH-certified school as meeting the expectations of baccalaureate equivalency as described in educational standard ES.7, section 7.1.4, and subject to the discretion of individual member schools regarding the determination of equivalency as stipulated in educational standard ES.7, section 7.1.2” [italics added for emphasis].
Without this clarification, the interview might suggest that admission to member schools based on equivalency is mandatory on the basis of this particular action of the Board of Commissioners. In fact, the general policy and practice of the Board with regard to admissions, based on the ATS Standards, is to leave decisions regarding admission to its member schools.
Educational Standard ES.7.1.2 clearly states, “Educational equivalency for a baccalaureate degree shall be determined by the institution. The institution shall demonstrate that its means for determining equivalency requires formal postsecondary education consisting of general and specialized studies comparable to the baccalaureate degree.”
Additionally, ES.7.2.1 of the Educational Standard dealing with “Transfer credits” states that “A theological school has the right and responsibility to determine if it will accept credits for work completed at other institutions toward the degrees it grants.” What the Board’s action does, in this particular instance, but more generally as well, is to give permission for member schools to consider AETH-certified diplomas if they so choose.
Lester Edwin J. Ruiz
Director, Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation
ASSOCIATION OF THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS