Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the appropriate agency. In most countries in the world, the function of educational accreditation is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the United States, however, a quality assurance process exists that is independent of government and performed by private non-profit organizations. The U.S. accreditation process was developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century after educational institutions perceived a need for improved coordination and articulation between secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, along with standardization of requirements between the two levels.