On an ongoing basis, the CAA measures the effectiveness of the accreditation process through internal and external accreditation program and CAA audits, performance assessment mechanisms, surveys of accredited programs and related stakeholders, then analyzes results and identifies areas of future focus to improve the program.
Targeted Improvements for 2014-2015
Technology and Reporting
Many comments addressed the need for significant improvements to the current platform used by programs to submit applications and annual reports. Identification of a new platform, as well as contracting with an external vendor to design and develop CAA materials and required functionality, is under way.
Site Visitor Performance
The CAA is developing enhanced educational resources to improve consistency in the training and performance of site visitors, who represent the “face” of the CAA to accredited and candidate programs, and faculty. Additional training for site visit chairs was launched in 2014. Also, the site visitor performance feedback process has been revamped to help the CAA take appropriate action, when needed (e.g., re-training, calibration, or removal from the site visitor pool).
Comprehensive Standards Review
In 2014, the CAA launched a comprehensive review of the current Standards for Accreditation. The CAA developed draft proposed standards and conducted a widespread call for comment in Fall 2015 that provided opportunity for feedback on the proposed revisions. The CAA considered all comments and finalized the draft standards in 2016, which will go into effect on August 1, 2017.
Communications with Programs and Faculty
The CAA is examining a variety of mechanisms for direct communications between CAA and program representatives, as well as resources for program directors to use with faculty, students, staff, and administrators when communicating information about CAA processes. Possible options include video clips and other media on important topics related to accreditation reviews and templates for use by program directors. Accreditation staff is undertaking a quality control review of all program template letters and communications, with the goal of improving clarity, consistency, and accuracy of CAA communications.
Stay tuned for updates on these initiatives and more via ASHA Convention sessions and the Accreditation Connection e-newsletter.