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, and surveys of accredited programs and related stakeholders. Results are then analyzed in order to identify areas of future focus to improve the program.
Targeted Improvements for 2017-2018
The CAA’s current candidacy model was implemented in 2007 and due for an internal audit to determine its effectiveness at meeting the CAA goals. Feedback was collected from all stakeholders (e.g., programs, site visitors, faculty, CAA reviewers, and staff) in 2016 and 2017 and the CAA is reviewing the results of all of the data-collection efforts to identify areas to streamline as well as enhance aspects of the candidacy model. Any changes to the candidacy model and program will be announced to all programs in advance of implementation.
Assessment of Student Outcome Measures
The CAA examines programs’ success with respect to student achievement, and employs three student outcome measures as part of its Standards to support this review — for program completion rate, Praxis exam pass rate, and employment rate. Specifically, as a result of data collected in 2016, the CAA examined program completion rates and the related CAA-established threshold.
In July 2017, the CAA revised its interpretation of the elements for calculating program completion rates as a result of recommendations from the CAA’s Working Group on Audiology Program Completion Rates. The Working Group, which was composed of CAA members and CAA-accredited academic program representatives, recommended—and the CAA subsequently approved—that the CAA-established threshold for program completion rates only applies to measures of program quality (e.g., students not completing on time or dropping out for reasons that reflect on the quality of the program) versus personal factors (e.g., financial, relocation, change in life situation) external to the program that do not reflect on the quality of the program. The updated formula, which applies to both audiology and speech-language pathology programs, will be applied to CAA’s decisions on accreditation reports beginning March 1, 2018. Additional information can be found on the CAA web site under Calculating Program Completion Rates.
Implementation of 2017 Standards for Accreditation
The CAA implemented new accreditation standards on August 1, 2017. 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 for implementation on August 1, 2017.
Additional edits for the non-discrimination standard were proposed and circulated for comment in June 2017 and approved in July 2017 for inclusion with the August 1 implementation.
Over the next two years, the CAA will assess the effectiveness of the 2017 Standards for Accreditation at measuring program quality and the efficiencies in the accreditation process, as linked to the 2016-2018 CAA Strategic Plan.
Partnering with Academic Programs
The CAA is expanding upon the opportunities for two-way interaction with programs, through a variety of mechanisms as part of its Strategic Partnership of the 2016-2018 CAA Strategic Plan. In addition, 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.