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COVID-19: Impact on CAA-Accredited and Candidate Programs

2021 COVID-19 Impact Survey

The CAA fielded a follow-up survey to all accredited and candidate programs in July 2021. The CAA will analyze the data and comments from both COVID-19 Impact Surveys to determine what steps may be needed to better support programs and to monitor compliance with the accreditation standards for the duration of the public health emergency. 

Aggregate Results from September 2020 COVID-19 Impact Survey


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, programs throughout the country were forced to make changes in programming to accommodate the needs of students. In an effort to continue to monitor the activities of programs, as well as in its role as an accreditor recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, the CAA required programs to provide information on those changes as they relate to the Standards for Accreditation and CAA’s policies and procedures, via the COVID-19 Impact Report. Programs were asked to respond to questions by September 1, 2020, to identify the ways in which they had to accommodate various methods for students to meet the standards (e.g. distance education, tele options, program extensions, etc.). The report was distributed to 357 programs that held a status of accredited or candidate as of June 30, 2020. Ninety-nine percent of programs (79 audiology programs and 273 speech-language pathology programs) completed the survey. The CAA reviewed the preliminary results of the report at its September 2020 meeting, including the summary data provided below, and will continue to address individual comments and themes from that report over the next several months.

Program Disruptions

When asked about program disruptions, approximately 83% of programs noted that they experienced or are experiencing some type of disruption. It is important to note, however, that based on the narrative responses, this number is estimated to be closer to 90% since programs had varying definitions of “disruption.” For instance, 6% of programs indicated that they were unsure if a disruption occurred, while 11% of programs indicated that no disruption occurred, but stated in their narrative comments that they were seamless in their transition to virtual learning, thus they did not define a change to distance learning as a disruption. ​

The average length of the disruption for programs was estimated to be 9 months, with a range from 1 week to potentially up to 2 ½ years for programs. Again, it is important to note that programs have differing definitions of what may be considered a disruption. ​

Program Graduations

The majority of programs (71%) indicated that they did not extend their graduation dates. For those, 21% of programs (N=70 programs) that extended graduation rates, most of these programs (78%) extended their graduation dates for 6 months or less. ​

Summative Assessments

Another focus area for the CAA was related to how programs were assessing student learning. Most programs (69%) made no adjustments to the summative assessment tools or activities. However, for those that did (28%), changes included:

  • Moving assessments online ​
  • Determining alternative assignments​
  • Granting extensions​
  • Moving grading to pass/fail
  • Utilizing simulations ​
  • Having students complete a project instead of an exam​

Academic Education Changes

In terms of temporary changes made in academic content of programs, almost all programs (98%) experienced a change in delivery method, reflecting the transition from in-person to online. The least changed elements of academic content were program-level assessments and program length.

COVID-19 Impact Survey: Changes Made in Academic Education


Clinical Education Changes

Programs made several changes in clinical education to accommodate the needs of students, from changes in delivery methods to changes in grading policies. As was the case with academic changes, most programs (92%) noted that changes were made to delivery method. These changes were followed closely by changes in the use of simulation (89%).

COVID-19 Impact Survey: Changes Made in Clinical Education


About ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.

Connect With ASHA

About the CAA

The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) accredits eligible clinical doctoral programs in audiology and master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. The CAA relies on a dedicated corps of volunteers serving as Council members and site visitors to accomplish the work of the accreditation program.

Contact the CAA

Questions and/or requests for information about accreditation or the CAA can be directed to:

The Council on Academic Accreditation in
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #310
Rockville, MD 20850


Email the CAA