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Accreditation Handbook Updates

The CAA approved the following edits to the Accreditation Handbook [PDF].

At the February 2021 Meeting

  • Consultative Framework (Chapter V) – Added opportunity for consultative conversations for at-risk programs, e.g, program placed on probation, to discuss issues, expectations, and progress. The CAA will be piloting this process during spring 2021.
  • Distance Education (Chapters XII, XV) – Updated definition to reflect changes in July 2021 USDE regulations on defining distance education definition and substantive interactions. The CAA is updating its report forms to reflect the changes for programs reporting beginning August 1, 2021.

At the September 2020 Meeting

  • Charge to Site Visitor Recruitment, Selection and Evaluation Committee (Chapter V) – Approved additional charge for mentoring site visitors, especially those who serve as site visit team chairs.
  • Recruitment and Election Processes for CAA Members for 2023 and 2024 (Chapter VI) – Adopted special protocols for recruitment, application, and election activities for CAA members with terms beginning 2023 and 2024. These efforts will make transparent the recruitment and election activities needed to support sitting new members for staggered terms in those years to rebalance CAA’s rotation.
  • Accredited On-Probation (Chapter X) – Approved a revision to the CAA’s definition of Accredited On-Probation to align with the enforcement of standards and good cause extension procedures.
  • Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII) — Clarified that both the degree title and degree designator (abbreviation) must be included in the program’s accreditation status statements. For example, the lead in language for the accreditation status statement published by the program should begin, “The Master of Science (M.S.) education program” or “The Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) education program.” Programs would use the title and designator affiliated with their program.
  • Accreditation Decisions and Religious Mission (Chapters XVI and XVII) – Approved new language, consistent with July 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies, that the CAA would not use as a negative factor in its accreditation decisions an institution’s religious mission-based policies, decisions, and practices for faculty, curriculum, facilities, equipment and supplies, and student support services provided that the program’s curriculum include all core components outlined in the CAA’s Standards for Accreditation.
  • Submission of Transition Reports When Accreditation Status is Withdrawn (Chapters XVI, XVII, and XVIII.) – Approved a requirement that programs for which CAA has withdrawn accreditation status must provide a transition report to the CAA within 30 days of notification of final decision.
  • Enforcement of Standards (Chapter XVII) – Approved modifications to CAA’s procedures for allowing programs a reasonable amount of time to comply with all standards when found to be in noncompliance, and when the CAA must initiate adverse action, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies. Formerly the “two-year” rule, the CAA adopted a new timeline in July 2020 that would allow three years for speech-language pathology and four years for audiology. However, based on USDE guidance subsequent to that decision, the CAA revised its procedures in order to fully comply with the July 2020 federal regulations. The CAA now will allow three years for all programs, regardless of professional area, to come into compliance with standards; the three years includes up to two years for probation period if warranted. (Effective January 1, 2021)
  • Good Cause Extensions (Chapter XVII) – Adopted procedures for considering granting good cause extensions to programs beyond the three years of noncompliance/probation status allowed under the enforcement of standards procedures. (Effective January 1, 2021)
  • Follow-Up Site Visits (Chapter XIX) – Approved parameters for conducting follow-up site visits to programs that a full-team virtual site visit was conducted. A follow-up site visit is required if a virtual visit was conducted, consistent with the requirement that USDE-recognized agencies, like the CAA, conduct on-campus site visits as part of the accreditation review.

At the July 2020 Meeting

  • CAA Member Qualifications (Chapter V) – Approved language to allow for exceptions to member qualifications on a case-by-case basis but would support integrity of accreditation program.
  • Program Voting for CAA Practitioner Members (Chapters IX and XI) — Updated language to reflect that accredited programs also vote to elect practitioner member vacancies on the CAA.
  • Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Actions (Chapter XII) — Approved three changes to the policy to comply with July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies:
    • The CAA will notify the U.S. Secretary of Education, licensing boards and other accrediting agencies when CAA initiates an adverse action (i.e., deny or withdraw).
    • The CAA requires programs to notify students within 7 business days of the CAA’s decision notice when it is placed on probation or when an adverse action is initiated.
    • The CAA must notify the U.S. Secretary of Education, the appropriate State licensing or authorizing agency, the appropriate accrediting agencies, and the public when a program voluntarily withdraws or allows its accreditation status to lapse within 10 business days of being notified; this timeline has been reduced from 30 days.
  • Candidacy Equivalency (Chapter XVI) – Approved language, consistent with the interpretation provided by the U.S. Department of Education, stating that credits and degrees issued by a candidacy program are considered to be from an accredited program.
  • Retroactive Decisions (Chapters XVI and XVII) — Added statements to clarify that the effective date of decision/status/term is not retroactive to any prior review that was unsuccessful or any earlier date in the current process before CAA’s current decision.
  • Enforcement of Standards (Chapter XVII) – Approved a modification to the CAA’s process for allowing programs a reasonable amount of time to comply with all standards when found to be in noncompliance, but under which the CAA must initiate adverse action, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies. Formerly the “two-year” rule, the new timeline would allow three years for speech-language pathology and four years for audiology programs.
  • Appeal Panel (Chapter XVIII) — Updated the procedures to remove the option for an appeal panel’s authority to “reverse” a decision of the CAA, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies.
  • Virtual Site Visits (Chapter XIX) — Added a statement to reflect the emergency virtual site policy for the COVID-19 pandemic, approved by the CAA on June 4, 2020.

At the February 2020 Meeting

  • Standing Committees (Chapter V)—Updated the charge for the Operations Committee.
  • Report Submission (Chapter XI)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
  • Discontinued Accreditation Review (Chapter XV)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
  • Application for Candidacy (Chapter XVI)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
  • Complaints (Chapter XIII)—Updated to reflect the requirement that waiver of confidentiality is to be submitted at the time the complaint is filed.

At the October 2019 Meeting

  • CAA Member Rotation Schedule (Chapter V)—The CAA approved a plan to stagger terms of future CAA members to rebalance the rotation schedule.
  • Voting Protocols for Program Decisions (Chapter V)—Revised voting protocols to allow for all CAA members to vote on accreditation decisions regardless of profession, consistent with conflict of interest policy.
  • Nominating Committee Procedures (Chapter VI)—Updated the submission date for applications to serve on CAA from June 1 to May 1.
  • Seeking Approval of Substantive Changes (Chapter XI)—Candidacy programs are no longer eligible to seek approval of substantive changes during their candidacy term.
  • Changes in Institutional Accreditation Status (Chapter XI)—Programs are required to advise the CAA when any changes occur to its institution’s accreditation status within 60 days of notice.
  • Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—Updated text for accreditation status language to be used by programs; complete wording must be used on the program’s website in accordance with Standard 1.9 (Public Information).
  • Periodic and Systematic Review of Standards (Chapter XIV)—Updated language to reflect that proposed revisions to Requirements for Review of the standards are subject to peer review before approval and implementation.
  • Effective Date of Adverse Actions (Chapters XVI, XVII, XVIII)—Final decisions to withdraw or withhold an accreditation status will be effective on the last day of the next academic term following the date of notification to the program.

At the March 2019 Meeting

  • Roles and Responsibilities of CAA Members (Chapter V)—Updated expectations to reflect third meeting to be conducted at ASHA National Office under Performance and Attendance; removed reference to partial compliance in Report Reviews.
  • Standing Committees (Chapter V)—Removed Communications Committee as a standing committee.
  • Meetings (Chapter V)—Updated description of frequency to indicate that the CAA will conduct three meetings yearly, including a fall meeting in lieu of the meeting prior to ASHA Convention.
  • Report Submission (Chapter XI)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1.
  • Discontinued Accreditation Review (Chapter XV)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1.
  • Application for Candidacy (Chapter XVI)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1 and must still be submitted no less than 18 months prior to student enrollment.
  • CAA Final Review of and Action on Initial and Reaccreditation Applications (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
  • CAA Final Review of and Action on Annual Reports (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
  • CAA Final Review of and Action on Probation Reports (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
  • CAA Final Review of and Action on Substantive Change Plans (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
  • Required Meetings and Activities—Exit Report (Chapter XIX)—Removed Partial Observation/Verification reference.

At the July 2018 Meeting

  • Readiness Review (Chapter XVI)—Removed second readiness review option for candidacy application reviews and related decision options to go into effect January 1, 2019
  • Standards Compliance Continuum (Chapter XVI)—Updated “P-I-M” key and definitions for continuum of CAA’s standards compliance expectations of new programs to go into effect January 1, 2019

At the February 2018 Meeting

  • Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Policy (Chapter IV)—Updated policy to reflect current procedures to maintain the confidentiality of program review materials.
  • Social Media Guidelines for CAA Volunteers (Chapter IV)—Adopted guidelines when volunteers are using social media platforms.
  • Orientation and Training for New Members of the CAA (Chapter V)—Updated description and work environments.
  • Committee Charges (Chapter V)—Updated charge to Candidacy Committee to include responsibility for education of candidacy site visitors.

At the July 2017 Meeting

  • Interruptions of Normal Operations (Chapter XI)—Added requirement that programs report on the program’s operations if events occur that significantly interrupt normal institutional operations, as applicable.
  • Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—Added accreditation status statement sample language for applicant programs to align with 2017 Standard 1.9.
  • Complaint Procedures (Chapter XIII)—Modified procedures for requesting extensions to align with extension request procedures for applications and annual reports.
  • Structure of Accreditation Standards (Chapter XIV)—Updated descriptions and terminology used with new standards and review requirements.
  • Candidacy Basis for Review (Chapter XVI)—Added key and definitions for continuum of CAA’s standards compliance expectations of new programs.
  • Appeal Panel—Public Member (Chapter XVIII)—Modified the qualifications of the public member representative to include public members from other accrediting agencies.

At the February 2017 Meeting

  • CAA Nominating Committee Member Appointment Procedures (Chapter VI)—Added procedures for identification of alternates if members need to be replaced.
  • Required Language for Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—Updated policy to reflect that, as of January 1, 2017, the CAA requires programs to use specific language when publishing its accreditation status on the program website.
  • Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs (Chapter XIII)—Made editorial changes to align with edits to the Complaints Against the CAA.
  • Complaints Against the CAA (Chapter XIII)—Updated policy and procedures.
  • Notice of Intent for Filing Candidacy Applications (Chapters XV and XVI)—Added requirement for new programs to notify the CAA 5 months in advance of filing an Application for Candidacy.
  • Early Probation Report Filing (Chapter XVII)—Updated filing expectations and decision options for consideration of probation reports.

At the July 2016 Meeting

  • CAA Composition (Chapter V)—Clarified the definition of public member
  • Public Disclosure and Confidentiality (Chapter XII)—Clarified that the individual responsible for the program of professional education is the CAA’s primary contact to consent to any accreditation related information that may be released when requested
  • Reporting Program Director Changes (Chapter XI)—Updated form to request information about a new director’s contribution in the program relative to providing leadership in teaching, research, and clinical areas
  • Substantive Change Plan Approvals (Chapter XI)—Considered acceptable options for timing of next review after the CAA approves a new substantive change
  • Complaint Procedures (Chapter XIII)—A new complaint form now will be required when filing a complaint against an accredited or candidate program to the CAA, to better support efforts for complete and comprehensive information being provided
  • Annual Reports and Probation Recommendations (Chapter XVII)—Clarified the Executive Committee’s role in reviewing any probation recommendations before the full Council ‘s decision on an annual report review
  • Required Probation or Adverse Actions (Chapter XVII)—Clarified the actions that CAA is required to take when a program is found not in compliance with a standard multiple, consecutive times. Consistent with USDE Criteria for Recognition, a program would be placed on probation or accreditation would be withdrawn after the review of a third consecutive report reveals that issues continue for the same standard(s) and the program remains not in full compliance with all standards
  • Probation Reports (Chapter XVII)—Clarified the contents and timing of probation reports when the next report is an accreditation application

At the February 2016 Meeting

  • Vision and Purpose statements (Chapter II)—updated as a result of current strategic planning
  • CAA Composition (Chapter V)—updated descriptions of CAA member categories
  • CAA Standing Committees (Chapter V)—updated charges
  • Changes in Qualifications (Chapter V)—revised policy that will now allow individuals who retire while on CAA to complete their term of service
  • Closed and Executive Sessions of CAA Meetings (Chapter V)—defined terminology and updated Handbook as appropriate
  • Site Visitor Qualifications (Chapter VII)—modified eligibility of individuals applying as academic faculty or clinical faculty site visitors to now require that they must be in the same professional area as the accredited program at which they are employed
  • Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—As of January 2017, programs must use complete accreditation statement on website as outlined in the policy

At the November 2015 Meeting

  • Responsibilities of the Site Visit Team (Chapter VII)—updated to reflect fiduciary expectations of site visitors
  • Appeals (Chapter XVIII)—updated to add description of the training for the appeal panel and to clarify timing of the appeal hearing
  • Script for Appeals (Appendix)–modified to clarify the function of legal counsel during appeal hearings

At the July 2015 Meeting

  • Vision and Mission statements (Chapter II)—updated as part of Strategic Planning process.
  • Board Liaison Vice Presidents (Chapter III)—updated the Board Liaison Vice Presidents’ responsibility related to CAA Nominating Committee member selection
  • CAA Composition (Chapter V)—modified qualifications to reflect that each academic member must be employed in a CAA-accredited program in the same professional area that he or she represents; this new criterion will be implemented with incoming council members in January 2017
  • CAA Nominating Committee (Chapter VI)—updated committee selection and decision processes
  • Maintaining Qualifications as a Site Visitor (Chapter VII)—clarified that current site visitors who take a position in a non-accredited academic program would not meet expectations to continue service as either an academic or clinical faculty site visitor
  • Policy on Student Achievement Measures and Thresholds (Chapter XI)—codified the practice of reviewing and validating student achievement measures and threshold data at least every 3 years
  • Focused Site Visits (Chapter XIX)—clarified in this section that focused site visits also may be conducted when considering a program’s probation report or substantive change plan

At the February 2015 Meeting

  • Complaint Procedures (Chapter XIII)—updated policy
  • Substantive Changes (Chapter XI)—revised eligibility and submission expectations
  • Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—updated policy
  • Changes in Institutional Accreditation Status (Chapter XI)—updated policy
  • Site Visitor Training Expectations (Chapter VII)—revised beginning 2016 for continuing site visitors
  • Site Visit Cancellations (Chapter XVIX)—procedures updated

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

800-498-2071

Email the CAA