Accreditation Handbook—Chapter XIV: Standards Development and Implementation
As a recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the CAA is required to conduct a comprehensive review of its standards on a periodic basis, and does so every 5 to 8 years. The CAA also may conduct interim or focused reviews of standards before the formal comprehensive review is due.
The purposes of accreditation standards are to:
- Promote excellence in preparing students to enter the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology
- Protect and inform the public by recognizing programs that meet or exceed accreditation standards
- Stimulate improvement of programs’ educational activities by means of self-study and evaluation
The goal of CAA’s standards review and revision process is to develop standards that focus primarily on academic quality and student achievement sufficient to successfully prepare individuals to enter professional practice. It is good practice to consider the dynamic, ongoing discussions in higher education and the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology to ensure that the standards are in alignment with the needs and goals of our stakeholders.
The CAA proactively engages stakeholders and communities of interest in the standards review process. These stakeholders include:
- Clinical educators
- CAA site visitors
- State credentialing authorities
- Association representatives, professional organizations, and professionals in audiology and speech-language pathology
Throughout the standards development process, the CAA seeks, receives, and uses comments and suggestions from the stakeholders and communities of interest to develop, validate, and clarify standards.
Last Comprehensive Review
The CAA conducted its last comprehensive review of accreditation standards during 2014–2016, including opportunities for peer review in 2014–2015, which yielded more than 1,000 comments. After careful review and consideration of all comments received, the CAA voted at its February 2016 meeting to approve the revisions to the standards. The CAA conducted a peer review in Summer 2017 for proposed changes to Standard 1.8 on nondiscrimination, for which changes were approved in July 2017. The CAA implemented revised Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology on August 1, 2017.
Key Changes in 2017 Standards
- New Format—presented in two parts; documentation requirements now organized in a separate guidance resource
- Standard—indicates the “must” outcome
- Requirement for Review—provides interpretations or explanations of the standard
- Divided each standard into discrete elements for clarification and determining compliance levels to help programs and the CAA to better distinguish compliance levels
- Limited content revisions, but added new section on Professional Practice Competencies in Standard 3.1.1A and 3.1.1B
- Added knowledge areas related to:
- Interprofessional education and interprofessional practice.
- Supervision of support personnel
- Added one new standard on student conduct/integrity
- Added a glossary to define key terms in standards
- Documentation Guidance [PDF]—outlines suggestions on how to document compliance with the standards and review requirements and integrates the Sources of Data