V. Site Visit Report
Purposes of the Site Visit Report
- For the site visitors, the report provides a means of documenting findings and of recording comments and factual data.
- For the CAA, the site visit report documents the verification of application materials and addresses CAA's initial observations noted from its initial review of the application, so that a decision regarding accreditation can be reached.
- For the program, the site visit report provides a summary of the findings of the site visit team relative to each Standard for Accreditation, as well as noted strengths and limitations. A copy of the report is also sent to the president of the institution, or designee.
Writing the Site Visit Report
It is suggested that the site visitors prepare a rough draft of the site visit report in the evening and at unscheduled times during the site visit. Ordinarily, the site visit chair facilitates the writing of the site visit report. However, the report may be written in separate parts by members of the site visit team and then combined, or it may be drafted entirely by one member of the team. In all cases, the report must be edited by the team and approved and signed by each site visitor before it is submitted to the CAA. A site visit report template is available electronically to the members of the site visit team through the Accreditation Collaborate site as well as provided as an appendix to this manual (Appendix A [PDF]). Site visitors are also required to complete and submit to the CAA a site visit review worksheet, available through the Accreditation Collaborate site for site visitors, which is an additional resource to use in evaluating the program.
Because a program must meet all standards in a documented and acceptable way, it is essential that the site visit report include statements addressing each standard. The site visit report must follow the outline given in the next section (Format of the Report). Although programs must submit separate accreditation applications if both professional degree programs are offered and reviewed at the same time, i.e. audiology and speech-language pathology, the site visit team will write a single report for the programs, distinguishing as appropriate findings attributable to each professional area program. However, the site visitor's observation about curriculum will be presented in separate sections in the report.
The report must clearly differentiate between conclusions based on factual evidence and conclusions based on impressions. The CAA's final decision as to whether a program is in violation of a standard is based, in part, on documentation provided by the site visit team. Accreditation decisions are solely the responsibility of the CAA.
The site visit report should supplement and validate the information given in the application and other information provided in advance of and/or at the time of the site visit, such as a substantive change plan.
Although site visitors may be asked their opinions on how to remedy a problem or to suggest improvements, it would be inappropriate to include any elements in the site visit report. This aspect of the site visit should only be provided by request of the program and after the conclusion of the exit report.
Site visit reports are sent to the institution's president, or president's designee, and to the program director, substantially as written by the site visitors. Although a written copy of the report is not left with the program at the close of the site visit, it is imperative that the report be accurate, complete, carefully written, and adequately proofread. In addition to the behavior of the site visit team, the site visit report is the tangible product on which the program and the institution will judge the quality of the evaluation process.
A report template can be found in Appendix A [PDF] and also is available electronically through the Accreditation Collaborate (for site visitors). The written report must be prepared using word processing software, and the final report should be submitted electronically to the Accreditation Office, along with all paper copies of appendices. Pages must be numbered.
The report should indicate how and if the site visitors observed evidence to support verification of a program's compliance with each standard. If substantive changes, i.e. for a distance education component or satellite/branch campus, was submitted for CAA's approval as part of the application, the team is expected to integrate its findings related to that program as part of the report. As has been noted, the report should also address each of the initial observations raised by the CAA. The site visit team also may indicate whether the program's activities related to a particular standard may be seen as a strength or limitation to the overall program.
The format for the report follows.
This section should include a description of the institution, local environment, including multiple campuses or distance technologies as part of the review, and provide a summary of the individuals interviewed by the team, including titles of administrators and faculty, as well as a demographic description of the group interviews. Student and client names should not be included in the site visit report or its appendices to protect their confidentiality; rather demographic summary data should be provided. If an observer accompanies the team, the individual's name and affiliation should be recorded in this section of the report.
I. Site Visit Team Observations
- Administrative Structure and Governance (Standards 1.1–1.7)
- Faculty (Standards 2.1–2.3)
- Curriculum [Academic and Clinical Education] in Audiology (Standards 3.1A–3.7A) and/or Curriculum [Academic and Clinical Education] in Speech-Language Pathology (Standards 3.1B–3.7B)
- Students (Standards 4.1–4.5)
- Assessment (Standards 5.1–5.4)
- Program Resources (Standards 6.1–6.4)
II. Verification of Public Comment/Public Meeting Announcement
- Accreditation Standards Inventory
- Site Visit Agenda
- Public Meeting Announcement
For site visits that include review of programs in both professional areas, the report should include observations for Curriculum in Audiology (3.0A) and Curriculum in Speech-Language Pathology (3.0B), presented as separate sections.
The Accreditation Standards Inventory [PDF] (Appendix B in this Manual) must be completed and signed by each site visitor and attached to the site visitor report. The site visit team also must file its site visit review worksheet for internal reference.
Materials that are collected by the site visitors during the course of the visit should be submitted as appendices to the report. Examples include agenda, revised student or clinical tracking forms, curriculum vitae of a new faculty member, etc.
Submitting and Processing the Site Visit Report
All members of the site visit team will have access to the draft report through the Accreditation Collaborate site and may continue to use that site to edit the report and post any related electronic documents, including the team's site visit review worksheet (internal use only). The site visit report must follow the format outlined above. The Accreditation Office must receive the final draft of the site visit report no later than 30 calendar days after the visit. The site visit chair will announce to the Accreditation Office staff when the final draft is available for review by the CAA chair and staff. The site visit chair must forward to the Accreditation Office the signed cover sheet, signed Accreditation Standards Inventory; and any additional appendices that could not be posted electronically to the Accreditation Collaborate site.
Lengthy delays in the preparation of the report must be avoided. Such delays may result in inaccurate reporting of observations and/or in the loss of important information. Site visitors should remember that the site visit report becomes a part of the documentary file for the program's accreditation and that the CAA cannot act on a program's accreditation until it receives the site visit report.
The Accreditation Office forwards the site visit report to the CAA chair for review. The Accreditation Office then forwards a copy of the site visit report within 10 business days of receiving it to the program director, with a copy to the institution's president or president's designee, for the program's response.
The program's written response to the site visit report must be sent to the Accreditation Office within 30 days of the date on which the report was mailed to the program director. The program director's comments concerning the site visit report are sent to the site visit team for any further response.
The CAA reviews the application, the program's response to the CAA's initial observations, the site visit report, the program's response to the report, and any site visitor comments and makes a final accreditation decision. The CAA sends a letter to the program director and the institution's president or president's designee notifying them of the CAA's decision within 30 days of its decision. In addition, in order to provide site visitors with ongoing training and opportunities for self-assessment, the final CAA accreditation decision and rationale regarding a specific program will be provided to the individuals who conducted that program's site visit on behalf of the CAA, with a request to not disclose any of the information that is not otherwise made public.