American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Changes in Communicating CAA Accreditation Decisions

At its February 2009 meeting, the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) approved new decision categories and a new format for reporting decisions to programs that have undergone a full accreditation review, including a site visit.

Decision Categories

When reporting a program's compliance with standards, the CAA currently classifies its decisions about specific standards under one of two headings in its communications: Areas of Non-Compliance or Areas for Program Improvement. In July 2009 , the CAA will implement a new decision matrix in its accreditation review of programs as indicated below, eliminating the Areas for Program Improvement category. The CAA anticipates that the revised categories and related definitions will clarify its expectations of programs related to specific standards.

Areas of Non-Compliance -Non-compliance means that the program does not have in place the essential elements necessary to meet a particular standard. The program is required to report on progress made toward addressing specified concerns in the next Annual Report or according to an alternate time line specified by the CAA.

Areas of Partial Compliance- Partial compliance means that the program has in place some, but not all, of the essential elements necessary to meet all aspects of a particular standard. The program is required to report on progress made toward addressing the specified concerns in the next Annual Report or according to an alternate time line specified by the CAA.

Areas for Follow-Up- Areas identified for follow-up are those for which the CAA has not determined the program to be out of compliance at the time of decision, but require additional information be provided to CAA in the next Annual Report in order to monitor the program's continued compliance in the stated areas.

Strengths/Commendations- Areas the CAA has identified as exemplary within a program.

Format of the Decision Letters

At its February 2009 meeting the CAA implemented a new format to communicate accreditation decisions to programs, providing a more uniform look for the decision letter. The Accreditation Action Report (AAR) incorporates the accreditation decision, dates of new accreditation cycle (if applicable), and the findings of the CAA related to the program's compliance with standards, identified strengths, and performance with respect to student achievement. The new format merges the content of two letters into one communication, previously directed separately to the program director and to the institution's president or designee. The AAR is transmitted to the program director at the conclusion of the CAA's review and decision with a copy forwarded to the institution's president or designee. The CAA believes that the single communication about the decision, cycle, and specific findings from the comprehensive accreditation review will reduce any duplication of efforts and increase the transparency of the process for the program.

Performance with Respect to Student Achievement- A new feature of the AAR will include a clear statement about the program's performance related to CAA's established benchmarks for its expectations regarding the identified outcome measures (program completion rates, employment rates, Praxis examination pass rates). As a USDE recognized accrediting agency, the CAA is required to provide programs with specific information about the program's performance.

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