Frequently Asked Questions: 2008 Standards for Accreditation
Questions generated by academic programs and site visitors are reflected below by their Standard number along with CAA's responses and/or recommendations for each.
Standard 1.0 | Standard 2.0 | Standard 3.0 | Standard 4.0 | Standard 5.0 | General Areas
Standard 1.0 Adminstration and Governance
Standard 1.3: Long-Term Plan
Is CAA applying a specific definition of "long-term" related to planning? How will the CAA or site visitors assess the plan? How comprehensive does the plan need to be?
No. The CAA has not established a specific number of years to define "long-term." The CAA does expect that the time frame used by a program would be consistent with its university's planning period and allow for the planning to be comprehensive. Examples of elements that should be included in the program's long-term plan are described in the implementation language for 2008 Standard 1.3.
The CAA expects that the program can document that a long-term plan has been developed and that the administration and faculty are aware of the plan. CAA and site visitors are not assessing the specific content of the plan itself. The focus of the standard is on the process of development and evaluation and resulting documentation to support these activities.
Standard 1.7: Public Information
How many methods (e.g. web, catalogue, brochure) should a program utilize to publicize their information?
Programs have flexibility in the methods used to publish program information. It is expected that the mechanisms used are clearly visible and readily accessible to the general public.With the changes that went into effect in January 2013, the CAA requires programs to publish its student achievement information clearly on the graduate program web site and labeled "Student Outcome Data."
If programs are offered in both professional areas and/or through multiple delivery modes (i.e. residential, satellite, and/or distance education), should student outcome data be differentiated when made publicly available?
Yes. The CAA requires the program to report student outcome data specific to the degree program and delivery mode used related to Standard 5.3. Reporting should reflect delivery modes only if the program meets the conditions as defined in the CAA's Policy on Substantive Changes.
Standard 2.0 Faculty
Does 'faculty' include external clinical supervisors?
No, unless these individuals are employees of the university. The CAA defined the term "faculty" in the Standards for Accreditation to include tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members, lecturers, clinical supervisors, and all other instructional staff members who are employees of the program. (See footnote 2 of the 2008 Standards for Accreditation.)
Faculty does not apply to off-site clinical supervisors, preceptors, internship mentors, or similar personnel who do not hold employment contracts with the institution of higher education.
Standard 2.1: Faculty Qualifications
What credentials must an instructor have to teach a course? Can you clarify the requirement that doctoral faculty must teach academic content?
Programs have the discretion to assign faculty based on credentials and institutional/college expectations. The intent behind Standard 2.1 is that all educators, both academic and clinical, are vetted by the program as qualified and competent to fulfill their assignments and responsibilities. When making assignments for academic courses, programs should consider an individual's areas of expertise, degrees, research or practice background, and other variables relevant to the program and institution to ensure appropriate assignments are made that ensures compliance with university expectations. The CAA expects that the skill set (credentials, education, etc.) of the instructor should be evident and should match course content. As indicated in this standard's implementation language, "Academic content is to be taught by doctoral-level faculty except where there is a compelling rationale for instruction by an individual with other professional qualifications that satisfy institutional policy."
Does "doctoral" mean Ph.D.? How about AuD?
CAA considers "doctoral" to include any earned doctorate for which the degree has been conferred (e.g., PhD, AuD, ScD); thus an ABD would not be considered as doctoral faculty. Individuals with clinical or research degrees should have responsibilities in the program consistent with the type of degree they hold and be consistent with the expectations of the institution for clinical graduate programs.
As indicated in the implementation language for Standard 2.2, CAA does expect that the complement of full-time doctoral faculty include individuals who are research-qualified - so having a faculty of all clinical doctorates would not meet the CAA's faculty standards.
Does doctoral level faculty apply only to graduate level teaching?
As CAA only reviews and accredits graduate programs, this standard can be applied only to the graduate curriculum and faculty.
As the Practicum Supervisor Certification List is no longer provided, would site visitors need to verify supervisors' status by actually seeing ASHA certification cards along with their license information?
No. Previously, the CAA requested programs to identify clinical supervisors used and their CCC status; however this is no longer the practice. CAA is interested in the process of HOW the program verifies credentials and when. The program should be able to describe the process used to verify all necessary credentials (i.e. ASHA certification, state license, state teacher certification) of clinical supervisors who supervise its students. The CAA does not require programs to submit evidence of ASHA certification of their supervisors, so site visitors will not review or request materials to verify CCC status of clinical supervisors.
Could you clarify the distinction between the CAA standards and the CFCC standards related to verifying the CCC status of clinical supervisors?
The CAA is interested in the PROCESS of how the program verifies supervisor credentials ( Standard 2.1) and how appropriately supervised clinical hours are tracked to support students' opportunity to pursue CCC and state credentials (Standard 5.2). The CFCC's Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence define the qualifications for individuals who provide clinical supervision to students for the purposes of ASHA certification.
Standard 2.2 Faculty Sufficiency
Is the faculty to student ratio a factor in determining compliance under the current accreditation standards?
The CAA has not mandated a minimum faculty to student ratio since 1996. However, the issue of having sufficient faculty to meet the teaching, research, and service expectations is still a critical component to ensure quality within the program. It's important to note that faculty size alone does not always correlate to the quality of the students and graduates of the program. CAA acknowledges that faculty expectations vary among universities and considers indicators that may suggest whether the mission and goals are being met by students and the program. Critical factors that the CAA considers in determining compliance with this standard regarding sufficiency of full-time and other faculty, include:
- Are faculty having time to meet their program and institutional commitments?
- Are classes being taught primarily by full-time doctoral faculty in their area of expertise?
- Are classes offered regularly?
- Are faculty teaching overloads?
- Are students graduating on time?
- Are graduate students accruing the needed clinical hours?
- Do faculty achieve tenure or secure promotions?
- Do students have access to faculty?
Standard 3.0 Curriculum (Academic & Clinical Education)
Should undergraduate courses be included in the course listings provided to CAA?
As the CAA's focus for accreditation is on the graduate curriculum, undergraduate courses should only be listed with the accreditation materials if they are also offered for graduate credit.
Standard 3.1 A/B
Are the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed under Standard 3.1 (A and B) the same as those listed in the CFCC standards?
The list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are the required components of the curriculum under Standard 3.1 are similar to the KSAs in the ASHA certification standards. However, they are not exact. The CAA did re-order and clarify language in some statements and did add a few items that do not appear in the certification standards. Specifically, "Application of the principles of evidence based practice" and "Interaction and interdependence of speech, language, hearing in the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders" appear for both audiology and speech-language pathology (Standards 3.1 A and B). Further, "Genetic bases of hearing and hearing loss" was added for Standard 3.1A (Audiology). However, there are no KSAs in the certification standards that are missing from the accreditation standards.
Standard 3.1 A
Please clarify the clinical expectations for audiology programs (25% of program length vs. 12 months FTE for supervised clinical experiences).
The audiology curriculum should include opportunities for students to earn 12 months FTE of supervised clinical experiences. These activities should comprise approximately 25% of the overall program length. CAA wanted to ensure that clinical education and experiences were ongoing through the graduate program and not limited to only the last year as well to ensure an appropriate balance of didactic and clinical activities for the clinical doctoral program.
Standard 4.0 Students
Standard 4.1: Student Admissions
Does CAA evaluate whether admission criteria are "appropriate for the degree?"
No. Admission criteria are set by the graduate school in each institution and should reflect the expectations for the type and level of degree being offered (master's vs. clinical doctorate). The CAA is interested in the rationale for any differences of admission criteria between the institution and programs to ensure protection of students.
Standard 5.0 Assessment
Standard 5.2 Student Progress Documentation
Does the program still need to keep track of supervisor qualifications, e.g. CCC status?
Yes. If the program's mission and goals include preparing students for entry into professional practice and thereby to earn credentials to do so, then there must be evidence of supervisor information consistent with those requirements. Although CAA no longer requests CCC status of clinical supervisors, the program would still need to track this type of data to support a student's application for ASHA certification along with clinical hours supervised by these individuals. Similarly, if state licensing or teacher certification procedures require supervisors to hold comparable credentials, programs would need to monitor that consistent with those expectations.
Standard 5.3: Program Effectiveness
If a university offers accredited programs in both audiology and speech-language pathology, should they provide both sets of outcome data, one for each program area of study?
Yes. The CAA examines data specific to each professional area's program to support compliance with the accreditation standards, so it is important to be able to see the distinct data.
If a program is submitting an application for initial accreditation (e.g., a new doctoral audiology program), then it may not have full sets of student outcome data for the program. If the program has not graduated 3 years of students, it would then leave the question blank and provide a written explanation.
Does CAA have different expectations for student outcomes when a program is offered through multiple delivery modes (i.e. residential, satellite, distance education)?
No. The CAA applies the same benchmarks for student outcomes regardless of the mode of educational delivery. The CAA requests data specific to each delivery mode be provided in response to this standard, which allows the effectiveness of each delivery mode that comprise the program's accreditation to be verified. The CAA determined that programs should be held to the same benchmark and thereby not disadvantage students participating in one component over another.
Standard 5.4: Faculty Evaluation
Should a program conduct evaluations of faculty members in a certain fashion? What if the program does not have faculty evaluate the program director?
The Standards for Accreditation indicate the need for an evaluation process to occur, but do not prescribe exactly what that process must include. As long as some form of feedback mechanism is developed, implementation can be documented, and affected individuals are aware of the process and outcomes then that would meet the intent of standard.
Does the evaluation of ALL faculty include tenured faculty, even if the university has a union or collective bargaining agreements that would prevent/limit evaluations of faculty?
Yes. The CAA would expect the program to describe whatever manner is available and appropriate to support program goals and improvement. The program must describe the mechanism for regular evaluation of its faculty by program leadership in accordance with institutional policy and guidelines; if no formal evaluations are being done the program must indicate the circumstances.
How does a program determine if 50% of the program is distance? If all courses could be distance, but don't have to be, is that considered 100% even if students typically take say 25% distance?
The percentage is calculated based on what the program offers, even if the students can take traditional courses. This is described in the CAA's Policy on Substantive Changes.
Can/should there be a separate application for traditional and DE?
In the Higher Education Data System (HES), questions requiring responses from programs offering distance education or via satellite campuses will be visible for completion only if they in fact meet the 50% rule as described in the CAA's Policy on Substantive Changes.
Please direct any additional questions about the CAA's Standards for Accreditation to email@example.com.