Performance Assessment of Contributions and Effectiveness (PACE)

Advocating for PACE of SLPs


Several states have developed Value-Added Assessment (VAA) systems for classroom teachers. As more states and local school districts follow suit, they can be expected to include other professionals, including SLPs, who play an integral role in the school community. In fact, in some states, such as Idaho, SLPs have been informed by local and state officials that they will be included in the VAA system for teachers. In May 2010, the Louisiana legislature passed a law, HB 1033, that requires the development of a VAA system for teachers and other professionals, including SLPs. A map, found in the addendum of this document, identifies the states that have or are developing VAA systems for classroom teachers. The map includes factors being considered, or currently used, to evaluate performance, such as student test scores, observation, and student feedback.

The PACE process in this document can be used to advocate for appropriate evaluation of the unique roles of the SLP in an education setting. Each of the sections can be used separately, or the document can be presented in its entirety for advocacy purposes. The intent of this resource is to encourage SLPs to advocate with administrators and for states to adopt the PACE process in place of a VAA for SLPs. Regardless of whether a state is developing a VAA system for teachers, ASHA recommends this PACE process be used for SLPs because

  • it bypasses the statistical issues associated with using VAA with SLPs
  • it accurately reflects the unique roles and responsibilities (e.g., caseload, working environment) of SLPs in schools
  • it focuses the evaluation on the important aspects of SLPs' work in schools
  • it includes multiple measures of SLP accountability

Preparation for Advocacy Effort

Prior to engaging in any advocacy effort for evaluating SLP performance in schools, SLPs should review the research and the relevant ASHA documents contained in this report. Once state associations and members understand the purpose and rationale for the creation of a PACE process for SLPs, they can advocate for this system to be used to demonstrate their contributions to student learning. The Advocacy Flow Chart for SLPs in Appendix H outlines the components that should be considered by states in developing a "value" assessment for SLPs.

Steps in an Effective Advocacy Effort

1. Form a group and assign roles/tasks.

Once the state association or members in a local district decide to work toward an accountability system specific to SLPs, it is best to gather other interested SLPs together to identify goals and plan activities to achieve those goals. It is important for the group to identify a leader or leaders who will represent the group during discussions and negotiations with decision makers and to assign specific tasks to various members of the group.

2. Develop an action plan.

Creating a plan of action will help the group focus their efforts and identify timelines necessary to achieve their goals. Several factors need to be considered in developing an action plan.

These include

  • summarizing the facts and data;
  • preparing an explanation of the difference between a VAA and "value" assessment for SLPs;
  • identifying key decision makers and supporters;
  • reaching out to other groups/professionals who may be similarly affected (e.g., school psychologists, school counselors, occupational therapists, physical therapists) more information on this action item is below;
  • developing talking points and a presentation to share with decision makers and other constituents.

Summarize the Research

ASHA's Value‐Added Project Team has summarized some of the key research that is being conducted on VAA, especially as it relates to professionals who work with students with disabilities. The best advocacy effort is supported by facts and data, so the group should complete an extensive research review and be able to summarize the findings for decision makers. Keep in mind that research on this topic is constantly emerging and evolving. Review any existing system to see if it follows the principles outlined in this resource and can be modified to meet current needs.

Identify the Key Decision Makers and Supporters

In any advocacy effort, it is essential to identify those individual(s) who are tasked with making decisions for the state or local district. It is equally important to identify individuals or groups who support the advocacy effort. Once decision makers have been identified, the group must determine the process for effecting change. A typical process for approving a VAA system begins with the state legislature. In some cases, the legislature will assign a special study group/committee to review and analyze the facts and make recommendations to the chair of the committee of jurisdiction. Once a state VAA system for teachers has been approved, the state education consultant, for example, and other staff involved in overseeing special education may be tasked with developing the system. The proposal may then go to the state superintendent, who reports and makes recommendations to the state board of education.

Then, the state board of education reviews the recommendations. If the board agrees with the findings, it approves the recommendations. It is ASHA's position that, as advocates, SLPs need to be involved at the state level in promoting the PACE process or a separate section in a VAA model for SLPs and, potentially, other related service providers. The proposed model can be suggested at any stage in the process of developing an accountability system for professional staff.

In local districts, special education directors, the superintendent, or the board of education may be authorized to make decisions regarding the creation and implementation of a VAA system. It is important to understand the decision‐making process at the district level. At what point in the development or implementation of an accountability system can SLPs become involved in and influence the decision‐making process? When is it appropriate to suggest the PACE approach for SLPs?

Reach Out to Professional Groups or Other Related Service Providers

Policy makers have made it clear that they support teacher effectiveness evaluation systems. Because many states and local districts are developing value‐added assessment systems for teachers, other professional personnel anticipate that accountability systems will be developed for them. SLPs can check to see whether their state has applied for and/or won an RTTT award and which school professionals will be evaluated by that system.

State groups and local members may wish to reach out to state and local related services personnel/organizations, such as those of psychologists and counselors, to either join forces or compare models/ideas for joint advocacy efforts. Because accountability systems are so complex, state and district administrators may be inclined to adopt a "value" assessment for all related service providers as opposed to a separate process for each professional group.

Develop Talking Points and a Presentation to Share With Decision Makers and Other Constituents

On ASHA's website you will find a sample PowerPoint presentation and other advocacy tools that states and members in local districts can use to advocate for the PACE process. Additional talking points, flyers, or other leave‐behind materials may help persuade decision makers to adopt an assessment system appropriate for SLPs.

Most important, members must ensure that they are included in the creation or expansion of any VAA system that will include SLPs. If state association representatives and SLPs in local districts are not "at the table" when value‐added systems are discussed and created, it is unlikely that the system will be appropriate or effective for evaluating SLP performance.

ASHA Corporate Partners