An Introduction and Overview

Performance Assessment of Contributions and Effectiveness (PACE)


The goal of creating a value-added system specifically for assessing the performance of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) would be to ensure that evaluation measures accurately reflect the unique role SLPs play in facilitating children's overall performance as well as their success in the school community. SLPs have an integral and active role in that community; in collaboration with other educators, they inform curriculum decisions. SLPs provide quality, culturally competent, assessment and treatment of communication disorders or difficulties for students in all educational settings, from pre-kindergarten through high school.

However, research on value-added assessment (VAA) has primarily focused on teachers, raising concerns about VAA's applicability to SLPs. With those concerns in mind, specific accountability measures-other than student performance on standardized tests-were reviewed. Of a range of measures-classroom observation, principal evaluation, instructional artifact (e.g., student progress log), portfolio, and teacher self-report-portfolio assessment, "classroom" observation, and "teacher" self-report appeared to be the most flexible and comprehensive options for evaluating SLPs.

The Performance Assessment of Contributions and Effectiveness (PACE) for SLPs was developed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to be used as an accountability measure of the instructional contributions of school-based SLPs. It comprises the PACE Self-Reflection Tool [PDF], the PACE Observation Form [PDF], and the PACE Matrix [PDF], which is based on ASHA's Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools policy document and used to evaluate the portfolio and findings on the PACE Observation Form [PDF]. The following guiding principles represent the PACE performance objectives and were considered in the development of the PACE performance indicators:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in speech-language pathology and related subject areas (e.g., literacy) and implement services in an ethical manner.
  2. Provide culturally and educationally appropriate services that are effective, engage students, and reflect evidence-based practice.
  3. In partnership with the team, determine eligibility and recommend services that are compliant with state and federal regulations for children with IEPs.
  4. Demonstrate ability to conduct appropriate comprehensive evaluations for students who may be experiencing a variety of communication disorders.
  5. Use appropriate and dynamic service delivery methods consistent with the wide variety of individual student needs.
  6. Collaborate with classroom teachers and other professionals to serve the needs of students in both general and special education.
  7. Collaborate with families and provide opportunities for them to be involved in their student's speech-language pathology services.
  8. Earn continuing education or professional development units sufficient to meet ASHA requirements for certification maintenance as well as state certification and licensing requirements.
  9. Contribute to various building and/or district initiatives.

ASHA recommends that PACE be used in lieu of VAA systems that are based on student performance on state tests to evaluate SLPs' contributions to student performance. All state association and ASHA member SLPs are encouraged to become actively involved in advocating for

  • adoption of PACE as their local or state performance evaluation tool,
  • use of PACE in their district's or state's development of an accountability system.

ASHA members can propose-and states can use-all, or parts, of the model to develop a state or local accountability system for SLPs. In addition, related service provider groups may want to adapt PACE for use as an integrated component or stand-alone measure of instructional accountability for their school-based members.

Overview of the PACE Implementation Guide

PACE is designed to be implemented in a collaborative manner by SLPs and their supervisors. There are several helpful tools and other resources to provide guidance.

  • The PACE Matrix [PDF] contains PACE performance objectives and associated examples of portfolio and observational evidence (evidence gathered during observation of the SLP providing services). The level of performance can be recorded for each performance objective.
  • The PACE Step-by-Step Guide provides suggested time points for implementing components of PACE throughout the school year.
  • The PACE SLP Toolkit includes Developing a Portfolio for the PACE [PDF], the PACE SLP Self-Reflection Tool [PDF], and copies of checklists for parents, classroom teachers, and students.
    • The Self-Reflection Tool [PDF] for professional skills associated with performance objectives helps SLPs develop an annual professional development plan.
    • The checklists are used to record parents', classroom teachers', and students' (as appropriate) satisfaction with speech-language-pathology services.
  • The PACE Evaluator Toolkit includes the PACE Evaluator Guide, PACE Observation Form [PDF], and Matrix [PDF].
    • The Evaluator's Role explains why PACE should be used to evaluate SLPs. The guide includes a chart that aligns performance indicators and recommended administrative support for each performance objective.
    • The Observation Form [PDF] is used to record observational evidence associated with the performance objectives; findings should be assessed using the Matrix [PDF].
  • Additional resources, including a glossary of terms and the PACE Framework [PDF], can be found on the PACE webpage.
    • The Framework [PDF] offers an overview of performance indicators, examples of portfolio and observational evidence, and description of administrative support related to each performance objective.

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