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MA in Speech-Language Pathology Program Policies and Procedure

a. Program Policy on Students with Differences in Dialects and/or Accents

The Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences has adopted the following policy and implementation with respect to students with differences in dialects and/or accents:

Policy
It is the position of the American Speech-language-Hearing Association that students and professionals in communication sciences and disorders who speak with accents and/or dialects can effectively provide speech, language, and audiological services to persons with communication disorders as long as they have the expected level of knowledge in normal and disordered communication, the expected level of diagnostic and clinical case management skills, and if modeling is necessary, are able to model the target phoneme, grammatical feature, or other aspect of speech and language that characterizes the client’s particular problem. All individuals speak with an accent and/or dialect; thus the nonacceptance of individuals into higher education programs or into the professions solely on the basis of the presence of an accent or dialect is discriminatory. Members of ASHA must not discriminate against persons who speak with an accent and/or dialect in educational programs, employment, or service delivery, and should encourage an understanding of linguistic differences among consumers and the general population.

Implementation
Implementation of the above policy is consistent with ASHA Standard IV-B: The applicant must possess skill in oral and written or other forms of communication sufficient for entry into
professional practice. Implementation is conducted on an individual basis with coordination
between the Graduate Program Director, the Clinic Director, and the student.

b. Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has developed standards that must be met by students graduating from an ASHA-accredited university, in order to be eligible for ASHA certification. These standards must be monitored on a tracking form to measure students’ achievement of knowledge and skills that prepare him/her for entry into professional practice in speech-language pathology. This form, the Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) summary sheet, documents both academic/classroom and clinical experiences in terms of ASHA standards. Achievement of the standards is measured by summative and formative assessment.

Summative and formative assessment
Summative assessment is the comprehensive evaluation of learning outcomes at the culmination of educational preparation. Summative assessment yields critical information for determining an individual’s achievement of the knowledge and skills required for entry level professional practice. The comprehensive exam and PRAXIS are examples of summative assessment.

Formative assessment is the ongoing measurement that occurs during educational preparation for the purpose of ensuring that students are achieving the stated learning objectives for all academic and clinical courses. Formative assessment yields critical information for monitoring an individual’s acquisition of knowledge and skills, which are tracked using the KASA summary form. In addition to knowledge and skills related to professional areas within the scope of practice, such assessment evaluates critical thinking, knowledge of research principles and evidence-based practice, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Formative assessment measures include oral and written components, as well as demonstrations of clinical proficiency. Assessments are tied to individual classes and clinical experiences.
Students’ development of knowledge and skills required by ASHA is evaluated by various outcome measures that are stated on course syllabi and on the KASA tracking form (available on Black Board).

Examples of ways in which student learning outcomes (knowledge and skills), are assessed include:

  • research, projects/paper
  • collaborative work
  • oral presentations
  • clinical reports and session plans that reflect application of theory to clinical practice
  • evaluation of clinical management strategies
  • hands-on assignments
  • mid-term and final examinations
  • lab assignments demonstrating application and interpretation of instrumentation
  • assignments demonstrating ability to apply relevant software

c. Obtaining ASHA certification

Applicants for ASHA certification must meet seven broad standards. These standards are specified in the Certification and Membership handbook: Speech-Language Pathology, available in hard copy through ASHA’s Action Center, and available online at www.asha.org. Students are expected to review and fully understand these standards. Briefly, the standards are as follows:

i. A master’s degree must be obtained from an accredited institution (Standards I, II)
ii. Students must possess a minimal level of knowledge and skills related to the profession (Standards III, IV)
iii. Knowledge and skills must be assessed both formatively throughout the student’s educational career using the KASA or equivalent tracking system, and summatively at the end of school, by way of the Comprehensive exam and PRAXIS exam (Standard V)
iv. A clinical fellowship must be completed (Standard VI)
v. Certification must be maintained through ongoing education (Standard VII).
Students must demonstrate competency for all ASHA standards to be eligible for ASHA certification. The departmental minimal criterion for mastery of each standard is as follows:
i. Successful completion (B- or better in all academic courses, and B or better in all clinical courses) of learning activities /objectives associated with the standard.
ii. Successful completion of remediation activities in the event a student is failing or performing poorly for a standard or objective.
iii. A standard is considered to be met when at least 90% of the objectives relating to that standard have been achieved.