Standard V: Assessment

Standard 5.0 Assessment

5.1 Assessment of Student Learning

As stated in our application, the program uses a range of assessment methods including both formative and summative assessments. Department policy requires 80% correct performance on summative assessments to demonstrate competence in each outcome being assessed.

Feedback from formative assessments (ungraded quizzes, writing assignments, clinical documents, oral presentations) are provided throughout the program, in the form of grades, comments on assignments, and clinical conferences held with each student every midterm and semester’s end. Rubrics are used as assessments for all graded summative assignments, term papers, examination, group projects, clinical summaries and reports. Students have access to the rubrics prior to turning in the assignment so that they know exactly what the expectation for each assignment is. Some example rubrics are provided:

Feedback is provided to students through grades and comments presented throughout the semester in both classes and clinical practice. Students meet individually with academic advisors and clinical advisors for feedback on their progress each semester, and meet at least weekly with clinical supervisors for feedback on clinical performance. Assessment of clinical performance is guided by a detailed set of rubrics that modify expectations for clinical knowledge and skills as the student progresses through the program (see Appendix 8.3 in the SLP Student Clinical Manual).

5.2 Program Assessment of Students

As stated in our application, the SLP Department Assessment Plan, which is aligned with the College of Health Professions Assessment Plan, identifies Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the SLP Program. Each SLO is evaluated according to the schedule in the plan, using a specific artifact selected by the faculty. A sample of the selected artifacts is assessed by the Department Assessment Committee each year, using a rubric created to align with CFCC/CAA standards as well as standards of the College of Health Professions. Examples of the reports on the assessment of these SLOs can be seen in the following documents:

These assessments are designed to assess not only Knowledge and Skills in SLP, but also professional attributes, abilities, and behaviors. The clinical assessments provided to students through the CALIPSO system incorporate this full range of assessment. The specific assessment, treatment, and professional interaction skills evaluated are listed in Appendix 8.2 of the SLP Student Clinical Manual. Rubrics used in our CALIPSO assessment can be seen in Appendix 8.3 of the SLP Student Clinical Manual. Appendix 8.4 of the SLP Student Clinical Manual details the criteria for the assessment of professional behaviors used by clinical supervisors. Detailed description of how these measures are used for Program Assessment can be found in the SLP Program Assessment Plan.

Standard 5.3 Ongoing Program Assessment

As discussed in our application and under Standards 5.1 and 5.2, benchmarks for student achievement entail maintaining a GPA of 3.0 with no grade below B- at any time during matriculation, and assessment of the Department SLOs through the processes described in the SLP Department Assessment Plan. Program outcomes regarding time to completion, Praxis pass rate, and employment rates are reported on the SHU SLP website and are updated annually. In addition, the following surveys are collected:

Data from these surveys are reviewed and discussed at each annual faculty retreat to determine any changes to be made in the program. In addition to these self-study procedures, course evaluations are collected for each course and clinical practicum each semester, and all are reviewed by the Instructor and Department Chair for any indications of needed adjustments.

In addition, we meet twice annually with our Advisory Board, consisting of community stakeholders, and consistently solicit feedback on our students’ performance in practica and in employment. We also survey them annually to determine whether there are trends in the field that could affect the currency of our program. All faculty attend at least one continuing professional education event each year to keep abreast of trends in the professions, and each year several faculty members attend CAPCSD for the same purpose. All faculty are active members of CSHA, our state professional association, and also participate in ASHA activities. As just one example, Chair Dr. Paul was a member of the ASHA 2018 Program Committee.

Standard 5.4 Ongoing Program Improvement

As discussed in our application, our annual Faculty Retreats in 2016, 2017, and 2018 review whatever assessments have been completed for the current cycle and any opportunities for improvement are identified. A committee is then appointed to develop recommendations to the faculty for changes during the following academic year, which are discussed in light of Departmental mission and goals, and approved at subsequent faculty meetings. They are then incorporated, with the Dean’s approval, into the Departmental Plan of Operation. 

Standard 5.5 Program Completion Rate

As stated in our application, data on census for each class is kept by the University Registrar, who sends a list of enrolled students to each program each year, and compiles a list of graduates for each program each year. Student progress through the program is tracked by academic advisors. So far, everyone who has completed the program has completed it in the anticipated number of semesters (5 for 3-year students, 7 for three-year students). Data on program completion rate are reported on the Student Outcome Data page of our website.

Standard 5.6 Praxis Exam Pass Rates

As discussed in our application, the Department Administrative Assistant checks the ETS website each month to determine which students have taken and passed the Praxis Exam. These data are reported to the Department Chair who uses them to compare to the census for the most recent graduating class, to calculate the number of students who passed relative to the number who took the exam and to update the information on the SLP Student Outcome Data page of the SHU website each year. Our current 3-year pass rate is 97%.

Standard 5.7 Employment Rate

As discussed in our application, we post our student employment rates on the SLP Student Outcome Data page of the SHU website each year. We monitor this by sending periodic emails to our most recent graduates and asking them to let us know if/where they are working. At the time of this writing, we have information on almost all members of the Classes of 2016 and 2017, and on 1/3 of the members of the class of 2018. As shown on the Student Outcome Data page, 96% of each of our first two classes report being employed as SLPs. Those who are not, have made voluntary decisions either to work in another field, or to go on maternity leave. Of the members of the class of 2018 from whom we have data, 55% are employed in healthcare, 27% in schools, and 18% in private practices. We send alumni surveys to all our graduates and to their employers in even-numbered years in order to update the data on the Student Outcomes page. We also survey their employers to obtain feedback on our graduates’ performance.  

Standard 5.8 Program Improvement – Student Outcomes

As discussed in our application, the program monitors the results of our surveys, our program assessments, and our benchmark indicators each year at the annual faculty retreat. These data are reported to faculty, and the need for any modification in program content or standards is discussed. If a need for improvement is identified, a faculty committee is named to provide a report to the full faculty with recommendations for changes. This report is later reviewed, discussed, and a plan developed and implemented, with monitoring over the course of the academic year.

As just one example of this process, we received feedback from our first graduate class in exit surveys and from our Advisory Board and other supervisors, that our students did not feel prepared in the area of assessment. Although assessment was addressed as a topic in each disorders class, students did not feel they had enough background in this area and supervisors found them to lack confidence in their assessment skills. As a consequence, the faculty decided to create two one-credit courses to be included in the curriculum of each of the first two semesters, in which students would be provided with didactic instruction and several opportunities to engage in clinical assessment with clients recruited to come to campus for evaluation. With the addition of these experiences, both students and supervisors report increased competence in assessment in the more recent years.

Standard 5.9 Evaluation of Faculty

As discussed in our application, the SHU Faculty Handbook September 2018 (p. 26) states the requirements for regular evaluation of faculty and describes the requisite process. Students also receive forms each semester from the University to review each course taken, and the SLP Department has devised forms specifically for students to use in evaluating clinical supervisors, which can be found in Appendix 15 of the SLP Student Clinical Manual.

Each faculty member is evaluated each year by the Department Chair, and the Chair is evaluated each year by the College Dean. The process for these evaluations is detailed in the CAA application. As examples, two recent evaluations – one for a tenure-track faculty member, and one for a clinical faculty member -- with the names redacted are provided.

In addition, the Director of Clinical Education and the Department Chair are evaluated by the rest of the faculty each even-numbered year. The most recent of these evaluations of the Chair is also provided.

All faculty who provide clinical supervision are required to submit documentation of their maintenance of ASHA Certification and State of CT licensure each year. These are tracked by the DCE.

Standard 5.10 Faculty Improvement

As discussed in our application, each year faculty submit a self-evaluation to the Chair, which consists of a report on the status of their goals for the previous year. These goals, which were selected the previous year in collaboration with the Department Chair, constitute the primary criteria, along with the standard set in the SHU Faculty Handbook, for faculty assessment each year. Following a discussion between the faculty and Chair of the faculty member’s accomplishments, they collaboratively establish a new set of goals for the faculty member for the coming year; taking into account the goals of the Department, College and University. These meetings take place each spring and involve a face-to-face discussion between the faculty member and Chair. The Program Plan of Operation, which is drawn up at the end of the Spring semester at the annual faculty retreat, reflects these goals and also aligns with the College and University plans.

Standard 5.11 Effective Leadership

As discussed in our application, the Department Chair is evaluated by the Dean each year, and by the faculty in even-numbered years. The Chair is also evaluated by students in regular student evaluation forms at the end of each semester.