New Performance Appraisal Tool Available for School Clinicians Performance reviews, a critical employment and salary element in many occupations, can play a key role in the professional lives of school-based speech-language pathologists. But for SLPs, the review may fail to reflect the true nature of their responsibilities, for two reasons: an SLP’s job performance is frequently assessed by ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   February 01, 2007
New Performance Appraisal Tool Available for School Clinicians
Author Notes
  • Sheryl C Amaral, is an SLP for the Cumberland (RI) School Department and at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, MA. Contact her at sherylmrl@aol.com.
    Sheryl C Amaral, is an SLP for the Cumberland (RI) School Department and at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, MA. Contact her at sherylmrl@aol.com.×
  • Susan Bartlett, is an SLP and director of the University of Connecticut Speech and Hearing Clinic in Storrs. Contact her at susanbartlett@uconn.edu.
    Susan Bartlett, is an SLP and director of the University of Connecticut Speech and Hearing Clinic in Storrs. Contact her at susanbartlett@uconn.edu.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / School Matters
School Matters   |   February 01, 2007
New Performance Appraisal Tool Available for School Clinicians
The ASHA Leader, February 2007, Vol. 12, 10-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.12022007.10
The ASHA Leader, February 2007, Vol. 12, 10-11. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.12022007.10
Performance reviews, a critical employment and salary element in many occupations, can play a key role in the professional lives of school-based speech-language pathologists. But for SLPs, the review may fail to reflect the true nature of their responsibilities, for two reasons: an SLP’s job performance is frequently assessed by evaluators who have not been trained, certified, or licensed in the discipline; and the assessment tools used are more suited to classroom teachers than to SLPs.
To address this problem, two ASHA special interest divisions teamed up in 2004 to develop a performance appraisal instrument that reflects the unique roles and responsibilities of the school-based SLP. The new “Professional Performance Review Process” (PPRP) and “Professional Performance Review Instrument” (PPRI) resulted from this ad hoc joint committee of Special Interest Division 11, Administration and Supervision, and Division 16, School-Based Issues.
Performance reviews have taken on greater importance as recent advances in the school reform movement have placed a strong emphasis on the definition of quality educators. In fact, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 mandated that by the end of the 2005–2006 school year, all U.S. public school teachers must be “highly qualified” for their positions. In addition, regulations of NCLB and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 mandate the use of evidence-based practice and accountability by administrators, teachers, and specialists, including SLPs.
However, assessment instruments and protocols used for school-based SLPs typically do not reflect the unique roles and responsibilities inherent in their workloads. Most exclude activities such as prevention, identification, assessment, evaluation, development of service plans, caseload management, intervention, documentation, advocacy, and professionalism.
Guided by available evidence-based practice, the committee developed an evaluation tool that addresses the four major areas of professional performance review—quality assurance, professional development, performance improvement, and feedback—while also recognizing that the only area acknowledged by policymakers and legislators is quality.
The PPRP and PPRI use a two-phase approach to evaluating school-based SLPs. In the first phase, the SLP conducts a self-study and rates his or her own knowledge and skills against very specific indicators related to school-based SLP roles and responsibilities. In evaluating the results, the SLP acknowledges areas of strengths and weaknesses and devises a follow-up professional development plan. In the second phase, the SLP and an outside evaluator (e.g., principal, administrator, special education director) participate in an observation and/or conference and complete a one-page performance summary.
The PPRP is designed to enhance communication between the school-based SLP and his or her supervisor so that positive outcomes may result from performance reviews. The committee is now considering steps to expand this project and to conduct research to obtain information from SLPs who may pilot the process and the instrument.
The committee members include: Trici Schraeder (chair), Sheryl C. Amaral, Susan Bartlett, Susan Floyd, Erin Dyer, DeAnne Wellman Owre, Jeri Berman (ex officio, 2005–2006), and Michelle Ferketic (ex officio, 2006). Vice presidents for professional practices in speech-language pathology who served in a monitoring role were Celia Hooper (2003–2005) and Brian Shulman (2006–2008). The resulting document, “Professional Performance Review Process for the School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist” [PDF] was approved by ASHA’s Legislative Council in August 2006.
Both authors have been on the committee since the project’s inception and presented at a PPRP/PPRI seminar at the 2006 Convention.
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February 2007
Volume 12, Issue 2