Report on Audiology Curriculum Standards Accepted by Committee On Dec. 13, 2004, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unanimously accepted an interim report submitted by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) related to the development of curricular requirements that distinguish between master’s ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   January 01, 2005
Report on Audiology Curriculum Standards Accepted by Committee
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Hearing Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   January 01, 2005
Report on Audiology Curriculum Standards Accepted by Committee
The ASHA Leader, January 2005, Vol. 10, 3-23. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.10012005.3
The ASHA Leader, January 2005, Vol. 10, 3-23. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.10012005.3
On Dec. 13, 2004, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unanimously accepted an interim report submitted by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) related to the development of curricular requirements that distinguish between master’s and doctoral level audiology programs. The NACIQI is a committee made up of 15 individuals representing higher education institutions and agencies who review accreditors for recognition on ED’s behalf.
The NACIQI also accepted a minor modification in the scope of the CAA’s recognition to better clarify the clinical nature of the programs it accredits. This change in scope does not specify or limit the degree designator for graduate programs that seek CAA accreditation; rather this allows clinical PhD and ScD programs to be accredited as clinical preparation programs as well as Doctor of Audiology (AuD) programs. Further, the committee asked the CAA for an additional interim report describing the process that the CAA followed for the review and modifications of accreditation standards, including widespread peer review.
The Dec. 13 hearing on the interim report included third-party testimony by four individuals. Three testified in opposition; they represented the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA), the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE), with one person also representing five of the nation’s 58 clinical doctoral programs in audiology accredited or pre-accredited by the CAA. The ACAE—which is being developed by AAA and ADA to accredit AuD programs only—views itself as a potential competitor to the CAA.
A representative of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) testified in support of the CAA. He noted that CAPCSD supports one accrediting agency, rather than separate agencies for different program constituents including professional practices or degree level. He noted the importance to CAPCSD of education in the single discipline of communication sciences and disorders—and not separating audiology from speech-language pathology—because of the interrelationship among hearing, language, and speech development and numerous communication disorders.
In their opposing testimony, current and former leaders of AAA offered misleading, and at times inaccurate, statements. They told the committee that the knowledge and skills in the CAA’s Standard 3.1 were based on data from a 1988 study. In fact, the results of the 1994 skills validation study provided the basis for CAA’s curriculum standard.
The 1994 skills validation study included a curriculum review and was conducted with a widespread peer input and review process. It was developed, conducted, and validated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) with rigorous psychometric methodology. Knowledge and skills identified from the study have influenced the revision to the scope of practice in audiology and the development of audiology doctoral curricula nationally.
Another objection raised in the group’s third-party testimony concerned the assertion that all faculty and supervisors must hold ASHA certification. Reporting the meeting to audiologists on its listserv, the AAA representative erroneously stated that CAA has failed its responsibility in “defining and monitoring the competencies of doctoral faculty and supervisors.” In fact, CAA has had standards for many years that address the competence and qualifications of faculty and staff in an accredited program. Specifically, the CAA requires that a program must demonstrate that all faculty and staff, including its clinical supervisors, possess the requisite knowledge, skill, and experience to mentor the student, appropriate for the particular knowledge or skill being taught. The CAA has no accreditation standard requiring faculty and staff of accredited programs to hold ASHA certification.
In their testimony, the third-party opponents raised certification issues that were not within the purview of the CAA nor relevant to the committee’s discussion. The NACIQI chairman cautioned his fellow committee members not to allow themselves to be pulled away from the meeting’s core topic—the discussion of an accrediting agency’s compliance with the Secretary of Education’s criteria for recognition.
“AAA’s deliberate misrepresentation of fact to a government committee is an embarrassment to the profession of audiology,” said Vic Gladstone, ASHA’s chief staff officer in audiology, who attended the meeting.
After these individuals continued raising objections with the CAA accreditation standards, one NACIQI participant noted there was “an elephant in the room,” referring to the development of a competing accreditor for audiology programs. Although AAA reported to its members on its listserv that the NACIQI committee “encouraged” audiology to develop a new accrediting body for audiology doctoral programs—presumably ACAE—the committee, in fact, noted that any group or agency has the opportunity to develop its own accreditation scheme.
“Audiology organizations having differences of opinion should debate them fairly in the context of the profession—and not before a federal committee whose members do not welcome or understand these divisions,” Gladstone added.
After all objections were heard, the NACIQI committee unanimously approved the CAA’s interim report.
What Is the CAA and Why Does It Matter?

The CAA formulates standards for the accreditation of graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology programs across the country and evaluates programs that voluntarily apply for accreditation. Although affiliated with ASHA—a credentialing organization—the CAA operates independently in developing and implementing programmatic standards.

Since 1967, the CAA and its predecessors have earned the highly regarded ED recognition for its accreditation program. Why is the federal government’s stamp of approval important? For 40 years, tens of thousands of audiology and speech-language pathology students from accredited programs have entered the profession with a marketable degree. In addition, ED recognition allows accredited programs to seek certain federal grants that relate to personnel preparation.

In 2002, the ED again awarded its maximum five-year recognition to the CAA after a comprehensive review of the CAA’s program. With the rise of clinical doctoral programs in audiology across the country, CAA was asked to provide an interim report to document its practices and criteria for reviewing curricula of doctoral level programs. CAA provided the interim report, which was approved on Dec. 13.

Get more information about the CAA, its standards, and the programs it accredits.

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January 2005
Volume 10, Issue 1