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ISHA Guidance on SLP Effectiveness

ISHA Guidance for Member Self-Advocacy Compensation
and Evaluation of School-Based SLPs

The following ISHA Guidance document was reviewed by the ISHA Task Force on SLP Educator Evaluation in 2012 as a resource for members.  Please note that ISHA does not endorse or advocate the use of any particular tool or process as a means of compensating or evaluating the performance of SLPs under IC 20-29-2-4. 

Indiana Education Law

Indiana 515 IAC 8-1-16 includes Communication Disorders as an instructional content area. Regardless of the logic (or lack thereof) behind categorizing a group of “disorders” as an instructional content area, the change was made as a part of Rules 2002 and remains as a part of the current educator licensing law (REPA II).  As the holder of the license with Communication Disorders listed as the instructional content area, speech language pathologists are eligible to serve students with communication disorders in any school setting. Of course SLPs licensed prior to Rules 2002 will likely hold other valid license types. 

Given that all other practitioners eligible for licensure in an instructional content area are “teachers”, questions regarding the definition of “teacher” as it relates to the new SEA 1 Teacher Effectiveness law are being asked around the state.  The following interpretation of the definition of “teacher” in IC 20-18-22 as it relates to “teacher evaluation” was provided by Labor Policy Counsel for the Indiana Department of Education, Andrew J. Kossack, in response to the following question asked by the ISHA Task Force.

May a district place educators including speech language pathologists, school psychologists, school nurses, and school counselors into a separate group for the purpose of performance evaluation and compensation?

A: The definition of “teacher” now reads as follows:

IC 20-18-2-22

Sec. 22. (a) "Teacher" means a professional person whose position in a school corporation requires certain educational preparation and licensing and whose primary responsibility is the instruction of students.
    (b) For purposes of IC 20-28, the term includes the following:
        (1) A superintendent.
        (2) A principal.
        (3) A teacher.
        (4) A librarian.

For purposes of the new laws regarding compensation (IC 20-28-9), a “teacher” as defined above does not appear to include speech language pathologists, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, etc.  Theoretically, it appears legally permissible to have such educators on a separate track from the individuals defined as “teachers” in IC 20-18-2-22 above.


For purposes of evaluations, the law requires each school corporation to “develop a plan for annual performance evaluations for each “certificated employee” (as defined in IC 20-29-2-4).  Here is the definition of “certificated employee” for annual performance evaluation purposes:

IC 20-29-2-4

"Certificated employee"

Sec. 4. "Certificated employee" means a person:
        (1) whose contract with the school corporation requires that the person hold a license or permit from the division of professional standards of the department under IC 20-28; or
        (2) who is employed as a teacher by a charter school established under IC 20-24.

The definition of “certificated employee” appears to cover speech language pathologists. In other words, it appears that professionals who do not fall under the definition of “teacher” (as defined in IC 20-18-2-22) should be evaluated annually in accordance with IC 20-28-11.5, but increases in their compensation need not comply with IC 20-28-9. However, nothing appears to prevent a corporation from including all certificated employees in the compensation system designed for teachers.  There is flexibility for that decision to be made at the local level.

Considerations for Member Self-Advocacy

Based on the interpretation provided above by IDOE’s Legal Policy Counsel, the following appears to be true for school-based SLPs:

  1. School-based SLPs, as certificated employees, should be evaluated annually as indicated in the plan developed by their local school corporation of employment.
  2. Increases in compensation for school-based SLPs need not comply with IC 20-28-9. However, it is a flexible decision to be made at the LOCAL LEVEL.   A school corporation has the right to include school-based SLPs in the compensation system designed for “teachers”.
  3. Certificated employees include SLPs, school psychologists and school counselors. SLPs from smaller districts, in particular, may benefit from working with other certificated employees to learn about the compensation system under development in their school corporation.
  4. Individuals on Emergency Permit are not licensed SLPs. ISHA Guidance is ONLY relevant to licensed SLPs who meet the definition of certificated employee under IC 20-29-2-4.

Resources for SLP Performance Assessment

  1. Performance Assessment of Contributions and Effectiveness of Speech-Language Pathologists (PACE)
    This document was developed by the American Speech Language Hearing Association to serve as a tool to help speech-language pathologists navigate through value added assessment (VAA) systems as they are introduced in the states. Several states have developed VAA systems for classroom teachers. As more states and local school districts follow suit, they can be expected to include other professionals, including SLPs, who play an integral role in the school community. It is imperative that state associations and member SLPs be actively involved in the development of an accountability system that reflects the SLP's unique roles and responsibilities in contributing to
    student success. ASHA's PACE allows state associations and members the flexibility to propose use of all or parts of the document in the development of a state or local system to evaluate the work of school-based SLPs.
  2. The IDOE’s model system for evaluation of teacher effectiveness is known as Indiana RISE. 
    Many Indiana school corporations are using RISE or a modified version of RISE.  Goshen Indiana SLPs for example, have modified the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric (TER) associated with the Indiana RISE model as one measure of SLP performance.  
  3. In addition to a TER, many school corporations are including Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) as an additional measure of teacher effectiveness.  Districts may also choose to use SLOs as one measure of certificated employee effectiveness. 

Below are links for additional information regarding PACE and RISE:

Click here for PACE Classroom Teacher Checklist

Click here for PACE Parents Checklist

Click here for PACE Student Checklist

Click here for SLPs Performance Assessment Contributions Effectiveness

Click here for RISE Rubric for SLPs

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