Graduate Student English Proficiency Screening Policy and Procedures

ASHA Standard IV: Program of Study-Skills Outcomes


Standard IV-B: The applicant must possess skill in oral and written or other forms of communication sufficient for entry into professional practice.

The applicant must demonstrate communication skills sufficient to achieve effective clinical and professional interaction with clients/patients and relevant others. For oral communication, the applicant must demonstrate speech and language skills in English, which, at a minimum are consistent with ASHA's most current position statement on students and professionals who speak English with accents and nonstandard dialects. For written communication, the applicant must be able to write and comprehend technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports, treatment plans, and professional correspondence.

Individuals educated in foreign countries must meet the criteria required by the International Commission of Healthcare Professionals (ICHP) in order to meet this standard.

Students and Professionals Who Speak English with Accents and Nonstandard Dialects: Issues and Recommendations


ASHA Joint Subcommittee of the Executive Board on English Language Proficiency


Position Statement

It is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 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.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1998). Students and Professionals Who Speak English With Accents and Nonstandard Dialects: Issues and Recommendations [Position Statement]. Available from


Department of CDS Implementation:

Accepted graduate students receive an informational packet which contains information about the English Proficiency Screening in May prior to entering the graduate program. The first day of classes, the incoming graduate class is once again informed at their graduate orientation of the policy and procedure that is in the orientation handbook. Screenings are completed in October. The screenings are administered by second-year graduate student clinicians and supervised by clinical staff.

The screening is composed of tasks (targeting the ASHA standard) and expanded information:

  1. A hearing screening utilizing otoacoustic emissions
  2. Rating of articulation and intelligibility in structured (single word and sentence) and non-structured tasks
  3. Clinical judgment of voice, fluency, expressive and receptive language, and pragmatics
  4. Reading comprehension questions for a story passage (12th grade reading level)
  5. A sample of clinical writing requiring the student to create a simple report based on given history and diagnostic information. Writing is judged on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and overall appropriateness of information.

The screening results are evaluated by clinic supervisors and sent to the clinic director.

The clinic director notifies each student of the results of the screening by letter and meets with any student who failed any section of the screening protocol. A copy of the notification letter is placed in the student’s academic file. Students are given recommendations based on the results. Recommendations may include:

  1. Re-screen of hearing and if warranted, a referral to the clinic audiologist for further evaluation
  2. Monitoring voice, fluency, comprehension, and/or writing throughout academic and clinical requirements
  3. Referral to an otolaryngologist for voice problems
  4. Evaluation/therapy recommendation for speech, language and/or fluency issues
  5. Participation in a clinical writing remediation program offered the second half of the first spring semester for those students who demonstrate difficulty with clinical writing skills based on mid-semester grade and supervisor report.



Page modified 5/7/15