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Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders


Off-Campus Supervisors and Grading Clinical Performance:

Supervisors are asked to grade student performance at the mid-term and at the end of a clinical placement.  As a student progresses through the clinical experience, it is expected that their level of independence will increase.


What does it mean to have increased independence in clinic?

As a student demonstrates increased independence, this means they are being pro-active in getting what they need to help their client; they are seeking out the resources and the professional support from their course instructor to provide the best service to their client.


As a student intern gains experience, the expectation is they will increase their independence in case management.  Sometimes students confuse the expectation of “independence” with the definition of “isolation”.  Interns who do not consult with their clinic supervisors are NOT demonstrating independence; instead, they are isolating themselves and not using pro-active problem solving in seeking out the expert support in the program.


Interns are NOT expected to manage their caseload in isolation and to the exclusion of their clinic instructor; rather, interns are to demonstrate increased independence in initiating collaboration and coordination of client care. 



Supervisors are required to use clear written standards for grading a student’s performance.  Students have a right to know the expectations and the standards on which they are being graded from the start of the placement. 

Supervisors may choose to use the UMD Grading Protocol described below or they may choose to use a different grading protocol.  Supervisors who use a tool other than the UMD protocol are asked to proveide a copy of the tool to the student and to the university liaison at the start of the placement.



UMD Practicum Grading Protocol for Off-Campus Supervisors:

The UMD Practicum Grading Protocol uses a 10- scale rating system, which matches intern performance to numeric values.  These values correspond to the level of support the intern requires from the clinic instructor.  The clinic competence level, based on ASHA ratings, is a comparison of intern performance to a new professional beginning their Clinical Fellowship.  By the time a student graduates, their ratings are expected to be at the Proficient level for starting their Clinical Fellowship.


STEP ONE: Determine your intern’s Experience Level.

At the beginning of each semester, the intern and the clinic instructor will establish the intern’s experience level.  The student will be assigned to one of five Experience Levels.  Most students will be at level IV or V.

 Determine your student’s experience level based on the following:

1.    total number of clock hours the student has accrued;

2.    total number of previous clients;

3.    previous experience with a client of the same diagnosis/management approach;

4.    academic coursework or equivalent related to the diagnosis

Intern Experience Levels:





# of previous clients

Current practicum



Meets 2 or more criteria.

No practicum experience.  Minimum 25 observation hours.

 No previous clients.

No practicum experience.

May have completed coursework.  If currently taking coursework, needs Knowledge Acquisition Plan.


Must meet or exceed all criteria; otherwise, drop back one level.



Less than 20 clock hours accrued

 No more than one previous client or undergrad

Minimal (no more than one practicum experience)

Coursework not complete OR currently taking coursework. Must have Knowledge Acquisition Plan in place.


Must meet or exceed all criteria; otherwise, drop back one level.

At least 30 clock hours of therapy

At least 2 previous clients and/or equivalent of one semester’s practicum experience

General Experience: First client with this communication diagnosis

Coursework not complete OR currently taking coursework. Must have Knowledge Acquisition Plan in place.


Must meet or exceed all criteria; otherwise, drop back one level.

At least 90 clock hours of therapy

At least 6 clients and/or an off-campus practicum

General Experience: First client with this communication diagnosis or first experience with this specific management approach

Coursework completed or currently is taking the academic coursework.


Must meet or exceed all criteria; otherwise, drop back one level.

At least 150 clock hours of therapy

At least 10 clients and/or  an off-campus practicum

Specific Experience: Has worked with a client with this communication diagnosis or used approximately the same management approach used with at least one other client

Coursework complete.



STEP TWO: Review the Guidelines for Rating Performance:

The UMD CSD Grading Scale is unique in that even the most experienced students are considered to achieve excellent (“A”) work at a rating of 9 on the scale.  A score of 10 is reserved for those occasions when a student performs above and beyond any expectation given their level of experience.  A score of 10 is a moving target, representing the level of competence professionals strive for throughout their careers.   A score of 10 indicates the student is performing at a level of a mentor or a role model to others.


The Grading Protocol divides skills into two separate tiers: Tier One includes Interpersonal/Professional Skills, Ethics, and Reporting.  Tier Two includes Assessment, Planning/Development, and Intervention. Students gain experience in skills represented in Tier One faster than those in Tier Two, as skills in Tier One tend to be more general across working with all clients.  As such, the learning and performance expectations rise more quickly for Tier One skills.  This is reflected in the Grading Protocol.



UMD CSD Guidelines for Rating Performance:





% independent



Performance Scale by Intern Level

Exceptional: Demonstrates skill level sufficient for Clinical Fellowship


Operates independently

95-100% of the time.




Pro-active collaboration and case management
(“independence” does NOT mean the intern works in isolation and without direction from supervisor)


10= A+

Tier 1 Skills=10

Tier w  Skills=10

reserved for outstanding performance; intern could be a role model and mentor for others.

Proficient: Demonstrates skill level sufficient for Clinical Fellowship




Operates independently 85%-94% of the time.

Via limited general direction, can problem solve.



General Direction:



Pro-active collaboration and case management
(“independence” does NOT mean the intern works in isolation and without direction from supervisor)

Level V: 9+9 =A

Tier 1Skills=9

Tier 2Skills=9



Operates Independently 70%-84% of the time. 

Via limited general direction, can problem solve.



General Direction:


Level IV: 9+8=A

Tier 1Skills=9

Tier 2Skills=8


Developing: Demonstrates positive growth toward skill level needed to enter Clinical Fellowship

7 (advanced)


5 (entry)




Via Limited general direction, can problem solve



General Direction:


General Direction &/or Demonstration

Level III: 8+7=A

Tier1 Skills=8

Tier 2Skills=7






Needs general direction with no repetition or further clarification.



General Direction:


Level II: 7+6=A

Tier 1 Skills=7

Tier 2 Skills=6




Needs general direction consisting of direct discussion with repetition and further clarification of ideas immediately or in succeeding discussions.



General Direction:


Level I: 5+5=A

Tier 1 Skills=5

Tier 2 Skills=5



Demonstrates significant limits in skills needed to enter Clinical Fellowship 









Needs specific direction band occasional demonstration.

General Direction:


Specific Direction:



Direction &/or Demonstration


Needs specific direction and role-played demonstration.

General Direction:


Specific Direction:





Needs specific direction and demonstration with the client.

General Direction:


Specific Direction:


Specific Direction from Instructor does not alter unsatisfactory performance & inability to make change


Despite specific direction, role-play, demonstration, and repetition, does not demonstrate satisfactory performance or ability to make change.

Specific Direction with absent or unsatisfactory performance or change:

70- 100%





STEP THREE: Fill In the UMD Grading Protocol

Fill out the UMD Grading Protocol following the instructions on the form.  Calculate the points and compare the points to the chart below.

  Suggested  Average Points needed for FINAL Grade Assignments at Each Level:

Letter Grade Level 1
(5+5)2=5 Level 2
(7+6)2=6.5 Level 3
(8+7)2=7.5 Level 4
(9+8)2=8.5 Level 5
(9+9)2=9 A A- B+ B *B– C+ C C- D+ D F
Letter Grade  level 1  level 2  level 3  level 4  level 5
   (5+5)2=5  (7+6)2=6.45  (8+7)2=7.5  (9+8)2=8.5  (9+9)2=9
A4.65-5.00+ 6.05-6.50+ 6.98-7.50+ 7.91-8.50+ 8.37-9.00+
A-4.50-4.64 5.85-6.04 6.75-6.97 7.65-7.90 8.10-8.36
B+4.35-4.49 5.70-5.84 6.53-6.74 7.40-7.64 7.83-8.09
B4.15-4.34 5.40-5.69 6.23-6.52 7.01-7.39 7.39-7.82
B-4.00-4.14 5.20-5.39 6.00-6.22 6.80-7.00 7.20-7.38
C+3.85-3.99 5.01-5.19 5.78-5.99 6.55-6.79 6.93-7.19
C3.65-3.84 4.75-5.00 5.48-5.77 6.21-6.54 6.57-6.92
C-3.50-3.64 4.55-4.74 5.25-5.47 5.95-6.20 6.30-6.56
D+3.35-3.49 4.36-4.54 5.03-5.24 5.70-5.94 6.03-6.29
D3.00-3.34 3.90-4.35 4.50-5.02 5.10-5.69 5.40-6/02
F<3.00 <3.90 <4.50 <5.10 <5.40

*A grade of B- or lower and/or instructor concern of intern performance will result in initiation of Remediation Policy.  Please contact the university liaison with any concerns you have about student performance.

It is expected that mid-term scores will be lower than end scores, and that the student will show a steady progression of improvement of the course of the placement.


STEP FOUR:  Review and provide feedback to the intern at midterm and at the end of placement.  Provide information on strengths and areas for growth.  Talk with the intern about setting personal goals for improving clinical performance.


STEP FIVE:  Send the protocol to the university liaison for the student’s records.






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Last modified on 07/16/12 12:24 PM
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