Preliminary Evaluation of Applicants to Master’s Programs in Speech-Language Pathology Using Vignettes and Criteria From a Holistic Review Process

Teresa M. Girolamo, Stephen Politzer-Ahles, Samantha Ghali, Brittany Theresa Williams

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Little is known about how others evaluate applicants to master’s programs in speech-language pathology along criteria used during holistic review despite more programs adopting holistic review. This knowledge gap limits our understanding of whether holistic admissions may offer a more equitable pathway to entering speech-language pathology. This study investigated how faculty and PhD students evaluated applicants to master’s speech-language pathology programs along criteria used during holistic review. Method: We administered a survey online through a Qualtrics platform. Respondents (N = 66) were faculty and PhD candidates in U.S. speech-language-hearing departments. Survey blocks included demographics, professional background, and vignettes. Vignettes featured profiles of applicants to master’s programs in speech-language pathology. Vignettes systematically varied in the indicators of applicant criteria, which were specified at low, moderate, or high levels or not specified. After reading each vignette, respondents rated the applicant and indicated their admissions decision. Analysis included descriptives. Results: Relative to an applicant who was at a high level for all indicators except cultural and linguistic diversity, respondents ranked applicants who varied in their indicators of criteria levels lower. Respondents were also less likely to make an explicit “accept” decision (vs. “waitlist” or “reject”) for this latter group of applicants. Conclusions: Even when implementing criteria used during holistic review, applicants who vary from a “high-achieving” stereotype may still face barriers to entry. Future work is needed to understand the precise nature of how holistic admissions review may play out in actual practice and help increase diversity in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-577
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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