Changes in Occupational Therapy Standards

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The compliance clock is ticking! If, as an Occupational Therapy (OT) program administrator, the July 31, 2020, deadline for compliance with the new 2018 Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Standards is a constant in the back of your mind and at the top of your to-do list, you are not alone.

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.’s (AOTA)  2018 ACOTE Standards and Interpretive Guide lists and clarifies each 2018 ACOTE Standard in the ACOTE Standards Interpretive Guide. These new accreditation standards apply to OT programs at the doctoral degree and master’s degree levels, and to Occupational Therapy Assistant programs at the baccalaureate and associate degree levels. Development of the new standards involved several open hearings and multiple surveys to the communities of interest over a 2 ½-year period.

Existing OT programs should currently be in compliance with the previously adopted 2011 ACOTE Standards. But even if a program only has to newly show compliance with those 2018 Standards which differ from the 2011 Standards (outlined in the AOTA document Standards Changes 2011 to 2018), the magnitude of the project can be intimidating.

When the July 31 date arrives, how can programs show compliance? Without a curriculum mapping system, programs are limited to documenting in the course syllabus and/or a spreadsheet with a two-dimensional alignment between courses or course objectives and a set of standards . This spreadsheet is typically only manageable with a single set of standards. This solution is not only cumbersome, time-intensive, and subject to human data entry errors, but it does not translate easily to reporting.

A curriculum mapping system like eCurriculum by AllofE Solutions empowers programs to easily align multiple sets of standards to program objectives and course objectives at the course level and/or session-level. OT programs can use mapping to quickly and easily analyze curriculum gaps and overlaps. Reports can show from broad information, such as which program objectives are mapped to course objectives, to narrow information, such as where a specific ACOTE standard is covered at the session-level. 

OT programs that have implemented eCurriculum will be able to analyze curriculum mapped to the new ACOTE standards.  For more information, click here