School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist’s Job Satisfaction Related to Caseload Size

 

Racheal Greenwald, BA: gree0527@d.umn.edu

Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences

University of Minnesota – Duluth

Duluth, MN 55812

 

Kent Brorson, Ph.D. (Faculty Advisor): kbrorson@d.umn.edu

Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences

University of Minnesota – Duluth

Duluth, MN 55812

Objectives

 

The purpose of this study was to investigate American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) members’ job satisfaction working in a school setting based on their caseload size. Electronic mail surveys were sent to ASHA members from five regionally selected states.  Survey questions focused on the ASHA member’s caseload size.  It was proposed that this study would identify if caseload size had an effect on job satisfaction among ASHA members working in a school setting. 

Many factors contribute to job satisfaction in the profession of speech-language pathology.  One particular factor that appears to significantly influence job satisfaction is caseload size.  Research by Fresko, Kfir, and Nasser (1997) as well as Wisniewski and Shewan (1987) has shown that individuals remain in their profession longer if they are satisfied with their job.  These individuals will produce better quality of work, be more productive, report being successful, and encourage others to enter their field.  On the other hand, individuals who are dissatisfied in their profession may cause their work environment to suffer by taking their unhappiness or poor attitudes out on those around them (Miller & Potter, 1982). 

 

Procedures

 

Participants:  ASHA members working in a school setting.  415 surveys sent, 102 respondents, and 74 worked full-time in a school setting.

Selection:  Participants were randomly selected from a listing of ASHA members in regionally selected states (Alabama, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin).

Criteria:  Participants had at least their Master’s degree or higher, certified in the field of speech-language pathology, and email access.  

Survey:  All participants completed an Internet survey, created using Perseus Survey Solutions for the web, a software program for design and distribution of Internet surveys.  Using 17 forced-response questions and 2 open-ended questions about positive and negative factors in job satisfaction.  The survey gathered information about the speech-language pathologists’ caseload size and job satisfaction.

Data:  The data was examined to determine the relationship between caseload size and job satisfaction.


 

Results

 

CASELOAD SIZE

AL

MN

OR

VT

WI

0-15

0

1

0

2

4

16-30

2

1

1

2

5

31-45

4

12

3

3

5

46-60

5

2

6

4

2

61-75

3

0

3

0

0

76-90

0

0

1

0

0

91-105

1

0

1

0

0

121+

1

0

0

0

0

Total Number of Responses:

16

16

15

11

16

 

*  MN, VT, and WI all have average size caseloads with 46-60 being the largest. 

*  OR reports caseloads up to 105.

*  The largest caseload was reported in AL with 121+.

 

The participants were asked the following questions concerning their job satisfaction derived from the Marketing Scales Handbook (1996).  The results are as follows:

 

QUESTION #1: GENERALLY SPEAKING I AM VERY SATISFIED WITH THIS JOB.

CASELOAD SIZE

DISAGREE

NEUTRAL

AGREE

0-30

12%

0%

88%

31-45

12%

0%

88%

46-60

17%

5%

78%

61+

38%

8%

54%

QUESTION #2: I FREQUENTLY THINK OF QUITTING THIS JOB.

CASELOAD SIZE

DISAGREE

NEUTRAL

AGREE

0-30

63%

19%

19%

31-45

52%

24%

24%

46-60

67%

0%

33%

61+

46%

8%

46%

QUESTION #3: I AM GENERALLY SATISFIED WITH THE KIND OF WORK I DO IN THIS JOB.

CASELOAD SIZE

DISAGREE

NEUTRAL

AGREE

0-30

6%

0%

94%

31-45

4%

0%

96%

46-60

12%

0%

88%

61+

38%

0%

62%

QUESTION #4: MOST PEOPLE ON THIS JOB ARE VERY SATISFIED WITH THE JOB.

CASELOAD SIZE

DISAGREE

NEUTRAL

AGREE

0-30

7%

13%

80%

31-45

24%

24%

52%

46-60

16%

21%

63%

61+

23%

8%

69%

 

QUESTION #5: PEOPLE ON THIS JOB OFTEN THINK OF QUITTING.

CASELOAD SIZE

DISAGREE

NEUTRAL

AGREE

0-30

44%

31%

25%

31-45

17%

30%

52%

46-60

28%

28%

44%

61+

23%

8%

69%

 

Positive Factors (from all respondents): 

1.     Co-workers (44)

2.     Students/Children (42)

3.     Making a positive difference to the students/children (28)

4.     Benefits/vacations/hours (20)

5.     Contact with parents (16)

6.     Supportive administration (13)

7.     Small caseload size (9)

 

Negative Factors (from all respondents):

1.     Paperwork (78)

2.     Lack of planning time (26)

3.     Large caseloads (23)

4.     Non-supportive administration (20)

5.     Lack of funding (18)

6.     Lack of parental involvement (14)

7.     Politics (9)

8.     Salary (8)


 

Discussion

v     Speech-language pathologists are satisfied with their job even if they have a large caseload.

v     Based on the data above, the larger the caseload size, the lower the job satisfaction.

v     Overall more satisfied than unsatisfied.

v     Paperwork is the number one determining factor in dissatisfaction with job.

 

 

REFERENCES

Fresko, B., Kfir, D., & Nasser, F.  (1997).  Predicting teacher commitment.  Teaching and Teacher Education, 4, 429-438.

 

Gorp, F. (Ed.).  (1996). Marketing Scales Handbook.  Chicago: American Marketing Association.

Miller, M.M. & Potter, R.E.  (1982).  Professional burnout among speech-language pathologists.  ASHA, 24, 177-181.

 

Perseus Survey Solutions for the web.  (1997).  Braintree, MA: Perseus Development Corporation.

 

Wisniewski, A.T. & Shewan, C.M.  (1987).  There is joy in Mudville career satisfaction.  ASHA, 20, pp. 30-31.