How to Calculate Caseload/Workload
It’s that time of year again. Some of you are already back at school, some have just begun again, some have just a small and waning bit of time left. Wherever you are, you may be thinking, “This year, I’m going to be even more organized!” No one has to tell you that a speech-language pathologist’s (SLP’s) job is full of schedule-juggling complexity—you live it every day.
Maintaining order in your work life is no small task as you plan to support all the students on your caseload as well as perhaps some students in an RTI process. In addition, you collaborate with other professionals in your school and you influence larger school-wide processes that affect your work. As you dive into this school year, don’t forget about a little assessment tool that may help you analyze and then communicate where your weeks (may) go—the Caseload/Workload Calculator.
Here are few examples of ways you could use this handy calculator:
- List by individual student: Enter each student in a separate row on your caseload and estimate how much time, based on IEP details and other needs for this student, you’ll need per time frame (e.g., day/week/month). You can use a summary of ASHA’s Workload Activity Clusters on the linked worksheet for an easier time classifying your work. Don’t forget to print out a copy for your supervisor and/or administrator!
- List by group or classroom of students: Enter student groups as you plan to see them in a resource room or in-class time. Account for your time with each group as well as other planning necessary (also using the Workload Activity Clusters worksheet). The more students you see in groups, the more advantageous this strategy might be—you’ll get a better estimation of your work week.
- List by your work requirements: There are always obligations in any setting that don’t appear anywhere in print. This is a little bit of a “stretched” use for the calculator, but it will work the same way. Create a row for each major requirement. If you don’t know how much time you spend on each activity, track it for one week—you may be surprised! For example, you might make a list that includes efforts like these:
- Treatment services
- Assessment services
- RTI committee
- Collaborative research with local university (e.g., clinical trial)
- Duty time (e.g., lunchroom, recess, bus)
- IEP meetings
- SLP team meetings
- Collaborative prep
- Individual prep
- Student Life committee
- Medicare/Medicaid paperwork
- IEP paperwork
The caseload/workload model has been part of our vocabulary in the professions for a number of years now. Sometimes the assessment topics we collectively discuss aren’t always about assessing our students, but are about assessing ourselves and the way we approach and execute our work for the benefit of those students. Both are important!
One of the best ways to get organized is to have quick and easy tools and strategies to help you assess all the work you currently have to do. The Caseload/Workload Calculator is one such tool. You can compare your work to your time and get creative about letting some things go, if possible, or come up with brand new ways to get things done. As so many other things are, it’s a balance of art and science.
Put your best foot forward this school year with a quick assessment of your caseload/workload—and then dive in to help those students we serve. Best wishes on your year!