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Toolbox Editors' Note: The caseload analysis method from Quality Programs for the Visually Impaired (QPVI) was developed by Nancy Toelle and sponsored by the Texas Education Agency. For more information about the entire QPVI program, see the Resources Section of the Toolbox.

Excessive caseloads often contribute to feelings of ineffectiveness for VI professionals. If there is insufficient staff to meet the needs of all students, poor services are often the result. Without an objective view of caseloads, appropriate staffing is difficult. Examples of practices that result in inappropriate caseloads and staffing are: random allocation of students among staff members, the addition of students to caseloads without evaluating their impact on the caseload, the absence of supervisory participation in assigning students to caseloads, and ineffective scheduling. Another common practice is that of the teacher who fills a part-time VI position as well as another part-time position, but who is actually given the workload of a two full-time positions. Because of the many complex issues involved, the question of what constitutes an equitable caseload is not an easy one to answer. If no process is in place to guide this activity, the outcome is often unsatisfactory.

It is important to note where caseload analysis occurs during the course of the QP/VI Self-Study. A full caseload analysis is conducted as the seventh key component after many other aspects of the VI Program have been considered, discussed and decided upon. Consultants conducting the QP/VI process are frequently asked to address caseloads at the onset of the Self-Study, as caseload problems frequently exist. A cursory look at caseloads to detect any emergency situations is often helpful, but conducting a full fledged caseload analysis at the beginning of the Self-Study can be counter productive. To do the analysis prior to making preliminary program decisions would be to base the analysis on information that is subject to revision. A great deal of effort may be wasted with little benefit to the program.

VI Staff Caseload Analysis Materials

The following is a description of materials and suggestions for using them to analyze staff caseloads. These suggestions are intended to address those situations commonly found among VI Programs. The resulting data can be used to make staffing and other caseload allocation decisions.