Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Accountability: A M.E.A.S.U.R.E of the Impact School Counselors Have on Student Achievement

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Accountability: A M.E.A.S.U.R.E of the Impact School Counselors Have on Student Achievement

Article excerpt

All educators, including school counselors, must share accountability for student achievement. Accountability requires systematically collecting, analyzing, and using critical data elements to understand the current achievement story for students, and to begin to strategize, impact, and document how the school counseling program contributes toward supporting student success.

M.E.A.S.U.R.E. is a seven-step process that assists school counselors in delivering a data-driven school counseling program that supports the accountability component of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model (ASCA, 2003). M.E.A.S.U.R.E. is an acronym to for Mission, Elements, Analyze, Stakeholders, Unite, Reanalyze, and Educate that helps school counselors to connect to the Mission of their school; examine critical data Elements that are part of their schools' report cards; Analyze those critical data elements to see which elements their program can positively impact; identify internal and external Stakeholders who can collaborate to impact the data; Unite with these stakeholders to form partnerships and assign strategies; and Reanalyze to determine which strategies should be replicated, redesigned or discarded. Finally, school counselors present their successes and Educate a wide audience as to how their program contributed toward moving critical data elements.

M.E.A.S.U.R.E. supports school counselors in their efforts to garner more support for their programs and to widen their sphere of influence in helping all students be successful learners. With an accountable, data-driven school counseling program, school counselors are seen as powerful partners and collaborators in school improvement and central to the mission of schools.

   Our school improvement plan emphasizes
   improving opportunities for our students after
   they finish high school. The school counselors
   of this district work very hard, but tallying the
   number of counseling sessions and classroom
   presentations doesn't give me what I need to
   show how school counselors are contributing
   to both our building's and district's academic
   success goals. Promotion rates are down and
   have seriously impacted the choices our students
   have for education after graduation.
   Where is the data to show that school counseling
   efforts have made a difference in helping
   our students achieve academically?

      (School board member discussing fiscal
   concerns and how to balance the budget.)

ACCOUNTABILITY: EVERY SCHOOL COUNSELOR'S CHALLENGE

Accountability governs 21st century school buildings and systems. Principals and teachers work in an accountability-driven environment. The 21st century approach for working in schools and standards-based reform have dramatically changed the way every educators works in schools to improve student performance. Historically, school counselors have not been held to the same accountability standards as other educators and were rarely included in school and district conversations as to their contributions to school improvement. Challenges such as these are reminders for all educators, especially school counselors, to rethink their traditional methods of demonstrating accountability. When school counselors operate around the premise that they are key players in the academic success story for students, then school counseling programs are viewed as integral to student achievement. School counselors can fully participate in all aspects of the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). Sharing accountability for student success is a driving force for transforming and/or re-framing the work of school counselors across the nation.

School counselors traditionally have offered time-on-task data or a numerical summary of the different types of activities delivered as a means to assess and evaluate the impact of a school counseling program. Presenting the numbers of students seen individually, in groups, or in classrooms is no longer enough. …

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