Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Raising Achievement Test Scores of Early Elementary School Students through Comprehensive School Counseling Programs

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Raising Achievement Test Scores of Early Elementary School Students through Comprehensive School Counseling Programs

Article excerpt

While the trajectory of institutional change tends to be more gradual in American education, elementary and secondary schools have not been immune to the accelerating pace of societal evolution (e.g., socio-technological advances or changes in the family structure). Moreover, the publication of A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) and the subsequent passage of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (U.S. Congress, 1994), have further hastened the pace of school reorganization and reform already underway in various states. Genuine modifications, however, to the industrial model of schooling and traditional pedagogy are often times difficult to detect, especially in secondary buildings (Herr, 2002), and educational scholars and pundits remain unconvinced that American schools will ever truly remake themselves for the better (e.g., Kinsler & Gamble, 2001; McNeil, 2000).

During the past two or so decades, the school counseling profession has transitioned through a reorganizational process as well, with its traditional emphases yielding to a more broad-based structure of assisting schoolchildren and their caregivers (see Erford, House, & Martin, 2003; Gysbers, 2001; Gysbers & Henderson, 2000; MacDonald & Sink, 1999; Sink, 2002; Sink & MacDonald, 1998, for further discussions). Paralleling to some extent school reform, the comprehensive school counseling movement introduced a programmatic orientation to working with students and their caregivers (American School Counselor Association, 2003; Campbell & Dahir, 1997; Dahir, 2001; Dahir, Sheldon, & Valiga, 1998; Gysbers; Gysbers & Henderson).

In order for school reform to be deemed efficacious, student performances in a variety of areas must demonstrate real improvement. Similarly, leading scholars in the school counseling profession have argued that counselors must show student growth across these developmental domains: academic, career, and personal-social (e.g., Adelman & Taylor, 2002; Gysbers, 2001; Herr, 2002; House & Hayes, 2002; Paisley & Hayes, 2003). To realize this difficult goal, schools need to realign their counseling interventions and services within the context of a comprehensive school counseling program or CSCP (Gysbers & Henderson, 2001; Lehr & Sumarah, 2002; Sink, 2002).

Over the past decade or so, this programmatic approach to school counseling has emerged as the most commonly deployed organizational structure for the profession (Sink & MacDonald, 1998), endorsed strongly by national leaders in the field and the professional guild, the American School Counselor Association (e.g., ASCA, 1997, 1999, 2003; Campbell & Dahir, 1997; Cobia & Henderson, 2003; Dahir, 2001; Dahir et al., 1998; Erford et al. 2003; Gysbers & Henderson, 2000; Myrick, 2003b; Schwallie-Giddis, ter Maat, & Pak, 2003; Wittmer, 2000a, 2000b). With the recent publication of The American School Counselor Association National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs (ASCA, 2003) school counselors now possess a user-friendly blueprint to structure their work with students and their caregivers (Schwallie-Gaddis et al.).


In keeping with Lapan's (2001) recent recommendations for CSCP evaluation, Green and Keys (2001) and others (e.g., Adelman & Taylor, 2002; Gysbers & Henderson, 2000; Johnson & Johnson, 2003; Johnson & Whitfield, 1991; Myrick, 2003a; Schmidt, 2000) emphasized that school counseling programs (a) align their student targets with the goals of school reform, (b) use evidence-based best practices, and (c) report outcome-based data as way of ensuring accountability of their work with students and their caregivers.

Several prominent scholars in the school counseling profession have recommended that CSCPs should include results-based assessments, where school counseling program outcome data ought to be directly aimed at improving student learning (e. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.