Secondary School Counselors Report a Striking Gap between Ideals and School Realities

In 2011, the College Board National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA) conducted a national survey with a representative sample of 1,327 middle school counselors and 3,981 high school counselors to learn how they view their missions and roles and how they spend their days. The survey findings were recently discussed at the NOSCA fifth annual conference, held April 13-14 in Washington, DC.

Survey results showed that eight in 10 counselors believe that it is a top mission of the school to ensure that all students complete the 12th grade ready to succeed in college and career. This was observed across all regions of the United States; types of schools; socio-demographic characteristics of the students in the represented schools; number of students in the counselors’ case load; and school college attendance rates. However, only 30% of the entire survey sample, and 19% of the counselors working in high poverty schools reported that it is actually the mission in their school.

School counselors unanimously agreed that they should exercise leadership in advocating for students’ access to rigorous academic preparation, as well as for college and career-readiness counseling. NOSCA conference participants responded positively to the survey findings, although as one participant said, “until we completely define the role of the school counselor, we are going to continue to have obstacles.” Survey findings showed that across the nation, school counselors would like to spend more time on career counseling, academic planning, student mental health issues, and building a college-going culture.  

Guest Author: Dr. Yael Kidron is the Research Team Leader for the National High School Center and a Senior Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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