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Elementary School Counselors' Attitudes about Interventions Related to Counseling Children Retained in Grade

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022497/00001

Material Information

Title: Elementary School Counselors' Attitudes about Interventions Related to Counseling Children Retained in Grade
Physical Description: 1 online resource (101 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Leibach, Tracy
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: at, children, counseling, grade, low, performing, retain, retention, risk, students
Counselor Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Counseling and Guidance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify elementary school counselors' attitudes relative to addressing the academic, personal/social and behavioral developments of students involved in the retention process. A review of the literature revealed that although there is research that offers recommendations for enhancing student success in school in general, specific literature for counseling students retained in grade is extremely rare. Therefore, determined in this study were elementary school counselors? attitudes about the importance and frequency of use of interventions they use to counsel students retained in grade. Four hundred and one elementary school counselors participated in and provided data for the study. Respondents represented a distinct group of credentialed and employed elementary school counselors who maintained a professional membership with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) during the 2007?2008 school year. Means and standard deviations of survey item ratings were calculated and analyzed. The findings of this study included ordered lists of item importance and frequency of use. Correlations between importance and frequency ratings also were computed for each counseling intervention (i.e., item). Finally, a post hoc multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed no significant differences among the importance and frequency item means for gender, race/ethnicity, school setting, number of students served or number of school counselors employed by school.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Tracy Leibach.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Loesch, Larry C.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022497:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022497/00001

Material Information

Title: Elementary School Counselors' Attitudes about Interventions Related to Counseling Children Retained in Grade
Physical Description: 1 online resource (101 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Leibach, Tracy
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: at, children, counseling, grade, low, performing, retain, retention, risk, students
Counselor Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Counseling and Guidance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify elementary school counselors' attitudes relative to addressing the academic, personal/social and behavioral developments of students involved in the retention process. A review of the literature revealed that although there is research that offers recommendations for enhancing student success in school in general, specific literature for counseling students retained in grade is extremely rare. Therefore, determined in this study were elementary school counselors? attitudes about the importance and frequency of use of interventions they use to counsel students retained in grade. Four hundred and one elementary school counselors participated in and provided data for the study. Respondents represented a distinct group of credentialed and employed elementary school counselors who maintained a professional membership with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) during the 2007?2008 school year. Means and standard deviations of survey item ratings were calculated and analyzed. The findings of this study included ordered lists of item importance and frequency of use. Correlations between importance and frequency ratings also were computed for each counseling intervention (i.e., item). Finally, a post hoc multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed no significant differences among the importance and frequency item means for gender, race/ethnicity, school setting, number of students served or number of school counselors employed by school.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Tracy Leibach.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Loesch, Larry C.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022497:00001


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1 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELORS AT TITUDES ABOUT INTERVENTIONS RELATED TO COUNSELING CHILDR EN RETAINED IN GRADE By TRACY LEIBACH A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Tracy Leibach

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3 To my family

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people have contributed to m y educat ional background, each shaping the counselor and researcher I have become. I would like to si ncerely thank Dr. Larry C. Loesch for serving as supervising chair of my doctora l committee. He has provided me endless guidance, patience and support throughout the process of earning my degree and has been a leader and role model for me. Special thanks are also extended to Drs. Mary Ann Clark, Sondra Smith-Adcock and Elizabeth Bondy for their kind encouragement thr oughout this learning process. Each of them supported my scholarship and development in becoming a counselor educator. I also extend my gratitude to the guidance supervisor, administrators, faculty and staff of Glen Springs Elementary for offering me the oppor tunity to work as a school counselor and for inspiring my work as a researcher and counselor It was their support and encouragement that allowed me to pursue this goal. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, family and friends who supported my decision to return to school. From very early on my pare nts shared with me the value of education. The encouragement of my family has inspired me to reach for higher educational goals. I am especially grateful for my loving husband and da ughter who have provided great balance in my life and have taught me how to maintain a good se nse of humor and appreciation for lifes little details.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................11 Scope.......................................................................................................................................14 Theoretical Framework.......................................................................................................... .15 Statement of the Problem....................................................................................................... .16 Need for the Study..................................................................................................................17 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... ....18 Rationale for the Methodology...............................................................................................18 Methodological Limitations.................................................................................................... 19 Research Questions............................................................................................................. ....20 Definition of Terms................................................................................................................21 Overview of the Remainder of the Study............................................................................... 22 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE.............................................................................. 23 History of Grade Retention Policy......................................................................................... 23 Prevalence...............................................................................................................................27 Arguments for Retention........................................................................................................ 27 Arguments Against Retention.................................................................................................30 Support for Counseling Children Retained in Grade.............................................................. 33 Theoretical Framework.......................................................................................................... .35 Rationale for the Study........................................................................................................ ...38 Support for Survey Research Methodology...........................................................................41 Survey Item Generation......................................................................................................... .43 Summary of the Related Literature......................................................................................... 48 3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................. 50 Relevant Variables..................................................................................................................50 Population..................................................................................................................... ..........51 Sampling Procedures..............................................................................................................52 Resultant Sample....................................................................................................................52 Survey Development..............................................................................................................53 Research Procedures............................................................................................................ ...54

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6 Measurement Procedures........................................................................................................ 55 Data Analyses.........................................................................................................................55 Methodological Limitations.................................................................................................... 56 4 RESULTS...............................................................................................................................58 Respondent Demographics..................................................................................................... 58 Response Profile.....................................................................................................................59 Post Hoc Analyses.............................................................................................................. ....64 5 DISCUSSION.........................................................................................................................66 Generalizability Limitations................................................................................................... 67 Post Hoc Analyses.............................................................................................................. ....67 Research Questions............................................................................................................. ....68 Implications and Recommendations.......................................................................................72 Summary.................................................................................................................................75 APPENDIX A PRE-NOTICE LETTER......................................................................................................... 76 B COVER LETTER...................................................................................................................77 C INFORMED CONSENT........................................................................................................79 D FIRST FOLLOW-UP LETTER.............................................................................................80 E SECOND FOLLOW-UP LETTER........................................................................................ 81 F THANK YOU LETTER.........................................................................................................82 G IRB SUBMISSION................................................................................................................ 83 H SURVEY................................................................................................................................85 REFERENCES..............................................................................................................................96 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................101

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 Mean effect sizes from meta-analyses th at investigated the results of studies exam ining the effects of grade retention............................................................................ 312 Supporting reference for survey items............................................................................... 464 Respondents demographic characteristics........................................................................ 594 Respondents ratings of importance ordered by response item means.............................. 604 Respondents ratings of utilization ordered by response item means................................ 624 Coefficient alpha reliabilities............................................................................................ .634 Correlations between importa nce and frequency ratings by intervention ordered from lowest to highest correlation..............................................................................................634 Multivariate analysis of variance for comp arison of item mean ratings of importance based on gender, race/ethnicity, school set ting, number of students served or number of counselors employed by school..................................................................................... 654 Multivariate analysis of variance for comp arison of item mean ratings of utilization based on gender, race/ethnicity, school set ting, number of students served or number of counselors employed by school..................................................................................... 65

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 How actions influence attitude........................................................................................... 382 The influence of outside effects on behavior and attitude................................................. 38

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9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELORS AT TITUDES ABOUT INTERVENTIONS RELATED TO COUNSELING CHILDR EN RETAINED IN GRADE By Tracy Leibach August 2008 Chair: Larry C. Loesch Major: School Counseling and Guidance The purpose of this study was to identify elementary school counselors attitudes relative to addressing the academic, personal/social and be havioral developments of students involved in the retention process. A review of the literature rev ealed that although there is research that offers recommendations for enhancing student success in school in general, specific literature for counseling students retained in grad e is extremely rare. Therefore, determined in this study were elementary school counselors attitudes about the importance and frequency of use of interventions they use to counsel students retained in grade. Four hundred and one elementary school counselors participated in and provided data for the study. Respondents represented a distinct group of credentialed and employed elementary school counselors who maintained a professional membership with the American Sc hool Counselor Associat ion (ASCA) during the 2007 school year. Means and standard deviations of survey ite m ratings were calculated and analyzed. The findings of this study included ordered lists of item importance and frequency of use. Correlations between importance an d frequency ratings also were computed for each counseling intervention (i.e., item). Finally, a post hoc multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed no significant differences among the im portance and frequency item means for gender,

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10 race/ethnicity, school setting, number of stude nts served or number of school counselors employed by school.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The waters are roiling in my elem entary school today and the conditions are unpredictable. As I encounter my twohundredthsomething student, I am faced with a day I could have never anticipateda day where I would be completing a suicide lethality assessment for a third grade retainee, desperate for my assistance. As an elementary school guidance counselor, for the first time in my career I am concerned about mandato ry grade retention: a reality that many youngsters face today. Author Grade retention is both an educational policy and a practice issue th at has been debated extensively among professional e ducators, politicians, and th e general public (Alexander, Entwisle, & Dauber, 2003). At the heart of the issue is a question: is it be tter to retain lowperforming students or to socially promote them so they can stay with their age-mates? Advocates of grade retention suggest it allows children who are falling behind and performing poorly academically to catch up developmentall y and socially (e.g., Alexander et al., 2003). Proponents of grade retention suggest that it allows students to pr ogress academically at a pace appropriate for their ability level, thus enhanc ing the possibility for academic success eventually. Conversely, opponents argue that retention is a message that says the student is a failure and unable to handle the curriculum in which his/her age-mates are successful. They suggest that grade retention sends a discouraging message to students who may already lack confidence in their school abilities, thus decreasing the stud ents chances for eventual academic success (e.g., Holmes, 1989; Newman, 2003; Shepard & Smith, 1990). However, regardless of whether struggling students are retained in grade or socially promoted, it is obvious that students retained

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12 in grade (retainees) need academic, social/emotiona l, and behavioral support. Therefore, how school counselors meet those needs warrants thoughtful and car eful investigation. Students retained in grade may be at-risk fo r future, presumably more serious academic and personal difficulties. For example, shown in the pertinent research is that being retained in grade is linked to dropping out of school (R oderick, 1994). Although Al exander et al. (2003) suggested that there are many va riables that might contribute to a students drop-out potential such as socioeconomic level, family structure, maternal age/employme nt status, and family stress, the Youth in Transition Study reported that, one grade rete ntion increases the risk of dropping out [of school] by 40 to 50 percent and be ing two grades behind increases the risk by 90 percent (p. 733). Hauser ( 1999) approximated that 15 to 20 pe rcent of students in the United States had been retained one or more times during their school career. He asserted that these percentages are significantly hi gher for poor and racial/ethnic minority students, for example, approximately 50 percent of Hispanic and African-American child ren are below their corresponding age-mates grade le vel by the time they reach ages 15 to 17 (Hauser, 1999). The implications for student dropout are significant because many dropouts are at increased risk for incarceration and/or dependence on social serv ices and unemployment or low paying jobs (Christenson, Sinclair, Thurlow, & Evelo, 1995). Mani festations of these risk s are costly to both the individual students and to society at large. Because of the issues surrounding grade retent ion, school administrators and educational policy makers, among others, are beginning to recons ider pupil progression plans to ensure that alternative learning strategies are given t horough consideration for students who are falling behind (e.g., Florida Department of Education [FDOE], 2000; Texas Legislature, 2006). In particular, development of appropriate interven tion programs can help students improve their

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13 academic performance and impact their psycholo gical well-being and behavior (e.g., Brigman & Webb, 2004; Campbell & Bowman, 1993). School couns elors can and should be involved in the development and implementation of appropriate interventions for stude nts who are struggling academically because a school counselor is in a unique position to facilitate student growth in academic, career and personal/social development (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2005). Thus, the interventions that sc hool counselors provide could, and should, help reduce dropout rates and improve the quality of lives of student s who are struggling academically and, ultimately, society. There is substantial research and literature surrounding the debate about grade retention, i.e., about social promotion ve rsus retention in grade (e.g., Al exander et al., 2003). Yet, apparently educators, including sc hool counselors, do not always utilize alternative, presumably effective, practices to enhan ce the learning environment for st ruggling students (e.g., Jimerson & Kaufman, 2003). Interestingly, recen t legislation has urged school ad ministrators to reform their practices. However, even these admonitions become confounded because children can be retained more than once (FDOE, 2000; Texas Legi slature, 2006). A comprehensive solution is needed. And although school counselors should be involved in developing such a solution, there is a dearth of literature about how school counselors can or should participate in developing alternative plans for students. Examination of strategies that school counselors utilize with grade retainees should lead to a better understanding of the issues surrounding grad e retention as well as of appropriate ways to address them. With such understanding, admini strators and teachers could incorporate school counselors services within intervention plans designed specifically for struggling learners. Thereafter, educational policy-makers could consid er the psychological imp act of grade retention

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14 and thus assist school districts to meet the acad emic and social/emotional needs of the struggling students. Scope Hol mes (2006), who estimated that 15 to 20% of schoolchildren are reta ined in grade each school year in the United States, compared that rate to the annual retention rates of Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom. He found that thos e countries had a 0% retention rate (UNESCO 2003/4, ci ted in Holmes, 2006). However, he also indicated that retention rates in undeveloped countries (e.g., Rwanda, Togo, Congo, and Chad) exceeded the United States retention rate. Interestingly, in Florida, the states A+ Accountability Plan mandates retention for children in third grade w ho are not reading on grad e level as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Noteworthy is that the first year of this new plan resulted in a retention rate incr ease of over 28% (FLDOE, 2006). Therefore, apparently, high FCAT score-acco untability for teachers and students has contributed to rising retention rates in Florida. Holmes (2006) caution ed that, one danger of the high retention rates is that large gains in district-wide test scores sometimes are obtained, [which encourages] many individuals to believe wrongly that the [g rade retention] policy has been successful (Owens & Ranick, 1977, cited in Holmes, 2006). Unfortunately, regardless of the presumed educational benefits, there seems to be little evidence that childrens personal/social and other education-related needs are be ing met effectively by responses such as Floridas A+ Accountability Plan. Consequently, if children s social/emotional and behavioral needs are not addressed, they cannot perform at a leve l at which optimal learning occurs.

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15 Theoretical Framework Researchers often assess attitudes to determin e potential solutions to complex problems. For example, Creswell (2007) recommended the use of surveys to describe individuals opinions, behaviors or attitudes of a part icular population regarding a speci fic topic. Information thus obtained can be useful for research ers to describe trends about a pa rticular topic within a targeted population. According to Myers (2006), attitude development is the result of the beliefs and feelings that affect an individuals behavior as s/he interact s with people or events. Although expressed attitude and behavior are subject to outside influences (e.g., social desirability), attitudes and actions generate one another (Myers, 2006, p. 131). Therefore, expressed attitude can be (and usually is) a good pred ictor of behavior when (a) out side influences on attitudinal statements are minimized, (b) individuals are pr ompted to consider their behavior(s) before acting, and (c) the expressed attitude is specifica lly related to the obser ved behavior(s) (Myers, 2006). One way to determine the attitudes about addressing the unique needs of students retained in grade is to survey elementary school counsel ors about how to help children retained in grade. For example, questioning elementary school counselors attitudes about how retainees should be helped should enable elementary schoo l counselors, administrators, policy makers, and other educators to use the resu lts to inform decisions about their respectiv e practices. The research methodology used in this study was based in an objectivist perspective, and is grounded by positivism. This epistemology assumes that knowledge is acquired through experimentation and direct observation, which can be observed and measured quantitatively. Therefore, using survey methodology, attitudes about school counseling practices for working with students involved in a reten tion process were investigated.

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16 Statement of the Problem The overall problem to be addressed in this study is that elementary school counselor attitudes about interventions rela ted to counseling students retain ed in grade are unknown. More specifically, their attitudes a bout the importance and frequency of use of academic, personal/social, and behavioral interventions related to counse ling grade retainees are unknown. Also unknown are the levels of agreement among elementary school counselors attitudes about working with students retained in grade. And finally, unknown are the extents to which elementary school counselors attitudes about work ing with retainees vary as functions of some of their personal characteristic s and/or characteristics of th eir employment situations. Jimerson (2003) presented three meta-analyses that demonstrated both the academic and socio-emotional affects of grade retention. Ho wever, although Jimerson (2003) suggested that school-based mental health programs are prom ising interventions for promoting social and emotional competence (p. 630), there is a lack of research that addresses the specific counseling interventions appropriate for student s retained in grade. Further, when prescribing interventions for students retained in grade, most authors/re searchers have focused strictly on the academic needs of the student (e.g., Bowman, 2005; Holm es, 2006; Walters & Borgers, 1995). However, by surveying elementary school counselors attitudes about how best to work with retainees, a valuable perspective for addressing the specific needs of students reta ined in grade may be gained. For example, the interventions elemen tary school counselors consider important in addressing the academic, personal, social, emotional and behavioral needs of the students can be determined. Further, gathering importance and frequency of use ratings of specific counseling interventions would enable elementary school co unselors to understand fu rther the unique needs of students retained in grade. Consequently, those needs can be addressed more successfully through the interventions used by school counsel ors when they work with this population.

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17 Although school counselors intentio ns always are to help studen ts, the resources available to them often limit their practice. Therefore, by understanding an interventions importance and comparing it to the degree to which school counselors utilize the intervention, a general understanding of the limitations of school counselors resources as well as the va lue they place on each specific intervention in meeting the uni que needs of retainees can be determined. Thereafter, derived from the relative cons ensus reached among school counselors about important counseling interventions for students reta ined in grade, administrators, educators, and policy makers should be able to make info rmed decisions about including or excluding personal/social and behavioral interventions for students retained in grade in their respective policies/practices. Need for the Study Knowledge of professionals attitudes about counseling students retained in grade has im plications for theory, research, training a nd practice of school couns eling as well as the development of educational pol icies pertaining to interventions prescribed for students experiencing learning difficulties. For example, combined with data on impact the knowledge can be used to identify and recommend highly endorsed practices. Further, the level of endorsement found can qualify the degrees of endorsement or discouragement. Once data on intervention impact are collected there are also associated im plications for school counselor preparation. For example, highly endorsed prac tices could be included in school counseling, teaching/learning, and educational leadership program curricula, whil e those practices not receiving endorsement could be withheld. Finally, knowledge of prof essionals attitudes about c ounseling students involved in retention processes has implicati ons for research. For example, although relative agreement may lead to increased use for a practice, future rese arch would be needed to evaluate the success of

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18 the practice when applied. Future research al so might address familial and societal issues contributing to the situations in which student s retained in grade find themselves, therefore influencing preventative measures that educat ors can use to encourage a positive learning environment for all students. Of course, if agreement is not found for elementary school counseling practices for retainees, future research should exam ine both alternative recommendations for elementary school counsel ing practice and sources inhibiting agreement among elementary school counselors. Purpose of the Study The primary purpose of this study was to a ssess elementary school counselors attitudes about the importance and frequenc y of use of interventions us ed to address the academic, personal/social and behavioral developments of st udents involved in the re tention process. More specifically, relative levels of potential importance and frequency of use fo r the various practices presented were determined based on respondents at titudes. Differences in the respective levels of beliefs about potential importance, and fr equency of use based on selected respondent characteristics of gender, race/eth nicity, and school type were inve stigated. Finally, relationships among levels of potential importance/frequency of use and school size and number of school counselors employed in the school were determined. Rationale for the Methodology A wide variety of methods could be used to investigate elementary school counselors attitudes about counseling students in the retent ion process, including methodologies such as use of focus groups, mailed surveys, personal interviews, and telephone interviews, among other possibilities. The methodology us ed in this study was a web-ba sed, nationwide survey that assessed elementary school counsel ors beliefs about counseling pr actices for students retained in grade. Participants were selected through use of the ASCA Membership Directory & Resource

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19 Guide, which published voluntary information provided by the members. The participants were asked to rate counseling interventions (items) on a Likert-type scale according to their perceived importance and degree of utilization. Particip ants responded to three open-ended questions regarding counseling elementary students reta ined in grade and completed a demographic questionnaire. Methodological Limitations There are a few lim itations to this methodology. For example, self-administered, webbased surveys have potential for difficulties cau sed by technological incompatibilities. In addition, there may be problems associated with extent of coverage, sampling, and nonresponding (Creswell, 2005). Effort was made to reduce coverage and sampling error by selecting a large sample of individuals who met predetermined criteria based on their history of involvement in the school counseling profession from among a comprehensive list of practicing school counselors. Nonresponse error was anticipa ted for this study, so every attempt was made to utilize rigorous administration procedures to encourage a large return rate for the survey (e.g., those proposed by Dillman, 2007). Finally, because the survey items were created by the researcher, effort was made to provide clear and conc ise questions and response options based on existing professional literature and focus group f eedback in order to reduce outside influences that tend to affect expressed attit ude as well as measurement error. Overall, however, this methodology had the pr imary advantage of utilizing a relatively simple format that is familiar to most responden ts that would provide a wealth of information. Further, as opposed to mail surveys, a web-base d survey allowed for relatively quick turnaround time for implementation, automated data entry and complex graphics, and deta iled instructions to ensure a user-friendly survey.

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20 Also at issue in this methodology was whos e attitudes should be investigated, and a variety of professionals could ha ve been included. For example, presumably counselor educators should have good knowledge of school counseling pract ices and research rela ted to them. Thus, they could have provided valuable perspective. Similarly, polling actual st udents involved in the retention process, or their parents, or even their teachers might have offered insight into consumer perspectives about what is needed and/or should be done. However, because school counselors are the ones who actually implement the endorsed practices and who have direct experience in counseling children involved in th e retention process, focusing on them was an essential first step for improvement of elementary school counseling practice. Another important consideration was the sour ce of the practices presented for evaluation by the respondents. Again, several sources we re possible, including pr actices identified in journal articles, presented during professional fo rums, and/or listed in various school counselor role and function statements. However, a specif ic literature review was used to identify potentially appropriate practices because prior research often demonstrates practices proven effective (or ineffective) for similar populations (e.g., students at-risk of school failure). The final survey design was reviewed by members of a pilot study because obtaining feedback from professionals in the field of sc hool counseling is important for th e validation of the instrument. Research Questions The following research questions were addressed in this study: What is the level of agreement among elemen tary school counselors in their ratings of importance of school counseling interventions intended to benefit students involved in the retention process? What is the level of agreement among elementary school counselors in their frequency of use of counseling interventions intended to benefit students invol ved in the retention process?

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21 To what extent are school characteristics a ssociated with elementary school counselors utilization of the respective potential interventions? To what extent are selected characteristics of the respondents associated with their ratings of potential effectiveness, impor tance, and frequency of use of potential elementary school counseling practices for stude nts retained in grade? Definition of Terms The following definitions are us ed throughout this dissertation. ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT (AD). Encompasses school counseling interventions intended to help students attain the skills, attitudes, and kno wledge that support effective learning in school and across the lifespan (ASCA, 2005). AMERICAN SCHOOL COUNSELOR ASSOCIATION. A nonprofit organization founded in 1952. It offers over 20,000 members professional deve lopment opportunities, re search, publications and advocacy services internati onally. ACSA supports school counselors' efforts to help students focus on academic, personal/social and caree r development so they achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society (ASCA, 2007, p.1). BEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT (BD). Encompasses school coun seling interventions intended to help students understand how the interpersonal skills, attitudes, and kno wledge are influenced by environmental surroundings (ASCA, 2005). DROPPING OUT.The process of withdrawing from school after a student reaches the legal age to do so. GENDER. Respondent self-reported desi gnation as male or female. PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELOR. An individual who has received at least a masters degree in counseling, or the equivalent, and meets th e credentialing criteria for school (guidance) counselors as defined by the state in which the school counselor resides. NUMBER OF SCHOOL COUNSELORS IN THE SCHOOL. Respondent self-reported indication of the total number of school couns elors practicing in the school within which the counselor is employed. PERSONAL/SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (PSD) Involves school counseling interventions intended to enable students to attain interpersona l skills, attitudes and knowledge that contribute to understanding and respect se lf and others (ASCA, 2005). RACE. Respondent self-reported designation of the race/ethnicity with which the participant identifies (i.e., Ameri can Indian or Alaskan Native, As ian or Pacific Islander, Black, White, Hispanic or Multiracial).

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22 RETENTION. The educational practice of retaining st udents in their current grade level when they have not satisfied the academic and performance standards required to move to the next grade (USDOE, 1999). SCHOOL SIZE. Respondent self-reported designati on of the total number of students enrolled in the school in which the participant wo rks at the time of the survey administration. SCHOOL TYPE. Respondent self-reported designation of urban, suburban or rural school location. SOCIAL PROMOTION. The educational practice of passing students to the next grade level even though they have not satisfied grade leve l academic and performance standards to warrant progression (USDOE, 1999). SURVEY RESEARCH DESIGN. Quantitative research procedures used to determine trends in characteristics, behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, or attitudes regarding a particular issue among a targeted population (Creswell, 2005). YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AS A SCHOOL COUNSELOR. Respondent self-reported designation of the total number of years em ployed as a school counselor. Overview of the Remainder of the Study An introduction to the study has been presente d in Chapter 1. A review of the related literature is provided in Chapte r 2 and the methodology and analyses are presented in Chapter 3. The study results are presented in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, a summary, discussion, implications, and recommendations for the research are provided.

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23 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE A review of the litera ture relevant to this study is presen ted in this chapte r, and includes information about the history, prevalence and imp act of retaining children in grade in general and the psycho-educational effect s of nonpromotion in particular. In addition, theoretical bases for survey research methodology and for social /emotional development as it relates to pupil progression are presented. History of Grade Retention Policy According to Owings and Kaplan (2001), teac hers in the United States began grouping students by relative academic achievement in the 1860s. Students were grouped according to age and achievement (grades), and progressed to the next grade level once they mastered predetermined content for their current grade level. Academic progress information was recorded in narrative form on a re port card. Such practices eventu ally evolved into a promotion policy. In the early 1900s, it became difficult for edu cators to define curriculum mastery and, in turn, promotion criteria became more difficult to determine. In response, the New York City School System examined the issue, and an age-grade progress study was implemented to determine retention, promotion, and dropout ra tes (Maxwell, 1904, cited in Owings & Kaplan, 2001). Grade retention then was used to enc ourage underachieving students to improve their academic skills. However, the negative effects of retention often outweighed the positive effects. Further, other studies in the early 1900s (e.g., Thorndike, 1908, cited in Owings & Kaplan, 2001) determined that grade retention was associated wi th elimination, a term then used as dropout is today. Midway through the 20th century, the need to preven t students from dropping out of

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24 school became evident when research demonstrated a direct association between grade retention and student dropout likelihood (Owings & Kaplan, 2001). In the 1960s and 1970s, social promotion (i.e., al lowing students to move to the next grade level regardless of academic achievement in the cu rrent grade level) was popularized in hope that promoting underachieving students with their peers to the next grad e would benefit them socially and psychologically, and allow them to catch up academically. However, in the 1980s the promotion-decision pendulum swung back toward re tention, and social promo tion lost its appeal. Owings and Kaplan (2001) reasoned that this swing resulted fr om public loss of confidence in schools because the public saw increasing levels of violence, poor teacher performance, and low student achievement. A Nation at Risk (1983), a report compiled by the (U.S.) National Commission on Excellence in Education, generally is considered to have resulted in schools implementation of strict promotion and retention policies despite the lack of evidence supporting the practice of grade retention. This trend en couraged schools to set strict standards for promotion for students, and also for teachers. However, even though retention was supposed to be a solution, it became problematic again because the academic gains were short-lived (Bowman, 2005). More recently, resurgence of interest in retention has been kindled by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act. It was enacted to close the achievement gap by offering students learning flexibility, providing parents educational options and teaching students based on research-based best practices (USDOE, 2004). Importantly, th e NCLB laid the groundwork for, and indeed required, states to reevaluate thei r state educational accountability plans. For example, the state of Texas increased and more strictly delin eated its accountability practices through its House Bill 136, which stated that a student co uld not be promoted to the four th, sixth, or nint h grades unless

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25 s/he performed satisfactorily on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) (Texas Legislature, 2006). However, if a student failed to meet promotion criteria, the schools grade placement committee could promote the child if they concluded that with accelerated instruction. .the student is lik ely to perform at grade level (e.g., there was evidence to support the students promotion via alternative assessment, such as portfolios, work samples, or other diagnostic tools) (Texas Legislature, 2006, p. 1). The State of Florida also implemented a grad e retention policy as a way to meet federal accountability requirements. The NCLB supports a nd is reflected in key elements of Floridas A+ Plan of state accountability. The A+ Plan, approved by the Florida legislature in 1999, was developed to ensure that each student should gain a years worth of knowledge in a years time and that no student will be left behind (Governors Office, 2000, p. 2). This plan suggested that all children, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or special needs should show adequate yearly progress as tracked by the value added system that monitors individual students progress as measured by statewide assessments (Governors Office, 2000). The plan also highlighted educators account ability, educational choices fo r parents, resource allocation, rewards for improvement, and curriculum change for poor performing students. Currently, the Florida plan enforces mandatory retention for childre n in third grade who are not reading on grade level as measured by the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Noteworthy is that th e first year under this new plan resulted in retention rates increasing over 28% (FLDOE, 2006). Subsequentl y, this increase in rate of retention yielded large test score gains in some di stricts, which encouraged individua ls to incorrectly assume that the policy was successful (Holmes, 2006). Unfortunately, success was measured in purely an academic sense and did not account for students social/emotional and/or behavioral needs in

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26 the plan. It is difficult for a st udent to perform at an optimal l earning level if his/her basic (i.e., social/emotional and behavioral) needs have not been met (Maslow, 1943). Therefore, it became school counselors and teachers re sponsibility, in conjunction with students and their parents, to address the childs social and emotional needs in order to allow the child to be successful in school both academically and socially/emotionally. What implications do the state and national ma ndates have at the lo cal school level? Recently, Florida school districts modified their pupil progression plans to comply with the new state statutes. Florida school dist ricts are examining schools at the local level to insure that all are implementing the state mandate that requires all schools to develop academic improvement plans for all students who do not perform at grad e level as measured by statewide standardized assessments. Teachers are required to meet with parents of students who have specific academic improvement plans at least three times during the school year to discuss the childs progress and to brainstorm strategies to be implemented at school and home. Parents are informed early in the school year whether th eir child is being considered for retention. In Floridas elementary schools, teachers of Head Start, ki ndergarten, first, second, fourth, and fifth grade students have more flexibility than do third grade teachers in regard to student retention in grade. According to the current Fl orida statute, Head Start, kindergarten, first, second, fourth and fifth grade teachers may request that a child be promoted for good cause based on the childs classroom performance rega rdless of her/his performance on the statewide assessment. However, if the childs reading deficiency has not improved by third grade, a teacher must retain the child unless promotion for good cause is justified (e.g., classroom performance, observations, tests, district and st ate assessments, and other pertinent information) (FDOE, 2004).

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27 Prevalence It is difficult to estim ate the number of st udents who have been retained or socially promoted because of variations in state policies/practices and reporting. Rates of retention and reporting methods are inconsistent, making infere nces for national data near impossible. However, inferences can be made based on specifi c state non-promotion rates. For example, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) 2006 Statistical Brief reported that for the 2002 academic (school) year, over 208,000 students were retained across grades K. Further, over 936,000 children have been retained in grade in Florida since 2000 (FDOE, 2006). Similarly, in Texas, the Comprehensive Annual Report on Texas Public Schools (2001) indicated that over 171,000 students (approximately 4%) were retained in the 1999 school year. Hauser (1999) approximated that 15 to 20 percent of studen ts in the United States have been retained one or more times during their school career. He also asserted that these percentages are significantly higher for (financiall y) poor and racial/ethnic minor ity students. For example, approximately 50 percent of Hispanic and Africa n-American children are below their grade level by ages 15 to 17 (Hauser, 1999). Arguments for Retention Studies have shown that the l ong-term effects of retention ar e unclear. For exam ple, some researchers purport that student achievement increases as a resu lt of the repetition of a grade (e.g., Newman, 2003; Rightsell, 2002) while others explain that such achievement is only temporary (e.g., Holmes, 1989; Peterson, DeGrade, & Ayabe, 1985, cited in Walters et al., 1995; Rightsell, 2002). Further, from a social/emoti onal perspective, some studies suggest that retention results in unchanged perception of self (e.g., Tweed, 2002) while others explain that grade repetition results in poor (lower) self perception (e.g., Evans, 2001; Hagborg, Masella, Palladino, & Shepardson, 1991). Although the longterm effects of retention are unclear,

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28 proponents assert prime directives that say, the only reason a child should be retained is that the retention will result in some s ubstantial improvement in the childs growth, learning and total life. .[and] each case for promotion/retenti on is unique (Pierro, 1984, p. 12). Thus, children are (often) considered for retention when the repetit ion of the grade is presumed to be beneficial for their personal and academic growth. However, suggested in the professi onal literature is that students are retained primarily for reasons su ch as (a) lack of readiness (Peel, 1997), (b) immaturity (Light & Morrison, 1990, cited in Bo wman, 2005), (c) that successful outcomes can be produced from an extra year of school (Natale, 1991, cited in Bowman, 2005), (d) that promotion criteria not met (Dawson, 1998, cite d in Bowman, 2005), that is, low academic skills (Peel, 1997), and (e) unexcused absences and nonattendance (Light et al., 1990, cited in Bowman, 2005). Pierro (1984) proposed a pro-rete ntion viewpoint that suggeste d that the cause of learning issues lies within the child; t hus, the child should be held back if s/he hasnt worked hard, behaved, and learned. According to Pierro (1984), the beliefs th at underlie this viewpoint hold that children who are unable to measure up to the schools standards should be retained in grade because not to retain them is unfair to th e better students. Sp ecifically, the underlying assumptions are that: (a) students earn promotion, (b) students should progress with others who are learning at the same rate, (c) progression th rough school is like a stair-step operation in which the student steps up only if they do well e nough in the previous grade, (d) people learn sequentially and hierarchically when it relates to skills, information and concepts, (e) when threatened with the idea of retention, childre n will perform well, (f) children can do passing work if they want to, (g) children are motivated by competition because it is a real life occurrence, (h) failure makes children stronger, (i) weak students hold stronger students back, (j)

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29 if given more time in the same grade, children will do better, and (k) retaining children will encourage those who have not been retained to work harder in orde r to move up in the system. A study conducted by Plummer and Graziano (1 987) examined the impact of grade retention on social development. They found that grade repetition resulte d in higher self-esteem than that for non-retained peers. Tweed (2002) also found that being retained was not detrimental to [the childs] perception of self (p. 3295). In addition, it was observed that some of the participants (5 out of 12) shared that other students liked them better after they had been retained, and reported retention helped them do better in school (p.3295). Similarly, Evans (2001) examined the affective consequences of grade retention and concluded that: Regardless of the initial r eaction to the retention decisi on most students eventually accepted the decision,. .and retention appeared to be an appropriate intervention for students whose problems stemmed from being chronologi cally and/or developmentally behind their classmates. (p. 2026) Therefore, there appear to be benefits to gr ade retention. However, educators must ensure that the benefits of conducting su ch a practice far outweigh the dr awbacks as they consider the unique needs of each individual child. Further, it is clear that individually designed intervention strategies should be implemented for struggling students that woul d attend to both academic and developmental considerations. Peel (1997) suggested that such intervention strategies could be easily implemented in the early grades with few costs to the school system and/or the childs social/emotional development. Interestingly, Alexander et al., 2003 suggested that the negative findings related to grade retention are overstated and positive findings may be neglected in the literature.

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30 Arguments Against Retention Pierro (1984) offered an anti-re tention viewpoint that sugges ted researchers exam ine what and how children learn rather than claim that th e child is the cause of the learning problem. Thus, if the student is not learning, what can be done to motivate and support them in their learning? He asserted eight basic beliefs suppor ting the anti-retention viewpoint: (a) learning is hierarchical and individuals lear n at different rates, times and sequences, (b) success motivates more than failure, (c) children do not fear rete ntion until it actually occurs because they dont understand what it means, (d) some students will experience failure in a grading system, (f) the failures are children with low ability and they need encouragement (rather than failure experience) to do their best, (g) children who ar e creative struggle in a structured environment present in the usual classroom and become frus trated and disinterested, and (h) children are more cooperative than competitive (p. 22). Three meta-analyses have examined studies concerning grade retention published between 1925 and 1999 (Holmes, 1989; Holmes & Matthews, 1984; Jimerson, 2001). Their collective results (Table 2) suggested no demonstrated ac ademic advantages to retaining students in grade when compared to promoting low-perf orming peers (Jimerson & Kaufman, 2003). Few studies analyzed the social/emotional effects of gr ade retention, and those th at have reported that the practice is harmful to social/emotional a nd behavioral adjustment (e.g., Holmes, 2006 and Rightsell, 2002).

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31 Table 2. Mean effect sizes from meta-analyses that investigated the results of studies examining the effects of grade retention Table reprinted with permission from Jimerson, Shane R.,& Kaufman, Amber M. (2003, April). Reading, writing, and retention: A prim er on grade retention research. The Reading Teacher, 56(7), 622-635. Copyright 2003 by the International Reading Association. Adapted from Jimerson, 2001. Note: Bracketed numbers reflect the number of eff ect sizes used to calculate mean effect size. Analyses favoring the matched comparison group of students compared to the retained students are represented by negative numbers. The Jimerson (2001; cited in Jimerson et al. 2003 ) review suggested that grade retention is costly not only monetarily, but academically a nd developmentally as well. Eide and Showalter (2001; cited in Newman, 2003) estimated the moneta ry cost of retention to be approximately $13 billion per year at a retention rate of 5% (i.e., more than 2 million children). For example, the Florida School Board Associati on (cited in Barry, 2006) estimated a cost of retention to be $5,000 per regular education student and $8,000 per spec ial education student. Therefore, if a school system retained 15 regular education students, the cost to the school would be approximately $75,000. Presumably, this money could be (better) spent on hiring additional Jimerson (2001) Holmes (1989) Holmes & Matthews (1984) Overall effect size -.31 [ 246] -.15 [861] -.37 [575] Academic achievement -.39 [169] -.19 [536] -.44 [367] Language arts -.36 [11] -.16 [106] -.40 [85] Reading -.54 [52] -.08 [144] -.48 [75] Mathematics -.49 [48] -.11 [137] -.33 [77] Total/Composites -.20 [13] n/a n/a Grade point average -.18 [45] -.58 [4] -.58 [4] Socioemotional adjustment .22 [77] -.09 [234] -.27 [142] Social -.08 [12] -.09 [101] -.27 [60] Emotional -.28 [13] -.03 [33] -.37 [9] Behavioral -.11 [30] -.13 [24] -.31 [13] Self-concept -.04 [16] -.13 [45] -.19 [34] Adjustment composite -.15 [4] n/a n/a Attitude toward school n/a -.05 [39] -.16 [26] Attendance -.65 [2] -.18 [7] -.12 [6]

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32 personnel to implement comprehensive interven tion programs for the st udents in need of individualized remediation and related programs (e.g., Summer and/or after school programs). The costs of retention also are associated w ith student dropout because of the link between retention and student dropout rate (Bowma n, 2005; Haddad, 1979; Holmes, 2006; Roderick, 1994). The implications for student dropout are significant because many dropouts have increased likelihood for incarceration and/ or dependence on social services and unemployment/low paying jobs (Christenson, Sinc lair, Thurlow, & Evelo, 1995). For example, Roderick (1994) suggested that th ere are three aspects of retention that in crease the risk of dropout: (a) remediation strategies are more effective than retenti on, (b) being retained in grade sends a message to the student that the teacher and school see the child as a failure, and (c) retention creates an age-difference between th e retainee and the new grade peers. These increased risks are costly to both the individual and society. Grade retention can be especi ally troublesome for student s with social/emotional and behavioral difficulties. Academic failure and incr eased acting out behavior have been associated with, and in some cases, lead to grade rete ntion (Holmes, 2006; Roderick, 1995). Further, perception of failure associated with retenti on can lead to increased absenteeism (Light & Morrison, 1990), which can impede learning and/ or result in learning difficulties, which consequently result in retention. Pierro (1984 ) discussed a which came first, the chicken or egg? phenomenon with regard to student dropou t. He questioned whether students who dont like school end up being retained and eventually drop out, or do they drop out as a consequence of being retained in school? Regardless, school counselors can assist st udents who exhibit high absenteeism rates or demonstrate social/emotional or behavioral i ssues that interfere with their

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33 learning. School counselors also are in position to offer struggling students study and test-taking skills (e.g., Brigman & Webb, 2004) that would aid in improving their classroom performance. Support for Counseling Children Retained in Grade Retention can have negative effects on a childs social/em otional and behavioral development (e.g., Hagborg et al., 1991; Jimerson & Kaufman, 2003). Studies about the longterm effects of retention on academic variables (e.g., achievement tests or grades), have shown that positive academic gains resulting from re tention typically are temporary (e.g., Holmes, 1989; Peterson, DeGrade, & Ayabe, 1985, cited in Walters et al., 1995; Rightsell, 2002). The lack of momentum associated with academic ga ins post-retention can have a ripple effect on students social/emotional needs, behavior, and peer relations. For example, Hagborg, Masella, Palladino, and Shepardson (1991) compared 38 high school students who had a history of retention with a matched control group of non-retained students. They found that the retained students had lower achievement scores, grades, and intelligence test scores, were absent more than their non-retained peers, and scored lower on self-esteem measures. They also determined that later retention was associated with lowe r educational expectations, lower grades, more discipline referrals, lower self-control, an extern al locus of control, lower ratings on attitudes about school, and less time spent on homework. Similarly, Shepard and Smith (1987) conducted a quantitative study that examined th e effects of retaining kindergartne rs at the end of first grade. The results of the teacher ratings demonstrated that there was no difference between retained and control children on (a) reading achievement, (b ) math achievement, (c) social maturity, (d) learner self-concept, or (e) attention. A qua litative follow-up that analyzed parent-related interview data as related to th e teacher ratings was conducted. Teacher ratings concurred with the parent interviews, leading to the conclusion th at children who had spent an extra year before first grade were not much different from those deemed at risk but not retained (p. 356).

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34 However, the data from the parents of the re tained students revealed that they had more negative attitudes toward school (Shepard et al., 1987, p.356). Byrnes and Yamamoto (2001) used qualitati ve methodology and interviewed 71 children, and their teachers, in grades one, three and six who were retained in grade. They concluded that, children do feel anxious about the reactions of their peers and others to their status as school failures, many of the participants reported th at they saw their retention as punishment, and most viewed it as a testimony to ones inability to succeed in school (p. 213). Interestingly, there was little response to addres sing students need to process th eir reservations and fears about the retention experience. Teachers often assu med (60%) that the parents would handle the responsibility of sharing and proces sing constructively the news of retention with their child. In this particular study, some childre n (47%) reported that they were punished for their failure to be promoted. The social/emotional effects of retention se em to have a negative impact on student development. There are some studies that de monstrate positive effect s of retention (e.g., Plummer et al., 1987; Tweed, 2002); however, a marked number refute them (e.g., Byrnes et al., 2001; Hagborg et al., 1991; Shepardson et al., 19 87; Smalls, 1997; Walters & Borgers, 1995). For example, Byrnes and Yamamoto (2001) cond ucted a qualitative study in which 71 retained students and their teachers were interviewed a bout their views on grade retention. The children interviewed (84%) shared feelings of sad, bad, and/or u pset when asked about how they would feel or have felt about being retained. When questione d about how their parents would feel about the retention, 74% res ponded with mad or sad. In addition, 47% said they were punished at home after being re tained (e.g., time out, spanking, or having money or privileges withheld). Further, 42% learned of their retention from their repor t card, 21% from their parents,

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35 and 20% from their teacher, and 7% included other responses such as the list of names on the door at the beginning of the school year (p. 210 ). Finally, when the participants were questioned about the negative effects of being reta ined in grade, most replied that they were concerned about being teased a nd not being with their peers. Unfortunately, the interviews revealed no mention of school couns elor involvement in the retent ion process. There [were] few, if any attempts to help children deal with their fears and reservations about the experiences. The responsibility of [the] task [was] ofte n left to chance (Byrnes et al., 2001, p. 213). However, professionally, there is clearly a place in the retention-decision process for school counselors to help individual students and their parents with retention. Theoretical Framework To perform optimally academically in school, it is important that basic social/emotional needs be met. Maslows (1943) Theory of Motivation speaks to the issues involved. To have a meaningful and accomplished life (i.e., moving to ward self-actualization), one must live to her/his potential by being the best s/he can be creatively and productive ly (Maslow, 1943). Maslow (1943) asserted that human needs arrang e themselves in hierarchies of prepotency (p. 370). For example, humans have primary and basic physiological needs that require satiation to maintain a state of balance, or homeostasis (i.e., breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, and excretion). Humans are inherently motivated to behave in ways to accomplish fulfillment of these basic needs. After (and only after) physiological needs are relativel y gratified, humans strive for safety (i.e., security of body, empl oyment, resources, morality, family, health, and property), then love/belonging (i.e., friendship, family, and sexual intimacy), next, esteem (i.e., self-esteem, confidence, achievement respect of others, and respect by others), and finally, selfactualization (i.e., morality, cr eativity, spontaneity, problem so lving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts). Maslow ( 1943) argued that the appearance of one need usually rests on

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36 the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need (p. 370). Therefore, a person who is lacking food, safety, love and este em would behave in ways to first fulfill the hunger need before attempting to resolve needs for safety, love and esteem. In applying Maslows hierarchy to children re tained in grade, consideration is given to the students motivation to satisfy basic needs prior to addressing succes sively higher needs. It can be argued that a childs academic success (i.e., achievement) lies within Malsows (1943) need for esteem. Therefore, in order for a child to satisfy her/his need for esteem, s/he must first experience relative satisfaction in more basic needs (e.g., physiological, safety, and love/belonging needs). Before a child can perfor m well academically, s/he must feel a relative sense of homeostasis as it relates to her/his em otionality, one of Maslows basic needs. Therefore, based on Maslows hierarchy of needs, it is reasonable to posit that a child who is being scrutinized for his/her academic performance is struggling to maintain an already unstable sense of safety and love/belonging. More specific to grade rete ntion in particular is a pape r presented by Goodlad (1952). Goodlad (1952) reviewed the re search related to promotion and non-promotion, and presented recommendations that contributed to existing learning and developmental theories of the time. He concluded, blanket promotion policies are not justified by the [grade retention-related] evidence (Goodlad, 1952, p. 154). Since Goodlads (1952) assertions, there has not been another paper that specifically proposes a theo ry of retention. Goodlad also offered three recommendations for consideration for a child: (a) consider the individuality of each child rather than just a system-wide policy, (b) teachers should have a strong, fact-based rationale for making the decision, and (c) the needs of the student should superced e those of the administration. Interestingly, Goodlads (1952) closing remarks suggested that educ ators investigate the

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37 foundation of the students failure experience and facilitate growth to prevent its perpetuation, activities that are clea rly within the realm of school counselors pr ofessional functioning. One way to investigate the foundation of students experience about being retained in grade is to investigate the attit udes of the professionals who intera ct with them on a regular basis (e.g., school counselors). By exploring the at titudes that school counselors hold about counseling retained students, better understanding of the needs of students who undergo the retention process can be achieved. Thus, assess ing the attitudes of school counselors is of particular interest because attitudes represent the beliefs and feelings that affect an individuals resultant behavior as they relate to other people or events (Myers, 2006). Social psychologists originally thought th at private thoughts and feelings determined public behavior (i.e., attitudes predict behavior) (Myers, 2006). However, in the early 1960s, that idea was contradicted by so cial psychologist Leon Festinger (Gerard, 1994, cited in Myers, 2006), who concluded that behavior predicts atti tudes. For example, implementing a classroom management plan fosters an attitude about the value of the concept. Social psychologists theorized that actions affect attitudes for thr ee reasons: (a) self-present ation (i.e., individuals behave in ways to create desired impressions th rough self-monitoring), (b) self-justification (i.e., individuals are motivated to maintain cognitive consistency), and (c) self-perception (i.e., when uncertain of ones attitudes, individuals view their behavior as t hough an outsider were observing) (Myers, 2006). However, attitude can be a good predictor of behavior when certain conditions are present: (a) outsi de influences (e.g. social) on attitudinal statements are minimized, (b) individuals are prompted to consid er their behavior before acting (i.e., attitude potency), and (c) the expressed attitude is specif ically related to the observed behavior (Myers, 2006). For example, whether school counselors facilitate an a nger management activity in a

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38 small group counseling session has more to do with their attitudes about the specific costs and benefits of anger management activ ities than on their attitude about c onflict resolution in general. Myers (2006) concluded that both expresse d attitude and behavior are subject to other factors (p. 126). Other influences Behavior Attitude Expressed attitude Other influences Figure 2. How actions influence attitude Therefore, attitudes and actions generate one another (p. 131). Attitude Action Figure 2. The influence of outside effects on behavior and attitude Rationale for the Study According to the ASCAs ASCA National Model for School C ounseling Programs (2005), it is within the school counselors role to support the schools overall mission by promoting academic achievement, career planning and personal/social development (p. 2). Thus, school counselors can (and should) be lead ers in making positive changes in their schools because they are specifically trained in childhoo d and adolescent development. Obviously, for a comprehensive school counseling program to be e ffective, it must involve parents, students, administrators, teachers and support personnel for it to benefit all students (ASCA, 2005).

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39 School counselors can support research-based interventions that have demonstrated proactive effectiveness with students who are struggling in school (e.g., Jimerson & Kaufman, 2003). For example, Barry (2006) suggested several alternatives to retention including (a) having Pre-Kindergarten classes taught by certified te achers, (b) reducing class size for struggling students, (c) utilizi ng educational planning teams to design appropriate interventions for struggling students, (d) offering an extended school year to enhance the curriculum for and remediate struggling and under challenged learners, (e) having comprehensive guidance programs that address behavioral and emotional impediments to learning, (f) offering technical, vocational, and career training for middle and high school students, (g) providing struggling readers with specialized readi ng instruction, (h) increasing pare nt and community involvement, and (i) providing in-service for parents in reading strategies helpful to children. Also, Holmes (2006) suggested that frequent as sessment and individualized stude nt instruction would benefit struggling students. School counselors can offer classroom guidan ce lessons that address student success skills (e.g., Brigman & Webb, 2006) and test -taking tips (Bender, 2004). For example, Brigman and Webbs (2006) Student Success Skills program is a largeand/or small-group guidance unit that encourages students to develo p academic, social, and se lf-management skills needed to be successful in school. The author s purported that the implementation of such program in Florida raised standardized test scor es for approximately 78% of students in reading and approximately 86% in math in grades 5, 6, 8, and 9 (Brigman & Webb, 2004). This study was replicated subsequently and the authors reported similar positive outcomes (Brigman & Webb, 2005). Programs of this nature address the whole child and therefore can be beneficial for all students, the school and, ultimately, society.

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40 Students targeted as struggling learners also can benefit from sma ll-group and individual counseling sessions that address social/emotional and behavioral challenges related to academic achievement. Failure is a major point worth addressing in such counseling sessions, because regardless of how educators presen t the idea of grade repetition, mo st students identify retention with flunking (e.g., Alexander et al., 1994; Sma lls, 1997). No matter how failure manifests, acceptance of failure is a great feat for all. To reach a point at which one feels at peace with a failure experience means much internal, psychologi cal growth has occurred. At some point in life, most mentally healthy indivi duals can pinpoint a defining mome nt that can be attributed to some major success or failure. A failure experien ce has many feelings associated with it, much like those presented in Kubler-Rosss (1992) Five Stages of Grief First denial and isolation, then anger, bargaining, sometimes depression, and then finally acceptance of the failure experience. Once the individual reaches the acce ptance stage, emotional growth can occur. Regardless of the students histor y, school counselors are in an in fluential position to help them progress through the stages associat ed with a failure experience. Small-group and individual counseling interv entions related to retention in grade also might be focused on students who exhibit high absenteeism and/or discipline referral rates. In addition to counseling, educationa l planning teams can convene to conduct functional behavior analyses to develop individualized behavior plans for poorly perfor ming students. Social skills training might be offered to students needi ng assistance in peer relations, and anger management/feeling identificati on could be beneficial to he lp students process feelings associated with failure in school (e.g., Campbell & Bowman, 1993; Hobby, Rubin, & Rubin, 1982). It also is essential to educate non-retain ed peers about the importa nce of treating others kindly and respecting differences.

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41 With grade retention a practice of the times, it is essentia l that appropriate supports be in place to address the needs of the students experiencing rete ntion. According to ASCAs Ethical Standards for School Counselors (2004), school counselors ha ve both a professional and ethical obligation to encourage the maximum deve lopment of every student (p. 1). To fulfill this ethical obligation, school counselors should be involved in educational decisions such as grade retention (e.g., through providing counseling, parent education, teacher in-service, and academic improvement planning). Indeed, it is a disservice to students for school counselors not to be involved in the retenti on process. Therefore, if a students needs are addressed on a developmental level, they have an opportunity to learn more about themselves and others in advance of problem moments in th eir lives (Myrick, 1997, p. 11). Although there is little men tion in the professional lite rature of school counselors involvements in grade retention processes, Jimerson et al., (2003) asserted that school-based mental health care programs are proving to be p romising interventions for promoting social and emotional competence (p. 630). Therefore, research is needed to determine the rate of school counselor involvements with poten tial retainees, and also the e ffectiveness of practices in working with such a population. In additi on, research is needed to establish how children/adolescents process failure emotionally and to identify interv entions that could be effective in working with them. This study propos es to address the lack of literature by assessing the unique considerations for counseling children retained in grade. Support for Survey Research Methodology In order to assess the unique c onsiderations for counseling children retained in grade, several research m ethodologies could be employed for this study. However, to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the issues surrounding the topic, some research methods are better suited for the specific circumstances of this study. Therefore, measures that offer the most valid

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42 and comprehensive responses to the proposed questions should be used to address questions including: (a) What is the level of agreem ent among elementary school counselors in their ratings of importance of school counseling interv entions intended to benefit students involved in the retention process, (b) What is the level of agreement among elementary school counselors in their frequency of use of counseling interventions intended to benefit students involved in the retention process, (c) To what extent are selected characteristics of th e respondents associated with their ratings of potential effectiveness, importance, and frequency of use of potential elementary school counseling practices for students re tained in grade, and (d) To what extent are school characteristics associated with elementary school counselors utiliz ation of the respective potential interventions? To gather data from which to respond to thes e research questions, a cross-sectional survey research design was selected. The survey method is a procedure in qua ntitative research in which investigators administer a survey to a sample or. .population of people in order to describe the attitudes, opini ons, behaviors or characteristics of the population (Creswell, 2005, p. 354). Through its use, trends can be determined through statistical anal yses and implications can be rendered for outcomes and related researc h. Of similar importance is assuring the validity of the measure, which can be accomplished by co nducting interviews, pilot studies, focus groups and/or pilot tests (Creswell, 2005). To select the appropriate met hod for gathering information, it is essential that the related literature be investigated to de termine whether use of similar methodology is appropriate to the question(s) being investigated. For exampl e, Rodney, Crafter, R odney and Mupier (1999) investigated variables that cont ribute to retention among AfricanAmerican adolescent males. The researchers administered the Childrens Structured Assessment for the Genetics of

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43 Alcoholism interview scale to 243 African Ameri can 13 year-old boys. The results revealed three variables that were positively correlated with grade retention: (a) number of school suspensions, (b) violent acts against others (i .e., conduct disorder), a nd (c) lack of home discipline. Similarly, Wiley (2006) used survey research to explore the impact of grade retention on students aspirations and educational outcomes. After revi ewing educational outcomes as reported in the National Education Longitudi nal Study (1988), a follow-up survey was administered to 2, 218 African-American 13 year-old students to assess their selfperceptions. The results suggested that (a) there is a high risk of retention for students with poorperception of themselves, (b) teachers are not curr ently knowledgeable of a lternative practices to grade retention, and (c) there is a need to deve lop a public school curriculum that promotes student multiculturalism. Finally, survey research methodology wa s implemented in a study conducted by Quarterman (2005). The purpose of the study was to investigate teachers perceptions of grade retention in one school district in Georgia. Through teacher in terview and administration of a Likert-scale survey, Quarterman observed that (a) 80% of teachers considered retention in grade an adequate intervention for students who did not meet the grade-level objectives because it would allow them to catch up with peers, (b) 63% of the teachers thoug ht retention affects a childs self-esteem, but (c) 68% thought it was not particularly harmful to self-concept/selfimage. Thus, survey research has been a successful technique for assess ing various aspects in the education profession, including those issues surrounding grade retention. Survey Item Generation A review of the pertinent research and lit erature was conducted to identif y and select appropriate counseling interventions for inclusion in the survey. Effort was made to include

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44 items that received support in th e literature pertaining to studen t success in school. Specifically sought were resources with thor ough research reviews or meta-ana lyses regarding the subject. The survey items included are presented in Table 2. Zins, Weissberg, Wang, and Walberg (2004) re viewed ten years of recent research to examine the relationship between social/emotiona l learning (SEL) and academic success. SEL is defined as the process through wh ich children enhance their ability to integrate thinking, feeling and behaving to achieve important life tasks ( p. 6). They concluded that students who were able to develop competency in SEL were better able to identify and regulate their emotions, establish relationships that are healthy, engage in positive goal-setting to meet their individual social and personal needs, and ma ke decisions that are ethical a nd responsible (Zins et al., 2004). As shown in Table 2.1, some of the counseling inte rventions selected for the survey were based on Zins et al. (2004) framework of key SEL competencies, which are categorized by selfawareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, self -management, and relationship management. Wang, Haertel, and Walberg (1994) anal yzed 50 years of research and detailed influences that impacted stude nt learning. They c oncluded that the top eight influences on learning included classroom management, metacognitive processes, cognitive processes, home environment/parent support, student/teacher soci al interaction, social/behavioral attributes, motivational affective attributes and peer group influences. Thus it was appropriate to include counseling interventions related to these influences, as shown in Table 2.1, to assess the relative importance/frequency of use for counseling stude nts retained in grade (e.g., parent/teacher consultation and feeling/thought/behavior identifi cation/exploration). Sp ecifically, Sharf (1996) asserted that cognitive-behavioral theory is based on the idea that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes

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45 determine emotion and behavior. Identifying and recognizing emo tions was considered a selfawareness competency that influences positiv e social-emotional learning which, consequently, enhances school performance (Zins et al., 2004). Similarly, Masten and Coatsworth (1998) co mpleted a research review spanning 25 years and identified the factors that influence academic and social competence for children at risk. These authors concluded that there were several factors/systems that enhance and protect competence development in both favorable and unfavorable environments, including development or maintenance of parent/child attachment, cognitive processes, and self-regulation skills. In summary, children who thrive have br ains that developed normally, adults who care for them, and ability to regulate their own emotions, attention a nd behavior. Therefore, it was important to include counseling interventions su pporting these functions/s ystems in the survey, as shown in Table 2.1. Through application of a meta-analysis, Ha ttie, Biggs, and Purdie (1996) reviewed 51 studies involving interventions designed to improve student learning (i.e., study skills interventions) and categorized the interventions according to structural complexity and transfer ability. The research they revi ewed typically emphasized learni ng self-management, task-related skills, and affective management. The author s concluded that teachi ng mnemonic devices was highly effective with virtually all students. Therefore, as shown in Table 2.1, it was appropriate to include counse ling interventions related to memory skills training. Finally, counseling interventions related to teaching test-taking skills were included on the survey based on research conducted by Scruggs and Mastropieri (1992). These authors indicated that good test-taking skills promoted school success. Specifically, they found that teaching test-taking skills yielded a six-month gain of school achievement, typically an increase

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46 of 10 percentile points on standardized tests. Therefore, it was appropriate to include items associated with such skills on the survey; Table 2.1. Table 2. Supporting reference for survey items Item Reference Explanation ACADEMIC COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS Organizational skills Zins, Weissberg, Wang & Walberg (2004) Organizational skills were considered a competency necessary to foster academic success. Memory skills Hattie, Biggs & Purdie (1996) Memory skills (mostly through teaching mnemonic devices) was determined to be highly effective with almost all students. Test-taking skills Scruggs & Mastropieri (1992) Good test-taking skills promoted school success. Teaching test-taking skills yielded a six-month gain of school achievement, or an increase of 10 percentile points on standardized tests. Metacognitive progress monitoring Wang, Haertel & Walberg (1994) Metacognitive processes (i.e., ability to plan, monitor and re-plan learning strategies) had the most powerful effect on [student] learning p. 75). Goal setting Zins et al. (2004) Go al setting was considered a selfmanagement competency necessary for individuals to achieve social-emotional learning that, in turn, leads to effective performance in school. PERSONAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS Thought/Feeling//Behavior ID Sharf (1996), Zins et al. (2004) Cognitive-behavioral theory was based on the idea that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes determine emotion and behavior (Sharf, 1996). Identifying and recognizing emotions was considered a self-awareness competency that influences positive socialemotional learning which, consequently enhances school performance (Zins, et al., 2004).

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47 Table 2-2 Continued. Emotion regulation Masten & Coatsworth (1998) Difficulty regulating negative emotions was reported to have a direct link to disruptive and aggressive behavior problems. Reframing unpleasant beliefs Masten et al. (1998) Student success was determined largely by ones self-perceptions or beliefs about academic ability. Stress/anxiety management Scruggs et al. (1992) High levels of anxiety inhibited a students ability to think clea rly and hindered their performance on a task. Through appropriate anxiety management training anxiety levels were reduced and attention to task was increased. Positive self-appraisal Masten et al. (1998) Positive self-efficacy, self-esteem and selfconfidence were categorized as individual characteristics of hi ghly resilient children and adolescents. SOCIAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS Arranging positive peer affiliations Masten et al. (1998) Wang et al. (1994) Peer affiliations had a strong influence on academic achievement. Appropriate peerbased interventions impacted academic achievement positively. Interpersonal skills Masten et al. (1998) Prosocial behavior a nd compliance were key to successful functioning in society (p. 209). Programs that taught these skills encouraged competence in its participants. Assertiveness training Masten et al. (1998) Assertiveness training is one skill-building approach that promoted competence (i.e., patterns of effective adaptation in the environment p. 206). Social Awareness training Zins et al. (2 004) Perspective taking, empathy, diversity appreciation and respect for others fostered academic success. Behavioral social skills such as this enabled students to effectively solve problems with others resulting increased motivation, communication skills, goal setting and ability to overcome obstacles. Cooperation/teamwork skills Zins et al. (2004) Working c ooperatively was considered a social-emotional learning competency that fosters academic success.

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48 Table 2-2 Continued. Conflict resolution skills Zins et al. (2004) Academic success was fostered when students were able to work out solutions effectively with others. Conflict management, negotiation and refusal were considered key relationship management strategies in developing social-emotional learning competencies (p. 7). Help seeking skills Zins et al. (2004) Students realized academic success when they were able to appropriately seek help from peers and adults. BEHAVIORAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS Behavior modification Masten et al. (1998) The connection between academic achievement and rule-governed behavior is strong (p. 210). Consultation with teacher(s) Masten et al. (1998), Wang et al. (1994) Helping foster a strong relationship between the teacher and his/he r student had a strong influence on the childs success in later developmental tasks and enhanced students self-esteem and feeli ng of membership in the class. Parent/guardian involvement Masten et al. (1998) Wang et al. (1994) Parents involvement and their beliefs about their childs success had a significant impact on the childs actual school success. Attention regulation Masten et al. (1998) Attention regulation was linked to competence development in multiple areas. Motivation management Wang et al. (1994) Motivation (i.e., effort and perseverance) was noted as being a key attribute for learners that are self-controlled and selfregulated. Self-control strategi es Masten et al. (1998) Considered a precursor to rule-governed behavior. Fostering self-control was associated with more compliance and more internalization of st andards in children. Summary of the Related Literature It is important to consider the individual needs of each child affected by the decision to retain the child in grade (Goodlad, 1952). Therefore, if it is a pparent that retention is the best option for the student, it also is clear that necessary interventions be implemented to support the academic, social/emotional and behavioral needs of the child. Unfortunately, the nature and

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49 extent of counseling interventions related to the grade retention process is not readily evident in the professional school counseling literature, and ther efore this study is being conducted to address to this shortcoming.

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50 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study was to identify elem entary school counselors attitudes about the im portance and frequency of use of interventi ons to address the academic, personal/social and behavioral developments of st udents involved in the retention process. More specifically, relative levels of potential impor tance and frequency of use for the various practices presented were determined based on respondents attitude s. The relevant variab les, population, sampling procedures, research design/pro cedures, data analyses and methodological limitations for this study are presented in this chapter. Relevant Variables The foundation of this study was rooted in wh at school counselors identify as the m ost important and most frequently used school counse ling interventions for st udents in the retention process. Four general categories (i.e., types) of elementary school counseling practice were investigated in this study: academic, personal, social, and behavioral. More specifically, academic development (AD) encompasses school counseling interventions intended to help students attain the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that support effec tive learning in school and across the lifespan; personal/social developmen t (PSD) involves school counseling interventions intended to enable students to attain interpersona l skills, attitudes and knowledge that contribute to understanding and respect of self and others ; and behavioral devel opment (BD) encompasses school counseling interventions intended to help students unde rstand how the interpersonal skills, attitudes, and knowl edge are influenced by the environment (ASCA, 2005). Moderator variables assessed in cluded: (a) counselor gender, (b) counselor race/ethnicity, (c) counselors type of school (d) size of counselors sc hool, and (e) number of school counselors employed in the school. Gender was de fined by respondents self -report as male or

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51 female. Race/ethnicity was defined by respondents self-report as American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, White, Hi spanic or Multiracial. Type of school was the respondents self-report of urban, suburban or rural, while size of school was respondents selfreport of the total number of students enrolled in the school at which the respondent is currently employed. Finally, number of school counselors employed by the school was respondents selfreport of the total number of school counselors employed at the school within which the counselor was employed. The dependent variables in this study were the responding school c ounselors intervention ratings of (a) importance and (b) relative frequenc y of use for/with stud ents in the retention process. Importance ratings we re self-reported on a scale of 1 (not at all important) to 5 (extremely important), whereas fr equency ratings were self-reporte d on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (almost always). Population The population for this study included current professional (i.e., currently credentialed and practicing) members of ASCA who were elementary school counselors at the time of the study. ASCA is a nonprofit organization founde d in 1952 that currently has over 20,000 members. It provides professional development opportunities, resear ch, publications, and advocacy services for ASCA members. ASCA also provides relevant information for administrators and parents to enhance understand ing of the roles and re sponsibilities of school counselors. In regard to organizational philo sophy, ASCA supports school counselors' efforts to help students focus on academic, personal/soci al and career development so they achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as re sponsible members of society (ASCA, 2007, p.1).

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52 ASCA membership is subdivided into five regions (Midwest, Sout hern, North Atlantic, and Western) and into five school setting levels (elementary, middle/junior. high, secondary, and post-secondary/supervisor). AS CA membership types include professional, retired, student, affiliate, and allied. Eligibility for professional membership includes (a) holding a masters degree or higher in counseling or closely-rela ted field, (b) being cred entialed as a school counselor in the United States, or (c) being employed as a couns elor educator in a graduate program designed for school counselor prepara tion (ASCA, 2007). The population specific to this study included professional members of ASCA who were currently practicing elementary school counselors. (i.e., ACSA professional members, excluding school counselor educators) Sampling Procedures ASCA publi shes an annual electronic membersh ip directory accessible to its members per request. The ASCA Membership Directory & Resource Guide contains information provided voluntarily by its members, including member na me, city, state, zip code, electronic mail (email) address, work setting (elementary, middl e, secondary, post-secondary, K supervisor, college/university, counselor educator or other), and type of membership (professional, affiliate, student, or retired). For purposes of this study, invitations to participat e were sent to those professional members having a listed e-mail addre ss whose work setting was elementary. As of fall, 2007, 2,312 elementary sc hool counselors listed in the 2007 ASCA Membership Directory & Resource Guide met the eligibility criteria for this study. Resultant Sample Fowler (1988, cited in Creswell, 2005) suggested confidence ranges for sampling variab ility in the Sample Size Table to guarantee a rigorous pr ocedure. To ensure a 95% confidence interval that the sample mean w ill have a 50/50 population proportion split (i.e., variance) of differentiating am ong the participants, the sample size should be 336 (Creswell,

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53 2005, p. 583, Czaja & Blair, 2005), based on the following desired sample number (dsn) calculation: dsn = (1-n/N)(z2 x p x q / d2). Substituting, dsn = (1-384/3,037)(1.96)2 (.5)(.5) / (.05)2 = (.874)(.9604 / .0025) = 336. A similar study having a similar research method and sampling frame (Bringman, 2004) resulted in a response rate that was approximately 18%, which is a lower response rate than what would be expected if conducted using other su rvey methods (i.e., face-to-face, mail, or telephone) (Dillman, 2007). Therefore, the population was oversampled to accommodate for the anticipated low response rate. That is, a ll 2,312 eligible ASCA members with listed e-mail addresses were invited to participate in the study Further, attempt was made to follow Dilmans (2007) recommended follow-up proce dures (e.g., preliminary letter and reminders) and survey presentation strategies to enhance the response rate. Survey Development The survey for this study was Web-based (i.e., online). Most response options were presented in a radio button menu format to allow for only one response per item. In the first section of the survey, partic ipants were asked to rate possible school counseling intervention items presented relative to their importance. In the second section, participants were asked to rate the school counseling intervention items presented with respect to their frequency of utilization. The first and s econd sections were each subdivided into four counseling intervention domains: academ ic, personal, social, and behavioral. In the third section, participants were as ked to respond to two open-ended questions pertaining to possible discrepa ncies between their ratings of importance and frequency of utilization: (a) What factors in your school situation (if any) inhibit your use of th e interventions you rated most important? (b) What factors in your school situ ation (if any) aid your utilization of the interventions you rated most important?

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54 In the fourth section, respondents were requested to provi de demographic information including (a) gender, (b) race/eth nicity, (c) size of school, (d) t ype of school, and (e) number of school counselors employed in the school. In or der to enhance the validity of the researcherdeveloped survey instrument, a pilot study consis ting of seven school counselors reviewed the survey to determine the appropriateness of the academic, personal/social and behavioral interventions included on the su rvey. The pilot study members we re also asked to review the format of the survey draft to determine ease of use and potential ordering effects. A thorough review of related literature informed the deci sion-making process of survey-item selection and the pilot study. Feedback from the pilot study re sulted in minor rewording of a few survey item stems to clarify that ratings were to be assigned regarding the development of the students skills and not the skills of the school counselor. It also was necessary to reiter ate the expectations for completing each section of the survey so that respondents understood that they were to rate intervention importance in the first section and frequency of use in the second section. Research Procedures A pre-notice letter (Appendi x A) was sent via e-mail to 2,312 ASCA members whose membership classified as professional and who were listed as working in an elementary setting. The letter emphasized the purpose of the study, the need for the research, and the procedure for participation. Following the pre-notice letter a letter of invitation (Appendix B) to participate was sent via e-mail. The letter included a direct link to enable the respondent to access the Web-based survey. The opening (first) page of the survey website included an informed consent form requiring the participant to click on I Agree prior to proceeding to the survey. The informed consent form (Appendix C) reiterated the purpos e and procedures, and explained participants ri ghts relative to the study. In orde r enhance response rate, a follow-up email (Appendix D) was sent approximately th ree days and again si x days (Appendix E)

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55 following initial distribution of the invitation to participate (Dillman, 2007). Finally, a letter was sent thanking the invitees and the pa rticipants for their time (Appendix F). Measurement Procedures In sections one and two, survey respondent s were requested to rate possible school counseling interven tions in regard to perceive d importance and frequenc y of utilization using a Likert-type scale. The survey items were organized by domain, each containing 4 to 6 items. In the third section, participants we re requested to respond to openended questions that pertained to possible discrepancies between their importance and frequency ratings. Participants selected their responses to the survey items by clicking the left-mouse button on a radio button from a menu. Responses to the open-ended questions were entered via keyboard. Upon completion, respondents were instructed to click the Sub mit button. Once submitted, responses and data were stored in a database accessible only by the researcher. Contact information was provided for those particip ants interested in receiving a summary of the results of the study. Data Analyses Using the Statistical Package for the Soci al Sciences (SPSS), item mean scores and standard deviations were cal culated from responses to item importance and frequency of utilization ratings. An item reliability analysis was conducted to yield an alpha level for the survey items. Pearson product-moment correlations between importance and utilization ratings were computed for each counseling intervention (i .e., item). Finally, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determin e if significant differences among the importance and frequency item means existed for each of the independent variables. An alpha level of p = .05 was used as criterion fo r statistical significance in all analyses.

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56 Methodological Limitations When making valid inferences from study data it is important that th e researcher attempts to reduce error (Creswell, 2005). There are a pparent limitations asso ciated with survey methodology. Potential limitations include coverage, sampling and nonresponse error, technological incompatibilities and social desira bility bias. Isaac and Michael (1995) suggested that survey methodological limitations might also include question misunde rstanding and errors in item completion. To reduce coverage and sampling error, a la rge sample of individuals from the ASCA membership roster who meet predetermined e xpertise criteria based on their history of involvement in the school counseli ng profession was selected to par ticipate in the study. Further, although some nonresponse error was anticipated, every attempt was made to use rigorous procedures to encourage a large return rate for the survey (e.g., oversampling and follow-up reminders). Finally, an attempt was made to present clear and concise questions and response options based on the existi ng professional literature. There are limitations relativ e to the proposed survey bei ng Web-based. For example, it may be difficult to access cu rrent/active e-mail addresses fo r all members of the population sampled, and not all of the participants may have access to or feel comfortable with a computer, which may result in limited representativeness of th e sample. However, invitations to participate only were sent to ASCA members who provided e-ma il addresses; therefore, it was assumed that they were comfortable using co mputer-based technologies. There are often more incomplete submissions or skipped items in Web-based surveys (Schmidt, 1997). To reduce errors in item comple tion and to assure that items were understood, care was taken to make the items and questions short, simple, unambi guous, informed (i.e.,

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57 tapping into appropriate respondent knowledge), and easily understood (de Vaus, 1986, cited in Nelson, 1996).

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58 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Presented in this chapter are the findings of a web-based survey to assess elementary school counselors atti tudes about interventions related to coun seling children retained in grade. First, respondent demographics are presented, including data for gender, race/ethnicity, school setting, number of students serve d, and number of school counsel ors employed by school. Next, respondents importance and frequency ratings of counseling interventions are analyzed, compared, and reported. Finally, the results of data analyses for significant differences among respondent subgroups are provided. Respondent Demographics The demographic characteristics of res pondents who participat ed in the study are presented in Table 4. Forty (10.4%) of th e respondents were male and 344 (89.6%) were female. The majority (N=330) of the responde nts who participated in the study identified themselves as White (86.6%), 23 as Black (6%) 18 as Hispanic (4.7%), six as Multiracial (1.6%), three as Asian/Pacific Island er (.8%) and one as American Indi an/Alaskan Native (.3%). The school setting of the respondents was he terogeneous, and comprehensive in that 26.4% were employed in schools described as urban (N=102), 42.2% as suburban (N=163) and 31.3% as rural (N=121). Most re spondents served a student body greater than 200 children. Specifically, 10 (2.6%) respondents reported they were responsible for a student body that ranged from zero to 200 children, 89 (23.1%) for a student body ranging from 201-400 children, 115 (29.8%) for a student body ranging from 401 -600 children, and 172 (44.6%) for a student body of over 600 children. Two-hundred and eighty two (73.6%) of th e respondents reported being the sole counselor employed by the school, whereas 82 (21.4%) respondents in dicated that the school in

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59 which they worked employed two school counselor s (including themselves), 9 (2.3%) reported that the school employed three school counselors, six (1.6%) indicated th e school employed four school counselors, and four (1.0% ) reported the school employed five or more school counselors. Table 4. Respondents demogra phic characteristics Factor Frequency Percent Gender Male 40 10.4 Female 344 89.6 Race/Ethnicity American Indian or Alaskan Native 1 .3 Asian or Pacific Islander 3 .8 Black 23 6.0 White 330 86.6 Hispanic 18 4.7 Multiracial 6 1.6 School Setting Urban 102 26.4 Suburban 163 42.2 Rural 121 31.3 Number of Students Served 0 10 2.6 201 89 23.1 401 115 29.8 600+ 172 44.6 Number of Counselors Employed by School 1 282 73.6 2 82 21.4 3 9 2.3 4 6 1.6 5+ 4 1.0 Response Profile In part one of the survey, 393 respondents rated the importance of 46 counseling interventions potentially related to the success in school of students retained in grade. Respondents ratings of importance are presented in Table 4. The counseling interventions

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60 with the highest item mean scores (i.e., greatest importance) for the importance ratings included parent/guardian involvement (4.49), teacher consultation (4.28), student feeling/thought behavior identification/exploration (4.25), student positive self-appraisal (4.18) and student stress/anxiety management (4.18). The items yielding the lowest importance item mean scores included student memory skills (3.08), student metacognitive progress monitoring (3.37), student assertiveness skills (3.37), behavior modification plan development (3.48) and student test-taking skills (3.65). The items yielding the smallest impo rtance rating standard deviations (i.e., having the least diversity of responses) were parent/guardian involvement (.70), teacher consultation (.74) and student feeling/thought/behavio r identification/exploration (.75). Conversely, those with the largest standa rd deviations were student memory skills (.97), behavior modification plan development (.97) and student social awareness (.96). Table 4. Respondents ratings of impor tance ordered by response item means Item number Abbreviated intervention description N Item mean Std. deviation 2 Memory skills 393 3.08 .97 4 Metacognitive progress monitoring 392 3.37 .93 13 Assertiveness skills 387 3.37 .86 18 Behavior modification plan 388 3.48 .97 3 Test-taking skills 393 3.65 .94 1 Organizational skills 394 3.67 .90 21 Attention regulation skills 388 3.73 .86 14 Social awareness 387 3.77 .96 16 Cooperation/teamwork skills 386 3.81 .88 11 Positive peer affiliations 393 3.83 .87 5 Goal-setting 392 3.88 .90 23 Self-control strategies 388 3.92 .86 12 Interpersonal skills 392 3.94 .85 17 Help-seeking skills 389 3.99 .84

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61 Table 4-2. Continued 15 Conflict resolution skills 388 4.01 .94 8 Reframing unpleasant beliefs 395 4.03 .90 22 Motivation 386 4.03 .85 7 Emotion regulation 387 4.17 .87 9 Stress/Anxiety management 392 4.18 .77 10 Self-appraisal 393 4.18 .81 6 Feeling/Thought/Behavior Identification/Exploration 393 4.25 .75 19 Teacher consultation 386 4.28 .74 20 Parent/Guardian involvement 388 4.49 .70 In part two of the survey, 393 respondents rated the freque ncy of use of 46 counseling interventions related to succe ss in school of students retained in grade. Respondents frequency of use ratings are presented in Table 4. The couns eling interventions with the highest item means (i.e., most frequent use) for interven tion use frequency included teacher consultation (4.18), feeling/thought/behavior id entification/explora tion (4.09), parent/g uardian involvement (3.96), student emotion regulation (3.86) and st udent conflict resolution skills (3.80) The frequency items yielding the lowest item mean scores included student memory skills (2.32), student metacognitive progress monitoring (2.63) student assertiveness skills (2.97), student test-taking skills (3.02) and student organizationa l skills (3.03) Conversely, the items yielding smallest standard deviations (i.e., least divers ity among respondents) were student memory skills (.88), teacher consultation (.90) and student assertiveness skills (.92). Those with the largest standard deviations included reframing unpleasant beliefs (1.05), student test-taking skills (1.02), behavior modification plan development ( 1.00) and student help-seeking skills (1.00).

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62 Table 4. Respondents ratings of util ization ordered by response item means Item number Abbreviated intervention description N Item mean Std. deviation 25 Memory skills 387 2.32 .88 27 Metacognitive progress monitoring 384 2.63 .98 36 Assertiveness skills 382 2.97 .92 26 Test-taking skills 383 3.02 1.02 24 Organizational skills 386 3.03 .93 41 Behavior modification plan 385 3.11 1.00 44 Attention regulation skills 384 3.20 .97 40 Help-seeking skills 382 3.41 1.00 28 Goal-setting 385 3.44 .99 34 Positive peer affiliations 386 3.44 .98 45 Motivation 385 3.51 .99 31 Reframing unpleasant beliefs 386 3.53 1.05 39 Cooperation/teamwork skills 380 3.57 .99 37 Social awareness 384 3.59 1.01 46 Self-control strategies 382 3.65 .99 35 Interpersonal skills 382 3.70 .96 32 Stress/Anxiety management 384 3.76 .94 33 Self-appraisal 386 3.76 .97 38 Conflict resolution skills 383 3.80 .99 30 Emotion regulation 382 3.86 .96 43 Parent/Guardian involvement 383 3.96 .96 29 Feeling/Thought/Behavior Identification/Exploration 385 4.09 .93 42 Teacher consultation 384 4.18 .90 A reliability analysis was conducted to dete rmine a standardized item coefficient alpha for both the importance and frequency of use scales. The resultant coefficient alphas are presented in Table 4. These co efficient alphas suggest very high internal consistency among the items in the respective subsets of items on the survey.

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63 Table 4. Coefficient alpha reliabilities Scale Standardized item alpha N P-value Importance scale .9220 362 .001 Frequency scale .9348 345 .001 Pearson product-moment correlations between the corresponding importance and frequency ratings were computed for each item (i .e., counseling intervention); they are shown in Table 4. An overall Pearson correlation betw een importance and frequency ratings was .549, which was statistically significant at the p = .01 le vel. The counseling interventions that yielded the highest inter-scale item correlations included student assertiveness skills (.573), student motivation (.565), behavior modifi cation plan development (.556), student organizational skills (.539) and student memory skills (.533). Counseli ng interventions yielding the lowest inter-scale item correlations included feeli ng/thought/behavior id entification/explorat ion (.415), student cooperation/teamwork skills (.427), parent/gua rdian involvement (.453), student emotion regulation skills (.472) and student help-seeking skills (.472). Table 4. Correlations between importance and frequency ratings by intervention ordered from lowest to highest correlation Abbreviated intervention description N Item correlation Feeling/Thought/Behavior identification/exploration 383 .415 (**) Cooperation/teamwork skills 377 .427 (**) Parent/Guardian involvement 378 .453 (**) Emotion regulation 374 .472 (**) Help-seeking skills 381 .472 (**) Teacher consultation 377 .472 (**) Stress/Anxiety management 381 .478 (**) Conflict resolution skills 379 .501 (**) Attention regulation skills 379 .502 (**) Social awareness 378 .510 (**) Interpersonal skills 380 .513 (**) Self-appraisal 385 .515 (**)

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64 Table 4-5. Continued Self-control strategies 377 .520 (**) Test-taking skills 381 .522 (**) Reframing unpleasant beliefs 386 .523 (**) Positive peer affiliations 385 .523 (**) Goal-setting 382 .524 (**) Metacognitive progress monitoring 382 .530 (**) Memory skills 385 .533 (**) Organizational skills 385 .539 (**) Behavior modification plan 380 .556 (**) Motivation 378 .565 (**) Assertiveness skills 376 .573 (**) **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) Post Hoc Analyses The relationships am ong respondent demogra phic characteristics a nd respondent ratings were examined through post hoc analyses. Specifically, analyses were conducted to determine if there were significant differences among responden ts ratings of importance and frequency of use for interventions related to counseling st udents retained in gr ade based on selected respondent characteristics. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine if significant differences among the importance and frequency ite m means existed for each of the independent variables. The variable of school level was not included because it was used only to determine eligibility for the study (two cases were removed from the sample because they were ineligible respondents). Tables 4 and 4 present th e MANOVA results for gender, race/ethnicity, school setting, number of students served and number of school counselors employed by school for the importance and frequency item subsets respectively.

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65 Table 4. Multivariate analysis of variance for comparison of item mean ratings of importance based on gender, race/ethnicity, school set ting, number of students served or number of counselors employed by school. Source df SS F Significance Gender 1 301.991 2.037 .155 Race/Ethnicit y 5 246.773 .330 .895 School setting 2 172.620 .575 .564 Number of students 3 823.505 1.861 .136 Number of counselors 4 536.427 .895 .467 p<.05 Table 4. Multivariate analysis of variance for comparison of item mean ratings of utilization based on gender, race/ethnicity, school set ting, number of students served or number of counselors employed by school Source df SS F Significance Gender 1 323.836 1.569 .211 Race/Ethnicity 5 432.129 .408 .843 School setting 2 250.361 .631 .533 Number of students 3 656.406 1.106 .347 Number of counselors 4 806.050 1.013 .401 p<.05 As shown in Tables 4 and 4, there were no statistically significant main effect differences for any of the demographic variables.

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66 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Investigated in this study were the attitudes of elementa ry school counselors about the importance and frequency of use of interventions related to counseling children re tained in grade. This chapter presents the limitations of the study, responses to the research questions, implications, and recommendations for future research. A review of the literature revealed that although there is research that offers recommendations for enhancing student success in school in general, sp ecific literature for counseling students retained in grade is extremel y rare. Therefore, this study used a web-based survey to determine the levels of importance a nd frequency of use of interventions elementary school counselors use to counsel students retained in grade. Based on a review of research pertaining to student success skills, specific largeand small-group school counseling interv entions have been determined to be effective in enhancing student achievement among elementary-aged children (e.g., Brigman & Webb, 2004, Hattie, Biggs & Purdie, 1996, and Masten & Coatswor th, 1998). The usual providers of those interventions, i.e., elementary school counselors, were determined to be the most appropriate population for the survey distributed in this study. Therefore, 2,312 cr edentialed and employed elementary school counselors were selected from the [national] 2007 ASCA Membership Directory & Resource Guide and invited to participate by acce ssing a web-based survey at which they could share their attitudes regarding interventions consider ed to enhance school success. Four hundred and one (17%) elementary school c ounselors actually partic ipated in the study. Access to the survey was given over a two-week period in February, 2008 via e-mail to those who agreed to participate.

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67 Generalizability Limitations The resultant sample for this study may not be fully representative of all elementary school counselors. The members of the elementa ry school counselor population were selected from the ASCA membership, and it is possible th at the attitudes of sc hool counselors who were then members of ASCA differed from those who chos e not to be members at that time. Further, some individuals who joined ASCA did not provide an e-mail addres s or chose not to be listed in its membership directory. Further, the results cannot be generalized to ASCA members who did not have access to and/or feel comfortable with the use of computers. Therefore, although this study presents the attitudes elementary school co unselors hold regarding counseling students retained in grade, the results cannot be generalized to all elementary school counselors. However, overall, the sample was sufficiently larg e and diverse so as to represent a significant proportion of professional elementary school counselors. The (anticipated) low response ra te also limits the generalizability of the findings to some extent. Although rigorous research procedures were utilized to attract respondents from diverse settings (i.e., urban, suburban, and rural geographic regions), the overall response rate was only 17%. The potential population was intentionally oversampled to attempt to compensate for the anticipated low response. Therefore, although the sa mple was certainly of sufficient size for the purposes of this research, the re sults cannot be generalized to t hose individuals who received the invitation to participate but chose not to respond. Post Hoc Analyses Following the end of the data collection pe riod, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine if signi ficant differences existed among the importance and frequency item means for each of the demogr aphic variables (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, school setting, number of students served, and number of school counselors employed by the

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68 school). No statistically si gnificant differences were found among the respective demographic category means for any of the importance or freque ncy item ratings. Theref ore, it is appropriate to make summary comments for the entire sa mple without need to specify exceptions for elementary school counselors having partic ular characteristics or circumstances. Research Questions Survey methodology was utilized to explor e elementary school counselors attitudes about counseling students in grade. Through th e use of survey methodology, trends can be determined through statistical analyses and im plications can be rendered for outcomes and related research (Creswell, 2005). The first research question addressed the level of agreement among elementary school counselors in their ratings of the importance of various school counseling interventions presumed to be beneficial to students retained in grade. Table 4 displays the respondents ratings of importance for each of the possible interventions. Re vealed from the data analyses was that all the item means were high relative to the top of the rating scale. Specifically, all of the intervention item mean s for importance were at or abov e 3.07 indicating that, on average, all of the respondents considered the school success interventions as at least important for counseling children retained in grade, which in tu rn suggests that all the interventions selected for the survey were considered to be pertinent for students retained in grade. The highest rated intervention for importance was encouraging parent/guardian involvement a finding consistent with that of Masten and Coatsw orth (1998) who reviewed research that investigated resilience and the effectiveness of parent/guardian involv ement for enhancing student success in school. Their review suggested that parents involvement and their beliefs about their childs success had a significant impact on the childs actual school success. Teacher consultation was the second highest rated intervention, which is consistent with the findings of Masten et al. (1998), as well

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69 as Wang et al. (1994), all of whom indicated that helping foster a strong relationship between the teacher and his/her student can have a pos itive influence on the childs success. Feeling/thought behavior identification/exploration was the third highest rated inte rvention for importance. This finding is supported by cognitive-behavioral theory th at holds that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes determine subsequent emotion and behavior. Th erefore, if a students thoughts, beliefs and attitudes become more positive, then the students emotion and behavior also will be influenced positively. Similarly, Zins et al. (2004) reviewed ten years of research and found that identifying and recognizing emotions was considered a self-awareness competency that influenced socialemotional learning positively and was consequently reflected in enhanced school performance. It also can be seen that interventions rated hi ghly were diverse across th e intervention categories of academic, personal, social and behavioral, whic h suggests that in general, elementary school counselors consider academic, personal, social an d behavioral intervention s all to be important components for enhancing success in couns eling students retained in grade. The counseling interventions having the least diversity of ratings (i.e., most agreement) for ratings of importance were parent/guardian involvement (s.d. = .70), student feeling/thought/behavior identification/exploration (s.d. =.75), and teacher consultation (s.d. =.74). Conversely, those counseling interventions with the greatest diversity of responses (i.e., least agreement) were student social awareness (s.d. =.96), student memory skills (s.d. = .97), and behavior modification plan development (s.d. =.97). The second research question addressed the level of agreement among elementary school counselors in regard to their frequency of use of counseling interventi ons intended to benefit students involved in the retention process. Ta ble 4 presents responden ts frequency ratings. The highest rated interv ention for frequency was teacher consultation the second highest

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70 feeling/thought/behavior identification/exploration and the third most frequently used intervention was encouraging parent/guardian involvement Interestingly, parent/guardian involvement, teacher consultation and feeling/thought/behavior identification/exploration were rated among the top three rated items for both importance and frequency of use. However, respondent frequency ratings were lower overall than their corresponding ratings of importance for the same items. Rationale for this finding can be explained by information related to research question number three, which addr essed the extent to which school characteristics affected the respondents degree of utilization of the respective potential interventions. When asked which school factors inhibited the use of interventi ons rated as most important, a majority of respondents indicated lack of tim e and parent and teacher/adminis trator support as major factors impeding the use of interventions rated important. Interestingly, effective time management, parent and teacher/administrator support were indicated as factors that enhanced the school counselors ability to utilize those inte rventions considered most important. The intervention frequency of use item m eans were all below their corresponding importance means, which might suggest that there are various impediments to implementing the interventions considered most important. The largest discrepancies between importance and frequency ratings existed for student social awareness student help-seeking skills and student motivation Specifically, the student social awareness intervention was higher on the frequency list ordered by item means than on the importance list similarly ordered by item mean. Conversely, student help-seeking skills and student motivation interventions were higher on the item-mean-ordered importance list than on the it em-mean-ordered frequency list. The individual needs of the students and the school setting and specific school counselor situation may influence the frequency of implementation of interventions re lated to counseling student s retained in grade.

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71 For example, one respondent explained that addressing the individual needs of students is impeded by an inability to remove students from classroom instruction and a lack of teacher support. Another suggested that there is limite d school counselor time and/or resources to meet with students individually. Specifically, non-co unseling related duties prevented the successful implementation of interventions considered. Sp ecific needs of the student and/or student body also can influence the frequency of implementati on of interventions rated as important. For example, a school that is comprised mostly of students falling on the autism spectrum might use positive behavior supports frequently, but might not rate the intervention high on importance as it pertains to counseling stude nts retained in grade. The interventions having the least diversit y of responses (i.e., most agreement) for frequency of use were student memory skills (s.d. = .88), teacher consultation (s.d. =.90) and student assertiveness skills (s.d. =.92). Conversely, those interventions having the most diversity of responses (i.e., leas t agreement) included reframing unpleasant beliefs (s.d. = 1.05), student test-taking skills (s.d. = 1.02), behavior modification plan development (s.d. = 1.00) and student help-seeking skills (s.d. = 1.00). Although the most frequently used intervention was teacher consultation the intervention rated as most important was parent/guardian involvement (4.49). Again, rationale for this finding is perhaps be st explained by school counselors reported difficulty inviting connecti on between parents/guardi ans and the school. As shown in Table 4.5, the counseling interven tions having the highest correlation between importance and frequency of use ratings included student assertiveness skills (r = .573), student motivation (r =.565), behavior modification plan development (r =.556), student organizational skills (r =.539) and student memory skills (r =.533). This suggests relatively strong relationships between the respondents attitudes about these interventions and their reported frequency of use.

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72 Counseling interventions having the lowest co rrelation between impor tance and utilization ratings included student emotion regulation skills (r =.472), student help-seeking skills (r =.472), parent/guardian involvement (r =.453), student cooperation/teamwork skills (r =.427), and feeling/thought/behavior identification/exploration (r =.415). Thus, although these are important interventions for elementary sc hool counselors, their use frequency is only inconsistently associated with the importance attributed to them. Implications and Recommendations Although there have been extensive research re views, including m eta analyses, that have investigated the effectiveness of counseling interventions pert aining to student success skills (e.g., Hattie, Biggs & Purdie, 1996, Scruggs & Mast ropieri, 1992, and Zins, Weissberg, Wang & Walberg, 2004), there has been l ittle research about counseling students retained in grade. Therefore, knowledge of professionals attitudes about the rela tive importance of interventions pertaining to counseling students reta ined in grade is a first step toward defining implications for theory, training and practice of school counselors, and development of educational policies pertaining to interventions prescribed for st udents experiencing learning difficulties. By surveying professional, credentialed elementary school counselors who have been trained and have developed skills to work w ith students retained in grade, unde rstanding of the attitudes they hold can be used to inform current practices when combined with data on intervention effectiveness. Investigating attitudes about c ounseling students retained in gr ade is important because this population may be at-risk for future, presumably more serious, academic and personal difficulties. For example, it has been shown th at being retained in grade correlates positively with likelihood of dropping out of school (Roderick, 1994). The Youth in Transition Study reported that, one grade retention increases the risk of dropping out [of school] by 40 to 50

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73 percent and being two grades be hind increases the risk by 90 per cent (p. 733). The implications for student dropout are significant because many dr opouts are at increased risk for incarceration and/or dependence on social se rvices and unemployment or low paying jobs (Christenson, Sinclair, Thurlow, & Evelo, 1995). Manifestations of these risks ar e costly to both the individual students and to society at large. Therefore, the findings from this study lead to initial implications for theoretical interpretation and application of personal, social/emotional, and behavioral interventions specifi c to counseling students retained in grade. When applying specific theories to case analysis, school counseling profession als working with students retained in grade can use the results of th is study and use the ordered lists as one tool to inform practice to address, on a developmental level, the needs of students performing poorly in school. The list of intervention importance ratings has particular significance for elementary school counselor practice. Because the creden tialed, professional school counselors rated no one counseling intervention below impor tant, it is appropriate for elementary school counselors to consider the interventions select ed for the survey when counse ling students retained in grade when evaluated in combination with data on impact because the literatu re pertaining to school success skills supports the findings of this study. The results of this study, when considered in combination with available data on intervention impact, also are a first step towa rd developing implications for school counselor preparation. For example, all the interventions pres ented were rated relatively highly in regard to importance, and therefore might be included in school counselor (and perhaps teaching and/or educational leadership) academic program cu rricula. Thus, the list of intervention importance/utilization ratings for counseling st udents retained in gr ade highly endorsed by elementary school counselors could serve as a pa radigm for preparation for school counselors,

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74 especially in view of concurre nt data on intervention impact. Accordingly, school counselor educators should review course content and offe r curricula in a manner that prioritizes the interventions presented based on th e ordered importance list that resulted from this study along with a review of current literatur e that examines the effectiveness of interventions pertaining to this population. For example, because the schoo l success literature supports the interventions rated highly, counselor educat ors could provide instructi on regarding parent/guardian involvement, teacher consultation and feeling/tho ught/behavior identification/exploration before presenting curricula that encourages memory skills instruction, metacognitive-progress monitoring, and assertivene ss skills training when discussing the needs of children retained in grade. Counselor educators also can review the ordered frequency list in combination with the ordered importance list and data pertaining to effec tiveness of school suc cess interventions to determine which counseling interventions are being utilized most frequently by elementary school counselors with students retained in gr ade and which interventions are appropriate for future elementary school counselors to em phasize in working with this population. Finally, knowledge of professi onals attitudes about counselin g students retained in grade has implications for policy development and implementation. For ex ample, this study determined that elementary school counselors rated parent/guardian involvement as the most important intervention for worki ng with students in the grade re tention process. Therefore, policymakers could support highly endorsed prac tices that are supporte d in the school success literature, including those intended to foster gr eater parent involvement. Because many of the findings of this study are supported by the schoo l success literature, pr actices that enhance student success academically, socially, emotionall y, and behaviorally again are key to preventing the need for retaining children in school. For example, Wang et al., 1994 determined that home

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75 environment/parental support was one of the most influential contextual factors on student success in school. By providing th e resources school counselors n eed to invite parent/guardian involvement students academic performance and student attendance should improve as well as facilitate a reduction in delinque ncy, pregnancy and dropping out. Knowledge about elementary school counsel ors attitudes abou t counseling students involved in retention processes also is an initial step toward deve loping implications for research. This study gathered information in regard to in terventions that elementary school counselors valued and used for counseling students retained in grade. The study had a sufficient sample size (n=401), but it should be replicated to determine if the results are consis tent across samples. Other future studies might involve an expert panel, perhaps of school counselor educators, to determine (e.g., using Delphi methodology) a pr ofessional consensus rank order for those interventions deemed most important and/or used most frequently. Additional future research also is needed to evaluate the success of the interventions when applied to specific populations (e.g., students at different grade levels ). Future research also is needed to address familial and societal issues contributing to the situations in which students retained in grade find themselves, therefore influencing preventative and/or reactive interventions school counselors use to encourage a positive learning environment for all students. Summary This study investigated school counselors attitude s about the im portance of interventions for counseling students retained in grade and the degree to which they used those interventions. Ideally, through recognition and us e of the information from th is study, school counselors will have improved ability to address the needs of children who are struggling in school.

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76 APPENDIX A PRE-NOTICE LETTER Dear ASCA Mem ber: My name is Tracy Leibach and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. In a day or so you will be rece iving an e-mail from me asking for your participation in a research survey about counseli ng children retained in grade. The purpose of the study is to determine what elementary school counselors consider to be important interventions for couns eling children who have been re tained in grade and to what degree they use them. I am writing in advance because many people like to know ahead of time that they will be contacted. Id like to ask that you consider participating in this survey because it is an important project that may have benefits for all school counselors in the near future. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to your response. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Doctoral Candidate University of Florida Department of Counselor Education tskinner@ufl.edu (352) 336

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77 APPENDIX B COVER LETTER Dear ASCA Mem ber: My name is Tracy Leibach and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida. Fo r my dissertation I am conducting research to determine what elementary school counselors co nsider to be important interventions for counseling children who have been retained in grade and to what degree they use them. I am writing to invite you to participate in a Web-based survey that will investigate the beliefs that elementary school counselors hold regarding this topic. Y our name was selected from the 2007 American School Counselor Associati on (ASCA) Membersh ip Directory and Resource Guide, and your expertise is essential to the success of this stud y. Your participation will contribute to knowledge that will benefi t school counselors and the school counseling profession. If you are not currently a professional member of ASCA or are not working as an elementary school counselor, pl ease disregard this message. Should you agree to participate in the study you w ill be asked to complete a Web-based survey that should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Y our responses are completely confidential and will only be repor ted as part of group summaries. Upon request, I will provide a summary of the results of this study after its completion. Your willingness to participate in this study is very important to me. If you agree to participate, please click on http://www.CounselingTechnology.net/do.php? survey=s103829 or paste the URL into your web browser. The Institutional Review Board of University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, has approved this research project. If you have a ny questions or concerns please c ontact me or my doctoral studies committee supervisor (Dr. Larry C. Loesch). Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to your response. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Doctoral Candidate University of Florida Department of Counselor Education tskinner@ufl.edu (352) 336 Larry C. Loesch, Ph.D., NCC Dissertation Committee Chair University of Florida Department of Counselor Education P.O. Box 117046 Gainesville, FL 32611

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78 352, ext 225 LLoesch@coe.ufl.edu

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79 APPENDIX C INFORMED CONSENT Title: Couns eling Children Retained in Grade Dear ASCA Member: The purpose of this study is to identify elementa ry school counselors attitudes about addressing the academic, personal/social and behavioral devel opments of students involved in the retention process. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. You will not be asked to provide any personally identifying information. Your identity and responses will remain anonymous, and only the aggregate data will be used in re porting the results of th is study. There are no anticipated risks for participation in this surve y. Further, there are no direct benefits and no compensation to you for participating in the study However, your participation will contribute to knowledge that will benefit sc hool counselors and the school counseling profe ssion. You may withdraw your consent to participate at any time. If you have questions regarding the study, I can be contacted by tele phone at (352) 336 or e-mail at tskinner@ufl.edu. You may also cont act my supervisor, Dr. Larry C. Loesch, a professor in the Department of Counselor Education at the Univ ersity of Florida, 1215 Norman Hall, P.O. Box 117046, Gainesville, FL 32611, by telephone at (352) 392 ext. 225 or e-mail at lloesch@coe.ufl.edu. If you have questions or concer ns about your research participant rights in this study, you may contact the UFIRB Office, Box 112250, Univers ity of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; telephone (352) 392. I appreciate your part icipation very much. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Principle Investigator Please print a copy of this informed consent for your records. Click on the Agree button below to indicate your informed consen t and to proceed to the survey.

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80 APPENDIX D FIRST FOLLOW-UP LETTER Dear ASCA Mem ber: Recently you should have received an e-mail requesting your participation in a Web-based survey about counseling students re tained in grade. If you have already completed the survey, please disregard this messageand thank you for your participation! If you have yet to complete the survey, I would greatly appreciate it if you would do so. Your participation will contribute to knowledge that will benefit school counselors and the school counseling profession. Please click on http://www.CounselingTechnol ogy.net/do.php?survey=s103829 or paste the URL into your browser to review the infor med consent and comp lete the survey. The survey should only take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you very much for your assistan ce with this important project. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Doctoral Candidate University of Florida Department of Counselor Education tskinner@ufl.edu (352) 336

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81 APPENDIX E SECOND FOLLOW-UP LETTER Dear ASCA Mem ber: Last week an invitation requesting your partic ipation in a survey about counseling students retained in grade was e-mailed to you. If you have already completed the survey, please accept my sincere thanks for your participation. If not, please do so today. I am especially grateful for your help because it is only by asking people like you to share your attitudes that we can understand how to best serve student s who experience grade retention. Please click on http://www.CounselingTechnol ogy.net/do.php? survey=s103829 or paste the URL into your browser to review the info rmed consent and complete the survey. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Doctoral Candidate University of Florida Department of Counselor Education tskinner@ufl.edu (352) 336

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82 APPENDIX F THANK YOU LETTER Dear Colleagues, I just wanted to thank you for taking the tim e to read my e-mails over the last couple of weeks about counseling students retained in grade. It is only by asking peopl e like you to share your beliefs that we can understand how to best serve the students we counsel. If you would still like to complete the survey, but did not have the opportunity to do so you can click on http://www.counselingtechnology.net/do.php?survey=s103829 to complete it now. Thank you again for your time and all you do to help children and their families. Sincerely, Tracy Leibach, Ed.S., NCC Doctoral Candidate University of Florida Department of Counselor Education tskinner@ufl.edu (352) 336

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83 APPENDIX G IRB SUBMISSION UFIRB 02 Social & Behavioral Research Protocol Submission Title of Protocol: Counseling Elementary Students Retained in Grade Principal Investigator: Tracy Leibach UFID #: 35103560 Degree / Title: Ph.D. / School Guidance and Counseling Department: Counselor Education Mailing Address: 8403 SW 46th Road Gainesville, FL 32608 Email Address & Telephone Number: (352) 336505 tskinner@ufl.edu Supervisor: Dr. Larry C. Loesch UFID#: Degree / Title: Ph.D. / Professor Department: Counselor Education Mailing Address: University of Florida Department of Counselor Education P.O. Box 117046 Gainesville, FL 32611046 Email Address & Telephone Number: (352) 392731, ext 225 lloesch@coe.ufl.edu Date of Proposed Research: From January, 2008 to April 2008 Source of Funding (A copy of the grant proposal must be s ubmitted with this protocol if funding is involved): N/A Scientific Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study is to determine, thr ough the use of a Web-based survey, elementary school counselors attitudes about how to address the academic, personal/social and behavioral needs of students retained in grade. Describe the Research Methodology in Non-Technical Language: ( Explain what will be done with or to the research participant. ) Beginning January 2008, 2,513 elementary school co unselors will be invited to participate in a webbased survey assessing their beliefs about interventions related to counseling elementary students retained in grade. The participants will be selected through use of the ASCA Membership Directory & Resource Guide, which publishes voluntary information provid ed by the members. The participants will be asked to rate counseling interventions (or items) on a Likert-type scale according to their importance and degree of utilization. Participants will also respond to three (3) open-ended questions regarding

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84 counseling elementary students in grade and will co mplete a demographic questionnaire. From the data I hope to learn what elementary school coun selors deem important and useful in counseling children retained in grade. Describe Potential Benefits and Anticipated Risks: ( If risk of physical, psychological or economic harm may be involved, describe the steps taken to protect participant.) There are no potential health risks to the particip ants in this study and the psychological risks are minimal. There are no direct benefits for participati ng in this study; however, the findings may be useful in learning how to best serve elementary students retained in grade. Describe How Participant(s) Will Be Recruited, the Number and AGE of the Participants, and Proposed Compensation: Participants will be recrui ted through use of the ASCA Membership Directory & Resource Guide which is available to its members on an annual basis. All of the participants will be over the age of 18 and will be asked to review a letter of informed consent (atta ched). There is no compensation for participation. Describe the Informed Consent Process. Include a Copy of the Informed Consent Document: See attached letter. Principal Investigator(s) Signature: Supervisor Signature: Department Chair/Center Director Signature: Date:

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85 APPENDIX H SURVEY I have read the inform ed consent information fo r this study and agree to participate in accord with that information. ***NOTE: The same items appear in two part s of this survey. Each part requests a different type of rating.*** PART I: DIRECTIONS: Please read the following statem ents. For items 1 through 23, please rate the IMPORTANCE of using each of the interventi ons to counsel elementary school STUDENTS RETAINED IN GRADE. Please indica te your response by clicking the radio button next to your response choice for each item. ACADEMIC COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 1. Counseling to enhance stude nt ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 2. Counseling to enhance student MEMORY SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 3. Counseling to enhance st udent TEST-TAKING SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important

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86 4. Counseling to enhance student PLAN NING, MONITORING AND REPLANNING OF LEARNING STRATEGIES (i.e., metacognitive progress monitoring) o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 5. Counseling to enhance student GOAL-SETTING o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important PERSONAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 6. Counseling to identify and explo re student FEELINGS/T HOUGHTS/BEHAVIORS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 7. Counseling to help student REGULATE EMOTIONS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 8. Counseling to help student REFRAME UNPLEASANT BELIEFS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important

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87 9. Counseling to help student manage STRESS/ANXIETY o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 10. Counseling to enhance student SELF-APPRAISAL (e.g., self-efficacy, self-esteem and self-confidence) o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important SOCIAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 11. Arranging POSITIVE PEER A FFILIATIONS for/with student o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 12. Counseling to enhance st udent INTERPERSONAL SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 13. Counseling to enhance student ASSERTIVENESS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important

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88 14. Counseling to enhance student SOCIAL AWARENESS (e.g., perspective taking, empathy, diversity appreciati on and respect for others) o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 15. Counseling to enhance student CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 16. Counseling to enhance stude nt COOPERATION/TEAMWORK SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 17. Counseling to enhance st udent HELP-SEEKING SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important BEHAVIORAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 18. Developing BEHAVIOR MODI FICATION PLAN for/with student o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important

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89 19. Counselor consultation with teacher(s) o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 20. Encouraging parent/guardian involvement o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 21. Counseling to enhance student ATTENTION REGULATION SKILLS o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 22. Counseling to enha nce student MOTIVATION o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important 23. Counseling to enhance stude nt SELF-CONTROL STRATEGIES o Not at all important o Fairly unimportant o Important o Very important o Extremely important ___________________________________________________________________________

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90 PART II: DIRECTIONS: Please read the following statem ents. For items 24 through 46, please rate the FREQUENCY with which you USE each of the interventions to counsel elementary school STUDENTS RETAINED IN GRADE. Please indicate your response by clicking the radio button next to your response choice for each item. ACADEMIC COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 24. Counseling to enhance stude nt ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 25. Counseling to enhance student MEMORY SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 26. Counseling to enhance st udent TEST-TAKING SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 27. Counseling to enhance student PLAN NING, MONITORING AND REPLANNING OF LEARNING STRATEGIES (i.e., metacognitive progress monitoring) o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always

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91 28. Counseling to enhance student GOAL-SETTING o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always PERSONAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 29. Counseling to identify and explo re student FEELINGS/T HOUGHTS/BEHAVIORS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 30. Counseling to help st udent REGULATE EMOTIONS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 31. Counseling to help student REFRAME UNPLEASANT BELIEFS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 32. Counseling to help student manage STRESS/ANXIETY o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always

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92 33. Counseling to enhance student SELF-APPRAISAL (e.g., self-efficacy, self-esteem and self-confidence) o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always SOCIAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 34. Arranging POSITIVE PEER AFFILIATIONS for/with student o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 35. Counseling to enhance st udent INTERPERSONAL SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 36. Counseling to enhance student ASSERTIVENESS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 37. Counseling to enhance student SOCIAL AWARENESS (e.g., perspective taking, empathy, diversity appreciati on and respect for others) o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always

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93 38. Counseling to enhance student CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 39. Counseling to enhance stude nt COOPERATION/TEAMWORK SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 40. Counseling to enhance st udent HELP-SEEKING SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always BEHAVIORAL COUNSELING INTERVENTIONS 41. Developing BEHAVIOR MODI FICATION PLAN for/with student o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 42. Counselor consultation with teacher(s) o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always

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94 43. Encouraging parent/guardian involvement o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 44. Counseling to enhance student ATTENTION REGULATION SKILLS o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 45. Counseling to enha nce student MOTIVATION o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always 46. Counseling to enhance stude nt SELF-CONTROL STRATEGIES o Never o Rarely o Frequently o Very frequently o Almost always What factors in your school (if any) inhibit your use of the interventions you rated most important?____________________________________________________ What factors in your school (if any) aid your use of the interventions you rated most important?________________________________________________________ Comments (if any):__________________________________________________ DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: I am a school counselor in an elementary school o Yes o No

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95 What is your gender? o Male o Female With which race/ethnicity do you identify? o American Indian or Alaskan Native o Asian or Pacific Islander o Black o White o Hispanic o Multiracial o Other_______________________ In what type of locale is your sc hool/primary work setting located? o Urban o Suburban o Rural How many students are currentl y enrolled in your school? o 0 o 201 o 401 o 601+ How many school counselors are currently employed at your school (including you)? o 1 o 2 o 3 o 4 o 5+

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96 REFERENCES Alexander, K.L., Entwise, D.R., & Dauber, S.L. (2003). On the success o f failure: A reassessment of the effe cts of retention in th e primary school grades (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. American School Counselor Association (2004). Ethical standards for school counselors Alexandria, VA: Author. American School Counselor Association (2005). The ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author. American School Counselor Association (2007). ASCA Homepage. Retrieved March 2, 2007 from www.fla-schoolcounselor.org Barry, B. (2006). Rethinking retent ion: Retention is not a rese arch based best practice. Florida School Counseling Association News Retrieved September, 6, 2006 from www.fla-schoolcounselor.org Bender, J.M. (2004). Tyler tames the testing tiger. Chattanooga, TN: National Center for Youth Issues. Bossing, L., & Brien, P. (1979). A review of the elementary school promotion/retention dilemma Murray, Kentucky: Murray State Univ ersity. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED212362). Bowman, L.J. (2005). Grade retention: Is it a help or hindrance to student academic success? Preventing School Failure, 49(3), 42-46. Brigman, G., & Webb, L. (2004). Student success skills: Helping students develop the academic, social and self-management skills they need to succeed. Boca Raton, FL: Atlantic Education Consultants. Bureau of Education Information and Account ability Services, Florida Department of Education, Education Accountabil ity Report Services (2006). Non-Promotions in Florida Schools, 2004-2005. Tallahassee, FL: Author. Byrnes, D.A., & Yamamoto, K. (2001). Academic retention of elementary pupils: An inside look. Education, 106 (2), 208-214. Campbell, C., & Bowman, R.P. (1993). The f resh start support club: Small-group counseling for academically retained children. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 27(3), 172-186.

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97 Christenson, S., Sinclair, M., T hurlow, M., & Evelo, D. (1995). Tip the balance: Practices and policies that influence school engagement for youth at high risk for dropping out. ABC dropout prevention and intervention series. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED398673). Creswell, J.W. (2005). Educational research: planni ng, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Czaja, R. & Blair, J. (2005). Designing surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Evans, V.D. (2001). The affective consequences of grade retention. (Doctoral dissertation, East Tennessee State University, 2001). Dissertation Abstracts In ternational Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 62 2026. Florida Department of Education (2004). Promotion and Retention Common Questions and Answers. Retrieved March 13, 2004 from http://newdoe.firn.edu/doe/faq/promotion.htm. Goodlad, J.I. (1952). Research and theory regarding promotion and nonpromotion. Elementary School Journal, 53 (3), 150-155. Governors Office (2000). A+ plan: Did you know? Retrieved from the Web on March 17, 2004 from http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/ governorinitiatives/aplusplan/youKnow.html Haddad, W.D. (1979). Educational and economic effects of promotion and repetition practices Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. (E RIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED195003). Hagborg, W.J., Masella, G., Palladino, P., & Shepardson, J. (1991). A follow-up study of high school students with a hi story of grade retention. Psychology in Schools, 28 (4), 310317. Hattie, J., Biggs, J., & Purdie, N. (1996). Eff ects of learning skills interventions on student learning: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66 (2), 99-130. Hauser, R.M. (1999). What if we ended social promotion? Education Week, 18 (30), 64. Hobby, J.H., Rubin, G., & Rubin, D. (1982). Staying back. Gainesville, FL: Triad Publishing Company. Holmes, C.T. (1989). Grade level retention effects: A meta-ana lysis of research studies. In L.A. Shepard and M.L. Smith (Eds.), Flunking grades: The po licies and effects of retention, (pp.16-33). London: Falmer Press.

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98 Holmes, C.T. (2006). Low test scores + high retention rates = more dropouts. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 42 (2), 56-58. Isaac, S., & Michael, W.B. (1995). Handbook in research and eval uation: For education and the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). San Diego: Educational and Industrial Testing Services. Jimerson, S.R. (2001). Meta-analysis of grad e retention research: Implications for practice in the 21st century. School Psychology Review, 30, 420-437. Jimerson, S.R., & Kaufman, A.M. (2003). Reading, writing, and retention: A primer on grade retention research. The Reading Teacher, 56 (7), 622-635. Kubler-Ross, E. (1992). On death and dying. New York: Scribner Classics. Leite, W. (2007, May). Survey design and analysis in education research Lecture presented at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50 (4), 370396. Masten, A.S., & Coatsworth, J.D. (1998). The development of competence in favorable and unfavorable environments: Lessons fro m research on successful children. American Psychologist, 53 (2), 205-220. McCay, E. (2001). Moving beyond retention and social promotion. Hot topic series. Bloomington, IL: Phi Delta Kappa International. Myers, D.G. (2006). Social Psychology. (6th ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Myrick, R.D. (1997). Developmental guidance and couns eling: A practical approach. (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Edu cational Media Corporation. Nelson, T.S. (1996). Survey research in marriag e and family therapy. In D.H. Sprenkle, & S.M. Moon (Eds.), Research methods in family therapy (pp. 447-468). New York: Guilford Press. Newman, L.R. (2003). Grade retention and fourth grade reading achievement (Masters thesis, University of Florida, 2003). Owings, W.A., & Kaplan, L.S. (2001). Alternatives to retention and social promotion. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Ka ppa Educational Foundation. Peel, B.B. (1997). Research vs. practice: Kinde rgarten retention and student readiness for first grade. Reading Improvement, 34 (4), 146-153.

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99 Pierro, P.S. (1984). The failing child. A plan of action for parents of a child in the process of being retained in grade. Durant, OK: Mesa Publishing Co. Plummer, D.L., & Grazianno, W.G. (1987). Imp act of grade retention on the social development of elementary school children. Developmental Psychology, 23 (2), 267-275. Quarterman, F.C. (2005). A study of teachers perceptions of grade retention in a Georgia school district, Union Institute and University, 2005). Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences,66 (2-A), 492. Rightsell, J.L. (2002). Effect of Retention or Promotion on Reading and Math Achievement Levels of Fourth-Grade Students (Masters thesis, University of Florida, 2002). Roderick, M. (1994). Grade retention and sc hool dropout: Investigati ng the association. American Educational Research Journal, 31 (4), 729-759. Rodney, L.W., Crafter, B., Rodney, H.E., & Mupier, R.M. (1999). Variables contributing to grade retention among African American adolescent males. Journal of Educational Research, 92 (3), 185-190. Schmidt, W.C. (1997). World-Wide Web survey research: Benefits, potential problems, and solutions. Behavior Research Methods, In struments, & Computers, 29 (2), 274-279. Scruggs, T.E., & Mastropieri, M.A. (1992). Teaching test-taking skills. Helping students show what they know. Purdue University: Brookline Books. Sharf, R.S. (2000). Theories of psychotherapy and counseling: Concepts and cases. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Shepard, L.A., & Smith, M.L. (1989). Academic and emotional effects of kindergarten retention in one school di strict. In L.A. Shepard & M.L. Smith (eds.), Flunking Grades. Research and policies on retention (pp. 79-107). New York: The Falmer Press. Smalls, U. (1997). Reacting in the best interest of our students. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED415980). Strahan, R., & Gerbasi, K.C. (1972). Short versions of the Marl ow-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 28 191-193. Texas Legislature (2006). House Bill Number 136. Retrieved on December 3, 2006 from http://www.capitol.state.t x.us/Search/DocViewer.aspx ?K2DocKey=odbc%3a%2f%2fTL O%2fTLO.dbo.vwCurrBillDocs%2f80%2fR% 2fH%2fB%2f00136%2f1%2fB%40TloCu rrBillDocs&QueryText=prom otion&HighlightType=1

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101 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Born in 1975, Tracy Leibach grew up in New Je rsey and m oved to Naples, Florida at the age of nine, graduating from Na ples High School in 1993. She graduated from the University of Florida cum laude in 1997 with a B.S. in psyc hology and a minor in education. In 1999, Tracy graduated with her M.Ed./Ed.S. in school counsel ing with eligibility for licensure in mental health counseling. Upon graduation in December 1997, Tracy relo cated to Texas and entered a career in human resources for a company headquartered in Dallas, TX. In May 2001, she returned to Gainesville, Florida and became employed by th e Alachua County School District as an elementary school counselor where she worked with students grades K-5. Tracys distinguished career has afforded her many opportunities including a presidency of the local counseling association, supervision of school counseling practicum and internship students, and the ability to chair several school-based committees. In 2004, Tracy was admitted into the doctoral program in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Florida, where she studied under nationa lly recognized counselor educator, Larry C. Loesch and completed her studies in 2008.