Overall Perception of the UNC School Counseling Program

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1 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 1 THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL SCHOOL OF EDUCATION SCHOOL COUNSELING, M.ED EVAULATION REPORT Meghan Walter July 2015 This report summarizes program evaluation data collected during the academic year. Surveys were sent electronically to the following five stakeholder groups: recent (2014) graduates of the program; employers of recent (2014) graduates; site supervisors of current students; current students (2015 graduates); and faculty who taught in the school counseling program during the academic year. Overall, all five groups hold high perceptions of our program, as demonstrated in the following table (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent): 4 Overall Perception of the UNC School Counseling Program Alumni Employers Site supervisors Students Faculty In 2015 there were 24 graduates of the School Counseling Program. All fulfilled requirements enabling them to be recommended for school counseling licensure at the Advanced Graduate Level through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Of the 24 graduates, 18 indicated that they are employed during the school year as school counselors. One graduate will assume a position as assistant director of admissions in higher education; one graduate is employed as a teacher; and four graduates did not respond. Of the 18 graduates working as school counselors, 14 are employed in North Carolina, one in Florida, one in South Carolina, one in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), and one in Arizona. Across the K-12 levels, there are 3 graduates employed in high schools; 1 in a middle school; 8 in elementary schools; 2 in K-8 schools; 3 in K-12 schools; and 1 in a 6-12 school.

2 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 2 The following sections provide an analysis of the data collected from each of the five stakeholder groups. Current Students (2015 Graduates) Exit Survey A survey requesting evaluative data about the school counseling program was sent via to all 24 current students (2015 graduates) in the program. This questionnaire also solicited information concerning the students internship experiences, permanent contact information, employment, and elective courses. 24 of the 24 students completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 100%. Respondents were asked to rate themselves on 17 skills/characteristics drawn from the 2009 CACREP standards, as they relate to their abilities as school counselors using a four-point Likert-type scale (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent). The 2015 student mean rating of the overall training received in the program was very positive (M = 3.79). On average, the highest-rated quantitative items by students were: understanding of the school counseling profession and ethical practice (M = 3.68, SD = 0.49); ability to conduct individual and group counseling (M = 3.63, SD = 0.49); understanding of the counseling process (M = 3.58, SD = 0.58); and ability to promote the personal and social development of students and build protective factors in the school environment (M = 3.58, SD = 0.58). On average, the lowest-rated quantitative items by students were: ability to conduct and interpret a variety of appropriate assessments (M = 2.88, SD = 0.74); understanding of group counseling approaches (M = 2.88, SD = 0.74); and understanding the nature and needs of persons of all developmental levels (M = 3.08, SD = 0.50). Program strengths, as indicated by the students, included: the cohort model; the year-long internship in one school; the accelerated 14 month program; excellent professors with diverse backgrounds; the academic achievement class; and the strengths-based perspective of the program. The main areas for improvement for the program as noted by the students included: better elective choices; better collaboration of professors in terms of assignments and workload; practicum and internship assignments should have a more realistic timeline; more exposure to different counseling theories/techniques and cross level experiences. Students were requested to give suggestions for improving the school counseling program. The following is a summary of the suggestions provided: Incorporate more cross-level experiences More focus on age appropriate ways to counsel young students More practice in different counseling techniques Encourage active participation in campus sponsored events More thought into assignment timeline for internship More focus on how to advocate More practical experience/application in group and human development classes especially

3 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 3 Alumni Survey A survey requesting evaluative data about the school counseling program was sent via to all 2014 graduates of the program (N = 24). A total of 14 graduates completed the survey after 6 follow-up attempts, yielding a response rate of 58.3%. Using a four point Likert scale (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent), respondents were asked to rate themselves on 17 skills/characteristics, drawn from the 2009 CACREP standards, as they relate to their abilities as school counselors. The 2014 graduate mean rating of the overall training received in the program was positive (M = 3.57, SD = 0.51). On average, the highest-rated quantitative items by graduates were: understanding of the school counseling profession and ethical practice (M = 3.79, SD = 0.43); understanding of the cultural context of counseling relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society (M = 3.64, SD = 0.50); ability to counsel and advocate for diverse groups in the school context (M = 3.64, SD = 0.50); ability to promote the personal and social development of students and build protective factors in the school environment (M = 3.57, SD = 0.51); and ability to collaborate and consult with other stakeholders in the school and community (M = 3.57, SD = 0.51). On average, the lowest-rated quantitative items by graduates were: understanding of group counseling approaches (M = 2.79, SD = 0.58); ability to conduct research to improve the school counseling program (M = 3.14, SD = 0.53); understanding the nature and needs of persons of all developmental levels (M = 3.21, SD = 0.58); and understanding of assessment, research, and program evaluation (M = 3.21, SD = 0.58). Graduates were also asked to provide feedback on program strengths and areas for growth. Program strengths noted by graduates included: the cohort model and the small size of the cohort; strong professors with experience in school counseling; the year-long internship experience; the accelerated (14 month) nature of the program; and the emphasis on the ASCA National Model. Areas for growth included: more opportunities and information regarding working with families; opportunities to put multiple theories into practice; clarity of expectations for student performance; more practice with group counseling; more information on the DSM and psychopathology; and more experience at different levels. Graduates were also requested to provide suggestions for improving the school counseling program. Suggestions included: providing more instruction/electives on special education (especially autism) and documents/processes such as 504 accommodation plans, IEPs, RTI, etc.; more attention to a variety of counseling theories; more exposure to and opportunities to work at multiple levels; ensuring placement at quality internship sites; and better collaboration among professors.

4 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 4 Employer Survey To obtain feedback on the quality of the performance of our 2014 graduates and to improve the training and education of our students, alumni were sent a link to an electronic survey which they were requested to forward to their employers/supervisors. Of the 24 alumni who received the with the link, 10 of their supervisors/principals completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 41.7%. Using a four point Likert scale (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent), employers/supervisors were asked to rate the 2014 graduates on 17 skills/characteristics based on the 2009 CACREP standards as they relate to the graduates positions as school counselors. The employer mean rating (M = 3.60) of overall effectiveness as a school counselor reflected positively on the program. On average, the highest-rated quantitative items by employers were: understanding of the school counseling profession and ethical practice (M = 3.90, SD = 0.32); ability to counsel and advocate for diverse groups in the school context (M = 3.80, SD = 0.63); and understanding of the counseling process (M = 3.80, SD = 0.42). On average, the lowest-rated quantitative items by employers were: ability to act as a leader in the school and community (M = 3.30, SD = 0.67); and ability to collaborate and consult with other stakeholders in the school and community (M = 3.40, SD = 0.52). As with program graduates, employers were also asked to provide feedback on program strengths and areas for growth. Graduate strengths noted by employers included: general excellence in employee; and superior performance for a beginning counselor. Areas for growth included: leadership skills; communication skills; the ability to conduct age-appropriate conversations with children at various grade levels; and the inclusion of more district and crosslevel experiences and assignments. Employers were also requested to give suggestions for improving the school counseling programs; no respondents identified any suggestions for improvement on the questionnaire. Site Supervisor Survey A survey was sent via to the site supervisors of the 24 graduate students who completed our program in This was done to obtain feedback on how the preparation of school counselors may be improved. Of the 24 surveys distributed to site supervisors, all were completed, yielding a response rate of 100%. Site supervisors were asked to rate the students on 17 skills/characteristics based on the 2009 CACREP standards as they related to the students position as school counselor using a four point Likert-type scale (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent). Overall, site supervisors perception of the program is quite high (M = 3.75) The site supervisor mean rating of the quality of training and support they received to act as a site supervisor for the UNC-CH school counseling graduate program was high (M = 3.59, SD = 0.50). Site supervisors were also asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = not likely at all; 10 = very likely) how likely they would be to recommend a colleague hire a graduate of our program; most respondents rated themselves very likely to do so (M = 9.77).

5 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 5 On average, the highest-rated quantitative items by site supervisors were: understanding of the school counseling profession and ethical practice (M = 3.87, SD = 0.34); ability to implement a strengths-based, ASCA model school counseling program and demonstrate ethical practice (M = 3.86, SD = 0.35); ability to conduct individual and group counseling (M = 3.86, SD = 0.35); understanding of group counseling approaches (M = 3.82, SD = 0.39); and understanding of the counseling process (M = 3.82, SD = 0.39). On average, the lowest-rated quantitative items by site supervisors were: ability to conduct and interpret a variety of appropriate assessments (M = 3.41, SD = 0.59); ability to act as a leader in the school and community (M = 3.45, SD = 0.60); and understanding of the nature and needs of persons of all developmental levels (M = 3.50, SD = 0.60). We also asked site supervisors to share the overall strengths of the program as well as areas for growth. Program strengths as stated by site supervisors included: the yearlong field experience which allows for a wide range of experiences; good support and supervision at the university level; overall excellent preparedness and strength of interns as well as their cultural competency; appropriate practicum and internship assignments; and the focus on ASCA. Areas for growth as listed by site supervisors included: minimal experience at various grade levels and with school related systems; limited knowledge of learning differences, psychopathology, special education, 504, IEP, SST, etc; decreased contact with university supervisor during second semester of fieldwork; time line of assignments and due dates. Site supervisors were also asked to provide suggestions for improving the school counseling program. The following is a summary of the suggestions provided: Differentiate class requirements for students depending on the level of their site Readjust due dates for some assignments to accommodate the realities of the school and level Provide students with more information about mental health issues Survey site supervisors about counseling trends they see in schools to give students a realistic picture about school counselor roles and responsibilities Faculty Survey A questionnaire was sent via to the faculty who taught in the program during This was done to obtain feedback on student performance and program structure. Five of the 6 survey recipients responded, yielding a response rate of 83%. Faculty were asked to rate the program and students using a four point Likert-type scale (1 = poor or strongly disagree; 2 = fair or disagree; 3 = good or agree; 4 = excellent or strongly agree). The faculty mean rating of overall program effectiveness in preparing school counselors was high (M = 3.52), thus reflecting positively on the program. The highest-rated quantitative item by faculty, on average, was the coursework I teach provides an important contribution (M = 3.80, SD = 0.45). The lowest-rated quantitative item by faculty,

6 2015 UNC School Counseling Evaluation Report 6 on average, was the program curriculum is sequenced in the best way possible (M = 2.60, SD = 0.55). Faculty did not note any specific strengths or areas for growth, nor did they note any suggestions for program improvement. Summary The UNC-CH School Program is highly regarded by all of the surveyed stakeholder groups. More specifically, graduates and students appreciate the cohort model and the program s strengths-based framework and focus on the ASCA National Model. The program should work to incorporate more cross level assignments and experiences and coordinate with site supervisors to adjust assignments and due dates to fit in better with the specific level and calendars of the schools. Students would also benefit from more training in different counseling techniques and theories; assessment; and from an improved selection of electives. Additionally, students would benefit from more exposure at the university level to documents and processes specific to special education. Data from this report will be used to make quality changes in areas such as program offerings, curriculum sequencing, course content, site placements, site supervisor training, and student recruitment.

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