Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas Russo

Abstract

While current accountability regimes in U.S. public education focus on the job performance of individual school professionals, research in industrial/organizational psychology has established the importance of system-wide factors for organizational outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify school-wide factors that predict guidance program readiness in New York State high schools. This nonexperimental, quantitative study was based on a survey sample of 97 guidance counselors in New York State. Multivariariate analyses of variance showed that two school-wide independent variablesâ??urbanization of school location and counselor-student ratioâ??predict scores on guidance program readiness, measured using the American School Counselor Association Readiness Survey. This instrument assesses program readiness on seven subscalesâ??community support, leadership, guidance curriculum, staff/time use, counselor's beliefs and attitudes, counselor's skills, district resourcesâ??and overall program readiness. Because prior research shows that this instrument predicts guidance program effectiveness, the findings of the present research have important implications for school reform debates. Specifically, it would appear that school-wide factors significantly influence guidance program outcomes, calling into question the adequacy of accountability systems based on the job performance of individual guidance counselors and other education professionals. This research contributes to a growing body of evidence in support of the whole system paradigm of school reform, which seeks to improve both individual and system outcomes through system transformation.

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