Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

First Committee Member

Paul Jones, Co-Chair

Second Committee Member

Wendy Hoskins, Co-Chair

Third Committee Member

Pamela Staples

Graduate Faculty Representative

Jeff Gelfer

Number of Pages



Before school counselors can carry out the duties and responsibilities outlined as part of a comprehensive school counseling program, they must know which students they are responsible for helping. The topic of assigning students to school counselors has only recently been seen in the educational research arena in a study by Akos, Schuldt, and Walendin (2009). The current study attempts to replicate and extend the findings of Akos, Schuldt, and Walendin by addressing the questions of how secondary school counselors are assigned and what are their perceptions of their assignment. In addition, the study attempts to determine whether a particular type of school counselor assignment is more effective in enhancing student achievement in a large school district. A review of literature relevant to this study includes: the history of school counseling; the role of the school counselor; student achievement as defined by NCLB (2001); school counselor interventions in the areas of standardized-test scores, attendance, and graduation rates; and school counselor assignment.

The study was conducted in two parts. Part one of the study was conducted using a survey questionnaire--School Counselor Assignment Questionnaire, SCAQ (Akos, Schuldt, and Walendin, 2009). A total of 213 secondary school counselors from Clark County School District participated in the survey. The results found that the breakdown of school counselor assignment used in participating secondary schools was similar to that found by Akos, Schuldt, and Walendin (2009) with a majority of middle schools using a grade level looping method and a majority of high schools using an alphabetical method. Also evident in the findings of this study was that school counselors using methods of school counselor assignment in which they keep the same students from year to year, had more positive perceptions of their method than those who were using a mixed method.

Part two of the study is an analysis of student achievement data from schools using different school counselor assignment methods. Results of this analysis show no significant difference between school counselor assignment and the student achievement variables--percentage of students who meet or exceed standards on the standards-based reading test, percentage of students who meet or exceed standards on the standards-based math test, and student daily average attendance. At the middle school level there was a difference related to method of assignment in the student achievement variables, but extended analysis suggested this was an artifact of extraneous variables.

Although the findings of this study do not identify a relationship between school counselor assignment and the three NCLB variables representing student achievement, it does further the findings of the original study by showing statistically significant differences in counselor perceptions of several aspects of their school counselor assignment method. These findings appear to warrant consideration when discussing school counselor assignment with school counseling students, when school counseling departments are developing their comprehensive guidance program, or when working to create better guidelines for determining school counselor assignment.


Academic achievement; Achievement; Counselor assignment; Education; Educational counseling; No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; Student counselors


Child Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Secondary Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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