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Program Evaluation

December 2008

INTRODUCTION


This report summarizes the results of several efforts to evaluate the School Counseling Program’s impact on students. These efforts include the results from five surveys: 1) New Student Survey; 2) End of Program Survey; 3) Alumni Survey; 4) Counseling Supervisor Site Evaluation Report; 5) Counseling Student Site Evaluation. These surveys were administered at different times over the course of six semesters starting in the Spring semester of 2006 and extending to the Fall semester of 2008.

NEW STUDENT SURVEY


Procedures. The New Student Survey has been administered each semester since spring 2006. The purpose of the survey is to collect information from incoming students about their reasons for selecting Hunter College’s counseling programs, to learn about their values in their personal and professional lives, and to determine the helpfulness of information sources they used in making their college selection.

The paper survey is administered to incoming students by faculty program coordinators
during new student orientations. The survey has six sections. Section A focuses on the characteristics students consider when selecting their college program. Section B asks students to report on their personal and professional values. Section C addresses the helpfulness of information sources students used to learn about the programs. Sections A, B, and C, use four point ordinal scales (1=lowest and 4=highest). Sections D, E, and F ask for background information on the new students, including employment status. The number of students completing the survey is reported in table 1 below.

Table 1: Number of School Counseling Students Completing Survey

Program Spring 06 Fall & Spring 06/07 Fall & Spring 07/08
School Counseling 14 38 5

For the fall 2006 and spring 2007 the return rate is 90%. The return rate for the fall 2007 and spring 2008 is 84%. Admissions data were not available to calculate a return rate for the spring of 2006.

Summary and Interpretation. Many of the entering students have backgrounds that are consistent with selecting school counseling: a meaningful proportion (>70%) have worked with children and/or performed volunteer community service. On the other hand,  fewer (range 7-50%) of the entering students have work backgrounds related to education or the human services nor do they expect to be working in these areas while attending graduate classes.

In terms of selecting the Hunter College program, the most important (>94% reported important or very important) issues were quality of the program, affordability of tuition and support for future job placement.  

In coming students are very interested (>90% on all dimensions) in helping motivated young people succeed by advocating for equity in education and creating caring counseling/learning environments. It is also important to them to have secure jobs that have good benefits. Entering students report being less interested (<60%) in working with English language learners and students with disabilities.
The helpfulness of the different ways in which the School Counseling program gets information to prospective students has improved. From the Spring of 2006 through the Spring of 2008 a increasing proportion of in coming students have reported that the College catalog, program brochures, School of Education website and faculty have been helpful or very helpful sources of information. Furthermore, the Counseling Program has developed an on-line informational community resource using “BlackBoard” computer software. The site is available to all enrolled counseling students and includes program and practicum/internship information and meeting schedules (Counseling Program Fieldwork Information).

The results show that many of our entering students have experience consistent with counseling but few have experience in the schools. This means that it is necessary for the program to give the students a solid grounding in schools as institutions and several of the courses (i.e., Foundations of School Counseling; Counseling Interventions for Children and Adolescents; School Based Consultation) are specifically designed to provide this foundation. Prospective students are looking for a quality program that is affordable and provides assistance with job placement. It is only recently that program staff and faculty have provided much support to students as they look for jobs. The staff and faculty involved in fieldwork coordination have held employment workshops for graduating students where human resources staff from the New York City Department of
Education have provided information on how to secure a school counseling position. This practice needs to become a permanent part of the program’s offerings. Since many of the in coming students are less interested in working with English language learners and students with disabilities it is clear that the program must provide the course offerings that support such work. We are committed as a program to expand student interest and training regarding English language learners and students with disabilities and two courses are specifically designed to do so: Muticultural Aspects of Counseling; Psychosocial, Cultural and Political Aspects of Disability

END OF PROGRAM SURVEY

Procedures. The purpose of the survey is for students, in their final semester, to provide information about their experiences in the school counseling program, as well as their level of satisfaction. The report presents data tables related to the following factors:  the 2006 conceptual framework; program contribution to candidate knowledge; the preparation of candidates to respect others; program contribution to candidate skills; helpfulness of the internship supervisor; helpfulness of program toward candidates becoming professionals; helpfulness of school services; respondents' overall satisfaction with their program; respondents' professional activities during the past two years.

In fall 2006, the End of Program survey was administered for the first time to school
counseling students. The Office of Educational Services mailed the paper survey to candidates who filed their graduation audit form for program completion between September 2006 and June 2007. Respondents were asked to complete the survey and to return it in postage-paid reply envelopes. All responses were anonymous. Each year, the survey continues to be administered to candidates in their final semester. For example, in the 2007-2008 academic year, the survey was mailed to candidates who filed their graduation audit form between September 2007 and July 2008. In 2007-2008, the 58 question survey included 26 items about program impact on the respondents' knowledge and skills, 8 questions about attending conferences, 7 questions about professional organizational memberships, 7 questions about School of Education services, 4 questions about plans for an advanced degree, 2 questions about the respondents’ internship supervisors, 2 questions about becoming a professional, 1 question about employment, and 1 question about their satisfaction with their program. Depending on the questions, answers were either multiple choice, yes-or-no, or based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1=lowest and 4=highest).

The number of program completers completing the survey is presented in table 2 below.

Table 2: Number of Program Completers Responding to the Survey

Program Program Completers 2006/2007 Program Completers 2007/2008

School Counseling

12

22

The return rates for the 2006/2007 and the 2007/2008 program completers is 29% and 40%, respectively.

Summary and Interpretation. The return rates make any results and or inferences drawn from the data very tentative. The faculty will explore strategies for improving the return rates. For example, faculty teaching final semester courses will encourage graduating students to complete the survey.

In terms of the recent graduates’ perception of the School Counseling program’s contribution to the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions, the results highlight program strengths and limitations. Areas of consistent strength are related to: 1) having respect for individual clients, their families and their communities; 2) working with diverse populations; 3) engaging in self reflection around one’s role as a counselor. In many cases, the areas of consistent weakness are related to the utilization of specific skills such as: 1) using technology in counseling; 2) documenting sessions; 3) using community resources; 4) working with school based support teams and families; 5) using culturally appropriate assessment. Specific curricular actions to redress these areas have been taken by the Counseling Program faculty. The Hunter College/School of Education initiative to utilize digital video technology has been expanded to include the Counselor Education Program.  The School of Education has installed digital video equipment in the training laboratory used for COCO 701: Counseling Skills and Interviewing Techniques, replacing VHS taping equipment. The technology extension offers students enhanced opportunities to develop their basic and advanced counseling skills as well as the opportunity to learn advanced computer technology skills. The faculty is examining ways to extend the digital video technology into the Group Counseling course (COCO 706). Several faculty have also utilized a fully online approach for teaching the course Psychosocial, Cultural and Political Aspects of Disability (COCO 703), which was successful and is being taught by another Faculty member this summer 2009. Also, a faculty member has committed to developing and launching on-line courses for selected counseling courses. The first course slated for on-line development is Counseling Theories (COCO 702). School Counseling students will not only have the option to take an on-line class, they will gain considerable technological skills regarding on-line instruction and communication by enrolling in such coursework. Faculty and instructors for COCO 702, 718, 725 are now providing students reading materials on both DAP and SOAP client notes/documentation. Instructors in these classes are requiring students to read these materials and produce several samples of case notes to be evaluated. Regarding community resources, the counseling Program has hired a half-time Practicum/Internship coordinator with responsibilities to bridge school and community resources to student training and professional development. The program has developed and introduced several new courses: Individual Supervision; Interventions with Children and Youth; Consultation in the Schools that will facilitate students’ ability to understand and work with school based support teams and families and culturally appropriate assessments.


Related to professional development, there are improvements related to the perceived quality of our fieldwork supervisors. More students report that supervisors are spending the appropriate amount of time with them (up from 67% in 2006/2007 to 82% in 2007/2008) and providing feedback (increasing from 58% in 2006/2007 to 82% in 2007/2008). It also seems that the majority (75% in 2006/2007 and 82% in 2007/2008) of our graduates feel that the program was helpful in preparing them to become effective school counselors. This improvement was probably due to having a half time associate coordinator of field placement who assisted the faculty person responsible for overseeing field placements. We have recently begun offering individual supervision (COCO 709) for school counseling students enrolled in practicum (COCO 718). We anticipate that this addition will further strengthen students’ evaluations of their professional preparedness.


The ratings related to student services are consistently low, but there are some areas of improvement. The program (36% in 2006/2007 and 41% in 2007/2008) nor the SOE (50% in 2006/2007 and 32% in 2007/2008) are seen as being helpful in helping students to attain State certification.  In addition, the program is not seen as helpful in terms of advisement, registration, internship placement or job placement.  Never the less, the proportion of students who see the program as helpful in relation to advisement (up from 8% in 2006/2007 to 18% in 2007/2008) and internship placement (up from 25% in 2006/2007 to 36% in 2007/2008) has improved. We expect a continued upward trajectory regarding student academic and internship placement services with the introduction of mandatory student advisement with an assigned faculty advisor (started Spring 2008) as well as an additional staff position dedicated to practicum and internship placement and completion.

Professional development seems to be happening on the local level and in terms of the graduates’ aspirations for further education. No students have attended National or State conferences. However, 67% had attended local professional workshops or seminars in the last two years. Sixty seven percent plan on pursuing an advanced professional certificate, 38% plan on pursuing a Ph.D. and 10% plan on pursuing a Psy.D. Membership in professional organizations is low: 24% ACA; 59% ASCA; 10% NYSCA. This will be corrected because we are requiring students to join ASCA as one of the pre requisites for all fieldwork courses.

ALUMNI SURVEY

Procedures. The purpose of the survey is to collect information from alumni about their counseling programs’ contributions to their professional performance, as well as their level of satisfaction with their programs. The report presents data tables related to the following factors: respondents' employment and personal demographics; contribution of the program to the graduates' job performance; respondents' post-graduation activities; overall satisfaction with the program. Data was collected for the 2008 Alumni Survey. The survey was administered in June 2008 to alumni who graduated in September 2006, February 2007, and June 2007 from the school counseling program. The paper surveys were mailed to the alumni’s home addresses, based on contact information provided by the Registrar’s Office. Respondents were asked to complete the survey and a response form, and to return the two documents in two separate postage-paid reply envelopes, in order to maintain anonymity of the responses, while retaining a mechanism for tracking who returned the surveys. As an incentive, respondents were entered into a raffle to win a one of three ipod shuffles. The 42 question survey included 22 items about program impact on the respondents' performance in their jobs, 13 questions about post-graduation activities, 4 questions about the respondents’ employment status, 2 questions about their satisfaction with their program, and 1 question about personal demographics. Depending on the questions, answers were either multiple choice, yes-or-no, or based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1=lowest and 4=highest).

The number of students who responded to the survey is presented in table 3 below.

Table 3: Number of Program Completers Responding to the Survey 

Program 2006 Program Completers  2007 Program Completers 2008 Program Completers

School Counseling

10

6

11

The return rates for the 2006, 2007 and the 2008 program completers are 67%, 14% and 20%, respectively.

Summary and Interpretation. Except 2006, the return rates make any results and or inferences drawn from the data very tentative. The faculty will explore strategies for improving the return rates. For example, the School of Education can offer graduates the possibility of winning a one year membership to the professional organization.  

Seventy eight percent of the responding alumni over three years (2006, 2007 and 2008) reported that they are working full time and 82% of these individuals reported that they were working as school counselors. Fifty nine percent were working in the New York City public schools, 5% in private schools and 14% in schools outside the City.

A meaningful proportion (>80% over at least two survey years) of the alumni felt strongly or very strongly that the program contributed to their job performance in the following areas: working with clients from diverse backgrounds; advocating for fair and equitable treatment of clients; integrating ethical and legal standards into practice; engaging in self- reflection on the counseling role. The areas where a low proportion (<40% over at least two survey years) of alumni felt that the program was contributing to their job performance were as follows: 1) using appropriate technology; 2) making referrals and using community resources; 3) using culturally appropriate assessment and evaluation tools; 4) assisting someone adapt to a disability; 5) reading and applying research results. The results related to items one, two and three are similar to the findings in the End of Program Survey and the faculty response to these issues is covered on page four.

In terms of post-graduation professional expectations, all respondents to the survey planned on being counselors in five years. As for professional activities, many (>60% in both of the two survey years) graduates had attended a professional workshop/conference, participated in professional committees/activities and obtained New York State certification as a school Counselor. Very few (<15% in both of the two survey years) of the responding graduates had pursued additional education or sought National counselor certification.

In terms of overall satisfaction with the preparation they received at Hunter College, 60% or more of the alumni, over the three survey years, were satisfied or very satisfied and 90% or more would recommend the program to an individual interested in working as a counselor. 

COUNSELING STUDENT SITE EVALUATION

Procedures. The purpose of the survey is to collect information from counseling students about their experiences at the site and the helpfulness of their site supervisor.
The report includes information on three areas: 1) types of tasks student counselors performed; 2) type of clients with whom student counselors worked; 3) experience working with the site supervisor. The report also presents student counselor comments about: 1) positive aspects of the experience at this site; 2) negative aspects of the experience at this site; 3) expectations for the supervisor and whether the expectations were met; 4) the supervisor's strengths; 5) the supervisor's weaknesses; 6) why they would or would not recommend the supervisor. All results are presented by experience type (internship/counseling) and by total.

In Fall 2007, the counseling program adapted the site evaluation reports from paper to
electronic data collection. The reports were programmed into the School of Education’s
Information Management System (EdIMS). To enter their information, student counselors completed the password protected web-based form. The evaluation report includes 7 sections about the site, the site supervisor, and additional comments. Depending on the questions, answers were either yes-or-no or based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1=lowest and 4=highest). In Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, 130 reports were from the school counseling students.

Summary and Interpretation. The majority (87%) of the students reported having received an orientation to their fieldwork site and this varied a bit by type of fieldwork requirement: 91% of the internship students reported receiving an orientation, where as 76% of the practicum students reported such an orientation. One hundred percent of the students who received an orientation reported it to have been useful and an overwhelming majority (100% for the internship and 93% for the practicum) said they performed tasks consistent with what was described during the orientation.

It appears that school counselors are working with a diverse population of students during their fieldwork placements. Eighty nine percent are working with adolescents while 29% are working with children. All are working with very high proportions of boys (96%) and girls (98%) as well as students with disabilities (66%). Client ethnicity is also highly varied. The proportion of school counseling students reporting in the affirmative regarding working with the following ethnic groups is as follows: 93% African-American; 18% American Indian; 62% Asian-American; 96% Latino/Latina; 73% White.

There are a number of activities that a high proportion (at least 60%) of the school counseling students who are in the practicum or the internship report being engaged in: individual counseling; case management; conflict mediation; crisis intervention; group counseling. Ninety six percent of the students in fieldwork either agree or strongly agree that they would recommend their fieldwork sites to other counseling students and this finding is consistent for practicum and internship.

The majority (between 63% and 85%) of fieldwork students in the practicum and internship rated their supervisors as always: fulfilling the College’s practice requirements; providing weekly supervision; being available when needed; structuring supervision appropriately; providing appropriate feedback; enabling students to express concerns, opinions and questions; accepting the students’ feedback; providing a beneficial experience. There were somewhat fewer (less than 50%) of the fieldwork students who rated their fieldwork supervisors as always: helping students focus on new alternative counseling strategies; helping students focus on how their behavior influenced client behavior. This pattern is consistent when the student ratings are parsed by type of fieldwork experience.

COUNSELING SUPERVISOR SITE EVALUATION

Procedures. The purpose of the survey is to collect information from counseling
supervisors about the students’ performance during internship and practicum.
Data tables 1-8 include information about the internship and practicum students’ performance in the following areas: counseling skills; treatment plans; documenting and record keeping; professional identity and ethics; self awareness; supervision; professional work behaviors; overall evaluation. In Table 9, supervisors indicate their experience and credentials. In tables 10-12, supervisors provide background information about the site experience by describing the: type of clients with whom the student counselor worked; racial/ethnic backgrounds of clients with whom the student counselor worked; types of tasks the student counselor performed.

In Fall 2007, the counseling program adapted the site evaluation reports from paper to electronic data collection. The reports were programmed into the School of Education’s Information Management System (EdIMS). To enter their information, supervisors completed the password protected web-based form. Due to problems accessing EdIMS, due to internet firewall in the New York City Schools, in Spring 2008, the counseling program used paper-based evaluations. The evaluations were distributed to supervisors. Completed evaluations were scanned. The evaluation report includes 13 sections about student performance, the site, supervisor credentials, and additional comments. Depending on the questions, answers were either yes-or-no or based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1=lowest and 4=highest). In 2007-2008, 79 evaluation reports were filed.

Summary and Interpretation. Fieldwork site supervisors reported that many (>80%) of the students frequently performed almost all the activities and behaviors that we asked about on the evaluation. These frequently performed functions included many different activities and behaviors within several areas: counseling, treatment planning, documentation, expressing a professional identity, expressing self-awareness, taking advantage of supervision and demonstrating professional work behaviors.

Ninety eight percent of the supervisors reported that our fieldwork students were comparable (33%), better prepared (15%) or significantly better prepared (50%) than fieldwork students from other programs. This result shows a different pattern for internship than practicum with many more supervisors seeing our students as significantly better prepared during the internship (66%) than practicum (24%).

Field site supervisors report providing different types of supervision: group supervision (5%), individual supervision (37%) or a combination of group and individual supervision (57%). In terms of the supervisors’ credentials, 86% report being certified as school counselors and 99% hold a masters degree or higher.

Supervisors were asked to describe the characteristics of the field site by indicating the characteristics of students’ client population and fieldwork responsibilities. Most (80%) of our students were working with adolescents but a meaningful proportion (23%) were also working with children. Many students (51%) were also working with individuals who have disabilities. In terms of tasks that our students have accessed at their sites, large proportions (>65%) of students had access to the following counseling activities:  case management; crisis intervention; group counseling; individual counseling; social skills counseling. Relatively low proportions (<55%) of students had access to certain fundamental school counseling activities like college advisement, working with families and career counseling. These patterns related to counseling task access were consistent across type of fieldwork placement.

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