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MEASURE: Six Steps to Student Success



MEASURE is a six-step accountability process that helps school counselors demonstrate how their programs impact critical data, those components of a school report card that are the backbone of the accountability movement. Implementing a
MEASURE stands for: Mission, Elements, Analyze, Stakeholders-Unite, Results, Educate.


MEASURE helps you organize your work to show that you are helping to drive critical data elements such as promotion rates, attendance,  test scores, postsecondary going rates etc. by developing specific strategies and collaborating and teaming to connect school counseling to the accountability agenda of today’s schools.

Step ONE: Mission
What Do I Need to Do?
Connect the design, implementation, and management of the school counseling
program to the mission of the school and to the goals of the annual school improvement plan.


Connect your work to your school’s mission in keeping with the ASCA or your state’s comprehensive school counseling model.

Your school or department’s mission statement is:      


Step TWO: Element
What Do I Need to Do?
As a member of your school’s leadership team, identify and examine the critical data elements that are important to your school’s improvement plan. Critical data elements usually can be found on the school’s district or building report card. School counselors have ready access to data in areas that contribute to achievement such as course enrollment patterns and attendance.

EXAMPLE: Let us assume that the number of students in your school district continuing on to postsecondary educational institutions is not as strong as your colleagues, administrators and community believe it should be.
            The critical data element to address could be the postsecondary going rates for your school district, which have been holding steady around 50% for the last five years.  Establish the baseline by identifying the data point that you will use for comparison to measure change. 


What critical data element are you trying to impact? (Examples include: grades; test scores; attendance; promotion rates; graduation rates; postsecondary-going rate; enrollment into honors or AP courses, special education; discipline referral data; etc.
What is the baseline for the data element?  Where do you hope to move it (goal)?  

Element:  Post secondary going rate
Baseline:   50%
GoalIncrease the post secondary going rate this school year by 5%

Although this is a high school example, you can substitute test scores, attendance, or any other data element that is important to your school’s improvement plan. 
Element:  test scores
Baseline:   60% of 4th graders are proficient in Math
GoalIncrease the number of 4th graders proficient in Math to 65%

Element:  attendance
Baseline:   89%

GoalIncrease the attendance rate by 2% to 91%



What Do I Need to Do?

Analyzing the data element helps to better understand which groups of students are not succeeding and why. It is important to disaggregate the critical data elements on which you are focusing, and to look at them in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and perhaps by teacher to shed light on areas of success or on areas in need of attention.

Analyze the data element.  You can use percentages, averages, raw scores, quartiles, or stanines. You can aggregate or disaggregate the data to better understand which students are meeting success.  You can disaggregate by gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or in a multitude of ways to look at student groupings.

The Baseline Data revealed:  50% of the class of 2009 attended a post secondary institution
Disaggregated Class of 2009  Demographics



African American



18 %



Disaggregated post secondary going rate



African American






Disaggregated data for students with formal career and educational plans



African American






 You can disaggregate the data in a number of ways such as gender, ethnicity, SES, home location (zip code), teacher or counselor assignments, course taking patterns, feeder school patterns, etc.. This information can be gathered by accessing the student information management system that your school uses.

As part of the school leadership team trying to positively impact this data, what else do you need to know about this data? You can substitute  attendance, test scores, or for the post secondary rate as we did in  ELEMENT. What are the key issues? How do you want this data to look next year and in the subsequent years? How will the school counseling program contribute toward positively improving these critical data

elements and connecting the work of school counselors to better results for students?


STEP FOUR: Stakeholders-Unite

What Do I Need to Do?

Identify stakeholders to become part of a team to be involved in addressing the movement of the critical data elements.  If possible, use an existing school action committee.  Accountability for school counselors is about collaborating with other stakeholders and avoiding tackling issues in isolation. Examples of stakeholders are:
Internal Community                                                             External Community
            Principal                                                                                Parent
            Teacher                                                                                 Business Representative
            School Board Member                                                        Faith Representative

The table below gives a high school example of stakeholders and strategies that could be used to increase postsecondary going-rates.  Similar tables can be created for middle and elementary school based on the target results from Step Three. 

STAKEHOLDERS -  UNITE to develop strategies to impact the data element


  Beginning Date: September

  Ending Date: June



School Counselors

  • Implemented a career awareness program for every student in the school to help each see the interrelatedness between postsecondary education and his or her future economic opportunities.
  • Advocated for a systemic change in course enrollment patterns to support more students to access higher level academics.
  • Used data and anecdotal information about student success in higher level academics to try to change attitudes and beliefs about widening opportunities for higher level academics. 


  • Helped students research their career goals and project how their career paths fit with economic trends and the business climate (social studies).  
  • Had students write essays for scholarships (English).
  • Integrated financial aid calculations into lessons (Math).  


  • Provided professional development for the faculty on raising aspirations.
  • Orchestrated collaboration with feeder schools to see how to replicate the practices that are proving successful in raising aspirations.

School Psychologists

  • Provided additional group and individual counseling to high-risk students on motivation and problem solving.

School Social Workers

  • Worked with parents and caretakers on teaching students the importance of attendance for school success.

Clerical Staff

  • Monitored student progress in submitting applications for postsecondary admissions.
  • Organized group meetings between the counselors and the students who are not submitting information in a timely manner to postsecondary institutions.

School Clubs

  • Invited community leaders to talk about career opportunities and the education and skills needed to be successful in the work environment.
  • Helped close the information gap by sponsoring awareness activities regarding postsecondary opportunities.


  • Assisted in establishing a tutoring program.
  • Created a phone chain to call parents to remind them of important school events.


  • Worked with individual students on the power of financial aid to impact their future.

Business Partners

  • Assisted in establishing a mentoring program.
  • Provided site visits to their businesses.
  • Helped organize and participate in career fairs.

Community Agencies

  • Assisted in establishing a mentoring program.
  • Ran evening and Saturday programs with school personnel for parents and students on raising aspirations, homework help, technology awareness, etc.

Colleges and Universities

  • Hosted “College for a Day” programs for elementary and middle school students.
  • Offered diagnostic academic placement testing to tenth and eleventh graders.
  • Provided targeted interventions for underrepresented populations.



What Do I Need to Do?
If the targeted results were met, there is still reflection and refining to do. Did the results of everyone’s efforts show that the interventions and strategies successfully moved the critical data elements in a positive direction?  If the targeted results were met, set new goals,  add new strategies, and replicate what was successful

If the targeted results were not met, the next step would be to reanalyze and refocus the efforts to determine why the interventions were unsuccessful in moving the data in a positive direction. The next steps will be to revise the action plan for the following year and to continue to move the critical data elements in a positive direction.

Results:  Restate your baseline data.  State where your data is now.  Did you meet your goal?

Restate baseline data:                 Results (data now):               Met Goal:  Yes  X   No  ____
50% postsecondary                       61% postsecondary 
going rate  class of 2009             going rate


# of Seniors

% of Seniors

% to Post Secondary

#  to Post Secondary






African American






















Questions to consider as you examine results and revise your MEASURE: 

Which strategies had a positive impact on the data?
All strategies contributed. Especially helpful were the academic diagnostic assessments administered by our college partner.

Which strategies should be replaced, changed, added?
We need to reach out more to our community partners and find mentors and role models who will help us raise student aspirations.

Based on what you have learned, how will you revise Step Four “Stakeholders-Unite?”
Next year we are going to focus on the discrepancies in postsecondary going rates among Caucasian, African Americans, and Hispanics and examine course patterns beginning with 9th graders

How did your MEASURE contribute to systemic change(s) in your school and/or in your community?  We are beginning to establish a post secondary culture in our high school. Many of our teachers asked to establish an Alumni Day. They want to wear a shirt or hang a pennant from the college that they attended.

What did we learn from this process?

  • critical data element analyses helped us focus our efforts;
  • district wide systemic change issues must begin in elementary school;            
  • collaborative effort made the change happen;
  • the school counselors’ commitment as key players in school improvement was well established and acknowledged;


STEP SIX:  Educate
What Do I Need to Do?
Complete your report card to show the changes in the targeted data elements that show the positive impact the school counseling program is having on student success.  Publicizing the results of an effective school counseling program is a vital step in the accountability process and key to gaining support for your school counseling program.

EXAMPLE: Educate others as to your efforts to move data.  Develop a report card that shows how the work of the school counselor(s) is connected to the mission of the schools and to student success.  Below is an example of a report card.                                  

Principal’s Comments

Preparing students to choose from a wide array of options after high school is part of our district’s mission of academic success for every student. Our counselors worked very hard this year to impact the school board’s desire improve the post secondary going rate for every student. They looked at the important data elements that contribute to improving our student’s futures and used their leadership, advocacy, teaming and collaboration skills to make a positive difference.

School Improvement Issues

Post secondary going rate is 50%.
Underrepresented students do not transition to a wide variety of options after high school.


Parents:  Assisted in establishing a tutoring program; created a phone chain to call parents to remind them of important school events.
Community:  Assisted in establishing a mentoring program; ran evening and Saturday programs with school personnel for parents and students on raising aspirations, and homework help, technology awareness.
Volunteers:  Participated in training delivered by financial aid officers on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); worked with individual students on the power of financial aid to impact their future.
Business Partners:  Assisted in establishing a mentoring program. Provided site visits to their businesses. Helped organize and participate in career fairs.


Measurable results showed how the
school counseling program worked to
increase the postsecondary going rate
through a whole school and community
effort impacted the instructional program.


Comparative Changes In Postsecondary Rates  measuregif3
Percentages Of Students By Ethnicity Accepted To Post Secondary Institutions
measuregif42010 DATA SUMMARY

CLASS of 2010

% of Seniors

% to Post




African American












Faces Behind the Data

A parent approached her child’s school counselor at the end of the graduation ceremony. I didn’t think my child’s dream of going to college was going to happen this year. I am recently divorced and did not realize that financial aid would be available. Thank you for keeping after both us to fill out the FAFSA so that it wasn’t too late to get some help. 


The Educate step in MEASURE has been adapted with permission from the Student Personnel Accountability Report Card sponsored by the California Department of Education and Los Angeles County Office of Education.