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The Impact of School Social Workers on High School Freshman Graduation among the One Hundred Largest School Districts in the United States

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Abstract

This article addresses the impact of high school social workers on the graduation rates of incoming freshmen. Following a review of the limited literature on school social workers and student outcomes, it presents results of a study on the relation between school social workers and graduation rates in the one hundred largest school districts in the United States. Findings of this study indicate that the number of school social workers is positively associated with graduation rates in the 2008–09 academic year after controlling for poverty rate and district size. From this finding, the article raises questions that may guide future research regarding the role of school social workers in achieving positive student outcomes.
This article addresses the impact of high school social workers on the gradua-
tion rates of incoming freshmen. Following a review of the limited literature
on school social workers and student outcomes, it presents results of a study
on the relation between school social workers and graduation rates in the one
hundred largest school districts in the United States. Findings of this study
indicate that the number of school social workers is positively associated with
graduation rates in the 2008–09 academic year after controlling for poverty
rate and district size. From this finding, the article raises questions that may
guide future research regarding the role of school social workers in achieving
positive student outcomes.
Keywords: educational outcomes, graduation rates, school social work
Introduction
Each year, more than 1 million students fail to graduate from high
school (Englund, Egeland, & Collins, 2008). Students who drop out of
school are associated with higher rates of incarceration and increased
The Impact of School Social Workers on
High School Freshman Graduation among
the One Hundred Largest School Districts
in the United States
Kevin Tan, Stefan Battle, Mimi Mumm, Rob Eschmann,
and Michelle Alvarez
© 2015 School Social Work Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, Spring 2015
Kevin Tan, MSW, is a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Ser vice Administra-
tion, University of Chicago, IL. Stefan Battle, MSW, EdD, is assistant professor and Mimi
Mumm, PhD, LICSW, is professor at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work,
Providence. Rob Eschmann, MA, is a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Service
Administration, University of Chicago. IL. Michelle Alvarez, MSW, EdD, is associate
dean, Social Sciences, College on Online and Continuing Education, Southern New
Hampshire University, Manchester.
The authors would like to thank Randy Bryant for his helpful research assistance
and data collection.
mental health problems (Finn, 1987; Rumberger, 2011). Students who
fail to graduate within four years are less likely to enter college and thus
to have lower lifetime economic opportunities and earnings (Wells &
Lynch, 2012). Given the implications of successful and timely gradua-
tion from high school, more focus is needed to enhance factors that can
support the academic success of students (Jordan, Lara, & McPartland,
1996). This article examines the impact of school social workers on the
timely graduation of high school students.
School social workers play an integral role in helping students suc-
ceed, and it is imperative that the influence of their work on an array of
academic outcomes be better understood (Alvarez, Bye, Bryant, &
Mumm, 2013; Clark & Alvarez, 2010; Frey et al., 2013; Kelly et al.,
2010). This is especially important in light of the prevailing academic
environment in which federal and state educational grants are tied to
school district educational performance (Alvarez et al., 2013).
The published research on this topic has thus far looked only at a lim-
ited range of factors that affect student outcomes (e.g., Alvarez et al.,
2013; Newsome, Anderson-Butcher, Fink, Hall, & Huffer, 2008). The
impact of school social workers on the rates of timely graduation for high
school students has not been studied previously. To address this gap
involving the contributions of school social workers to student success,
this study utilized data from a cohort of first-time ninth grade students
within the one hundred largest U.S. school districts to examine the
impact of school social workers on their effective and timely graduation
from high school.
Literature Review
School social workers often operate from an ecological systems per-
spective of practice. This approach emphasizes the influence of social
factors on student functioning (Allen-Meares, 2007). There is strong evi-
dence illustrating the relation between student achievement and proxi-
mal and wider social-economic contextual influences (Rumberger, 2011;
Sipple, 2007). Based on the dominance of the ecological systems per-
spective, research has shown that school social workers provide an essen-
tial link among pupils, families, and their respective social contexts
(Allen-Meares, 2007). Thus, school social workers are uniquely posi-
tioned to influence students who are exposed to high levels of environ-
mental risk (Frey et al., 2013). From this position, school social workers
can be expected to enhance student motivation and expectations toward
positive academic performance through interventions targeting both
pupils and their social environments. For instance, school social workers
2School Social Work Journal
can identify financial resources that may support students, especially
those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. School social
workers can also target the overall school climate by providing access to
a broad range of services and advocating for students’ educational needs.
In recent years, there has been a strong push for schools to offer such a
broad range of services across the entire student body using tiered deliv-
ery (e.g., the Response-to-Intervention model; see Clark & Alvarez, 2010,
and Kelly et al., 2010).
School social workers can collaborate with school administrators to
improve student outcomes. Because school social workers are employees
of school districts as compared to school-based community service
providers, they have a better understanding of school systems. This
understanding leads to a more appropriate and effective delivery of
school-based services (Franklin & Harris, 2007). Therefore, school dis-
tricts can directly benefit from the interventions provided by school social
workers at the individual student level and within the broader school
context. School social workers should also demonstrate evidence of their
contributions to student outcomes so that district administrators and
educational policy makers can advocate for school social work services to
be utilized more frequently (Newsome et al., 2008).
There are existing studies that have evaluated the contributions of
school social workers to student outcomes. For instance, the study by
Bagley and Pritchard (1998) in the United Kingdom observed that school
social workers can improve school climate and teacher morale. In this
study, data collected from two schools that engaged school social workers
and two similar control schools showed significant reductions in problem
behaviors such as bullying and drug use in schools with social workers.
Although this study highlighted the contributions of school social work-
ers in reducing problem behaviors, it unfortunately did not focus on aca-
demic outcomes.
In the literature, there exist few studies that have looked at the rela-
tionship between school social workers and academic outcomes. This
absence of research is in part due to the broad scope of the work done by
school social workers. The complexity of their jobs makes it difficult to
measure outcomes (Alvarez et. al., 2013; Garrett, 2006; Jonson-Reid,
Kontak, Citerman, Essma, & Fezzi, 2004). However, some research has
started to emerge that demonstrates the contributions of social workers
to educational outcomes (e.g., Alvarez et al., 2013; Franklin, Kim, &
Tripodi, 2009; Newsome et al., 2008). In most of these studies,
researchers examined the impact of school social workers on academic
outcomes across an array of measures. In the study by Alvarez and col-
leagues (2013), the outcome of interest was number of school
School Social Work and High School Freshman Graduation Rates 3
completers, defined as students who received a regular high school
diploma and individuals who were awarded a diploma by passing a state
or national equivalency exam (Alvarez et al., 2013; Sable, Plotts, &
Mitchell, 2010). In the meta-analysis study by Franklin and colleagues
(2009) that was based on published school social work practice studies,
one of the variables examined was grade point average. Lastly, although
the study by Newsome and colleagues (2008) did not directly measure
academic outcomes, the authors examined measures associated with
academic performance such as truancy and absenteeism among stu-
dents in urban secondary schools.
Despite the extant studies on school social workers and educational
outcomes, a gap persists in the literature. No study has looked at the
influence of school social workers based on a specific cohort—identified
by grade level or age—such as ninth grade students first entering high
school. There is currently no consensus among federal and state agencies
regarding the ideal measure used to evaluate student success. Federal
and state agencies are often interested in a broad range of educational
measures to evaluate student success because there are advantages and
limitations associated with each measure (Rumberger, 2011). For
instance, although the number of school completers provides an indica-
tion of the overall number of students who meet the requirements for
high school graduation, it also includes students who repeated a grade;
therefore, it may be an inflated measure of the total number of students
who graduate on time within a school district (Rumberger, 2011).
To address this gap in the literature, this study focuses on the rate of
timely high school graduation for freshmen in the one hundred largest
American school districts. The study hypothesized that the higher the
number of school social workers in a district, the higher the timely grad-
uation rate for freshmen within that district. In the analyses, student
social-economic background characteristics and district size were
included as important covariates due to their influences on student
achievement (Rumberger, 2011; Sipple, 2007) and the effectiveness of
social work service delivery (Franklin & Harris, 2007).
Methods
Data Collection
Data for the one hundred largest school districts for the academic
years 2008–09 (Plotts & Sable, 2010; Sable et al., 2010) were collected
from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
4School Social Work Journal
(IES), and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2008). The
data from the IES were reported by school districts and included city,
state, number of high school completers, number of schools, number of
students, and poverty rate (Plotts & Sable, 2010; Sable et al., 2010). The
research assistant contacted each of the one hundred largest school dis-
tricts by telephone and then followed up with e-mails to obtain the num-
ber of full-time equivalent school social workers employed. Alvarez and
colleagues (2013) provide a detailed description of the data collection
procedure. The following facts about the one hundred largest school dis-
tricts were observed by Sable and colleagues (2010):
The one hundred largest districts in 2008–09 represented less than
1 percent of all school districts in the United States, but were
responsible for the education of 22 percent of all public school stu-
dents and 20 percent of high school completers.
Schools in the one hundred largest districts were generally larger
than other schools in the United States, with an average enrollment
of 673 students per school district compared to 513 students in
smaller districts.
• Twenty-seven states were represented by the one hundred largest
school districts.
Three states—California, Florida, and Texas—are home to forty-five
of the one hundred largest school districts in the United States.
Measures
To address the hypothesis of this study, the following measures were
used:
Number of school social workers. Only those employed by the school
district with a title of social worker or school social worker were
included in the tally for each district. Social workers who were sub-
contracted from other agencies and who worked in the schools,
such as child mental health or welfare agency employees, were
excluded from this study.
Average freshman graduation rate. Average freshman graduation rate
(AFGR) is defined by the U.S. Department of Education, IES, as “an
estimate of the percentage of an entering freshman class graduat-
ing in four years. It equals the total number of high school diploma
recipients, divided by the average membership of the 8th grade
class” (Sable et al., 2010, p. C2). It does not include high school
equivalency recipients.
School Social Work and High School Freshman Graduation Rates 5
Poverty rate. The poverty rate utilized by the NCES is based on the
definition by the U.S. Census Bureau (Plotts & Stable, 2010; Sable et
al., 2010). An individual is considered by the Census Bureau to be
in poverty if the family’s total income is less than that family’s
poverty threshold (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). This definition is
based on income before taxes and does not include benefits such as
public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps.
District size. District size is based on data provided by the NCES. It is
determined by the number of schools within each district and
excludes nontraditional schools such as those that offer only online
courses.
Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics were produced to describe the sample as well as
the independent and dependent variables examined in this study. Next,
bivariate Pearson correlations between the variables were examined to
understand their relationships. Lastly, an analysis of variance (ANOVA)
was computed to assess the impact of the number of school social work-
ers on the freshman graduation rate. In the ANOVA analyses, district
poverty rate and district size were included as important covariates in
assessing the relation between the number of school social workers and
freshman graduation rate. There were no issues with missing data
because these data were derived from publicly available sources.
Results
Sample
In 2008–09, the one hundred largest school districts employed a total
of 6,667 school social workers. The Puerto Rico Department of Educa-
tion, New York City Public School District, and Chicago Public Schools
had the largest number of school social workers (1,734, 1,539, and 326,
respectively). On average, the one hundred largest school districts had 67
school social workers per district. More than 75 percent of the one hun-
dred largest school districts had at least one school social worker (sev-
enty-seven districts). The overall ratio of school social workers to stu-
dents was 1:6,529. It is important to note that seventy-seven of the one
hundred largest districts had fewer than 50 school social workers and of
these districts, twenty-three had no school social workers at all. No
school social workers were employed in districts in California (five dis-
tricts); Arizona and Maryland (two districts each); and Alaska, Nevada,
6School Social Work Journal
and Utah (one district each). More than half (eleven of nineteen) of the
largest districts in Texas did not employ school social workers.
Bivariate and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
Correlations were computed to explore the bivariate relationship
between the proposed independent variables (number of schools, poverty
rate, and number of school social workers) and the AFGR (see Table 1).
Poverty rate was significantly correlated with AFGR (r= -0.75, p
0.001) and number of schools (r= -0.26, p 0.001). The number of
school social workers was not significantly correlated with the AFGR, but
was highly correlated with the number of schools (r= .92, p 0.001).
The ANOVA results indicated that the number of school social workers
alone is not a significant correlate of the number of freshmen who go on
to graduate within four years. However, in a separate model, after con-
trolling for poverty and school district size (number of schools), all inde-
pendent variables including the number of school social workers were
significant correlates of AFGR (see Table 2).
Discussion
Findings from this research support similar studies that observed that
school social workers are associated with positive educational outcomes
(e.g., Alvarez et al., 2013; Newsome, et al., 2008). Specifically, results
reveal that school social workers have a positive influence on the gradu-
ation rates of students who enter as freshmen in the one hundred largest
American school districts. This study found that the number of school
social workers is positively associated with the freshman graduation rate
after controlling for poverty and district size. In other words, the
School Social Work and High School Freshman Graduation Rates 7
Table 1. Pearson Correlations between Dependent and
Independent Variables
1234
1. Number of school social workers 1.00
2. Poverty rate 0.13 1.00
3. District size (no. of schools) 0.92*** 0.22** 1.00
4. Average freshman graduation rate -0.13 -0.75*** -0.26*** 1.00
Mean 66.77 16.64 169.05 69.10
(standard deviation) (231.83) (8.61) (223.82) (12.45)
*p≤ 0.05; **p≤ 0.01; ***p≤ 0.001
influence of school social workers on the number of freshmen who grad-
uate within four years is evident after considering poverty and district
size in the relation between the number of school social workers and the
number of freshmen who graduate within four years.
The role of environmental poverty in the link between school social
workers and student outcomes is an important consideration because
school social work services can be influenced by social-economic fac-
tors. School districts with less financial capital are less likely than those
with more funding to support student academic performance (Rum-
berger, 2011). Poverty factors are also important considerations
because school social workers often provide specific services, such as
resources for family financial aid, to support economically disadvan-
taged children (Allen-Meares, 2007). School social workers may see
that students from impoverished backgrounds can struggle with low
motivation and expectations, which likely hinder academic perfor-
mance and negatively affect chances of graduation (Rumberger, 2011).
Failure to take into account poverty measures in research may lead to
underestimating the influence of school social workers on student out-
comes. It is therefore recommended that studies examining the influ-
ence of school social workers on student outcomes include poverty mea-
sures as an important consideration.
District size is also an important consideration when evaluating the
impact of school social work services on achievement outcomes. The
impact of school social workers on educational outcomes is posited to be
a function of district size (e.g., the number of schools within a district).
Social workers in a large district may have to serve many schools. For
social workers who are less familiar with each school it may be more dif-
ficult to deliver services, which may compromise their overall effective-
ness on student academic outcomes. The findings of this study suggest
that a measure of district size should be included as an important covari-
8School Social Work Journal
Table 2. Multivariate Correlates of Average Freshman Graduation Rate
βpvalue 95% confidence
interval
Constant 89.39 0.001 85.629–93.154
Number of school social workers 0.02 0.025 0.003–0.046
Poverty rate -1.03 0.001 -1.217–0.833
District size (no. of schools) -0.03 0.005 -0.048–0.009
School Social Work and High School Freshman Graduation Rates 9
ate in evaluating the influence of school social work services on achieve-
ment outcomes.
Implications for Practice
This study provides very promising news for school social workers
who are employed in high schools and for school social workers in gen-
eral. Findings from this study suggest that school social workers con-
tribute to student academic success. School social workers improve stu-
dent outcomes through a broad range of services provided to students in
collaboration with school and district administration (Kelly et al., 2010).
School social workers’ ecological systems approach to practice (Allen-
Meares, 2007) means that they work with multiple social systems within
the environment to help students better meet their needs and achieve
academic success. School social workers can enhance the coping abilities
of students, particularly those who encounter social-economic difficul-
ties. School social workers can improve the academic abilities of these
students by providing financial resources that make it possible for them
to function in their respective environments. School social workers can
also provide the necessary services (e.g., casework and family support)
that enable pupils to pursue intellectual and social activities that may
promote their overall capabilities. Furthermore, school social workers
can encourage change within the broader school environment by advo-
cating for students and attempting to make the school climate more sup-
portive for students facing poverty issues.
The propensity to stay in school begins early but a strong predictor of
graduation is attendance in eighth and ninth grades and course failures
in ninth grade (Mac Iver & Messel, 2013).Therefore, although atten-
dance must be a major focus of work with students, all school social
workers should develop a comprehensive continuum of services includ-
ing school-wide, small group, and individual supports (Clark & Alvarez,
2010; Kelly et al., 2010) that increase protective factors and reduce risk
factors for graduation. School social workers should link students with
resources to assist them in engaging in the school environment. Evi-
dence-informed programs that support student engagement include Pos-
itive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), Link Crew, and Building
Assets and Reducing Risk (BARR). Evidence-based programs that
address attendance include Check and Connect and Positive Action. [For
more information on all of these programs, see the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Registry
for Evidence-based Programs and Practices and The Institute of
Education Sciences’ What Works Clearinghouse.] Beyond linking stu-
dents with resources to assist them in engaging with the school environ-
ment, school social workers should focus on linking students and their
families to necessary resources of community support (Frey et al., 2013).
School social workers can also continue to identify school-based barriers
to student success (Frey et al., 2013)—policies that include attendance,
transfer course equivalency, course failure, and discipline—and advocate
for changing them.
Finally, school social workers should develop a metric for linking ser-
vices to outcomes that include persistence and graduation. The metric
should not be isolated to the social worker’s particular caseload, but
rather it should be applicable to all students eligible for services. In many
cases, the entire student body is eligible for services. School social work-
ers should find out how their schools collect the data that measure out-
comes of persistence and graduation. They may need to gain access to
the data or partner with the school personnel who can access the data.
Because attendance and course failure are directly correlated with high
school graduation, school social workers should also track these data
and report them to school administrators on a quarterly basis.
Limitations
This study has several limitations. First, the lack of a uniform school
social worker classification in the IES data limited the authors’ ability to
define accurately the number of social workers in any one school district.
This survey of the one hundred largest school districts measured only
school employees with the title social worker or school social worker and
did not include school-based social workers who might have other titles
or contracted social workers who provide in-school services but are not
district employees. The analysis provides an estimate of the mean impact
of school social workers on graduation rates, but having a more accurate
measurement of the numbers of district school social workers in the
sample would enable the authors to offer a more nuanced understanding
of school social worker effectiveness.
Another limitation is that the data for this study do not include
descriptions of social worker activities in schools. Given the variance in
school social worker roles, being able to categorize school social worker
activities and responsibilities would allow a more accurate measure of
school social worker effectiveness. For example, school social workers
may have a larger impact on mainstream graduation rates in districts
where they are expected to provide universal interventions and a larger
10 School Social Work Journal
impact on subgroup graduation rates in districts where their work is
focused on more targeted interventions. In future research, access to
both disaggregated graduation rates and distinct school social worker
activities may provide more accurate estimates of school social worker
effectiveness.
Lastly, the study is based on cross-sectional data without considering
the nesting of school social workers within districts and within states.
This study recognizes that longitudinal research designs and hierarchi-
cal, multilevel models have the strongest statistical confidence to suggest
causal relationships while taking into account the influence of broader
contextual factors. However, in light of the challenges involved in docu-
menting the influence of school social workers on educational outcomes,
this analysis is able to provide only a general estimate of the influence of
school social workers on student outcomes. It remains a challenge to
establish school social workers’ impact on academic outcomes because of
the difficulty of measuring the specific interventions that lead to positive
student outcomes (Jonson-Reid et al., 2004). However, documentation of
any empirical change associated with the provision of school social work
services is still important, particularly in periods when economic
resources may be limited. Recognizing the contributions of school social
workers reduces the chance that their positions will be targeted for elim-
ination by school districts facing budget shortages (Garrett, 2006; Shaf-
fer, 2011).
Implications for Future Research
The current study observed that district size, measured by the number
of schools, is an important covariate that influences the relation between
the number of school social workers and the eventual graduation of stu-
dents entering high school in the ninth grade. It is plausible that the
influence of school social workers on academic outcomes will vary based
on district size. However, this study did not investigate that hypothesis. It
is recommended that some future studies seek to determine if the influ-
ence of school social workers on academic outcomes differs based on the
number of schools that school social workers serve.
This study could also be replicated at the state level to examine
whether findings concerning the effectiveness of school social workers
with regard to educational outcomes vary widely from state to state.
Although the IES does not report specific data on the number of school
social workers employed by a school district, some state education agen-
cies do report such information (e.g., Florida). In addition, although this
School Social Work and High School Freshman Graduation Rates 11
study excluded social workers from external agencies who provide social
work services through contracts with school districts and limited the
sample to those with the official title of school social worker or social
worker, future studies could collect data regarding these professionals
and systematically evaluate the overall contributions of school social
workers on student achievement outcomes.
Future studies could also collect longitudinal and multilevel data on
the number of school social workers and student academic data within
school districts. The original data set for this study covers 2007–08 and
2008–09 (see Alvarez et al., 2013), but this is not adequate to examine
the long-term contributions of school social workers to student out-
comes over the course of their four years in high school. The benefit of
longitudinal and multilevel study designs is their ability to establish, with
greater statistical confidence, cause and effect relationships. It is evident
that future research with more robust designs is needed to evaluate the
efforts of school social workers with regard to educational outcomes.
Overall, findings from this study raise the following questions that
could be the focus of future studies:
• Do poverty rates and district size influence other student academic
outcomes?
Are there geographic differences in the influence of school social
workers on academic outcomes within these one hundred school
districts?
Do the experience, level of education, and certification of school
social workers influence student outcomes?
• Which specific interventions and activities administered by school
social workers best contribute to positive student outcomes?
It is imperative that more research be conducted to evaluate school
social workers and their potential contributions to student achievement.
Social workers are mandated by the Code of Ethics of the National Asso-
ciation of Social Workers (NASW, 2008) to identify best practices and
further their own professional development. Such research would help
school social workers better appraise their approach and abilities in shap-
ing positive student outcomes and from there guide further training and
improvement. In light of the current federal and state emphases on the
use of an array of educational measures for accountability purposes
(Rumberger, 2011), the school social work profession needs to devote
more attention and resources to documenting its effectiveness in pro-
moting the educational needs of students.
12 School Social Work Journal
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14 School Social Work Journal
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permission.
... Advancing the profession into the next decade requires the efforts of not only school social workers but also many of its supporters. School social workers are widely associated with enhanced student mental health (Franklin et al., 2009), better academic outcomes (Alvarez et al., 2013;Tan et al., 2015), and improved school attendance and self-esteem as well as lower aggression (Allen-Meares et al., 2013). Yet the profession is under constant scrutiny, and the sustainability and growth of the profession rely on advocacy. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Bu çalışma öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğunun internet bağımlılığı üzerindeki etkisini araştırmak amacıyla gerçekleştirilmiştir. Ayrıca öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğu ve internet bağımlılığı düzeyleri cinsiyet, sınıf düzeyi, okul türü, günlük internet kullanım süresi, gelir durumu, internet kullanım amaçları ve internet kullanımına bağlı sorunları paylaşma gibi değişkenler açısından da incelenmiştir. Araştırma değişkenler arasındaki ilişkiyi belirlemeyi amaçlayan ilişkisel tarama yöntemi ile yapılan nicel bir araştırmadır. Çalışmanın örneklemini Karabük ilinde öğrenim gören 9. 10. 11. ve 12. sınıf öğrencileri olan 508 lise öğrencisi oluşturmuştur. Veri toplama aracı olarak araştırmacı tarafından geliştirilen kişisel bilgi formu, Öğrenci Bireysel Sorumluluğu Ölçeği ve İnternet Bağımlılığı Ölçeği kullanılmıştır. Çalışma sonucunda cinsiyetin öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluk puanlarında anlamlı bir farklılık oluşturduğu ancak internet bağımlılığı puanlarında anlamlı bir farklılık oluşturmadığı görülmüştür. Öğrencilerin öğrenim gördüğü okul türüne göre bireysel sorumluluk düzeylerinin ve internet bağımlılığı düzeylerinin anlamlı bir şekilde farklılaştığı sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Ailenin gelir durumunun hem öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğu hem de internet bağımlılığı üzerinde anlamlı bir farklılık oluşturmadığı bulunmuştur. Öğrencilerin günlük internet kullanım süresi hem bireysel sorumluluk hem de internet bağımlılığı ortalamaları ile anlamlı bir farklılık göstermektedir. Ayrıca internet kullanım amaçlarına ve internet kullanımına bağlı sorunları paylaşmaya göre öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğu ve internet bağımlılığı da anlamlı bir şekilde farklılaşmaktadır. Son olarak öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğunun internet bağımlılığının bir yordayıcısı olup olmadığı araştırılmış ve öğrencilerin bireysel sorumluluğunun internet bağımlılığının bir yordayıcısı olduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Öğrencilerin internet bağımlılığı üzerinde bireysel sorumluluğun ve çeşitli faktörlerin etkisi olduğu görülmüştür. Okullarda da internet bağımlılığı ile mücadelede okul sosyal hizmetine duyulan ihtiyaç ortaya çıkmıştır. Bu sonuçlardan hareketle okul sosyal hizmetinin okullarda bulunması gereken bir alan olduğu görülmekte ve okullarda okul sosyal hizmet uzmanlarının istihdam edilmesi önerilmektedir.
Article
School social workers (SSWs) play a vital role in district-level education, but ambiguity within our collective understanding of school social work is a pervasive problem. Clarity of the SSW role is important for communities of place (schools), practice (SSWs), and circumstance (consumers of school social work). This research recruited and surveyed 52 SSWs in a focal state to contextualize their practice domains and professional capacity. Findings broadly pertain to the actual and idealized education and training of SSWs, as well as their case-level and cause/system-level job functions. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for policy, practice, and future research.
Article
Full-text available
Research documenting the contributions of school social workers to students' educational outcomes is limited. This article reviews the existing literature on school social work outcomes. Analysis of variance results indicated that number of school social workers was a significant predictor of the number of students who completed high school in the 100 largest school districts in the United States in the 2008–2009 school year. To assess whether number of school social workers remained a significant predictor while controlling for district size and poverty rate, a multiple regression was computed. Number of students, poverty rate, and number of school social workers were significant predictors of high school completion. This article shows that the number of school social workers in a school district positively influences the number of high school completers. School districts with school social workers had more students completing high school, indicating that the knowledge and skills that school social workers bring to the school districts can lead to better educational outcomes. This article underscores the need for additional research relating school social worker efforts to educational outcomes. This study could be replicated in states where data sets, which include the number of school social workers per district, already exist.
Article
Full-text available
Objective: This systematic review examined the effectiveness of school social work practices using meta-analytic techniques. Method: Hierarchical linear modeling software was used to calculate overall effect size estimates as well as test for between-study variability. Results: A total of 21 studies were included in the final analysis. Unconditional random effects model shows an overall weighted mean effect size estimate of .23 for externalizing problem outcomes and .40 for internalizing problem outcomes; both categories were statistically significant at the p < .05 level. Subgroup analysis for academic outcomes showed mixed results for knowledge, attendance, and grade point average outcome measures. Conclusions: Results highlight the positive impact school social workers may have on student emotional, mental, behavioral, and academic outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
With the current emphasis on accountability in kindergarten through twelfth-grade education, greater demands have been placed on school social workers. In fact, many federal, state, and school officials are demanding the use of evaluative outcome research that demonstrates the potential impact of supportive services. The present study examined the impact of school social work services on reducing risk factors related to truancy as well as student absenteeism among students in urban secondary schools. A total of 115 students participated in the study. Seventy-four students receiving school social work services were matched with seventy-one comparable students not receiving services. Overall, results indicate that school social work services had a statistically significant impact on reducing various risk factors related to truant behaviors among students who received the intervention. On the other hand, no significant differences were uncovered between the experimental and comparison groups on student absenteeism. Implications are discussed in relation to the importance of school social work services in K-12 educational settings. (Contains 2 tables.)
Book
Response to Intervention (RtI) is at the heart of evidence-based practice in schools. Though written into federal special education legislation, it is a general education process consisting of a three-tiered framework for organizing a comprehensive and differentiated system designed to ensure educational success for all students. The focus in this book is on meeting the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. School social workers are key stakeholders who need to be skilled in designing, monitoring, and evaluating the effectiveness of school-wide universal supports, targeted group interventions, and intensive individual interventions in objective and measurable terms. Designed as both a training manual and a practical reference, with contributions by seasoned academics and practitioners with extensive experience developing and practicing in RtI systems, this one-of-a-kind guide operationalizes this crucial service delivery framework. It highlights the importance of data-based decision making and offers concrete guidelines for collecting, analyzing, and displaying data. Detailed case examples that illustrate real-world program implementation, practical guidance in selecting empirically supported practices, sample assessment worksheets, and strategies for supporting the adoption and sustainability of RtI systems make this a handy tool for school social workers seeking a more active role in using decision-making processes to improve their school's system of support for all students.
Article
This article describes the results from the first year of a longitudinal study of a school social work caseload in a large midwestern school district. The purpose of the investigation was to examine the relationship among case characteristics, types of services provided, and case dispositions. Data were collected using a management information system developed by a partnership of university and school social work staff. School social work caseload data for 911 students were analyzed using descriptive and logistic regression techniques. Referral reasons were associated with the referral source and student characteristics. The process of model building for a logistic regression analysis of positive case disposition revealed significant differences in the model of case disposition for students referred for three reasons or more compared with the full sample. Implications of the results for understanding social work practice and assessing the potential of using administrative data to capture school social work caseload information are discussed.
Article
This study of graduation outcomes in Baltimore uses multivariate analysis of longitudinal student cohort data to examine the impact of factors identified in previous research as early warning indicators of a dropout outcome. Student cohort files were constructed from longitudinal administrative data (following all first-time 2004–2005 and 2005–2006 9th graders forward in time until their on-time graduation year and 1 year past). Sequentially estimated logistic regression hierarchical linear modeling models indicated the strongest predictors of graduation were 9th-grade attendance and course failure, although gender was still significant. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to analyze the relationship between the 4 categories of college enrollment outcomes (enrollment in a 4-year college, enrollment in a 2-year college, graduation with no college enrollment, and nongraduation) and student-level predictor variables, including grade point average (GPA) and 8th-grade test scores. Results suggest that equipping schools to implement interventions to address chronic absenteeism and course failure in 9th grade is a crucial strategy for increasing both high school graduation and college enrollment.
Article
This study investigates delayed college entry, including how college enrollment differs based on students' plans while in high school. Results confirm that low-SES students are repeatedly disadvantaged in the college transition, but add complexity concerning the influences of family income, parental education, and parental occupational status.
Article
This study uses nationally representative high school student data to show raceethnicity and gender differences in reasons for early school dropout and plans for dropouts to resume their education. Factor analyses show that separate reasons for dropping out include school-related, family-related, and job-related causes, as well as influences from peers and residential mobility. White dropouts cited alienation from school more often than either African Americans or Hispanics of both sexes. African American males reported being suspended or expelled from school more than the other groups. Hispanic and African American females cited family-related reasons more often than did White females. The overwhelming majority of dropouts did have plans for resuming their education, which differed across race-ethnicity and gender. Male and female White dropouts planned to take equivalency tests; Hispanic adolescents favored attending alternative high schools; and African American adolescents planned to return to a regular high school to earn their diplomas. Implications for research and practice are discussed.