Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne M. Hedstrom

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary L. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. E. Brooks Applegate


Urban, African American, school counseling, black students


Urban school reform has begun to penetrate the school counseling profession in both theory and practice. The American School Counseling Association’s National Model (ASCA, 2005), as well as the Transforming School Counseling Initiatives component of the Education Trust (2007) are initiatives within the school profession promoted, in part, as responses to urban school reform. In particular, the ASCA National model is a “call to action” for school counselors to promote student success by closing the existing achievement gap whenever found between students of color, poor students, or underachieving students and their more advantaged peers (ASCA, 2005). However, little information is available on the activities of school counselors in urban schools that are predominantly African American. The purpose of this study was to explore the demographic characteristics of school counselors in predominantly African American urban as schools as well as ascertain how frequently they engage in school counseling activities as conceptualized by ASCA.

A descriptive, quantitative study was conducted. A total of 102 school counselors that worked in predominantly African American urban schools in Michigan participated in the study (40% response rate). Participants completed a demographic questionnaire as well as the School Counselor Activity Rating Scale Survey (Scarborough, 2002) in which they indicated the frequency with which they performed activities recommended by the ASCA National Model.

Findings of this study revealed that counselors in predominantly African American urban schools performed many of the activities prescribed by the ASCA National Model. The descriptive analysis found a majority of the participants to be African American females (61%) who had master’s degrees or higher in school counseling trained in school counseling (85%).

Of the 48 recommended activities, 8 were performed always or frequently by more than 50% of the participants. Counseling students regarding school behavior and consulting with school staff concerning student behavior were the most frequently performed activities. Counselors spent most of their time performing activities in the categories of counseling, consultation and coordination. Curriculum activities were performed least frequently. Results indicated significant differences in the frequency of activities between elementary and high school counselors. Recommendations for counselor education and future research are offered.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access