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Achieving Excellence in School Counseling through Motivation, Self-Direction, Self-Knowledge and Relationships

Achieving Excellence in School Counseling through Motivation, Self-Direction, Self-Knowledge and Relationships

  • Karl L. Squier - Lady of the Lake Learning Systems
  • Patricia Nailor - Providence College, Providence, RI
  • John C. Carey - Ronald H. Fredrickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research & Evaluation, UMASS Amherst

Foreword by Clarence and Sharon Johnson

May 2014 | 208 pages | Corwin

A new research-based approach to the design, delivery and evaluation of K–12 school counseling programs

Learn about a Construct-Based Approach (CBA) to school counseling that uses four research-based constructs to focus school counseling programs on areas that can significantly increase the impact on student achievement and school improvement. Discover essential school counseling processes in which all students participate: student planning, academic support, college and career readiness, and personal growth and social interaction.

 The authors, leading educational experts, use research to refocus attention on student results, a challenging results-based school counseling curriculum, and meaningful student assessments. See examples of how a CBA looks in practice with the following: 

  • In-depth analysis of student standards and competencies
  • Developmentally-appropriate scope and sequence
  • Documented curriculum activities
  • Sample student assessments  

An online toolkit consisting of electronic files with structured processes, clearly-defined protocols and easy-to-use tools to help implement a CBA is also available. 

This groundbreaking approach can help transform your counseling program. You will love it. Your students will love it. Get started today! Visit for more information, including online and onsite consulting services that are available. 


Table of Contents
About the Authors
1. Introduction
Purpose of Book

How Book Chapters are Organized

Book Chapter Descriptions

From Concept to Practice

CBA Toolkit Components

Construction Site Components

Chapter 1 Construction Zone

2. A Simple Language Set
Importance of the Language We Use





Student Assessment

Program Implementation and Evaluation

How the Terms in the Language Set Relate

Standards and Competencies are the Foundation of the Curriculum

Chapter 2 Construction Zone

3. Research-Based Constructs
Definition of Research-Based

New Focus on Personal, Social and Life Skills


Self-Knowledge and Self-Direction



Chapter 3 Construction Zone

4. Relevant Contexts for K-12 School Counseling Programs
From Constructs to Contexts

Competency Statements Emerge from Contexts

Contexts Consist of Essential Processes

Academic Support

Chapter 4 Construction Zone

5. Student Results (Standards and Competencies)
Achieving Excellence

Counseling-Learning Environment (CLE)

Two Types of Student Results

Construct-Based Student Standards

A Vision to Live By

Competencies as Proficiency Builders

Writing Meaningful Competency Statements

A Focus on Cognitive Skill Development

A Focus on Metacognitive Skill Development

Role of School Counselors

Chapter 5 Construction Zone

6. Role of Curriculum in a CBA
Where We Are in the CBA Building Process

Essential Characteristics of a CBA Curriculum

Principles for Learner Centered School Communities

Results-Based CBA Curriculum in a Nutshell

Chapter 6 Construction Zone

7. Assessing Student Progress toward CBA Counseling Standards
CBA Student Proficiency Assessments

Assessing Current Levels of Competency

Assessing Gains after Interventions

Assessing Progress towards Standards at Key Transition Points

Assessing Curriculum-Related Proficiencies

Importance of Linking CBA to Research-Based Constructs

Chapter 7 Construction Zone

8. CBA Program Implementation: Focus on Planning

Shift in Focus from Building to Implementing a CBA

How to Begin

Why All the Fuss About Planning?

Three Perspectives on the Planning Process

Four Types of Plans

Chapter 8 Construction Zone

9. CBA Program Implementation: Focus on Program Delivery
Delivering a CBA Program with Fidelity

Data Management

School Counseling Data Management System

Chapter 9 Construction Zone

10. BA Program Implementation: Focus on Evaluation
Program Evaluation is an Improvement Process

What Needs to be Evaluated

Chapter 10 Construction Zone

11. CBA’s Contribution to School Improvement Initiatives
Contribution to Current Practice

Contribution to Knowledge and Skill Requirements Initiatives

ACT’s Five Principles

CBA Contribution to School-Based Intervention Initiatives

Toward a More Holistic View of Student Learning

Chapter 11 Construction Zone

12. Power and Potential
What is Power and Potential?

A Vision to Live By

Summary of Key Points

School Counselor Accountability


"This book takes a vital next step for the school counseling profession by defining what results we expect students to achieve based on research. Not only do the authors propose standards for student excellence, but also demonstrate the importance of delivering meaningful learning opportunities and assessing student proficiency and achievement." 

From the Foreword by Clarence Johnson and Sharon Johnson

"The authors present a systematic roadmap for implementing the innovative and promising Construct-Based Approach to school counseling.  This research-based approach will assist counselors and schools in targeting student skills and competencies that are vital for student achievement and success, specifically motivation, self-direction, self-knowledge, and relationships." 

Jon M. Shepard, School Psychologist
Denton Independent School District, Denton, Texas

"The authors provide a new model for school counseling interventions, ensuring that every K-12 student has specific competencies in four key school counseling standards from educational success research."

Stuart Chen-Hayes, Associate Professor & Program Coordinator, Counselor Education/School Counseling
Lehman College of the City University of New York

"This pioneering book takes the ASCA National Model to a new level. With over 50 years of research in how the brain functions and how students learn school counselors will find this book extremely helpful in their implementation of the ASCA National Model as it defines roles for administrators, parents, teachers, and the community."

Judy Bowers, School Counselor Consultant

“For the first time, we have a comprehensive school counseling curriculum built on more than fifty years of research designed around four main constructs supporting students’ success: (a) motivation, (b) self-direction, (c) self-knowledge, and (d) relationships.  Any person passionate about designing a proactive, research-based approach to school counseling will love this book.  The Construct-Based Approach (CBA) detailed by Squier, Nailor, and Carey is grounded in data-based decision making, strategic program implementation and ongoing evaluation. CBA is focused on enhancing students’ “self-direction or self-determination skills”.  These factors have been shown to be more closely associated with future success than academic skills or performance on achievement tests.  The constructs and strategies in this book are designed to ensure that all students are successful in school and, more importantly, throughout their life.  This book shows school counselors how to make a measurable difference in students’ lives.  School counselors will appreciate how the authors connect the strong research base to a curriculum laid out clearly in scope and sequence, with activities, interventions, and assessment strategies included.  In fact, as school counselors examine the curriculum, they will find many issues they encounter daily through responsive services.  Through this approach, however, school counselors have an intentional, planned sequence for equipping all students with the knowledge, behaviors, and skills they need to be successful, while targeting sub-populations that need additional support.  Crisis requiring responsive services will be reduced tremendously as a result. I highly recommend this book for any school counselor in-training, beginning school counselor, school counselor who wishes to evolve current practices, or any school looking to make a measurable impact in students’ lives!”

Brett Zyromski Associate Professor
Northern Kentucky University
Key features
  • Presents standards that are explicitly research based, thus they can be measured with reliability and validity
  • Emphasizes 21st century skills and that ways that today's students learn best
  • Focuses on four extensively researched constructs: motivation, self-direction, self-knowledge, and relationships.
  • Contains a Starter Kit for counselors who want to transform their current program into a construct-based program, offering numerous knowledge exercises plus other tools, instruments and templates.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

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