Advisory Research & Support
Looking for a reason to keep Advisory around? Check out the dissertation and its findings here with the abstract listed below. You can also find this on the NASSP’s podcast in iTunes.
Abstract: “This study examines the characteristics of advisors and advisory programs that foster student connectedness and the ways in which students and their advisors perceive the impact of advisory programs on academic achievement. Student connectedness, a concept that refers to a school culture in which students have meaningful relationships with adults within the school, are engaged in the school, and feel a sense of belonging to the school, correlates directly with low instances of student dropout and high academic achievement. While improving school connectedness is critical at all educational levels, it is particularly urgent in middle school because the roots of alienation take hold during young adolescence. The sample was comprised of 501 students and 31 advisors in three California middle schools. I used student and teacher questionnaires to identify advisories producing high levels of student connectedness, and then used student focus groups, teacher interviews, and advisory observations to further analyze my quantitative findings. My findings show that both students and advisors report that advisories improve students’ academic performance. In the nine strongest advisories, the perception that the advisory improves students’ academic performance is significantly stronger than in the other 22 advisories in the sample. The nine advisories with the highest connectedness scores engender students’ and teachers’ positive associations with the advisory program, address topical community issues, and foster open communication amongst all members of the advisory. The common characteristics of these nine advisors is that they all know and care about their students as individuals, monitor their academic progress, and help them to solve academic and social problems. Comparing the advisory programs at the three sites indicates the importance of the developmental stage, structure, and role of the advisory program in determining school connectedness.”