Student Perceptions Of Faculty-Student Advisory Programs At Three Secondary Schools
Poole, Vicky P.
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The problem: The case study analyzed the faculty-student advisory programs of three secondary schools as perceived by participating students. The programs were described in terms of educational focus, relationships, sense of belonging, and communication. Procedures: A 40-item survey was administered to 100 students at each of 3 large Midwest high schools with graduating classes of more than 400 students. A 5-point Likert scale was used to determine level of agreement with 33 statements that centered on the educational focus of their existing advisory groups, the relationships of the students and faculty in the advisory groups, the influence of the advisory program on sense of belonging, and the communication within the advisory group membership. Students added written information on the open-ended section of the survey. Two follow-up focus groups were formed at each of the three participating schools. One focus group in each school was comprised of students and the other of faculty. A follow-up 10-item survey was distributed to another 100 students at each of these three large high schools using a 5-point Likert scale in order to verify the 10 identified themes from the previous survey and focus groups. Findings: Large schools provide more opportunity for isolationism of groups of students. Students can feel disconnected. Ten themes were identified as student perceptions of the advisory program in the secondary school environment. Students perceived the advisory programs as most effective for relationship building (student to student and student to adult) and for improving communication. The educational component varied from school to school. Collectively students did not perceive this component to be effective. Conclusions: The heart of the advisory programs at the secondary level was found to be in the areas of relationship building and communication. In large high schools the program provided for connections of students to students and students to staff. Advisory programs at the secondary level provide a vehicle for communication, connecting the students to their school. The impact of the advisory programs is dependent upon the implementation skills of the advisor.
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