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Do Lower Student to Counselor Ratios Reduce School Disciplinary Problems?

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Listed:
  • Carrell Scott E

    () (Dartmouth College)

  • Carrell Susan A

    () (secarrell@ucdavis.edu)

Abstract

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends that there be no more than 250 students to each school counselor. Although numerous studies in the education literature show that school counselors play a positive role in educating children, to our knowledge, this is the first study answering the question of whether lower student to counselor ratios, all else equal, improve student outcomes. Using data provided to us by Florida's Alachua County School District and the University of Florida Counselor Education Department, we show that lower student to counselor ratios decrease both the recurrence of student disciplinary problems and the share of students involved in a disciplinary incident. These effects are greater for minority and low-income students. The fixed-effect models used, control for all unobserved heterogeneity across schools, isolating the effects on discipline from the within-school changes in the student-to-counselor ratio. The empirical methodologies employed produce unbiased estimates as long as the variation in the student to counselor ratio is not driven by unobserved factors that affect disciplinary outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrell Scott E & Carrell Susan A, 2006. "Do Lower Student to Counselor Ratios Reduce School Disciplinary Problems?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.5:y:2006:i:1:n:11
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pit:wpaper:343 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2010. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 211-228, January.
    3. C. Kirabo Jackson & Rucker Johnson & Claudia Persico, 2014. "The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 20118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:pit:wpaper:396 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Carrell, Scott E. & Hoekstra, Mark, 2014. "Are school counselors an effective education input?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 66-69.
    6. Randall Reback, 2010. "Schools' mental health services and young children's emotions, behavior, and learning," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(4), pages 698-725.

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