School counselors and Latino/a English language learners: Closing the achievement/opportunity gaps to increase college-going rates

Date of Completion

January 2010


Education, English as a Second Language|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Counseling




Latino/a students continue to encounter achievement and opportunity gaps, often precluding access to post-secondary institutions (Olivos & Quintana de Valladolid, 2005). Multiple factors have been attributed to achievement and opportunity gaps, including English language difficulties, immigration status, acculturation challenges, racism, and socioeconomic factors (Villalba, Akos, Keeter, & Ames, 2007). In a review of journal coverage across student-service professions, Albers, Hoffman & Lundahl (2009) found a dearth of research conducted on issues regarding English language learners. Given school counselors' integral role in assisting students to achieve academically coupled with the limited research focusing on Latino/a English language learners', this study was conducted to identify school counselor interventions that decrease dropout rates and increase graduation and college-going rates. In doing so, high school level school counselors across the Northeast (n = 198) were asked to identify activities they report implementing on behalf of Latino/a English language learners and whether they help to decrease dropout rates and increase graduation and college-going rates. Additionally, self-reported school counselor characteristics and schools that were reported to have recently received an influx of Latino/a English language learners were examined. The results of this study suggest that it might be helpful for school counselors to: a) collaborate with multiple school and community stakeholders on behalf of Latino/a English language learners; b) address the inadequacy of resources through advocacy and leadership; c) and maintain accurate demographic and academic/achievement data on Latino/a English language learners. ^