Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Donna J. Merkley


This dissertation is a series of papers that explored the effectiveness of Smoother Sailing, an elementary (K--5) comprehensive, developmental counseling program. Meta-analytical methods are used with field data collected from 1988 to 2001. Various effect size statistics are matched with the diverse types of research findings.;The first paper examines the role of the elementary school counselor. The Smoother Sailing program recommends that time the school counselor spends in the counseling role be divided equally into thirds among classroom guidance, small group counseling, and individual counseling including consulting with parents, teachers, or community members. Results confirm a consistent counselor role in the areas of individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom guidance, but counselors spent greater than one-third of their time in individual counseling and less than one-third of their time in classroom guiDance; Elementary school counselors should provide counseling in alignment with the program model and consider how the distribution of their time supports student learning.;The second paper examines parent, teacher, and building principal satisfaction with the Smoother Sailing program. The weighted average effect sizes ranged from 0.30 to 0.66, suggesting that each of these groups of stakeholders maintained a high level of satisfaction with the program. There was some variability within the parent and building principal data. Maintaining an evaluation plan and determining satisfaction of school counselors are suggested.;The third paper examines the impact of the Smoother Sailing program on students' self-esteem, student behavior in school and out of school, students' knowledge of Smoother Sailing curriculum, and retention of students from one grade to the next. The effect sizes were statistically significant for all except the self-esteem results. There was variability in the student behavior and knowledge data. Percentages varied for student self-reported abstinence from each of 10 substance abuse behaviors. The variability among some of the items assessing student knowledge data suggests that student understanding of some content and skills may not be maximized through instruction.;The dissertation concludes with implications for elementary school counseling programs and conducting meta-analyses with field research data in addition to suggestions for future research.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Mariann H. Bryant Culver



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118 pages