Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this dissertation was to understand the student experience and perception of change after participating in a before-school counselor intervention focused on learning prosocial behaviors and developing peer relational skills. This evaluation included both how students experienced the program and if they perceived any change in themselves after participating in the program. Qualitative methods are often used in evaluations because they tell the program's story by capturing and communicating the participant's stories (Patton, 2003, p. 2). The purpose of this type of method was to illuminate the process and outcomes of a program. The intent of qualitative findings was to deepen understanding through the eyes of the participants or to "put faces on the statistics to deepen understanding" (Patton, 2003, p. 2). In order to understand the student experience and perception of change, the researcher interviewed eight students who participated in a 12-week before-school program. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Analysis of the data resulted in six separate findings. To summarize, the students found the before-school program to be a positive experience where they learned how to make friends more effectively, they felt good about helping others, and they found it difficult to cooperate on a consistent basis. Students evaluated the program as being fun and they spoke about 38 of the 52 activities. The bulk of the program evaluation centered unanimously around four specific activities. And each individual student came away from the 12 week program gaining a personally meaningful and unique skill. This study provided a qualitative evaluation of student perception of a before-school program. These findings are useful for school administrators, superintendents, and school counselors because they provide an understanding of the student experiences of change in group counseling which occurred before-school. This data can be used to support the value of group work outside of the traditional day. This program can be used to provide a model of psychoeducational prevention work to students when time for counseling groups in elementary school is becoming increasingly scarce.


school counseling, intervention, prosocial behavior, peer relational skills

Document Type




Degree Name

Counselor Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Advisor

Lemberger-Truelove, Matthew

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lemberger-Truelove, Matthew

Second Committee Member

Goodrich, Kristopher

Third Committee Member

Armstrong, Jan

Fourth Committee Member

Dollarhide, Colette

Included in

Education Commons