Study Guide

Field 139: School Counselor 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

Try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT ned uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of learning and motivation from early childhood to young adulthood and factors that may affect learning and motivation.

1. A school counselor advocates a theme-based approach to classroom management. For example, in addition to communicating to students that we listen to one another, the teacher communicates that we also care for one another. This establishes care as a theme or expectation. Then, when a student is disruptive, the teacher asks, "How do we show care for what we are doing?" Or, if a student misuses resources or materials, the teacher asks, "How do we show care for the tools we use in the classroom?" The most important benefit of this approach is that it:

  1. reinforces the guiding values of the classroom to students.
  2. promotes students' recognition of the effects of misbehavior on others.
  3. helps students place the needs of the class before their personal needs.
  4. corrects students without implementing punitive consequences.

correct response: a. the school counselor in the scenario described has identified and implemented the concept of caring as a value within the classroom. the concept of caring is relatively abstract, and while elementary-age students may understand the concept of caring as it relates to individuals, that may be the extent of their understanding. the counselor's advocacy of extending this thematic approach to the classroom environment helps reinforce and extend students' understanding of how the concept of caring can apply in other contexts beyond person-to-person.


Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of diversity issues related to school counseling and environments that promote respect and affirmation for all students.

2. An elementary school counselor in a culturally diverse school wants to promote the concept of pluralism. Which of the following class activities would best support this outcome?

  1. Students are assigned to interview a member of their family about its cultural traditions.
  2. Students help create word walls in each classroom with vocabulary that is unique to their individual cultural backgrounds.
  3. Students attend presentations by community members from diverse cultures.
  4. Students create a class quilt in which students contribute squares that are designed to represent diverse cultural backgrounds.

correct response: d. pluralism is characterized by engagement with diversity. pluralism goes beyond tolerance to active seeking of understanding across lines of difference. the quilt activity described acknowledges diverse cultures that are part of a larger whole, which is a developmentally appropriate method for illustrating this concept to students in elementary school. the quilt activity reinforces the idea that unique squares (i.e., cultures) combine to create a richer, more interesting quilt (i.e., community).


Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of principles and practices in instruction, academic development, and educational/career planning.

3. Which of the following actions by a high school counselor would best help students prepare for college entrance exams?

  1. teaching students methods for tracking their academic progress to identify areas of strengths and needs
  2. arranging for students to take preliminary, or introductory, assessments with the same formats and item types as the entrance exams
  3. publishing a directory for students and their parents/guardians of individuals who offer tutoring services in different content areas
  4. showing students examples of different types of items and formats they may encounter on entrance exams

correct response: b. preliminary, or introductory, assessments for college entrance exams enable students to become familiar with various item types, the testing environment, and the format of the test. for example, students would be able to experience how multiple-choice items are structured and the features of constructed-response items (e.g., editing capabilities, sample prompts). when students have an opportunity to become familiar with these aspects of college entrance exams, they are better able to focus their attention on the content being assessed rather than the logistics of the assessment.


Competency 0006 
Apply knowledge of principles, processes, and practices related to social/emotional development.

4. One of the desired outcomes for an elementary school counseling program is to foster in students a sense of self-efficacy. Which of the following approaches by the school counselor would best support achievement of this outcome?

  1. praising students' traits and abilities when they perform a challenging task successfully
  2. teaching students how to develop short-term goals and action plans for achieving the goals
  3. providing students with peer models who have overcome challenges students are facing
  4. adjusting achievement expectations to ensure that students experience success in their learning


Competency 0007 
Apply knowledge of principles and practices in career development, career assessment, and career-related decision making.

5. In the career planning process, a personality assessment is most useful for which of the following purposes?

  1. guiding students in selecting the best career once they have identified a specific career cluster
  2. assisting students and their parents/guardians in selecting the most appropriate institution of higher education for achieving career goals
  3. providing students with career options through which they are most likely to achieve financial success
  4. helping students think critically about themselves and how they process information to identify compatible career options

correct response: d. careful evaluation of individual strengths, preferences, and work style is a vital step in the career planning process. personality assessments often take the form of self-reports in which individuals respond to questions about themselves. these assessments require the individual to reflect on themselves and how they like to work, engage with others, and respond in various contexts. the results of these assessments can provide the individual with insights into how they think as well as help them identify career paths that align with the personality characteristics revealed by the assessment.


Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of principles and procedures for individual counseling.

6. A third-grade teacher approaches the school counselor about a student, Maureen, who is frequently out of her seat without permission throughout the day. The teacher shows the counselor a behavior contract the teacher created for Maureen. Since Maureen likes to draw, the contract awards her with five minutes at the end of the day to draw when she remains in her seat during the day. The teacher explains that the contract has been in place for two weeks but has not been effective in changing Maureen's behavior. Which of the following questions should the counselor explore with the teacher in analyzing the appropriateness of this intervention?

  1. Did Maureen have input into the terms of the contract?
  2. Does Maureen understand the importance of remaining seated?
  3. How does Maureen respond to requests to return to her seat?
  4. Is Maureen seated in a distracting area of the classroom?

correct response: a. an effective behavior contract is an agreement between the teacher, student, and often the student's family. collaborative development of the contract is extremely important. students may not be invested in abiding by the terms of the contract if they do not have a significant role in its creation.


Competency 0010 
Apply knowledge of principles and procedures for addressing schoolwide needs, including crisis prevention and intervention, and providing systems support.

7. An elementary school counseling program includes a focus on mental health and wellness. The school counselor provides many activities to educate students about bullying and how it affects an individual's self-esteem and sense of personal safety. As part of these activities, the school counselor should also provide students with information about:

  1. important distinctions between tolerance and acceptance of individual differences.
  2. various strategies to build positive thinking and self-confidence.
  3. appropriate bystander behavior if they observe someone being bullied or harassed.
  4. specific behaviors that indicate that someone is depressed.

correct response: c. bystanders are individuals who are neither victims nor perpetrators of bullying. bystanders are extremely important actors in deterring the demoralizing and damaging impacts of bullying because they are potentially in a position to challenge bullying as soon as it occurs. challenging bullying behavior can be a difficult choice for students, so providing them with tools and strategies for taking this action can enhance the quality and effectiveness of a school's anti-bullying efforts.


Competency 0011 
Apply knowledge of how to plan, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive school counseling program.

8. An elementary school counselor is reviewing a recent use-of-time assessment. Which of the following results of the assessment most clearly indicates a problem related to appropriate time commitments within the school counseling program?

  1. The school counselor spent approximately  40 percent of the time providing direct and indirect services to students. 
  2. The school counselor spent approximately two hours a month engaged in professional development.
  3. The school counselor spent approximately  25 percent of the time on program management and accountability documentation. 
  4. The school counselor spent approximately three hours a week attending teacher planning meetings.

correct response: a. the american school counselor association (asca) national model recommends that school counselors devote 80%or more of their time to providing direct and indirect services to students. direct services include in-person interactions between the school counselor and students. indirect services are provided on behalf of students as a result of the school counselorís interactions with others and include consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, other educators, and community organizations. this school counselor's use-of-time assessment reveals that well below this recommended percentage of time was spent on direct and indirect services.


Competency 0012 
Apply knowledge of procedures for effective communication, consultation, and collaboration with students, families, colleagues, and other professionals.

9. An elementary school counseling program offers online and after-school coaching for families. The coaching sessions include strategies for listening and questioning, communicating high expectations, and encouraging academic development. Which of the following outcomes is likely to be the most important benefit of this type of family coaching?

  1. reinforcing to families the educational expertise of school personnel
  2. aligning communication techniques families use at home with techniques used at school
  3. increasing the overall value families place on their children's education
  4. empowering families to support and engage effectively in their children's education

correct response: d. parents/guardians and other family members often have questions about how to support student success. the coaching sessions described in the scenario can help families learn strategies that are empirically based and well-matched to students' developmental levels. in providing families with the skills and tools they need to help their children succeed academically, the counseling program enables families to participate actively as partners in the learning process.


Competency 0013 
Apply knowledge of foundations and current issues in school counseling and the professional, legal, and ethical roles and responsibilities of school counselors.

10. A school counselor makes it a priority to analyze school data to identify practices that are not working and then trying to change the system to achieve more effective outcomes. The counselor involves many school stakeholders in this process. This approach is most representative of which of the following leadership styles?

  1. democratic
  2. facilitative
  3. transformational
  4. pace-setting

correct response: c. transformational leadership is a style of leadership characterized by working with individuals within a system to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. school counselors who demonstrate transformational leadership focus on engaging members of the school community in making systems-level changes to promote positive outcomes for all students.