There is a high number of high school graduate annually, even though some students also fail to graduate from high school due to various social challenges successfully. Therefore, there is a need for emphasis on the factors that support the successful graduation of students from high schools hence the achievement of academic success. School social workers hold a significant position in the academic success of students, and it is essential to evaluate the impact of their contribution to academic results. The evaluation of the effects of the work of school social workers is critical in regards to the current educational conditions. This article aims at reviewing essential literature that examines the impact of school social workers to high school students.
According to studies by Tan, Battle, Mumm, Eschmann&Alvarez (2015) regarding the correlation between school social workers and the graduation rates of high school students in over a hundred high schools in the United States, the findings of the study prove that there is a positive correlation between the effort of school social workers and the rate of academic success for the students. Hence, school social workers play a decisive role in the achievement of positive results. On the same note, Battle-Winston (2019), posits that there is sufficient proof for the correlation between the completion of academic success by students and their socio-economic surroundings. The study argues that school social workers provide a reciprocal link between the students and their socio-economic influences hence uniquely positioning the school social workers to influence students influenced by extreme environmental circumstances (Battle-Winston, 2019).Some of the desperate conditions in which school social workers can help include the identification of financial resources that may aid in the education program of economically disadvantaged students.Consequently, school social workers also determine the academic success of students by interacting with the students in three different dimensions which include supporting the school attendance criteria of the learners, provision of exhaustive support for selected at-risk students, together with encouraging dropouts to embark on suitable diploma programs (Webber,2018). Therefore, through the three dimensions which the social workers interact with students, they are at a better position of preventing cases of high school dropout and enhancing the academic success of students.
School social workers withhold a prominent position in the social surrounding of students from where they can enhance the motivation together with the outcome expectations of the learners towards the achievement of academic success through intercessions that target the students and their social surroundings (Tan, Mumm, Battle & Sheehan, 2016). School social workers have a better understanding of the school systems and therefore, can easily cooperate with the school administration to enhance the academic outcome of students hence resulting in the more effective and appropriate delivery of school services which equally benefit the learners (Jones, 2019). There are also research studies that have evaluated the impact of school social workers on the academic success of students. A survey by Sherman (2016) has also proved that school social workers have also contributed to the improvement of learning conditions and even the morale of teachers in schools by reducing the rate of social problem behaviors. Social school workers can also enhance the general school climate by providing an extensive range of services and advocating for the educational needs of students (Sherman, 2016). Even though the article does not provide substantial proof on the impact of school social workers to academic success, it can be determined by establishing the correlation between the improved social behaviors and academic achievement.
Studies by Avant & Lindsey (2015) also emphasize on the fact that school social workers are recognized for ensuring effective and appropriate satisfaction social, emotional, and academic demands for students. The study provides a strategy of guiding the implementation of student involvements which provides a pathway for success by evaluating the challenges experienced by school social workers. The exposure of such problems is an opportunity for the alignment of the social and emotional practices of students and their achievement of academic success. The study by Avant & Lindsey (2015) presents the evaluation of the impact of school social workers on the academic success of learners by examining the achievement of academic success across an array of measures. Lastly, a meta-analysis by Phillippo, Kelly, Shayman& Frey (2017) regarding school social work practices, emphasize that school social workers significantly contribute to factors that limit the risk factors related to truancy among high school students. School workers play an essential role in the academics of high school students, and that calls for the provision of effective, efficient and affordable services in ensuring the academic success of students (Phillippo et al., 2017).
Considering the evaluation of the reviewed literature, it is notable that school social workers have a direct positive impact on the academic success of high school students. Generally, this literature review does not provide an extensive evaluation of the relationship between school social workers and educational outcomes. Therefore, despite the thorough exploration of the correlation of school social workers and academic success, there is still a knowledge gap in the literature that needs to be filled. Hence, to address the knowledge gap in this literature, future studies should emphasize on the rate of timely graduation of high school students and the direct influence of the increase in the number of school social workers within a particular region. Finally, future analysis of the impact of school social workers on academic success should also consider the fundamental socio-economic factors that surround the students.
Avant, D. W., & Lindsey, B. C. (2015). School social workers as a response to intervention change champions. Advances in Social Work, 16(2), 276-291.
Battle-Winston, A. E. (2019). Social Workers' Perceptions: Strategies for Dropout Prevention in a Delaware School District (Doctoral dissertation, Wilmington University (Delaware)).
Jones, S. A. (2019). A Study of Select Factors Associated with School Social Workers' Perceived Effectiveness in Providing Services to Homeless Students in Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia.
Phillippo, K. L., Kelly, M. S., Shayman, E., & Frey, A. (2017). School social worker practice decisions: The impact of professional models, training, and school context. Families in Society, 98(4), 275-283.
Sherman, M. C. (2016). The school social worker: A marginalized commodity within the school ecosystem. Children & Schools, 38(3), 147-151.
Tan, K., Battle, S., Mumm, M., Eschmann, R., & Alvarez, M. (2015).The impact of school social workers on high school freshman graduation among the one hundred largest school districts in the United States.School Social Work Journal, 39(2), 1-14.
Tan, K., Mumm, M., Battle, S., & Sheehan, M. (2016). The Evidence Base for School Social Work.School Social Work: National Perspectives on Practice in Schools, 55.
Webber, K. C. (2018).A Qualitative Study of School Social Workers' Roles and Challenges in Dropout Prevention.Children & Schools, 40(2), 82-90.
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