The Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) Scoring Rubric is an accumulation of a school counselor’s comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program. The end result could be viewed as the epitome of a school counselor’s greatest portfolio. RAMP was created by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) to align with the curriculum standards.
The RAMP application assesses a school counselor’s program to verify that it aligns with the ASCA National Model’s comprehensive counseling program. The results will show strengths and weaknesses in a program. The score that a school is designated could be used to improve on any areas of weakness. The score can also highlight areas of strength that could be a model for other counseling programs.
If a school decides to apply for RAMP, we can assume that they have implemented the program previously before applying and that the school has a clear understanding of the ASCA Model’s comprehensive counseling program. Additional training through professional development, ASCA webinars, or college credit can be presumed. We can, also, infer that school counselors will have skills in data collection, SMART goals, process, perception, & outcome data, competencies and indicators, holding advisory meetings, documenting direct and indirect services, lesson plans, actions plans, result reports, core curriculum vs. closing-the-gap, and adequate writing skills. Any gaps in understanding these skills would prove difficult to receiving the RAMP award.
The RAMP rubric was just recently updated in 2012. An improvement that has helped school counselor’s is the use of required templates. Seven templates are now provided in the application. Another improvement was that ASCA gave access to sample RAMP applications which gave school counselor’s a model to follow. A new recommendation would be to have ongoing checks for understanding the year you are developing your application. Shepard (2000) suggests that “in order for assessment to play a more useful role in helping students learn it should be moved into the middle of the teaching and learning process instead of being postponed as only the end-point of instruction.” Piggy backing off of that suggestion we could give RAMP applicants five checks on any one component. So for example, if in September as you are meeting with your principal to sign the management agreement, you could use a check on your management agreement to make sure you are doing it correctly. Another recommendation would be to improve on the feedback. Black & William’s (1998) discuss the managerial role of assessment by stating, “teachers’ feedback to pupils seems to serve social and managerial functions, often at the expense of the learning function.” We could shift power so that there is a two-way conversation in the feedback. After the RAMP applicants have read the feedback and received their score, then a two-way conversation can begin with the RAMP reviewers. Using Skype or Google Hangout the school counselors and RAMP reviewers would discuss the application so a clear understanding is presumed between reviewer and counselor.
By taking a critical look at the RAMP Scoring Rubric we can see that it provides school counselor’s a way to showcase their programs greatest achievement. This is not an easy task, only 545 schools have achieved this significant award. Only by continuing to improve can ASCA and the RAMP award continue to be the highest achievement of any counseling program.
American School Counselor Association (2012). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author.
Black, P. & Williams, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-144.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.