A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Problem-Solving Consultation Outcomes: A Review from 1986 to 2009



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School-based problem-solving consultation is an indirect problem-solving process where the consultant works directly with the teacher in order to solve a current work problem of the teacher. The focus of school-based problem-solving consultation was to remediate a current difficult; however, during school-based problem-solving consultation, the teacher developed coping skills that improved his/her ability to handle future problems. Although the subject of several previous syntheses of the literature attesting to its promise, the current state of school-based problem consultation effectiveness was not known.

This study sought to update the school-based problem-solving consultation effectiveness literature as measured by conducting a meta-analysis spanning the years 1986 to 2009. A secondary goal was to identify variables that functioned as moderators. Following procedures advocated by Lipsey and Wilson in 2001, 19 studies were identified producing 205 effect sizes. However, these effect sizes were not calculated independently. Instead, the effect sizes from each study were averaged in order to form a mean effect size per study. The mean effects were then averaged to form the omnibus mean effect size.

The omnibus mean effect size from the 19 studies was g = 0.42, with a range of -0.01 to 1.52 demonstrating a medium-sized effect. This effect size was more modest in magnitude when compared to the previous school-based problem-solving consultation meta-analyses; however, the results indicated that school-based problem-solving consultation positively impacted client-level outcomes. With the exception of grade level, moderator analyses produced little information in terms of statistical differences between and among categories for ?teacher type of class, consultant type, school type, referral source, referral reason, consultation model, comparison group, intervention type, design quality, outcome measured, and data type. For grade level, students in the ?Other/Not Specified? category benefited most from school-based problem-solving consultation when compared to the ?Elementary (K-6)? category. In addition to examining the omnibus mean effect size and potential moderators, limitations and implications for practice and future research were discussed.