School counselor and principal perceptions regarding the roles of school counselors
The roles of the school counselors have changed significantly over this century. Due to the pressures of high-stakes testing and budget cuts, counselors often are tasked with roles that are not aligned with state or national standards for school counseling programs (Brown, Galassi, & Akos, 2004; Gysbers & Henderson, 2001). This study examined the differences in perceptions of the roles of school counselors by using descriptive statistics, ANOVA, MANOVA, multiple linear regression, and paired t-tests. The differences in perceptions of the roles of school counselors were found to be consistent with previous studies in some areas and inconsistent in other areas. The findings of this study indicated that there are significant differences in the perceptions of what counselors should be doing and what they are actually doing in the areas of Counseling, Coordination, Curriculum, Consultation, and Other Activities. The results of this study suggest that middle grades school counselors and principals believe that middle grades counselors are doing more counseling tasks than high school counselors and principals perceive that high school counselors are doing. Performance level of school, grade level(s) of school, and location also were found to be statistically related to perceptions about the roles that school counselors actually perform. There were significant differences between the roles that are defined by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and perceptions about the roles that counselors actually perform. Principals believe that school counselors should be performing more noncounseling duties than they are actually performing. Principals and counselors also perceive that counselors are performing fewer tasks than they should in the areas of Counseling, Coordination, Curriculum, and Consultation. Economic conditions, number of counselors and students, and years of experience did not significantly impact perceptions of the roles played by counselors. In the ancillary findings, statistically significant differences were found between what counselors and principals believed counselors should be doing and what they are actually doing in the area of coordinating the standardized testing program. From these findings, recommendations for policy, practice, and future studies were made.