Counselor role-performance in one-counselor middle and high schools in Virginia
This study investigated the role-performance of middle and high school counselors in one-counselor public school settings in Virginia; in particular, how these counselors use their time. One goal was to determine whether these counselors were currently meeting the state’s “sixty percent counseling accreditation standard” and what impediments they encountered in their efforts toward compliance.
The researcher observed and interviewed a middle school counselor and a high school counselor to gather information about counselor role-performance in the one-counselor school which would be helpful in designing an appropriate research instrument. All counselors who work in one-counselor middle and high schools in Virginia were contacted to participate in a survey regarding their use of time. In addition, a sample of these counselors participated in the next phase of the study by recording their activities over a two day period on a counseling log provided by the researcher. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data and to report the findings.
The findings of this study are consistent with prior studies of counselor time-utilization showing that counselors spend much of their time in activities considered outside their role, and less time in counseling than they would like. More than half of the counselors in this study did not meet the 60% counseling standard and identified the barriers to compliance they encountered.
Recommendations are made regarding counselor time management, educational preparation, and a system of accountability linked less to time-utilization and more to student outcomes. Additional recommendations are made for further research.