Sunday, October 9, 2011

Accountability & Data

Working in the schools certainly has its advantages including beginning each year with a fresh new start. With that in mind I create a new goals based evaluation (GBE) for each year that allows me to cater to the needs of the school while also enhancing my comprehensive and developmental counseling program. Lots of people don't like working with data and get nervous when thinking about accountability but the great thing about it is that it shows the VALUE and NEED for what we do! You can report how many classroom guidance lessons you facilitate, how many students you see in a month and the frequency, and how many small groups you counsel- but the important questions that go with this information are, "Did it make a difference?", "Is what I'm doing helping others?", and "Is this contributing to my goals for the program and are they aligned with my school?" To do this you need the right data AND you need to know how to analyze it!

A FANTASTIC resource I use to assist me with this is Making Data Work

This resource is so wonderful because it gives you all the information you need about the data collection and analysis process while also demonstrating how it aligns with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. My first recommendation to counselors is to not get too overwhelmed or bogged down with the data process. First, select one goal for each domain: academic, career, and personal/social then figure out how to answer that goal/research question using data (a mix of the different techniques you use to counsel is also a great comprehensive approach: individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom guidance). Oftentimes, the question of what data you need to answer your research question's or even what to do to obtain that data will answer itself!

I'm a member of my schools data team and I use that to my advantage to help me advocate for my program (adminstration and a teacher representative from each grade level make up the team along with several members of the special education department and the school psychologist) while also using the data twofold: to support the school and my counseling program. Below are my goals and I'll be going into more detail on them at a later time:

Academic: To decrease the number of identified red and yellow zone students as identified through the Response to Intervention (RtI) process. To do this I will implement study skills small groups as one supportive intervention.

Career: To enhance student awareness of the different career clusters and choices available to them upon completing school while also linking career choices with academic success. To do this I will be implementing several classroom guidance lessons on careers along with a career week that includes a school wide career day and college day.

Personal/Social: To decrease the number of identified red and yellow zone students as identified through the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system newly implemented at the school. To do this I will implement social skills small groups as one supportive intervention.

Again, I'll be going into more detail on each of these goals in the near future. To purchase the above resource or to see other useful books about data and accountability, click on the purchase resources link under highlights or click here.

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