Friday, July 29, 2016

Perception Data: Sample Survey

This year my school division is teaching the 16 career clusters (3-4 per grade level beginning in first grade) as well as important key career exploration and development competencies. This is my draft grade 4 Pre-Survey. The 2-3 lesson unit will address the following ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors:  M-4 Understanding that postsecondary education and life-long learning and B-LS 1 Demonstrate critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions. The ASCA National Model Implementation Guide recommends writing more questions than actually needed to make it easier to revise and adjust the assessment after it is used.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Perception Data: What to do with data from pre-post surveys

For the Accountability part of the ASCA  National Model counseling programs develop results reports or they can use the DATA Report form from the Making DATA Work (Third Edition). Basically you want to share with stakeholders  the before and after score, average or percent for the surveys. Results should be summarized succinctly, shown for comparison, and calculated for percent change.

For example, 
After the STEMazing month of April, both 3rd and 4th grade students (both genders) showed increases on the  survey.

Grade 4 Pre-Survey: 63.4 percent
Post-Survey: 66 percent

Report on percent change:
There was a 4.1 percent increase in attitudes about careers in the STEM cluster for fourth graders from the beginning to end of April.

The main reason I like to report my results using the DATA format over the Results Report is one to two simple graphs can show the pre-post surveys in a way that stakeholders can easily see the activity resulted in a change. In other words, what the counseling program offered had a direct impact on students.

Be sure to share these results with stakeholders on school website and with your School Advisory Council. Some results might be appropriate to share in a staff training like I do annually with my Bullying and School Climate data.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Perception Data: Knowledge

What do we expect students to know as a result of a lesson, group session, or other counseling activity? Perhaps a group of students lack tools to regulate anxiety at school. The pre/post survey for a "Chill Group" might include
I know how to use belly breathing to calm myself down.
I know that exercise reduces the effects of stress.
I know that not getting enough sleep makes anxiety worse.
I can think of ways to use visual imagery when I am anxious.
I can think of at least three ways to help me stay focused during large group lessons.
These statements can then be turned into Likert items with a 4 point scale.

ASCA suggests one or two short answer questions on pre/post surveys can yield better data, rather than students just rating themselves.
You can also ask a simple question and ask the student to write a specific response:
What are the 4 steps to solving a problem?
What are 3 positive things to do if you start feeling nervous before a test?
Other types of questions include write a definition of key terms, describe how to do something, or list the steps or components.
For example,
Define bullying behavior.
Describe what a helpful bystander should do if they are aware of classmates spreading a cruel rumor about a student in another class.
What do the letters SMART stand for in a SMART goal?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Perception Data: Skills

What skills or behavior do students need to produce the ultimate change to achievement, attendance and/or behavior? Skill assessment can be varied but there must be a consistent method for measuring the desired behavior.

Likert scale: Write "I can" statements and have students  self-report their ability to use the skill.

I can get to school and in my seat on time.
I can ask a classmate to play a game during indoor recess.
I can manage my time so that I complete long-term projects by the deadline.

These can be assessed using a 4-point scale (Almost never, Rarely, Sometimes, Usually).

Demonstrate: Create a task that students can do either individually or in groups.

Students can demonstrate the 4 Conscious Disciple breathing techniques.
Students can state one way they are the same and one way they are different than their partner.
Students can set a goal and pass a ball around a circle so that each student touches the ball one time in __ minutes.

Role Play: Given a bullying scenario a group can act out the role of a helpful bystander.

A rubric would be used to determine if the criteria was met (an assertive response, and report to adult).

Illustrate the skill or give an example: Drawing a response and labeling is an excellent way to assess younger students skills. Writing an authentic response is a great way to assess if a student can apply the target skill.
Grade 1 - Draw and label the 4 step problem solving model.
Grade 4 - Write a "email response" to a cyber-bullying message.

An open ended question at the end of the pre-post survey is a common way to assess a skill, but have a clear way to assess if the response indicates the competency has been mastered.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Perception Data: Attitudes

How do we determine what students believe or think about the presenting need, issue or concern? 

Self-efficacy is the basis for whether or not the individual thinks goal or task accomplishment is possible. To measure self-efficacy we develop attitude statements related to what we are measuring as beliefs students might have related to the competencies we are covering.

Attitudes can be assessed using scaling techniques, likert scales. or card sorts. Scales are used to measure intensity and generally the end points and middle are labeled. Likert items written as "I believe,,," can be rated on a variety of scales but it is best to use an even number (like 4 or 10) forcing a positive or negative response rather than neutral.Picture choices like emotions or the sun scale with No and Yes can be used for first and second graders.  Card sorts allow students to indicate if they believe something is not at all like me, very much like me, or sometimes or placing possible responses in order what happens most often to happens rarely.

Sample attitude questions:

How confident do you feel asking to join a game already in progress at recess?
1       2       3      4     5      6      7     8    9     10
Can't do it             Sometimes           Can do it

Likert Scale
I believe I have as many friends as I need.
Strongly Agree   Agree                 Disagree           Strongly Disagree
1                         2                         3                        4

Card Sort
Think how you feel on the playground when these types of situations happen and place the cards into 4 piles indicating how you think you would respond.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Perception Data Series


I am passionate that all school counseling programs implement the ASCA National Model with fidelity so that all students have the benefit of a comprehensive counseling program.  I believe that all counseling offices should have the 4 books shown above on their shelves and they should be used to guide program development and implementation. I have been a counselor educator, supervisor, mentor, and practicing school counselor since before the Model was developed. I am sorry to say that many counselors still do not understand data; therefore, they cannot answer critical questions: 1) Do you know the needs of your students? 2) Can you advocate for the needs of your students? 3) Is your program meetings the needs of your students? and 4) How are students different as a result of what you do? Most counselors are good at collecting Process Data "What you did for whom?" Outcome Data showing impact of what counselors do on attendance, behavior, and achievement is not available for everything counselors do but it is the data that answers "So what?" Perception Data can and should be collected for all aspects of the counseling program so we can say "How are students different because of school counselor involvement?"

Perception data requires counselors to plan and develop the tools they need to measure the impact of what we do. I was asking a presenter at the ASCA Conference about the perception data for the study being shared and the response I got was, "What do you mean by perception data?" As a RAMP reviewer I have seen applicants struggle on several components because they did not have good perception data that would provide evidence their program was effective. I attended 5 presentations at the ASCA Conference that mentioned perception data. ASCA is trying to make it clear that it is not meaningful to ask participants if they enjoyed the activity or believed it was beneficial. Counselors need to assess attitudes, skills, and knowledge before and after activities. Unless counselors construct good perception measures that are easy to administer, score, and analyze there won't be worthwhile accountability data to report. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

ASCA Tweet Up 2016

One of my favorite events of the ASCA National Conference is meeting up in person with my "Tweeples." Twitter and other social media allow counselors to build an international Professional Learning Community. But it is great when at a state SCA or ASCA you get to meet in person the counselors you have been following and sharing with online. It happens annually at ASCA and hopefully someone in your state will organize a Tweet Up at your state conference. These are all counselors that participate in the regularly scheduled Twitter Chats during the school year #sccrowd #scchat and my favorite #escchat. During the school year the #escchat is from 8-9 PM on the second and fourth Thursdays each month. Each one covers a different topic and it is generally about 7 Questions & Answers moderated by 1-2 school counselors. Even if you don't like to tweet, please join us or follow the chat feed that gets archived for those who were not able to participate live. An online PLC is so rewarding to an elementary counselor like me who is the only counselor in my building. Spread the word.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

School Counseling Principles

At the ASCA National Conference every attendee attending the General Session was given a copy of the 2016 Ethical Standards and treated to an explanation on how they were developed by Dr. Carolyn Stone. She has been the keeper of our standards for many years and she presented 2 extended sessions at the conference.You can download a copy of the standards at
https://www.schoolcounselor/EthicalStandards Dr. Stone will be presenting an ASCA Webinar on October 5, 2016 on the new standards. If you did not hear her present at the Conference, you will want to sign up for the webinar. All counselors are bound by these ethical standards and there are many revisions and additions.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Implementation Guide

At the 2016 ASCA National Conference the Implementation Guide was released and immediately flew off the shelves of the ASCA Bookstore. This manual came about based on the experiences of the RAMP lead reviewers to clarify all to components of the National Model. Each component is explained in detail and examples are given. My favorite part of the Guide is the Do's and Don'ts for each section. For example, in the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors if says Do use the Mindsets & Behavior standards to focus your interventions and measurements; Don't attempt to cover all the Mindsets & Behaviors at every grade level. If you want your program aligned with the ASCA National Model and especially if you plan to apply for RAMP this book belongs in your office. It is now available in the online catalog https://asca.catalog .

Friday, July 15, 2016

ASCA National Conference Reflection

My colleagues and I had a great time in New Orleans from the Opening Session Roll Call of the States, in the Exhibit Hall (I won the Scavenger Hunt), and at the helpful and uplifting General Sessions and Breakout Sessions. Because 3 of us went together we could divide up the Breakout Sessions and share what we learned. In the Conference Program it lists level (Elementary, Middle, High School, or All Practice Levels) and Experience Levels (Beginner, Advanced, or All Experience Levels). Those 2 descriptors plus the speakers, title, and description are a good place to start selecting which Breakout Sessions you want to attend. We found the sessions we each wanted to attend by using the Conference App Details for each session and selecting categories we wanted and finally reviewing the PowerPoints that were submitted in advance. Yes you can see ALL the PowerPoints so you have a very clear idea what will be shared. Each one of us was interested in different categories which made it easy to divide up sessions. I attended mostly: Data, Curriculum, School Counseling Programs, Mental Health, and Technology. My colleagues divided up: Advocacy, Collaboration, College & Career Readiness, Crisis, Dropout Prevention, Legal & Ethical, School-wide Programs, Special Needs/ Special Populations, Student Achievement and Success. Because of our district's setting we did not attend any dealing with Urban Issues. All speakers provide their contact information so if you have questions later you can follow up. I have already reached out to a presenter that had a Session I really wanted to attend but I had a conflict. It is great having the PowerPoint but you might have questions based on that information. The 3 of us have already started sharing some of what we learned with other counselors in our District. I hope you will make plans to attend an ASCA National Conference in the future!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Two more important tips

At the Conference plan to spend time in the Exhibit Hall visiting the exhibitors. There are always new programs and materials that publishers launch at the Conference. Many of the Vendors are counselors or former counselors - take the time to talk to them. That is usually where they set up breaks and lunch that is another reason to go into the Exhibit Hall.

Be sure to visit the ASCA Booth. You can meet the hard working staff of ASCA face-to-face. It will make it easier the next time you need to call Headquarters if you have met the staffers in person. They generally rotate through times working the booth so stop by more than once. The ASCA booth will also have items to purchase that will help you promote your school counseling program.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ASCA Annual Conference: The Recipe for Success

Attending at ASCA National Conference can be overwhelming. I find I need to prepare to get the most out of this valuable professional development and personal growth opportunity. ASCA has made it much easier to prepare by offering many opportunities before and during the Conference and the App makes it so accessible!
1 -  If possible sign up for a pre-conference workshop or special event. This needs to be done early in the registration period because they have limited slots. This year I am doing the Red Cross Crisis Counseling training Saturday morning that has been on my bucket lists for a number of years. 
2 - Before you go spend time looking at all the break out sessions to determine which ones you will attend. Think about your program and where you could use more information, resources, strategies. This year my personal learning goals are find information on evidence-based programs and teaching the 16 career clusters. 
3 -  Bring your electronic device to follow your schedule that gets saved in the counseling App. You will have access to all PowerPoints and some presenters will want you to take online surveys so be prepared. It also makes it easy for you to save all your notes in a file. I use Google Drive.
4 - I bring clothes like I wear to school for the conference sessions unless I am presenting and then I dress up a little more. I take casual attire for other times. I also take healthy snacks. This year we will be riding buses from the Sheraton to Convention Center. You need fuel to carry you through some long days.
5 - Attend all social events even if you are not a party type person. Sit with your state delegation at the Opening General Session Roll Call. That will help you meet some folks that you naturally share something with and make the crowd seem less overwhelming. It is fun to cheer for our own state!
6 - Talk to people and network. Attending a National Conference allows you to meet counselors from all over the Country and the world! Most counselors are easy to talk to so introduce yourself and share. If you are looking for ideas to improve your program don't hesitate to ask. For example, I will be asking what do you do for the career component of your program? Do you teach the 16 career clusters? If you find someone you want to follow up with exchange ways to contact one another. I bring a mini sheet that has me email, blog, Pinterest, school website, and Twitter handle. Business cards work too.
7 - Twitter is the best way to follow #ASCA19 #notatASCA16. Yes, you can follow counselors who are not in New Orleans but still responding to the Conference. You can also register as a virtual conference attendee for a reasonable fee. The easiest way to follow what is going on is to use Tweetdeck. Even if you do not want to post it gives you insight into other counselors reactions, like to what a keynote speaker is saying.
8 - Attend as many sessions as possible. It can be frustrating not to be able to see them all but since you get access to all session PowerPoints you want to go and hear the sessions that will help you meet your own personal learning goals for the Conference. Do not hesitate to talk to the breakout presenters. Often times if you go early they are just standing around waiting to start and would love for someone in the audience to say what they hope to get out of the session.
9 - Enjoy New Orleans. There will be local people in the Registration area to help you find places to eat and see in your free time. You can't go wrong at most places in the French Quarter!
10 - After the Conference take time to reflect on what you learned and decide what you will use when school resumes. Also share what you learned with the other counselors in your District when you see them when school resumes. Try to convince other counselors in your District to attend the ASCA Conference next year or at least your state level SCA Conference. Follow up with the people you meet, and if you have a question about something you learned in a presentation, do not hesitate to email the presenter. I have presented many times and love to get follow-up questions along with feedback about how counselors have used something they learned at my presentation.