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.