Perceptions of the School Counselor's Role in the Program of Special Education Students
The Problem. The school counselor's role in public schools has rarely been clearly defined. Federal legislation requires schools to mainstream special education students. but the law does not specify what counseling services should be provided. The counselor's role in these programs must be clarified. Counselors should become actively involved in developing their role description. Procedures. The purpose of this thesis is to identify different perceptions of the counselor's role in serving special education students in middle and senior high schools. Select professional groups provided their perceptions of the counselor's desirable, actual and feasible roles. Analysis of variance tests whether the desirable, actual, and feasible perceptions of each group are significantly different and if there are significant differences between select group's perceptions.Item analysis is used to identify desirable and feasible tasks. Findings. Administrators and counselors identify a greater number of tasks as more desirable and feasible than actually occur compared to regular education and special education teachers. High school staff see more tasks as desirable and feasible than middle school staff. However, comparisons of the two staffs show general agreement on all three variables. Administrators and counselors are in closer agreement on their perceptions of all three variables. The greatest discrepancies in perceptions occur between counselors and regular education teachers. Conclusions. All four select groups believe it is desirable and feasible to increase counselor involvement with special education students. All groups also agree that counselors should not assume full responsibility for any task. There are disagreements about where counselors should and could increase services. Becommendations. Counselors should examine their role in serving special education students to determine what changes are necessary. They may need to clarify their role where their perceptions differ from other select groups. Counselors also need to consider the views of other professional groups Other groups, such as parents and students should also provide input. A rank order of tasks can be used to establish a priority list for changes.
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