Evaluation Knowledge Skills and Practice
Questions to Consider
- • What knowledge and skills do I already have in evaluating the counseling program and its services?
- • What knowledge and skills do I need to acquire in order to evaluate the counseling program and its services?
- • How can I acquire the needed knowledge and skills?
- • How do I decide how often and how much to evaluate?
- • How can I work most effectively with school and district leaders regarding evaluation?
- • How will I know when I need to engage an external evaluator?
- • What should I look for in an external evaluator?
- • What should I expect from an external evaluator?
Critical Program Evaluation Knowledge and Skills
Despite the fact that it is widely recognized that school counselors need to have competence in evaluation, a comprehensive list of essential competencies has not yet been developed. This lack of professional consensus on necessary evaluation competencies hampers the teaching of evaluation (Kose, 2019) and the assessment of new practitioners’ competence in evaluation (Carey, Martin, Harrington, & Trevisan, 2019). A clear consensus on necessary competencies would also be very useful to practicing school counselors as they plan their professional development in program evaluation.
Kose (2019) has recently reviewed the literature on general program evaluation competencies and on school counselor program evaluation competencies. She concluded that current statements on school counselor competence focus on technical competencies (creating surveys, analyzing data, reporting results) but neglect other essential areas of competence, “such as managing interpersonal relationships, having the political savvy to navigate power structures in schools, understanding the interests of others, project management, or identifying and resolving ethical issues related to the evaluation” (p. 42).
Kose (2018) has proposed that school counselors’ evaluation competencies can be organized in three interrelated domains: field-specific competencies, technical program evaluation competencies, and nontechnical program evaluation competencies. Field-specific competencies refer to the knowledge and skills necessary to develop, implement, and manage a comprehensive developmental school counseling program such as that described in the ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012). Technical program evaluation competencies include knowledge of program evaluation concepts, theories, and goals; the skills associated with planning and conducting a competent, culturally responsive evaluation; and disseminating its results. Nontechnical evaluation competencies include the interpersonal skills needed to collaborate with stakeholders; manage the political aspects of the evaluation process; and anticipate, recognize, and resolve ethical issues in the evaluation process. The next three sections elaborate on these three domains to help you assess your current competence in program evaluation and plan your future learning.
It’s important to self-assess your competence in program evaluation in order to plan your future learning.
Field Specific Competencies
A thorough knowledge of how to develop, implement, and monitor a comprehensive developmental school counseling program is a necessary foundation for effective evaluation. In addition, the ability to use the management and evaluation tools included in the ASCA National Model is essential. Table 10.1 contains a list of these field specific competencies that you can use to assess your current level of expertise.
These competencies can be developed through a university course dealing with the organization and administration of school counseling programs and through professional development study available through state and national professional associations.
Technical Program Evaluation Competencies
In addition to the basic competencies noted above, technical program evaluation competencies are also necessary. These competencies are related to the philosophy, concepts, and processes associated with the discipline of program evaluation as reflected in the school counseling evaluation framework presented in this book. Table 10.2 contains a list of these technical evaluation competencies that you can use to assess your current level of expertise.
These competencies can be developed through university courses in program evaluation or in university courses in research methods and statistics that have a
Table 10.1 Checklist of field specific competencies
FS1 I understand the philosophy, principles, and structures of comprehensive developmental school counseling.
FS2 I can use the ASCA National Model Foundation tools to design a comprehensive developmental school counseling program.
FS3 I can conduct a School Counseling Program Assessment to determine the extent to which the elements of the ASCA National Model are present in the school counseling program.
FS4 I can conduct a Use-of-Time Assessment to assess how much time is spent on each of the four categories of service delivery.
FS5 I can conduct a yearly Program Goals Assessment to determine whether the goals for the counseling program are being met and whether program improvements are being implemented.
FS6 I can create a School Data Profile that includes all the important student achievement measures obtainable from school data so that these data can be used to identify problems that require the attention of school counselors.
FS7 I can develop Action Plans to guide implementation and evaluation for specific interventions, activities, or services that are intended to address identified problems.
FS8 I can develop Action Plan Reports in order to share the results of the evaluation-related activities with stakeholders.
strong evaluation component and orientation. Professional development study is also frequently available through state and national professional associations. We also recommend that working practitioners consider assembling an independent study group organized around this book.