|Abstract or Summary
- Purpose: The basic purpose of this study was to evaluate theeffectiveness of paraprofessional workers trained to work as guidanceassistants to professional counselors in elementary and secondaryschools. The study included an identification of the appropriate roleof guidance assistants, counselors, and administrators in their relationshipwith one another in a team setting. Role identification led tothe delineation of those functions, duties, and tasks which the guidanceassistant and those which the counselor can best perform in the schoolsetting.Method: School building teams, five elementary and five secondaryfrom three Oregon school districts, participated in EPDA-fundedsix week pre-service training on the Oregon State University campusand 36-week (school year) in-service training, covering the periodJuly, 1969, through June, 1970. Pre-service training was devoted toteam planning of guidance activities for the in-service year withparticular consideration to tasks to be performed by guidance assistants.Subjects' attitudes toward the appropriateness of tasks assignedguidance assistants were seen to be both indicative of the manner andextent of counselor utilization of the new worker, and of the professionals'attitude toward counselor role.A task-appropriateness questionnaire was designed to assesssubjects attitudes regarding specific guidance assistant tasks. Thetasks were grouped into three classes, to reflect three possible rolesfor guidance assistants in a school setting. Class 1 consisted of thosealtasks which seemed to relate to and support guidance and counselingservices, including both cognitive and affective factors. The tasks inClass 2 were task-oriented rather than student-oriented, and includedsuch duties as monitorial, escorting, clerical, and general routineduties. Class 3 was a grouping of tasks considered to be inappropriatewhen performed by guidance assistants.The evaluation of the effectiveness of the guidance assistants wasconducted utilizing responses to the questionnaire described, and alsocounselors' and administrators'-responses to a questionnaire ongeneral program effectiveness, guidance assistants' daily logs andtime-use assessments, and personal interviews with teachers andstudents in participating schools. A state-wide counselor surveywas conducted to develop additional data regarding counselor timeutilization and perception of role.Findings: Results indicate a marked difference in perception oftask appropriateness for guidance assistants between elementary subjects(both guidance assistants and counselors) and secondary subjects(both guidance assistants and counselors). Student-oriented Class 1items were favored by the elementary subjects while task-orientedClass 2 items were favored by the secondary subjects. Both elementaryand secondary groups tended to reject the inappropriate Class 3items.These findings support the following observation; secondarycounselors assume many Class 2 tasks and, in turn, assign many ofthese to guidance assistants in order that they may engage in proportionatelymore Class 1 tasks, namely counseling. Elementary counselorsassume fewer Class 2 tasks and, in turn, need assign fewersuch tasks to guidance assistants.Findings further indicate that utilization of guidance assistantsto perform non-professionally demanding tasks, whether Class 1 or 2,can expand the scope and level of professional services in elementaryand secondary schools. Guidance assistants' basic role specificationsand prerogatives need to be clearly defined in order to prevent eithertheir under-utilization by unconvinced counselors or theirover-utilization by administrators faced with personnel shortages.Pre-service training of guidance assistants should be conductedto develop communication skills as well as to develop basic understandingsof the service they are to perform. During the pre-service,orientation of both administrators and counselors needs to be conducted.In addition to the basic orientation of professional workers andsupervision training for counselors, a portion of the pre-service trainingshould be reserved for team planning.