Attitudes of Indiana guidance directors and counselor educators toward the use of paraprofessionals in secondary school guidance services
The purpose of this research was to investigate and report the attitudes of Indiana guidance directors and counselor educators toward the utilization of paraprofessionals as a viable method of improving pupil personnel services in secondary schools. The specific intention of collecting this data was to provide educators with useful information to help formulate ideas relative to paraprofessional training programs.After the review of related literature on paraprofessionals was accomplished, the "University of the Pacific Paraprofessional Study Questionnaire" was selected as the data gathering instrument. The questionnaire contained forty items which included six demographic items, thirteen Likert-type items and twenty-one opinion survey items. The questionnaire was mailed to persons identified as guidance directors and counselor educators in the State of Indiana. Of all questionnaires mailed, eighty per cent were returned of which 390 were from guidance directors and 65 were from counselor educators.The data were reported in a descriptive manner and responses were recorded by number and percentage for each item. Data from the Likert-type items were compared for the guidance directors and counselor educators by discriminant analysis. Responses to each questionnaire item were tabulated to form composite scores for guidance directors, counselor educators, and a total score for all respondents combined.The conclusions drawn from this study included: 1. Guidance directors and counselor educators believe that some parts of the secondary school counselor's work can be performed by paraprofessionals and that this will not diminish the counselor's standing in the profession since he would then be free to do the really central tasks for which he is trained and certified.2. Guidance directors and counselor educators believe that paraprofessionals can work with peer and ethnic groups, score paper-and-pencil tests and maintain cumulative records.3. Guidance directors and counselor educators believe that paraprofessionals should not administer individual intelligence tests, order assessment instruments for their own use in counseling, administer projective tests and counsel on a one-to-one basis.4. Guidance directors and counselor educators believe that the personal interview is most important in terms of paraprofessional selection. They also favor a 10 to 12 month training program which would include instruction in counseling theories, group techniques in empathic relations and school personnel procedures.5. Guidance directors and counselor educators expressed a preference of "counselor aide" as the title for the non-certified, non-secretarial person in pupil personnel services.6. Likert-type items from the questionnaire which best discriminate between guidance directors and counselor educators were those related to (a) the amount of time devoted to activities which do not require professional level training, (b) the attitude of counselors toward certain tasks as functions of their profession, (c) the acceptance by school administrators of professional standing of counselors and how this relates to the need for paraprofessionals, and (d) the assignment of guidance functions to classroom teachers rather than to paraprofessionals.