Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Perceptions of the Role of Middle School Counselors

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While the appropriate duties of elementary and secondary school counselors have been well defined by various professional organizations, these duties remain unclear in the middle school level. This study was conducted to examine the perceptions of teachers, administrators, parents, and students in grades six through eight concerning the appropriate roles of the middle school counselor. The Role of Counselors Survey (ROCS) was completed by 263 students, 111 parents, 43 teachers, and 8 administrators (total N=425) from eight middle schools in rural Northeastern Kentucky (an eight county, rural area located in the Appalachian Mountain region). The findings revealed that teachers and administrators perceived the role of the middle school counselor more favorably than did the students and parents. In spite of their favorable perception of the counselor, teachers often saw counselors as an alternative to administrative personnel because of the administrative duties that are often thrust upon them. The less favorable perception of the counselor held by students and parents could be linked to the fact that counselors are very often seen performing administrative duties, causing conflict between the perceived role of the counselor and his/her true role. This supports the view that there is a need for role definition of counselors.