Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors' Attitudes regarding Statewide Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Model Implementation

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors' Attitudes regarding Statewide Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Model Implementation

Article excerpt

The pilot study in this article identified facilitators and barriers to implementing the Massachusetts Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model served as a framework to understand how school counselors perceive the Massachusetts Model's impact on their professional roles, and how those perceptions indicate varying levels of adoption of the model. The majority of respondents indicated that their concerns were "personal," such as how the model will change their day-to-day lives and how working under the new model is different from their current roles as school counselors. Results of this study suggest directions for professional development regarding state and ASCA National Model[R] implementation.


Over the past several years, the Massachusetts School Counselor Association (MASCA) has carried out an extensive and rigorous process to develop the Massachusetts Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs (MASCA, 2006). The Massachusetts Model incorporates all the components of the ASCA National Model[R] (American School Counselor Association, 2005) but also emphasizes career development objectives that are specific to Massachusetts' curriculum frameworks. As the Massachusetts Model is implemented across the state, MASCA has become interested in understanding the process of change and supporting school counselors through the change process. This pilot study sought to understand the perceptions of school counselors in the state of Massachusetts regarding the significant changes in their daily work roles prescribed by the Massachusetts Model.

The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) is a widely applied and empirically grounded theory and method to study the process of change in schools (Hall & Hord, 1987, 2001). The CBAM authors have contended that an understanding of the affective and behavioral dimensions of change is critical to facilitating the change process. CBAM suggests that over time, people experiencing change evolve in terms of their concerns about change and how they use innovations. CBAM presents several assumptions about change: (a) Change is a process, not an event; (b) change is accomplished by individuals; (c) change is a highly personal experience; (d) change involves developmental growth in feelings and skills; and (e) change can be facilitated by interventions directed toward individuals and contexts.

CBAM examines the change process in three ways: Stages of Concern (SoC), Levels of Use (LoU), and Innovation Components (IC). SoC explores how people feel about doing something new and different; LoU describes what people are actually doing when making the transition to doing their work differently; and IC identifies the specific parts of change. Because MASCA was primarily interested in school counselors' perceptions and concerns about the new Massachusetts Model as a possible springboard for professional development purposes, this study focused on the Stages of Concern component of CBAM (Horsley & Loucks-Horsley, 1998). SoC is a framework that describes the feelings and motivations that a school counselor may have about the Massachusetts Model at different points during its implementation. CBAM incorporates the Stages of Concern as a developmental progression in which a counselor implementing the Massachusetts Model may have different concerns and/or different intensity at different points in the change process.

To measure the SoC of counselors in the state, we used a shortened version of the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) developed by Bailey and Palsha (1992) to minimize the burden of completing the questionnaire on respondents, and to ensure that the informed consent, demographic questions, and SoCQ questions would fit on a single sheet of paper. Bailey and Palsha provided evidence for the use of a five-level Stages of Concern model (Table 1):

1. Awareness: The counselor has little knowledge or interest in the Massachusetts Model but is concerned about it. …

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