Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Measuring the Relationship between Parent, Teacher, and Student Problem Behavior Reports and Academic Achievement: Implications for School Counselors

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Measuring the Relationship between Parent, Teacher, and Student Problem Behavior Reports and Academic Achievement: Implications for School Counselors

Article excerpt

Comprehensive school counseling programs aligned with the ASCA National Model (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2012) are intended to be comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, and developmental by nature (Baker, Robichaud, Westforth, Wells, & Schreck, 2009; Clark & Breman, 2009; Dollarhide, Gibson, & Saginak, 2008). With increased focus on empirically based interventions to prevent and mitigate risk factors for vulnerable student populations (e.g., English language learners, students from low-income communities), school counselors often seek and receive information from multiple stakeholders about students' behavioral and academic challenges (Nassar-McMillan, Karvonen, Perez, & Abrams, 2009). Stakeholders are key informants who provide input to school counselors and other school leaders to identify and address obstacles and barriers to student success. School counselors continually leverage and use the input of informants, specifically parents/caregivers and teachers, in efforts to positively influence students' educational experience and promote their overall achievement and wellness (Nassar-McMillan et al., 2009). Toward this end, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between multiple reports of student problem behaviors and academic achievement. Problem behaviors were defined as any behavior that disrupts the learning experience for the student and/or other students in the classroom (e.g., inability to pay attention during instruction, fighting, loss of temper).


The use of multiple informants is a popular strategy for school counselors to obtain useful information about students' academic, personal, and social development. Key informant reports are used to gather comparable information across domains, such as how children behave in classrooms versus at lunch or at home. These data are important for school counselors and other school personnel because data from key informant reports often record frequency and severity of problem behaviors (Sladeczek, Elliot, Kratochwill, Robertson-Miaanes, & Stoiber, 2001). The reports are useful data sources that provide a more comprehensive and holistic assessment of students and their respective challenges to success. School counselors use these reports to inform decisions about best courses of action to increase student achievement. For example, before a child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), multiple informants provide information on a child's behavior in multiple settings; the consistency of the reports can assist in an appropriate diagnosis, thereby leading to an appropriate coordination of services (McGonnell et al., 2009). After the diagnosis is clear, steps can be taken at school and home that are geared toward supporting the student academically, socially, and through career exploration.

The following section presents literature on the utility of parent, teacher, and child self-reports on problem behavior. Problem behaviors can disrupt teachers from providing instruction and interrupt learning. Specifically, the review highlights ways the literature has documented similarities and differences in the reports from informants. Documented differences illustrate that informants perceive behavioral patterns unique to the local environment, whereas similarities in informant reports indicate behaviors remain true across contexts. Studies using behavioral scales by multiple informants demonstrated that cross-informant agreement was modest but provided enough information to form tentative agreement on students' overall functioning (Sointu, Savolainen, Lappalainen, & Epstein, 2012).

Parent Reports of Problem Behavior

Parents appear to be the most commonly used informants by school personnel, including school counselors, when assessing children's problem behaviors (De Los Reyes et al., 2013; Miller, Martinez, Shumka, & Baker, 2014; Tarren-Sweeney, Hazell, & Carr, 2004). …

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