Introduction to Special Issue: A Call for Practitioner Research

Professional school counselors have been called to action. They understand the urgency of using data to reduce barriers to student achievement, to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and curricula, and, ultimately, to demonstrate their effectiveness as a school counselor (House & Martin, 1998; Isaacs, 2003; Rowell, 2005; Sexton, Schofield, & Whiston, 1997). This special issue of Professional School Counseling is dedicated to practitioner research–practicing school counselors using data to reduce barriers to student achievement and increase their use of evidence-based practices. The role of the school counseling profession has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and the call for using data has transformed school counseling programs and practices (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2005; House & Martin, 1998). The transformation of school counselors has been driven by the recognition that the achievement gap, identified as the impetus for education reform, has not been reduced and that school counselors play a critical role in reducing barriers to student success (Education Trust, 1997; Haycock, 2001; Holcomb-McCoy, 2007; House & Martin, 1998). The ASCA National Model[R] (2005) has provided the framework that guides current practices and program development and calls for increased school counselor accountability.

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