Why Evaluation Matters: Determining Effective School Counseling Practices.

Why does evaluation matter so much in school counseling? Most importantly, when we evaluate our interventions and programs, we can be more certain that what we are doing is making a difference for our students. We have a professional responsibility to show that what we are doing is effective. As the following articles in this special issue of Professional School Counseling demonstrate, with evaluation there is a clearer picture of what works and what needs to be done differently. There is more clarity about the outcomes of our efforts. Additionally, evaluation results demonstrate the impact and value of our work to key stakeholders such as parents, administrators, and school boards, which can help justify resources for school counseling programs. School counselors have been encouraged to evaluate programs for a variety of reasons for many years (Aubrey, 1982; Fairchild, 1993; Fairchild & Zins, 1986; Myrick, 1984), but the need is even more imperative today. Educators and mental health providers in all fields are under ever-increasing scrutiny to demonstrate evidence of effectiveness and accountability. “Because we think it works” or “because it has always been done this way” are no longer legitimate reasons to continue any educational or mental health intervention. In the accountability era,

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