Saturday, September 20, 2014

Google Forms: Collect and Analyze Data to Advocate for Your School Counseling Program

Many years ago, when I first started as a "Guidance Counselor" (that's what we were called back then), I had a wonderful, forward thinking, district level "Guidance" Coordinator.  She saw the yearly budget battles that each Spring found state legislators discussing cuts to School Counselor, Media, Music, and Art positions and decided to do something about it.  As a proactive individual, she believed in the power of data and was determined to protect the jobs of her Counselors.  She had us start collecting data long before collecting data was in everyone's consciousness.  Our "guidance" logs tracked how our time was spent daily and was then compiled into monthly reports to indicate the amount of time we spent performing direct and indirect services to students.  This data collection helped secure School Counselor positions in every elementary school in our county at a time when many other positions were being cut.   Today logging how we spend our time is more important (and easier) than ever as School Counselors around the country advocate for their positions and the ability to determine how their services are utilized in their schools.

As a member of the Facebook group The Elementary School Counselor Exchange, I have read numerous posts about record keeping, accountability, paperless forms and surveys, and a general feeling of  distress at the misuse of our specialized education, abilities, and skills.  In many schools we are the most expensive lunchroom hostess, hall monitor, or registrar to be found.  We are being asked to perform jobs that do not require a Masters degree in School Counseling, and in so doing are being prevented or severely limited in performing the student-centered services that do.  When you think about it, this makes school districts and administrators very poor stewards of the human resources they have in their School Counselor.  Rather than investing their School Counselor resource in services and programs that can close the achievement gap,  administrators are requiring School Counselors to perform tasks that could easily be performed by any number of reasonably intelligent and responsible adults on campus.

The ASCA National Model clearly outlines the role of the School Counselor and gives examples of what is and is not appropriate usage of a School Counselor's time.  ASCA recommends 80% of a school counselors time be spent in direct and indirect services to students. In situations where the skills and services of the School Counselor are being misused or under utilized, it is even more compelling to provide the data that gives an accounting of how we spend our day.  Because many of the things we do are not visible to the eyes of our administrators or colleagues, there is a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation about what our job entails. There is also the confidential nature of some of our services that are not readily apparent to those who evaluate us or have the final say in our programming.  Therefore, we are often called upon to do jobs that
actually impair or interfere with the job of being a School Counselor.  This is where Google Forms can help a School Counselor provide the process data needed in documenting how their day is spent.  There is so much more that can be done with Google Forms in terms of perception data too, but for now let's start with how a School Counselor's day is spent.

The Google Form here is a compilation of duties and responsibilities shared with me by my School Counselor colleagues from the Facebook group The Elementary School Counselor Exchange. The variety of  unrelated duties represented in this form have been assigned to School Counselors leaving them, in many cases, without the time or support to pursue relevant school and student needs.   It is my hope that School Counselors can use this form to demonstrate, with data and visual representations of graphs, how their time is being spent, both in an effort to create change and to show progress towards that change.


The link for the Counselor Activity Log above is a live form.  Please remember to copy this form FIRST before making any additions or deletions you want or need to make this form more representative of your specific situation.  To make your own copy, first open the above link. You should see the form in the gray version.  Don't edit yet.  Once opened, go to File in upper left corner.  Click on File and you will see Make a copy. Click on Make a copy, then you will be asked to rename the form and click ok.  Next, close my form you just used to make your copy. Now go to your Google Drive and look for the form you just renamed. Also be sure, the word shared  is not beside your form.  Shared means your information is not private.  Next click on the name of your form and you should see the gray version ready for you to make your edits.  Now you are ready to make edits and personalize my form for your usage!

A WORD OF WARNING!
Remember, I made the link to this form public so I could share it with you all.  That means the responses  (if anyone is thinking of just using the link to this form) are public too.  Anyone on the web can see it. So please, do not put student information in the form above before making your own private copy.  Usage of this specific link without copying to your Google drive first will result in your data being recorded in a shared file and anyone on the internet can see your confidential student information.

As you begin making entries to your form, data will be recorded in a spread sheet like this one.  Your Google Drive will have a document titled with the name of your form and the word responses in parentheses. If you want to sort your data, open the responses document, go to Data, click on the column you want to sort and choose sort from A-Z or sort from Z-A.  When you are ready to view your data in graphs, open your form, click on Responses and then Summary of Responses  to view your graphs and data.

Many thanks to the School Counselors who shared their unrelated duties with me for the creation of this form.  It is my hope you will find it useful as you document your daily activities and strive to gain the support you need to bring your program in line with the ASCA National Model.

Do you have a method for recording how you deliver services to students? What have you found most effective for collecting process data and giving administrators an understanding of your job role?

If you are interested in more information about Goolge forms, or how you can quickly and easily create your own, follow this link to my post with step by step instructions, with pictures!



33 comments:

  1. Hello. Thanks for sharing this. I love your website. I tried to open the google form in order to make my own copy. It would allow me to open it but not copy it. I usually am pretty savvy with google docs so I am not sure what my problem is. Any guidance would be great. aevans1@pcsstn.com

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  2. Hi Allyson, I am so sorry you've had trouble with the link. I think I have solved the problem and you should be able to open it and make a copy with no problem. If it is still an issue please let me know. I cannot tell from my end because I own the document and it always opens for me. Thanks for the feedback!

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  3. Hi Jeannie - I am president of Southwest AR Counselor Association and I think my counselors would LOVE this form. I saw it from my home computer and wanted to send the form to my work e-mail address. I have all my counselors on a distribution list and wanted to share it with them, but I couldn't figure out how to e-mail the form to myself? Unlike Allyson, I am BECOMING Google savvy, but have a long way to go. Can you help? My school e-mail is denise.rogers@bsd-lions.net. You are providing a wonderful service for us! This is my first time to visit your site! I will be back again and again!

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  4. Hi Denise, I think I responded to your email. Did I send you the link? If not let me know and I will definitely do that. Thanks for your support! Jeannie

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  5. It looks like someone actually changed the form because it comes up differently than the pictures you have above. I would to get a copy of the way you had it previously!

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  6. Thank you for letting me know. This often happens when live forms are shared. There are a lot of newbies who get excited and just start clicking. I will replace the form with a clean copy. Let me know if you do not get what you need.

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  7. Hello, this form is great and i would love to make a copy of it but ca not seem to figure out how. It will open for me but i do not see a way to save it.

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    1. if you could email me with any suggestions of what i might be missing i would really appreciate it. slichtenwald@npsd.k12.wi.us

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  8. I would also love a copy of this to track my hours for my upcoming school counseling internship. I can open the link, but there is no way to save it! Can you email me a copy to keegantfox@gmail.com. Thank you!

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  9. I would also like a copy please!

    kfischetti8@gmail.com

    Thank you!

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  10. If you could please send a copy as well. Thanks!!
    thrscounselor@gmail.com

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  11. To anyone interested in getting a copy of this form.
    Thank you for your interest in my Counselor Activity Form. It is not that simple that I can just email the form to you. The form you see on the blog page is a live form and directly connected to my data collecting and personal gmail account. Each person who wishes to use it must first make a personal copy in their own Google Drive. To begin, do you have a gmail account? If so, click on the brown or tan words "Counselor Activity Log" in the blog post and it will open the link for you. Once it is open go to edit this form in the upper right corner, and click. Next click on "File" on the left. In the drop down menu you will see "make a copy". Click that and it will ask you to name your copy. Name your copy of my file and now you will have a copy in your Google Drive as well as the response sheet by the same name. Now you are ready to make edits and changes and personalize your own version of my form.

    I will be happy to help you with the process if you are confused or need help. Jeannie

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  12. Hello! I would love to use the google doc. I can not get the top part of the screen to come down like I usually do on a google doc. Our district uses google docs all the time. I would like this to track my time!

    Thanks!

    Sherri

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  13. Hi Sherri,
    I am having difficulty also. Let's do a little trouble-shooting here. I need to know what you see on your end. Are you getting the color copy with the black box that says "edit this form" in the upper right corner? Then do you get the gray editable version but when you go to file on the left everything is gray and you can't click on make a copy? Do you get a small beige rectangle that says trying to connect at the top of the form over the purple banner that says try the new Google forms? Thanks. I am working on this.

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  14. Very nice and informative article here. Has anyone ever wondered how to fill out forms online? I have, and found a simple service. BTW, there is an online service through which you can fill out a MI RD-108, the fillable blank is here https://goo.gl/jSlm4s.

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  15. Hi! I would love to get a copy of this, however I am unable to save this as my own. There are no links popping up as they normally would.

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    1. Hi Shanna,
      I have checked the links and someone had changed the settings. This is one of the things that happens when a form is shared publicly. I have fixed it and it should work now. Thanks for letting me know and thanks for reading my blog!

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  16. I'm trying to copy the Counselor Activity Log, but when I opened it, I see a list of students' names. I think someone did a no-no and didn't copy it first...

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    1. HI Tracy,
      You are exactly right. That is what happened. This form is very popular and rather than making a copy of the form for editing and collecting data those things are happening on the blog copy. I try to check the form a couple of times a month but have I been swamped this fall. I have replaced the form again. So it should be good to go. If not please let me know. So sorry for the delay! Thanks for reading my blog. Jeannie

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  17. I can open the link but it only opens as an image, not as a document, and there is no option for file<save a copy, etc. Can someone send it to me? barb.wilson@hallco.org TIA!!

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  18. I can open the link but it only opens as an image, not as a document, and there is no option for file<save a copy, etc. Can someone send it to me? barb.wilson@hallco.org TIA!!

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    Replies
    1. Did someone send it to you? I am having the same problem--I have tried to figure this out all weekend and I can't ha!

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    2. Hi Barb,
      My Google form had been edited beyond recognition and someone had begun collecting data in it. I have replaced the activity log again. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for checking out my blog. Jeannie

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  19. Hi Jeannie,

    I'm having the same issue as the others above me, the form once again doesn't seem to be working correctly because I can't save a copy as my own. Sorry!

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  20. Hi,
    I am having trouble using the form to download and make a copy. As I am reading above, my guess is someone changed the features. Wondering if you would be able to help me?

    Thank you so much!

    Samantha

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    Replies
    1. The form should be working now. Please try again. Thank you for your understanding.

      Delete
  21. Hi Jeannie!
    Thanks so much for sharing this!! I am having an issue making a copy of this form as it shows up as an image only. Can you please help me with this? Also, do you have any suggestions for collecting additional data through google forms? For example, discipline data or group data?

    Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Danielle,
      Sorry for the response delay, I have been away on vacation. The link above should be working now. Please try it again. As for collecting data on google forms I did use it for a discipline group. I used the school referral data to choose my group, then had teachers fill out a before and after of my group members behavior on a google form. I was able to see how the teachers viewed the behavior change of the group. On reflection, this would have been a good form to share with parents and group members as well.

      Delete
  22. Hi there! I am having trouble making a copy of this as well. Would you mind sharing with me?
    l.perry09@gmail.com

    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Please check the link again, I believe it is working properly. Thanks for your patience!

      Delete
  23. This is an amazing resource. Thank you so much for paying it forward.

    I hate to ask or even state that I'm having issues with copying the page into my google drive. The edit button is not located on the brown colored google link.

    Is there anyway you can share this with me. From there I could copy it and make changes. My gmail is ptmadrigal0921@gmail.com

    I really appreciate your time. Your blog is a great resource. Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. Check now the link now, it should be fixed. Thanks for your patience!

      Delete
  24. Dear Readers,
    As you can see from this thread, there have been many enthusiastic new Google drive users who have altered this form in its appearance and accessibility. I believe I have found a new way to share forms and still maintain their original integrity. Of course, once you click my link and make your copy, you may edit to your heart's content. Thank you for keeping me posted on when links have been changed or broken. I hope you will continue to enjoy the resources on Exploring School Counseling.

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