The Multicultural School Counseling Behavior Scale: Development, Psychometrics, and Use

Added December 11, 2018

The Multicultural School Counseling Behavior Scale (MSCBS) was developed to fill a need in the measurement of and research about multicultural counseling competence (MCC) of school counselors. MCC is widely recognized as necessary for school counselors and several documents guide school counselors in how to behave in multiculturally competent ways (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2012; ASCA, 2015; ASCA 2016). Yet there was no scale to measure the multicultural behaviors of school counselors. The MSCBS was developed to fill that gap.

The initial items of the MSCBS were developed based on a review of the multicultural counseling competence literature and specifically the ASCA ethical standards (2010), ASCA’s position paper on cultural diversity (2015), 20 (Self) Critical Things I Will Do to Be a More Equitable Educator (Gorsky, n.d.), a checklist of multicultural competence of school counselors by Holcomb-McCoy (2004), and the MCCTS-R (Holcomb-McCoy & Day-Vines, 2004). The original item pool of 36 items was reviewed by five content area experts (i.e., counselor educators and doctoral students who have experience, background, education, and research experience in the field of school counseling) for face validity, wording, and responses. With their feedback the item pool was reduced to 31 items with some being reworded, combined, or taken out. The potential responses were presented in a Likert-type format with an even number of answer responses utilized for statistical purposes (Crocker & Angina, 2006). There were six possible responses with wording edited by the expert reviewers (i.e., Never, Infrequently [less than once a school year], Yearly, Several times a school year, Monthly, and Weekly).

Participants were 689 school counselors, which allowed for initial psychometric testing of the MSCBS. Factor Analysis of the MSCBS resulted in a four-factor solution (i.e., Factor 1: Interventions, Factor 2: Leadership, Factor 3: Psychoeducation, and Factor 4: Seek Input). The resultant scale was reduced to 29 items with Factor 1 containing 12 items, Factor 2 containing eight items, Factor 3 containing six items, and Factor 4 containing three items.

Initial psychometrics indicated high reliability both for the scale as a whole and for each of the four factors. The four-factor solution with 29 items retained made the most sense both statistically and conceptually. For each of the four factors, the items were similar in nature and could be named based on those similarities. Factor 1 contained items related to interventions including working with diverse staff, intervening when faced with discriminatory behavior, learning students’ names, and other similar interventions and was named Interventions. Factor 2 included items related to leadership, consultation with stakeholders, seeking knowledge, and conducting trainings and was named Leadership. Factor 3 was made up of items such as conducting classroom guidance lessons and small group lessons all related to psychoeducation, hence the name, Psychoeducation. The final factor, Factor 4, only contained three items and they all included seeking feedback from stakeholders. This factor was therefore named Seek Input.

Though the MSCBS was initially developed as a research tool, it also has some promising uses in school counseling, school counselor education, school counselor supervision, and professional development. School counselors could use the scale as a self-assessment tool to evaluate their own behaviors and programs. In this capacity it could also be used to set and evaluate professional development goals. In school counselor education and supervision, the MSCBS could be used as a training and development tool to help school counselors build multicultural skills and behaviors.

The MSCBS would benefit from further refinement and research. Some of the wording is outdated and the only research conducted was done electronically. Despite its limitations, it currently adds to the available scales to measure aspects of the MCC of school counselors. In its current form, the MSCBS can be used as a research or school counselor development tool.


Jennifer H. Greene, PhD