Participant perspectives of program success in a community college-based short-term skill training program Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8910jz05x

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  • Evaluating the success or failure of work force training programs is most often accomplished through the reporting of "objective" data. Rarely are the students' views of their own success in such a training program formally solicited or applied in any useful way. But participant perceptions can be a critical barometer of quality and ought to be taken into account in any program which aims for continuous improvement. This research was undertaken to allow people to present their experiences and meanings in ways which can contribute to just such program improvement. The study was guided by the following research questions: 1. How do student participants define success? 2. How did their Skill Center training program meet their definition of success? It was expected that information gathered from the study would provide information that could: (a) provide and clarify student participant perspectives in work force training and employment programs, and (b) help program operators who run this and similar programs make informed decisions based on participants' definitions of success and their perceptions of what successes they experienced from the Skill Center program. The data were collected through in-depth interviews with fifteen graduates self-identified as successful. Grounded theory methodology was followed to develop the findings. Among all informants, the most often cited theme was that of "connecting" with instructors and fellow students. A second component of this central theme was a "cohort" feeling; a perception of warmth, support, and a sense of family that was common to all of the students interviewed. Many students were balancing feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, and despair, and it was the human connections with the other members of the skill training center that enabled many, if not most, students to persist in training. For all of the interviewees, the affective value of their training was more intrinsic (e.g., helped them build their confidence and self-esteem) than extrinsic (e.g., helped them obtain and retain a job). This contributes to an inherent tension between individuals and agencies, since agency perspectives on success are based almost solely on extrinsic measures.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-10-25T16:27:32Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 CooperRogerW1996.pdf: 5203313 bytes, checksum: baeadeb96d50476f2417195e30e61d5c (MD5)
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