A profile of professional improvement needs as perceived by occupational education instructors in Oregon community colleges Public Deposited



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  • The Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to develop a profile of the professional improvement needs of occupational instructors in Oregon community colleges as perceived by selected instructors. Specific objectives included: (I) to determine on a 5-point rating scale how proficient occupational instructors feel they should be in certain professional competencies; (2) to determine at what level these same instructors feel they are proficient in the competencies; (3) to find need deficiencies by comparing proficiency attained with proficiency expected in each competency; (4) to determine if there were any significant differences in the responses between the six service areas identified in the study; (5) to deduce implications for teacher education and for the development of guidelines for professional improvement programs in Oregon community colleges. The Procedures: Competencies deemed necessary for occupational instructors in previous studies were utilized in this study to determine proficiency levels perceived attained and expected by the respondents. A screening committee and a panel of experts evaluated the questionnaire. A mail survey questionnaire containing 53 competencies together with two identical five-point scales per item were used to gather data. The sample for the study consisted of 150 randomly selected occupational instructors from Oregon community colleges. Six community college service areas were identified as Trade and Industrial, Home Economics, Technical, Health, Business, and Agriculture. Each service area was represented in the sample by 25 randomly selected instructors. All of Oregon's 13 community colleges were represented in the 90 usable questionnaires that were returned. Median scores were utilized to determine central tendency levels and variation patterns for each of the 53 competencies in the questionnaire. The Mann-Whitney U Test was utilized to test the hypothesis that there was no significant difference in professional improvement needs between the six service areas. Selected Findings: Respondents rated 38 of the 53 competencies at the maximum or "5" level for proficiency perceived as needed and the remaining 15 items only one level lower. Respondents perceived a need deficiency in 47 out of the 53 competencies (90%) when proficiency that was perceived as attained was compared to proficiency perceived necessary in each of the competencies. Significant differences occurred in only 3% of the comparisons between service areas suggesting that respondents in general are alike in perceived need deficiencies. Selected Conclusions: 1. The 53 selected competencies are important in the design of professional improvement programs since respondents rated 41 items at the maximum level of needed proficiency and the remaining items at the next highest level. 2. Professional improvement programs in Oregon community colleges should encompass the 47 items that were assessed to be need deficiencies by the respondents. 3. In a vast majority of the possible comparisons (97%), respondents from the six service areas resembled one another in perceived need deficiencies. This result indicates that few problems should arise in grouping instructors together from the six service areas for professional improvement activities. Selected Implications for Teacher Education: 1. The development of audio-visual materials and use of individualized instruction materials and techniques are two areas that should receive greater emphasis in teacher education. 2.The 47 competencies identified in this study with a perceived need deficiency should be incorporated in teacher education with particular emphasis on their applicability to community college instruction. 3. Teacher education leaders must make special efforts to accommodate the education needs of community college instructors recruited directly from business and industry. Programs located off campus and more flexible entry and re-entry policies involving teacher education programs were suggested.
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