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Title:An Analysis of Needs Assessment Procedures for Occupational Education Programs in Illinois Community Colleges
Author(s):Harriman, Clark Thomas
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Vocational
Abstract:Community colleges need to do needs assessments because of demands for accountability, declining enrollments, and the changing composition of the community college student population. These needs assessments determine the types of educational programs needed and desired by the potential students. Needs assessment, according to the literature, is one of the first steps in program development or modification. Needs assessment is described as a "gap analysis" where the individuals conducting the needs assessment determine where the college is at present, according to their program offerings, and where it needs to be to meet the identified educational needs for the district population. Once the "gaps" are identified and prioritized, the college can apply its resources to the needs of highest priority.
The purposes of this study were threefold. The first purpose was to identify the groups and/or individuals contacted by the occupational program directors in Illinois community college districts who help identify educational needs. The second purpose was to identify the needs assessment technique(s) they used. The third purpose was to ascertain how they determined the effectiveness of the needs assessment technique(s) they used.
The data collected were broken down by the occupational area of the respondent and reported as aggregate totals for the occupational area. Comparisons of the findings of each occupational area found little variation.
Data were collected from directors of occupational education programs and administrators in Illinois community colleges. Of the 50 community colleges in the state, responses were received from 40 of the institutions. A total of 234 instruments were returned, of which 171 were from directors of occupational education programs. Only the responses of responding directors of occupational education areas were analyzed in detail due to the general nature of the remainder of the responses.
Directors indicated contacting several sources of consultation. Sources of consultation were the individuals and/or groups contacted for input for program development or modification. Chief among the sources of consultation used was the citizens' advisory council/committee which was ranked as the most valuable source of input for the programs. Other sources of needs assessment information which were ranked among the five most valuable for providing input into the program were: past students; input from the college faculty and staff; employers; and associations and organizations.
The needs assessment technique used by the most directors and ranked overall as the best technique was the advisory council/committee. Needs assessment techniques were considered to be the methods by which the program directors contacted the people of the college district to determine their occupational education needs. Other needs assessment techniques ranked among the top five were: current response to present classes; personal contacts; talking informally with community leaders, practitioners, and service providers; and determining needs based on college staff experience and expertise.
To evaluate the efficiency of the needs assessment techniques they used, most directors of occupational programs reported using course enrollments, student evaluations, and attrition rates.
Issue Date:1981
Description:132 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8203482
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981

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