The Need for Evaluation in Vocational Education

The need for evaluation in vocational education system can never be over- emphasized. The need is even more critical in vocational education because of its capital- intensive and practical nature. Indeed, there is no substitute to effective evaluation if education is to be credible, relevant, responsive, and functional.

I am sure you remember that vocational education is a relatively new, capital-intensive, practical, and career-oriented academic field of study. Both the society, families and employers, have great expectation of vocational education.

This implies that vocational education is to enable individuals to produce value returns and benefits to themselves, employers and the society. Effective evaluation is a veritable instrument for achieving this.

Evaluation  in vocational education refers to a systematic process of ascertaining the worth, value, effectiveness, relevance and usefulness of the entire vocational education programme. Consequently, the goals, objectives, standards, learning materials, delivery strategies, trainees as well as trainers in vocational education need to be evaluated.

The need for evaluation in vocational education therefore includes the following:

To ensure that the various   programmes   are   relevant   and responsive to the needs and changes in the society as well as the world of work.

To ascertain and enhance the effectiveness of the programmes in view of the amount of money, facilities, time and effort spent.

To identify in-built problems as well as   make   necessary adjustments and changes to correct them.

To determine the quality of the products (graduates) of various programmes.

To determine the outcome of the said programmes.

To ascertain the effectiveness of teachers, curriculum, teaching methods and materials, etc.

To assess the extent to which various programme objectives are being achieved.

To determine the status-quo (the present situation/practice) as far as each programme is concerned and compare this with the state of the art that is in terms of what it should be.

To select students for appropriate careers.

To determine the relative performance of each student/candidate in career selection.

To inculcate in students the attitude and skills of self-evaluation and healthy competition.

To motivate students and build self-confidence in those who may not perform well.

To form the basis for assisting and guiding students vocationally and otherwise.

To provide a yardstick for accrediting various programmes.

To generally contribute to the improvement of the quality of the entire education system.

To inculcate the spirit of consciousness of quality and accountability  required of programme executors and implementers of vocational education programme.

The Areas of Evaluation in Vocational Education

Evaluation in vocational education usually covers the following areas:

  • Evaluation of Achievement (Students)

This can be broken down into three according to the major domains in education:

  • Evaluation of academic achievement, which has to do with the cognitive domain and is very popular in the school system.
  • Evaluation of personal-social adjustment which has to do with the affective domain.

Evaluation of the state of development of specific motor skills, particularly as it has to do with the psychomotor domain.

  • Programme Evaluation

This is done to determine the extent to which programme objectives are being achieved. In doing this, the major elements of the programme such as the objectives, curriculum contents, target groups, the context and resources (funds, facilities, personnel, equipment, materials, environment as well as methods and procedures) are all subjected to evaluation.

Here, the CIPP evaluation model in which the programme is evaluated under four major headings: the Context, Input, Process and Product can be used. Other evaluation models here include the countenance, the discrepancy, the transactional, the goal-free and the naturalistic models.

  • Evaluation of the System (process)

Education is an open system which is made up of:

  • Intakes(students)
  • Personnel(teaching and supportive)
  • The curriculum
  • Teaching methods and materials (availability and use)
  • Administrative organization (at the ministry and institution levels); and
  • Individual teacher’s classroom organization and management.

All these make up the “process” of an educational system. The success of any system therefore depends on the quality of the entire process. The various techniques/strategies of manipulating the elements in the “process” ultimately determine the performance of the products (graduates) of any educational programme.

  • Evaluation of the Products (Graduates)

Generally, education is aimed at turning out graduates who will adjust to and affect the society  Similarly, the main objective of vocational education is to turn out products (graduates) who have acquired appropriate employable/saleable skills to enable them gain, maintain or create employment.

Various stakeholders therefore can evaluate the products (graduates) of various educational programmes. For instance, the society can assess such products on the basis of their ability to adjust to and affect the society positively; or on how easily they are able to gain, maintain and create employment, etc. Employers can assess them on their performance on the job to know how well they are doing on the job they were trained to do.

Evaluation as described above can be done systematically and objectively to a large extent. Product evaluation is done to ascertain product quality, the extent to which programme objectives and the execution strategies have been achieved.

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