Levels at which skills or knowledge in cooperative office education in Virginia are taught as perceived by teachers and the level used as perceived by graduates

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived skills and knowledge levels that were being taught in the Cooperative Office Education programs in the state of Virginia and to determine if those skills and knowledge competency levels are accurately meeting the needs as perceived by the graduates who are employed in office occupations.

The population for the study consisted of all the secondary Cooperative Office Education teacher-coordinators in the state of Virginia who conducted programs during the 1974-1975 school year and who continued in that same capacity in the 1975-1976 school year, and their 1974-1975 graduates who were employed in office occupations.

Instruments were mailed to graduates employed in office occupations upon return of the teacher-coordinator responses. The data were processed at the Computing Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute University, Blacksburg, Virginia. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was the computer program that was used. A t-Test was used to determine if there were significant differences in the level taught by teacher-coordinators and the perceived level of use by graduates for each of the forty-two items of skill and knowledge. The differences were considered significant at the .01 level.

Teacher-coordinators of the Cooperative Office Education programs taught skills and knowledge at a significantly different level than graduates employed in office occupations used them in nineteen of the forty-two skills and knowledge items listed on the questionnaire. The items are as follows: alphabetic filing, oral and written reports, business ethics, addressing machine skill, rotary calculator, banking procedures, standard electric typewriting, geographic filing, carbon paper process, applying for a job, full-key adding machine, bookkeeping/ accounting machines, ten-key adding machine, manual typewriting, Gregg shorthand, electronic calculator, transcribing machine, stencil process, and fluid process.

Seventeen of these nineteen items were perceived to have been taught at a significantly higher level than graduates perceived these items to be used in office occupations. Only two of these nineteen items; bookkeeping/accounting machines, and addressing machine skill, were perceived to have been used by graduates at a higher level than teachers attempted to teach that skill or knowledge. The data indicated that teacher-coordinators were setting high standards in the Cooperative Office Education programs of Virginia.

A significant difference did not exist between the perceived levels of teaching skills and knowledge and the perceived levels of their use for twenty-three of the forty-two items listed on the questionnaire. The items are as follows: numeric filing, subject filing, recordkeeping, automatic typewriting, proportional space typewriting, machine shorthand, composing letters, telephone training, receptionist duties, use of reference materials, simulated keypunch, keypunch, appearance, attitude, travel and transportation, office supplies, parliamentary procedure, offset printing process, photocopier, key-driven calculator, business math, personal money management, and consumer education.