The first step in tech-prep program evaluation: the identification of program performance indicators

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Virginia Tech

Little information is available which specifically applies to determining Tech-Prep program quality, effectiveness, and goal attainment as determined by the directors/coordinators of the programs.

This research sought to determine if program performance indicators exist that Tech-Prep directors/coordinators deem necessary to determine their programs' quality, effectiveness, and goal-attainment. If so, is there consensus of agreement among the directors/coordinators on which performance indicators to utilize, and is there a pattern of preference when grouped into evaluation focus components?

A questionnaire was developed by the researcher and distributed to Tech-Prep directors/coordinators in the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. Sixty-seven program directors/coordinators were asked to participate, and 85 percent responded to the survey. The following conclusions can be reached from analysis of the data:

  1. The responding Tech-Prep directors/coordinators are in agreement on which program performance indicators to use to determine the quality, effectiveness, and goal attainment of their programs. These findings are contrary to the existing literature which suggest a lack of consensus on which performance indicators to utilize for vocational education programs.

  2. Three different techniques — consensual agreement, consideration of the questionnaire non-response rate, and data analysis ensuring a 95 percent confidence interval of the standard error of the mean — were used to analyze the extent of agreement among the surveyed Tech-Prep directors/coordinators on appropriate program performance indicators. Using the three techniques, the extent of majority agreement on the program performance indicators ranged from 97 to 67 percent of the sixty selected indicators. These data support the conclusion that agreed upon performance indicators are available for comparison and evaluation of Tech-Prep programs among this population. These data fill the void in the literature that addresses generalizable performance indicators that can be used in the evaluation and assessment of vocational programs, such as Tech-Prep.

  3. Program performance indicators were grouped into six focus components. Although the determination of which focus components are more appropriate for vocational evaluation depend on many factors, data from this survey indicate the STUDENTS focus component is perceived as most important, the RESOURCES focus component is least important, and CAREERS, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, ATTITUDE/PERCEPTIONS, and FACILITATORS focus components are deemed equally important by Tech-Prep directors/coordinators in the determination of program quality, effectiveness, and goal attainment.