Public Secondary School Teacher Survey on Vocational Education
NCES: 94409
February 1994


These highlights summarize the results of the National Assessment of Vocational Education Teacher Survey (fall 1992) and describe some characteristics of vocational education teachers and courses in the nation's public secondary schools. This survey was requested by the National Assessment of Vocational Education and conducted through the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS).

  • In fall 1992,97 percent of vocational teachers and 98 percent of academic teachers in the nation's public secondary schools were teaching full time (Table 2). Ninety-one percent of vocational teachers and 92 percent of academic teachers indicated that their primary teaching assignment was in the area for which they had prepared to teach.
  • Vocational and academic teachers in public secondary schools report similar teaching experience. Vocational teachers averaged 17 years of experience, 14 of which were spent in their primary teaching assignment (Figure 2). Academic teachers had 18 years of teaching experience, 15 of which had been in their primary teaching assignment.
  • Overall, 66 percent of public secondary school vocational teachers had nonteaching paid work experience directly related to their teaching assignment, compared with only 19 percent for their academic counterparts (Table 2 and Figure 3). The amount of experience also differed, with vocational teachers averaging 10 years nonteaching experience compared with 6 years for academic teachers.
  • Eighty-eight percent of vocational teachers held at least a bachelor"s degree; 50 percent held a degree above a bachelors (Table 3). In contrast, virtually all academic teachers had a bachelors degree and over half (60 percent) held a degree higher than a bachelors.
  •  Sixty-six percent of vocational teachers had an education major (Table 3).
  • In the fall of 1992, 73 percent of public vocational teachers reported that they considered their classes to be composed either primarily of students of average ability (40 percent) or of students spanning a wide range of abilities (33 percent; Table 4). Teachers in academic courses viewed their students differently; they were more than three times as likely as vocational teachers to indicate that their students were of higher than average ability (35 percent compared to 11 percent). Seventeen percent of vocational and 13 percent of academic teachers believed that their class was composed primarily of students with lower than average ability.
  • Vocational teachers were more likely to coordinate curriculum or team teach with other vocational teachers (37 percent), and fewer (from 5 to 13 percent) coordinated efforts with English, math, science, and other teachers often or always (Table 8).
  • While homework was assigned in nearly all academic classes (95 percent), it was assigned in only 59 percent of vocational classes (Table 10).
  • Student performance in vocational courses was most commonly evaluated by teacher-developed tests (84 percent) and student classwork (76 percent; Table 11).
  • Among vocational teachers, placement of problem students into vocational education programs and the status of vocational education in relation to academic subjects led the list of reported problems in the vocational programs in their schools (55 percent and 54 percent respectively; Table 14). Almost half of vocational teachers indicated that student motivation (49 percent) and maintaining vocational enrollments (47 percent) were also serious problems.