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

Teachers’ Perceptions of Vocational Education Problems in Their School

Teachers were asked a number of questions about the seriousness of various potential problems in the vocational education programs in their of schools and rated each problem on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 indicating a serious problem. Data are presented in this section and in Table 14 combining 3 and 4 on the scale.

Among vocational teachers, the indiscriminate placement of problem students into vocational education programs and the status of vocational education in relation to academic subjects led the list of problems. More than half (55 percent) of vocational teachers reported a serious problem with the placement of problem students into vocational education programs, and 54 percent indicated that the status of vocational education was a serious problem in their school (Table 14). Almost half of vocational teachers indicated that student motivation (49 percent) and maintaining vocational enrollments (47 percent) were also serious problems.

Vocational teachers also reported the following problems: student absenteeism (41 percent), time available for working with students other than students with special needs (38 percent), access to computers (34 percent), student discipline (27 percent), the link between academic curriculum and the local labor market (26 percent), and maintaining high instructional standards (24 percent).

Academic teachers' perceptions of problems in vocational education programs in their school differed somewhat from the perceptions of vocational teachers. Academic teachers were less likely than vocational teachers in either comprehensive or vocational schools to view the maintenance of vocational enrollment or the inappropriate placement of problem students in vocational education programs as serious problems. Only 33 percent of academic teachers compared with 47 percent of vocational teachers view maintaining vocational enrollments as a serious problem. Problem student placement in vocational programs, seen as a serious problem by more than half of vocational teachers (55 percent), was considered a significant problem by only 39 percent of academic teachers.