An evaluation of the office practice course at Sentinel High School, Missoula, Montana
Wiles, Ann Lawton
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Office Practice course at Sentinel High School by comparing skills and attitudes actually taught in each unit with the skills and attitudes which employees and employers indicated as desirable for beginning employees to possess when they enter the labor market. Methods used to arrive at the evaluation included an initial questionnaire submitted to the members of the 1965-66 Office Practice class of Sentinel High School to determine their employment status; questionnaires completed by those graduates who indicated non-clerical or clerically related employment; and, completion of questionnaires and personal interviews with the clerically employed and their employers. All of the employees rated each unit of the Office Practice course, using an A-B-C-D-E rating scale (A indicating great value and E, little value), in terms of individual on-the-job value. Employers used the same rating scale and rated each unit in terms of on-the-job value to these beginning clerical employees. Employees and clerical employers made suggestions for course content changes or additions. Conclusions drawn as a result of this study were: (1) beginning employees lacked proficient skill and confidence in the operation of some business machines, especially the typewriter and dictating machines; (2) too much emphasis was placed on the automated data processing unit in view of the present requirements of Missoula employers; (3) additional instruction in communicative skills was needed; (4) additional emphasis needed to be placed on accuracy in all units; and, (5) some type of work experience prior to graduation and employment would be desirable. Recommendations were made as a result of this study that (1) additional office machines be purchased for the Office Practice laboratory to insure adequate machine instruction; (2) units on production and statistical typing and oral and written communication be added to the course; (3) an introductory unit containing terms and types and uses of equipment be substituted for the present ADP unit; and (4) adoption of a three-phase plan of pre-employment work (cooperative, directed, simulated) be included to meet the needs of all students enrolled in Office Practice at Sentinel High School.