The effect of increased graduation requirements on vocational education
Hoyem, Tamra Susan
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The major purpose of this study was to determine if vocational education offerings at the secondary level in Montana public schools were decreasing due to additional graduation and college entrance requirements. To collect data for this study, questionnaires were sent to 242 vocational educators and administrators employed in public secondary high schools in Montana for the year 1989-1990. The six strata used were (1) Agriculture, (2) Business, (3) Home Economics, (4) Industrial Education, (5) Marketing, and (6) Administrators. One hundred twenty-four usable returns were received. Sixty-five percent of the respondents said that they had faced a decrease in enrollment in vocational education classes, with the decreases occurring in all 5 areas. Most of the decreases occurred from 1987-1989 when most schools had increased graduation requirements in effect. The findings of this study showed that 77% of the respondents also had an overall decrease in school enrollment at the same time vocational education enrollments were decreasing. All areas in specific schools had vocational education classes that qualified as graduation requirement replacements or college entrance requirements. More classes were allowed for college entrance requirements. Qualifying vocational classes did not seem to have higher enrollments than non-qualifying vocational education classes. Vocational classes, multiple class sections, and vocational programs have been dropped from the high school curriculums. Non-vocational programs have also been dropped. The data for this study indicated that most secondary schools in Montana had decreased enrollments in vocational education classes. A reduction in both vocational and non-vocational educators occurred in the school systems. Based on the findings of the study, the writer recommends that vocational educators work with administration and other educational groups (OPI, Regents, MT Council for Voc. Ed., etc.) to show the importance of vocational education to the public, students, and parents. Use of cross-credits in similar content area for graduation requirements, keeping current with trends, and providing awards and recognition of students in vocational education are recommended.