Research in Comparative and International Education
ISSN 1745-4999


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Volume 6 Number 3 2011

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CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

SPECIAL ISSUE
Methods and Instruments for the Evaluation and Monitoring of Vocational Education and Training Systems
Guest Editors: PHILIPP GROLLMANN & MELANIE HOPPE

Philipp Grollmann & Melanie Hoppe. Introduction. Methods and Instruments for the Evaluation and Monitoring of Vocational Education and Training Systems: a basis for evidence-based policy making?, pages 250‑254 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.250 VIEW FULL TEXT

Noela Eddington & Ian Eddington. Reconceptualising Vocational Education and Training Systems in Broader Policy Domains: monitoring and evaluation, pages 255‑272

Melanie Hoppe, Jeanette Burmester & Jan Ebben. The Development of a Strategy for Vocational Education and Training: experiences from Montenegro, pages 273‑284

Marc Schütte & Georg Spöttl. Development of Entry-Level Competence Tests: a strategy for evaluation of vocational education training systems, pages 285‑299

Lorenz Lassnigg & Stefan Vogtenhuber. Monitoring of Qualifications and Employment in Austria: an empirical approach based on the labour force survey, pages 300‑315

Geoff Hayward & Michael Hoelscher. The Use of Large-Scale Administrative Data Sets to Monitor Progression from Vocational Education and Training into Higher Education in the UK: possibilities and methodological challenges, pages 316‑329

Sandra Speer. Organised Governmental Learning: vocational education and training practices between peer review and peer learning, pages 330‑340


Reconceptualising Vocational Education and Training Systems in Broader Policy Domains: monitoring and evaluation

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.255

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The article focuses on how the present vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia might be modified to better accommodate possible VET futures change. It begins with the premise that VET’s role is to contribute to skills acquisition through formal education and training. The authors propose a simple VET futures role and purpose statement and outline a possible futures public policy environment in which its actualisation might need to be achieved. They continue, first by developing a policy intervention framework and a monitoring and evaluation framework germane to that futures purpose and policy mix, and second, by employing those frameworks to explain how a futures VET system might function. They discuss the present VET system in the context of the constructed futures VET system and draw conclusions from comparisons made. They find (a) that skills policy should be redefined to accommodate broader economic and social policy contexts in general, and sustainable industry policy in particular; and (b) that a more sophisticated policy mix, consisting of unified and complementary supply-side and demand-side interventions, should replace the VET sector’s reliance on simplistic supply-side policy responses alone. They outline an incremental approach for transforming the present VET system into the envisioned futures VET system and check and balance their findings through international comparisons.

 

The Development of a Strategy for Vocational Education and Training: experiences from Montenegro

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.273

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This article addresses the problem that many countries lack a strategic orientation in reforming their vocational education and training (VET) systems, and therefore refers to the added value of a distinct VET strategy within an overall education sector strategy. To start with, the authors provide an answer to the questions ‘What is strategy?’ and ‘What is strategy in education?’ They argue that the ‘resource-based view of strategy’ is a suitable understanding of strategy because it has a developmental perspective and underpins the building of capacity and systems while making the most of core competences by stretching and leveraging them. Using core competences of social partners and other stakeholders is of crucial importance in VET development. By describing the process of developing a VET strategy in Montenegro, the authors provide a case study of putting strategy theory into practice. Concluding with lessons learned, they formulate recommendations.

 

Development of Entry-Level Competence Tests: a strategy for evaluation of vocational education training systems

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.285

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Developing countries such as Malaysia and Oman have recently established occupational standards based on core work processes (functional clusters of work objects, activities and performance requirements), to which competencies (performance determinants) can be linked. While the development of work-process-based occupational standards is supposed to have a positive effect on human resource development and economic prosperity, a continuing problem is associated with the evaluation of such standards. Evaluation of occupational standards has two angles of interest: (a) competence assessment (considering approval of workers); and (b) matching analysis (considering the difference between standard and work-process structures). The working hypothesis of this article is that occupational entry-level tests, an established means of competence assessment, can be utilised for matching analysis – that is, item development and field tests can provide qualitative and quantitative feedback about the relationship between standard structures and the requirements of current work-process structures. The article reflects experiences from the Sultanate of Oman. In particular, the text describes the strategy of (classical) test development and presents exemplary results. The final conclusion is that test development is a feedback mechanism and a decision-making resource linking prospective standards with the status quo in VET systems and related economic sectors.

 

Monitoring of Qualifications and Employment in Austria: an empirical approach based on the labour force survey

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.300

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The empirical approach referred to in this article describes the relationship between education and training (ET) supply and employment in Austria; the use of the new ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) fields of study variable makes this approach applicable abroad. The purpose is to explore a system that produces timely information on how the specialised and layered supply of initial vocational education and training (VET) is reflected in employment structures. This is done by ‘screening’ potential risks and opportunities related to ET specialisations, and by comparing a set of indicators across the whole ET supply (from simple occupations to higher education). The approach is based on theory of ‘constructivist’ knowledge management, and its intent is to provide input for reflection and learning among stakeholders regarding the empirical relationship between ET supply and demand. Consequently, the results do not aspire to offer ‘hard evidence’, but should instead draw attention to those areas of risk which merit further inquiry. The monitoring system comprises two parts: (1) a comprehensive classification of VET supply; and (2) a multifaceted set of indicators and measurement procedures. The latter is split into three sections: (a) demographics and gender; (b) employment, unemployment and income; and (c) competences, occupations and trades. In each section a number of indicators is defined to compare the risks and opportunities for the 44 programme categories of VET and higher education in several dimensions – for example, the relation of new entrants to potential replacement demand; specific aspects of employment and unemployment measures; relative incomes; and skills utilisation and projections of future demand. The results show interesting patterns of corresponding and contrasting relations between ET and employment for VET programmes. There are limitations, given the small sample size of the Labour Force Survey, while there is also room for greater methodological sophistication.

 

The Use of Large-Scale Administrative Data Sets to Monitor Progression from Vocational Education and Training into Higher Education in the UK: possibilities and methodological challenges

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.316

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This article describes two administrative data sources – UCAS applicant data and Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) data – and demonstrates how they can be utilised to monitor the progression of students from vocational and educational training (VET) programmes in to higher education (HE) in the UK. First the article provides a general discussion of the administrative data sets, their coverage and resulting limitations. Second, it illustrates how a combined HESA‑UCAS data set can be utilised to provide a descriptive statistical analysis that demonstrates that including VET students within HE programmes widens participation for under-represented groups in the UK but shows that VET students are at a disadvantage compared with those progressing through academic pathways in terms of their probability of gaining access, which types of higher education institution (HEI) they gain access to, and an increased risk of dropping out during their first year of study. Third, multilevel modelling indicates that drop-out risks differ across HEIs and suggests that HEIs can take actions that will reduce the risk of VET students dropping out. Finally some conclusions about the utility of administrative data to answer substantive research questions are presented, with suggestions for improving the quality and access to such data for researchers.

 

Organised Governmental Learning: vocational education and training practices between peer review and peer learning

http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2011.6.3.330

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Peer learning has already existed for a long time, as an informal as well as a formal practice between people from the same professional area. However, peer learning systems on the macro level are relatively newer concepts. Policy learning can be fostered by various types of organised activities, ranging from peer review frameworks, which often have a focus on accountability and learning, to international learning events, which are based on concepts like the ‘learning spiral’. This article reviews existing international practices of organised governmental learning on the system level, which are also linked to processes on the micro level. It thereby gives a framework to discuss two different VET peer learning activities across Europe which are organised by the European Union (EU) and the European Training Foundation (ETF).

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