Establishing Student Performance Criteria
Criteria are standards. By comparing actual performance against established performance standards, one can determine how competent the performance is. The products of occupational programs are students—students who are prepared to enter and progress in their chosen occupations.
There is a very real purpose and value in setting criteria for performance. If the training provided is supposed to prepare individuals for employment in a particular occupation at a particular level, then it is vital to set guidelines to ensure that this goal is reached.
Criteria for student performance serve this purpose. They provide the standards by which you can measure not only successful student performance, but also the effectiveness of your courses and your teaching.
The Necessity of an Occupational Advisory
If your school doesn’t have an Occupational Advisory; then it needs to create one. The members of your occupational advisory committee should consist of members of the business/industry community and the local community in general. An Occupational Advisory can provide you and your school with direction in establishing occupational performance standards and standards reflecting the community’s goals for its students.
The major industries in your city can tell you what they look for in graduates. They can tell you what they want students to know when entering the job market. There should be representative interaction, at least twice a year, where businesses meet with Administrators and Instructors to discuss their employment needs. This way vocational and technical professionals can submit the necessary information that will ensure graduates will find suitable jobs in their chosen fields.
Criteria for Identifying and Compiling Standards
The task of the instructor is to identify and compile the standards that have already been established. These criteria may not always be readily apparent, easy to distinguish, or stated as criteria. To locate the criteria, the instructor may need to look at five factors:
- Societal factors
Society has expectations for graduates of its secondary and post secondary institutions. Implicit within these expectations are certain standards. For example, society may expect graduates to be contributing citizens of a democratic society. Additionally, society may desire that graduates be capable of thinking critically, of understanding themselves, or of coping with a changing society.
Another source of standards is the occupation or occupational cluster for which students are being prepared. Each occupation will usually have some established entry-level standards. The standards may be in the form of licensing requirements for positions within specific occupations. Licensing requirements include specific standards individuals must meet if they are to be licensed.
The criteria for a student(s) performance will be even further defined by the requirements of the institution by which the instructor is employed and its community setting. Members of a community hold certain values, and they generally expect the educational institutions within the community to uphold those values and to pass those values on to the students as part of the educational program. Thus, the community sets certain standards.
When an instructor begins to establish criteria for a student(s) performance, he/she needs to consider the needs, interests, and abilities of the students he/she will be teaching. The level of competence acquired today by the students entering a course or program will also directly affect the criteria established by the instructor. The level of a student(s) competence does not change the occupational standards set for the program, but it can affect the amount of time students are allowed to reach those standards or the number of objectives each student is expected to meet.
Ideally, an occupational program will be structured around a set of performance objectives that represent required competencies or skills (for entry and/or advancement) in an occupation or occupational cluster.
Each performance objective, if well stated, will contain a criterion component. The criterion component of a well-stated performance objective outlines the level of achievement the student must attain in order to satisfactorily complete that performance under the conditions outlined.
Thus, program objectives should include criteria describing the level of achievement students must reach to complete (and pass) the program successfully.
Closing Comments ...
In summary, the purposes of establishing criteria for students’ performances can serve two important purposes:
To ensure that students attain the required occupational competencies
To provide the basis for continual—periodic and final—evaluation of the progress students are making toward development of these competencies.
By ensuring that students attain the required occupational competencies you are also contributing to the success of your students in their chosen vocational or technical field. Students who understand what future employers expect from their workers can set individual goals to meet or exceed these expectations.
By providing the basis for continual, the instructor can evaluate the process of each student with the ability of rectifying any deficient in the learning experience and provide students with ongoing feedback that will be vital to their success as productive adults.