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ED 265 295 

CE 043 171 







Mountney, Peter, Ed. ; Mageean, Pauline, Ed. 
Issues in TAFE, 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development, 

Payneham (Australia). 




Thomas Nelson, P.O. Box 4725, Melbourne, Victoria, 
Australia 3001 (AU$10.95}. 

Viewpoints (120) — Collected works - General (020) 
— Reports - Descriptive (141) 

MFOI/PCIO Plus Postage. 

Access to Education; *Adult Education; Adult 
Programs; Blue Collar Occupations; Career 
Development; Career Educed ion; College Programs; 
Competency Based Educati^^; ^Continuing Education; 
Curriculum Developnent; Curriculum Evaluation; 
Disabilities; Dropout Prevention; Educational Media; 
Education Work Relationship; Evaluation Methods; 
Extension Education; Foreign Countries; Postsecondary 
Education; Skilled Occupations; Staff DeveloEmnent ; 
^Technical Education; *Vocational Education 


TAFE (Technical and Further Education) is a 
multif aceted educational organization in Australia and few people in 
it, and even fewer outside, know about all its aspects outside their 
own areas of interest and expertise. This book provides information 
about some current aspects of TAFE, intended to give a broad 
perspective on 12 different issues. The following papers are included 
in the book: ''The Influence of the Kangan Philosophy on Australian 
TAFE," by Leslie Claydon; "Attrition and Retention in TAFE," by Joy 
Cumming and Peter Hountney; "External Studies in TAFE," by Roy 
Farren; "A Review of Competency-Based Occupational Education," by 
Rogei Harris and Robyn Schutte; "Educational Media in TAFE," by Brian 
Kenworthy; "Career Paths of Tradespersons, " by Lucio Krbavac; 
"Curriculum Development in TAFE Trade Courses," by David Laird; 
"Curriculum Evaluation in TAFE," by David Mitchell; "TAFE Staff 
Develoinnent, " bv David Snewin; "Options for the Evaluation of TAFE 
Colleges," by pIter Thomson; "Access to TAFE for Disabled Persons," 
by Elaine Walker; and "The TAFE Transition Program," by Greg 
Woodburne. (KC) 

****lr*************** ******************************** ******** 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the original document. * 

***************f;********* ***************** ******ir ****** *********^****** 


BEST copy /iVAiweLE 



Peter Mountney 
Pauline Mageean 



Uoi gmt»ni has been reproduced 3b 
^ recpfved from tHp person oj o'ganization 


Mtnof chdnqe^ hdvp bf»en n\a<ie to improve 
(Pit odudtton quail y 

Pfxms of vtfw or op'H ons statPd in 'HiS doru 
menl do no' neLebbarHy fppresent oHit,idi N!E 
position Of poftcy 





© TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development Ltd., 19 8 5 

ISBN 0 86397 384 1 

TD 1285 

TAFE National Centre 10.1 
Published by 

TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development Ltd 
296 Payneham Road 
Payneham 5070 Australia 
{Incorporated in South Australia) 

Printed by D. J, WOOLMAN, Government Printer, South Australia 


TAFC IS a muitifaceted educacionai organisation ana few people 
within It, and even fewer outside, know about aii the asoects of 
TAFE outside their own areas ot interest and expertise. Graham 
Hermann, the first uxecutive Director of the TAFE National Centre 
for Reseach and Development, initiated the idea of publishing a 
collection of papers which would describe a wide variety of ajeas 
of TAFE. The editors gratefully acknowledge Mr. Hermann's 
assistance m the initial stages of Issues in TAF E. 

The book provides inforiiation about some current aspects of TAFE. 
It i£ hopeJ the papers wui give a broad perspective on twelve 
different 'issues in TAFE*. 

The papers were written by experts from a wide variety of 
organisations The views expressed are the personal views of the 
contributors and do not necessarily reflect those Oi.* the Board or 
staff of the TAFE National Centre foe Research and Development. 

Another TAFE National Centre publication, the Australian Journal 
of TAFE Researc h and Development , ed i Led by Kevin Parkinson, will 
contain, among other items, articles of a similar nature to those 
of this book. It IS anticipated that the first edition of the 
journal will be published by November 3 935. Comments about 
articles m Issues in TAFE and suggestions for future articles 
for the journal, are invited from readers. Please addrsss 
correspondence to: 

Pauline Mageean, 
Deputy Editor 

Australian Journal of TAFE Research and De ve lopipen t , 
TAFE National Centre foe Research and Development, 
296 Payneham Road, 
Payneham S.A. 5070 

Our thanks are given to the writers for their articles and their 
torbearance when there was a midstream cnange of editor. Thanks 
are also due to in^-house editor Margaret Cominos for hpr 
assistance and to Janjne Forster and Susan Butters for their 
assistance with word processing. 

Peter Mountney and Pauline Mageean, 




Leslie Ciaydon, Senior Lecturer, School of Education La Trobe 
University, Victoria. 

Joy Cumming, Education Officer, TAFE Curriculum Branch, 

Roy Paren, Principal, TAFE Extension Service, Western Australia. 

Roger Harris, Senior Lecturer, Department of Technical and 
Further Education, South Australian College of Advanced 
Education, South Australia. 

Brian Kenworthy, Head, Learning Resources, Adelaide Collt>ge of 
TAFE, South Australia. 

Lucio Krbavac, Principal Research Officer, Australian Railways 
Research and Development Organisation, Victoria. 

David Laird, Lecturer in Curriculum Studies, University of New 
England, New South wales. 

Pauline Mageean, Research and Development Officer, TAFE National 
Centre for Research and development. South Australia. 

David Mitchell, Principal, Mackay TAFE College, Queensland, 

Peter Mountney, Senior Education Officer, TAFE Curriculum Branch, 
Queensland . 

Robyn Schutte, Project Officer, Special Employment Initiatives 
Unit, Department of Labour, South Australia. 

David Snewin, Course Co-Ord mator , Diploma in Teaching Further 
Education, South Australian College of Advanced Education, SoutP 
Austra lia . 

Peter Thomson, Assistant Director (Research and Development) TAFE 
National Centre for Research and Development, South Australia. 



Elaine Walker, Principal Education Officer, TAFE, New South 

Greg Woodburne, Head of School, Technical Teacher Education, 
Institute of Technical and Adult Teacher Education, New South 






List of contributors 



The influence of the Kangan philosophy on Australian TAPE 


Attrition and retention m TAE E 


External Studies in TAFE 


A revievtf of competency-bc.ced occupational education 


Educational media in TAFE BRIAN KENWORTHY 

Career paths of tradesper sons LUCIO KRbAVAC 

Curriculum development in TAFE trade courses DAVID LAIRD 

Curriculum ^valuation in TAFE DAVID MITCHELL 

TAFE staff development DAVID SNEWIN 

Options for the evaluation of TAFE colleges PETER THOMSON 

Access to TAFE for disabled persons ELAINE WALKER 

The TAFE transition program GREG WOODBURNE 






The committee presided over by Myer Kangan m 1974 initiated 
a number of vital concepts in search of action, as a re-reading 
of McKenzie and Wilkins (1979) serves to confirm. Ten years on, 
it IS important both to assess the pro9ress of the search and to 
re-evaluate the concej.ts. We live in quite different economic and 
industrial contexts from those prevailing when the committee was 
at work. 

One IS tempted to accept the contention of McKenzie ano Wilkms 
that events subsequent to 1974 determined that the search for 
processes to activate the Kangan concepts has been consistently 
bedevilled by 'constant interruption, half-scarts and 
disruptions* (p, 5). To some considerable extent such misfortunes 
can be explained by governmental inaptitude or mean-mindedness; 
but the jerky progress towards implementing the recommendations 
of the report which have been generally approved is not 
completely accounted for by this. In 1974 it was not straight- 
forwardly apparent even to experts that changes of enormous and 
lasting significance were about to overtake the work-world from 
which the s^reat bulk of TAFE students are drawn. Yec, less than a 
decade later, few people missed the point of the barbed 
inscription scrawled on a Melbourne wall: 'If they*ve got no 
bread let *fcm eat micro-chips*. Books with such titles as The 
collapse of work (Jenkins & Sherman, 1979) and World out of woTk 
(Merritt, 1982) serve as equall" forceful heralds of change. 
Kangan's remark that TAFE enrolments will 'increase by more than 
a quarter over the 1973 enrolments and ... be 700,000 by 1991' 
(McKenzie $, Wilkins, p. 9) is not necessarily thus falsified but 
the nature of the enrolments ani the purpose that inspires them 
may be very different from a perspective which saw education as a 
relatively safe route to life-long employment and so sought 
access to it or more of it. The evidence in the books by Jenkms 
and Sherman (1979) and Merritt (1982) and many other publications 
indicated that if the projected student increase did eventuate 
then It would incorporate new groups with different needs and 
expectations from those which could have been envisaged with any 
confidence in the period before 1974. 



Indeed, several reports later than Kangan, sorre, even 
contemporary with the books of 1979 and beyond cited above, sho-' 
some confusion about industrial prospects rather than a clear 
change of view. One may cite the report by the Australian Science 
and Technology Council of February 1 978 made to the prime 
minister of the day. In its volume of Summary and Recomm^ndationG 
it states: 

The metal products and machinery industry . . . could 
be helped by improved technology transfer and co- 
operative R 4 D. (Para. 1.5,11) 

In October 1983 the Metal Trades Industry Association announced 
that the number of indentured apprentices in all metal trades was 
down by 53 per cent since the same month in 1982, the downturn 
in fitting and machining apprenticeships being 19.5 per cent. 
Rather than lack of technology transfer and co-operative R&D, 
thi- may simply reflect the situation suggested by Jenkins and 
Sherman, namely that economic and industrial well-being will 
henceforth be in inverse proportion to the size of the work-force 
engaged. It is doubtful that ASTEC considered this. One may also 
recall the Myers Report on Technological Change in Australia 
(1930). (Though few do it seems; in a debate of 1 December, 1983 
in the House of Representatives this four volume document was 
described as 'having sunk like a stone'.) The Myers Report does 
provide a clearer view from the new perspective than ASTEC. 

The essence of the concern is that the emerging 
technologies enable machines to do ^obs that are now 
done by people. (Para. 1.2, Vol. 1) 

Other groups . . . claim . . . that the new 3obs will 
require skills that the people who were displaced from 
the old jobs don't have and are unlikely to acquire. 
(Para. .4, Vol. 1) 

In this report there is some anticipation of a structural reality 
which would produce the result between August 1980 and March 1983 
that the number of skilled workers displaced from the electrical 
and engineering sectors of industry in Australia would treble. 

But there is shortsightedness in the Myers Report also. 

In considering the effects of technological change in 
the recent past, the committee cannot find evidence 
that the current high level of unemployment is 
attributable to technological change. (Para 7.12, Vol 1) 


9 ^ 

Tne comniittee was perhaps somewhat selective in its direction of 
regard. It will not do to consider Australia and ignore the world 
when examining technology or anything else. In 1975, 700,000 
Mazda cars were produced by 37,000 Japanese workers. In 1982, 
1,500,000 vehicles were produced by 28,000 workers. In seven 
years production rose by 100 per cent while the workforce 
diminished by 25 per cent. Some signs of this trend were surely 
available when the committee was gathering evidence. 

The lapse is redressed shortly afterwaids in ^he report. The 
follow:ng is reconimended as a response to changing conditions in 
world markets and the Australian employment situation consequent 
upon technological innovations. 

[Pjeople who are likely to be affected by technological 
change [should be] properly informed and consulted. 

[Al social safety net [should be] provided to assis* people 
to adapt to change. (Para. 7.22, Vol. 1) 

Plainly there is a role for TAFE to play in providing such a 
•safety net'. The world-wide shift of emphasis and change of need 
in industry must be reflected in instructional systems if a 
society IS to benefit from technological change or at least 
survive it without great damage to large groups within itself. In 
part this does involve a reaffirmation of the importance of the 
Kangan concepts of access and recurrent education. But the 
interpretation of both concepts must yield courses appropriate to 
the emerging situation as a whole. This will involve new course 
construction to cater for those not certain of work as well as 
adaptation of existing courses to accord with new work processes. 
If this does not occur then Mackie's scepticism when he talked of 
an unholy alliance between TAFE and industry will be justified. 
It will be recalled that Mackie lamented the romanticism of the 
Kangan Report on the grounds that; 

. . . liberal education reforms of this type are doomed 
to founder in an economic and industrial milieu that is 
rooted in exploitation and alienation. (Mackie, cited 
in McKenzie & Wilkins, 1979, p. 61) 

Mac'i^ie wrote this when unemployment was at 5 per cent. At the 
time this was dramatic enough as a figure to warrant critical 
comment. As the figures provided in Professor Karmel's theme 
address to the conference on 'Future priorities in TAFE* held in 
Canberra in 1982 indicate, such a rate would now be considered a 
matter for jubilation. The structure of TAtc) at all levels must 


reflect the fact that double that percentage is now the bench- 
mark . 

The issue, then, is whether TAFE is inevitably reactive in its 
stance, that is to say, whether TAFE is Dound to replicate what 
Mackie calls 'the relationships of dominance and subordmancy in 
the econoniic sphere' (Mackie, cited in McXeazie and Wil<ins, 
1979 , p. 62). When this is the case, TAFK's educational role is 
restricted. Browne and Macdonald (1981) suggest th^t the role of 
TAPE then becomes parasitic upon the functions of other 
educational institutions. What these other places fail to cover, 
whether by choice or default, TAFE uust provide. The question is 
whether this secondary r'^le is all that TAFE should seek to fill. 
Or can TAFE provide educational initiatives to counteract any 
effects of economic and industrial developments which are 
detrimental to social health, to the needs, interests and talents 
of individuals and groups of people who could best be catered for 
in a TAFE coll<*gc.^ 

The question is less one of managerial efficipncy than of degree 
of educational potency. Where the first of these is permitted to 
overshadow the second the subordination of TAFE alleged by Mackie 
IS likely. At 3ntion is diverted from principle in an effort to 
please the customer. Browne and Macdonald talk of the production 
of a 'marketing policy*. For example, 'transition courses' that 
lack finite work outcomes can nevertheless contribute to a 
cynical amelioration of the unemployment statistics to show that 
the jobless are not unoccupied. This is not the way to produce 
the result McKenzie hopes that TAFE will r eal i se , wh i ch is to 
contribute to the formation of 

[A] conscious and participant workforce (highly 
skilled, motivated, versatile) which can influence the 
nature of its industria) and social environment. 
(McKenzie & Wilkms, 1979, p. 81) 

Instead, where unemployment is a substantial structural reality. 
It IS tape's responsibility to follow the dictum proposed by 
Jones (1982) to the effect that it is better to be educated and 
unemployed than uneducated and unemployed. 

At a national level, TAFE thinking is entirely compatible with a 
position that is less dependent upon sectional interests than is 
the 'reactive to industry' stance. This is clear in the Tertiary 
Education Commission's triennial report for 1982-1984. It remarks 
upon the multiplicity of tasks involved in discharging 
educational responsibilities in respect of a range of groups 


including people in or preparing for work, people displaced from 
work, people seeking to enrich their educational backgrounds and 
those wishing to acquire leisure time interests. 

ihese groupings are worthy of scrutiny as an organisational 
framework (once the primacy of educational principle over 
managerial expediency is established). Whatever scheme of course 
classification is adopted within TAFE there are no watertight 
compartments of educational need so that a person must invariably 
drop tidily into one category to the exclusion of all others. 
Courses designed to cater for laisure interests may attract 
students who can see no other way to gain competencies which 
might enhance otherwise bleak prospects of employment. (A group 
of teachers m Newport College of TAFE in Melbourne has confirmed 
this as a possibility in a study to be completed in 1984.) There 
are important considerations about course funding and other 
aspects of course maintenance which could seriously distort 
educational process m the absence of this realisation. 

There are fears that che situation described immediately above 
represents more an albatross of responsibilities than an 
embarrassment of riches. Internal contradictions which inevitably 
arise when such a diversity of ends is to be served produce a 
tendency towards precisely the iron-bound sectionalisa :xOn that 
IS warned against in the preceding paragraph, m a recent 
conference on the place of 'life-skills* in TAFE, for example, 
the audience was drawn very substantially from the non-vocational 
domains of TAFE teaching. One speaker overtly maintained that 
much of what Sharlow (1982) had subsumed under this umbrella term 
was inappropriate to the teaching of courses of a technical 
nature. Burns* foreword to Sharlow*s monograph argute the 
opposite and maintains that course effectiveness is damaged when 
this IS not conceded. 

IClurriculum research and development strategies 
adupted have been too concerned with observable skills 
directly and obviously related to a particular job and 
have not addressed impor tant areas essential to a 
person being able to cope with the broad range of life 
experiences. {Burns, cited in Sharlow, 1982, p. iii) 

This opposition of views typifies the incipient conflict of 
teaching concerns within TAFE which have produced on the one hand 
a call for the fixing of a TAFE identity which will make a unity 
of a fragmented complex and, on the other, recommendations that 
the dichotomies be recognised as irreconcilable and some 
separations within the system be brought about to honour the 
differences of interest and emphasis involved. 



A further reason is now revealed for making oui. agreement with 
the critique in McKenzie and Wil^ins on the progress of TAFE more 

•Ha 1 f -St ac t s and disruptions' are to be expected m as 
complicated an instifj*- ion as this, especially (but not c.ily) 
when governmental vagaries, economic stringencies and the shock 
of technological change are also experienced. A decade is a short 
time under these conditions. Institutions, like social groups, 
are by nature conserving agencies protective or whatever it is 
they have so far relied upon for their continuance. In an 
important sense they are therefore past-oriented. They build upon 
es*..ablished practice. 

This IS not necessarily bad. It does not mean that TAFE must be 
backward-look inq , blind to impending change of circumstance. It 
means only that there is a danger to avoid, patience to be 
exercised and persistence to be maintained. That much of the 
subseqL:ent literature on TAFE simply reaffirms what is to be 
found in that seminal report of 1974 indicates persistence. But 
what is to be said of the danger of slidino into a state of 
inertia where apathy replaces patience and reaction rules? It is 
easy enough to point to particular developments in one State or 
another or in one college here and another elsewhere. The move xn 
some States to grant credit towards app:: ent icesh ip for certain 
courses taken before the student has been indentured may be cited 
as a contribution to that modification of the appr en*- 1 ce sh ip 
system argued to be necessary in much TAFE thinking since 1974. A 
considerable amount of research activity by TAFE personnel has 
now been recorded; work such as Taylor's (1983) on prediction of 
performance or that of the teacher team at Footscray College on 
TAFE student characteristics are but two e.^amples of a host of 
studies. All this points to constructive action after Kangan. 

A distinction akin to that between the reactive and what has been 
(somewhat mysteriously) termed i.he proactive stance can br Fade 
in respect of research in TAFE. Besides ""-he ongoing examination 
of existing practice in the light of disciplined analysis of data 
which serves che search for processes to activate the Kangan 
concepts, there is work of a fo*- ative nature which consists in 
thf* fashioning and trialling of new practices to meet altered 
conditions. Work such as th^ study which provided a detailed 
analysis of 'the range and types of teaching functions undertaken 
by TAFE teachers in Western Australia (and) job profiles of 
different specialist teachers' (Gate & Ryan, 1980) exemplifies 
the first category. The second is indicated by the curriculum 
project in the Division of Mechanical Technology of the Royal 

13 ' 

Melooacne Institute ot Tecnnology Technical College, in which a 
new coarse will oe taught jointly by staff from several sections 
of tne college, including the Humanities Division. The innovation 
seeks in pact to test the validity of the case for the inclusion 
of life skills in technical courses in tne debate alluded to 
earlier in this paper. The intention is to 'increase the person's 
capacity to select wisely from changing life options in a 
technological age [by] enhancing the student's awareness of the 
social and vocational implications of technological development*. 
(Unpublished course documei:t, 1983). 

Formative developments of this latter kind are crucially 
necessary as a complement and extenp'on to research into what is 
already in place. It is also imporcant that they occur within 
TAFE institutions themselves and be conducted by practising TAFE 
teachers. If all buch thinking and all such proposals are 
generated from a distance by people not involved in the day to 
day affairs of a TAFE college, then the 'ordinary' TAFE teacher 
comes to feel both excluded from, and absolved of responsibility 
for educational initiative. The passivity and dependence thus 
encouraged materially increases the danger of a retreat into 

Of ccurse, isolated and disconnected developments in single 
establisnments arising without reference to any common policy and 
in the light of purely parochial concerns would lead to an 
extreme of fragmentation which would make nonsense of TAFE as a 
national entity. Fortunately tne nexus of concepts arising from 
Kangan has done much to inspire organisational barriers to such a 
distintegration. It would not be too fanciful, for example, to 
say that TAFE as a whole has addressed the issue of access in 
relation to disadvantage across the spectrum of state systems and 
individual colleges, it would be a rare college that has mounted 
no initiative with special reference to the issue of educational 
opportunity for women. The same can be said about the blemish of 
unemployed youth and the under -equ ipped school-leaver. (The last 
named groups may now figure in the debate over the many-sidedness 
of TAFE. While it car be argued that the Federal Government's 
Participation and Equity Programme (PEP) should not obviate the 
need for courses such as EPUY in TAFE, alternatively, it can be 
argued that in future tbe 'transition' stage for all youth should 
be catered for by retaining them ir scnool until Year 12. 
However, a counter case can also be Me, arguing that these 
groups are .est catered for as y . ^ Lrants to an adult 
institution rather than as the old^'? ,,g a community of the 

immature, in an Australian Broadcasti Coainii:iion broadcast of 15 
December 1983, Senator Ryan, the Minister of Education and Youth 



Affairs in the Federal Government, appeared to strike something 
of a compromise in this matter. She suggested that TAFE should 
take on students for pre-apprenticeship courses after the school 
had taken them through appropriate work-readiness programs up to 
Year 12). 

However, much remains to be done in terms of the status and the 
secure incorporation of successful innovations across TAFE as a 
whole. And much remains to be done , accord ing to Ha wke and S wee t , 
before the two kinds of research activity mentioned f reviously 
are operating over a comprehensive range of T^FE programs in a 
way which optimally advances progress in terms of the Kangan 
intentions. Hawke and Sweet point out that the Kangan concept of 
open access is one which has significance for social reform as 
well as for benefit to individuals and that these two purposes 
are not of necessity served when the latter is achieved. 

Many of the innovative programs developed could 
arguably be said to be cosmetic in their effect; for 
example, they are almost exclusively located in Stream 
6 and thus frequently carry limited external 
recognition or accreditation. Completing such courses, 
while it may be of value to the individual, does little 
to change the social inequalities which are often the 
original motivators for the programs. (Hawke & 
Sweet, 1983, p. 14) 

Something like the same conclusion to this was reached by Mellors 
(1983) in his study of students taking 'off-campus* courses from 
a Melbourne TAFE college. It will be remembered that Professor 
Byrne of the University of Queensland in her paper to the 
National TAFE Conference 1982 convincingly demonstrated the 
pressing need for distance education if people living outside 
urban centres were to benefit from TAFE as fully as those living 
within reach of colleges. The point may be extended to include 
those who, although living in large cities, reside in districts 
expensively remote from TAFE institutions in terms both of time 
and money. Mellors examined this proposition as it applied to his 
student census. He found that most students did not live long 
distances from a TAFE college. Secondly his data showed a very 
low student retention rate. Finally his investigation indicated 
that students enrolling for off-campus studies did not appear to 
be people who would not otherwise enrol. Increased access to 
TAFE as defined by Hawke and Sweet was, therefore, not achieved 
to any great extent. This does not show that there is no need to 
widen a*.'cess but only that, in this case at least, 3 process 
designed largely to meet such a need was unsuccessful. 



the coincidence of view between M^jliors, and Hawke and Sweet 
revolves around this existence of need and lack of effective 
response. In both pieces of work the issue is that the particular 
target group aimed foe is still inadequately served. The problem 
seems to occur in a number of contexts. Important among them is 
that of recurrent education. Buxton and Keating (1982) point out 
that this concept has not been easily assimilated into TAFE 
practice. Yet it was given prominence in the Kangan Report as an 
♦integrating principle' (Kanga;., 1974) which should inform a TAFE 
restructuring and extension. Buxton and Keating quote from 
Richardson m the second ACOTAFfi report (1975) which re-afflrms 
the significance of the concept in the thought of those working 
at national level. Recurrent education is staged to provide the 
alternative to the 'end-on' process which is established in our 
educational framework. Buxton and Keating argue, in accord with 
the case presented by Hawke and Sweet, that: the notion of 
recurrent education has tended to become accommodated within the 
area of the 'non-vocationai, non-credit and relatively informal* 
that is adult education which is of undoubted value to 
'predominantly middle class people vith "interests" or (a desire 
tor) enrichment'. They continue as follows: 

[This] has not met the needs of working people for 
retraining, nor has it really reached out to the many 
disadvantaged groups in Australian communities, (p. 7) 

Later m their paper they point out that if this remains the 
condition in T^FE, then the needs of the economy will remain 
unsatisfied. Only by systematic retraining can it adjust rapidly 
to drastically altered industrial processes and to the 
consequences of the increasing market and technological dominance 
of nations which were once themselves dependent upon others for 
manufactured goods and industrial 'know-how*. It is, by now, 
clearly evident that 'one shot* training will not serve the 
individual worker well nor supply industry (inclu^'ing primary 
industry) with an appropriately skilled workforce. If, therefore, 
it was a matter of determining which process task has priority in 
TAFE, the creation of a comprehensive pattern of recurrent 
education must surely lead the field. Were it to be seriously 
accorded that priority in all TAFE institutions, then it would 
certainly assume the reformative role Kangan envisaged for it. 

All of which indicates that a national initiative in recurrent 
edjcation would be a fitting way to mark the first decade of TAFE 
since Kangan. Essential to the enterprise would be a means of 
monitoring, co-ordinating and supporting the innovations which 
would eventuate and for v he provisi . of a forum for the 

discjssion of outcomes. Happily these are already in existence. 
The TAFE National Centre for ReseaLcn and Development has 
steadily developed as a growth point for projects of many kinds. 
Situated in Paynenam, South Austra'ia, it is now funding a range 
of these in numbers of TAPE institutions throughout the country, 
as well as conducting in-house projects itself. 

It sponsors periodic seminars which provide suostantial impetus 
to further developments. It also accommodates the National TAFE 
Clearinghouse which i3 responsible for the dissemination of 
inforn\ation about research and development in TAFE through 
publications such as I nitiatives in Technical and Furt n_e_r 
Educat ion and TAFE Projects in _Pro gress. 

The Centre has limited staffing. Plainly this severely restricts 
the scope of research it can undertake in its own right. There 
seems no question about the value of the Centre as a vehicle for 
the development of coherent policy founded upon widespread and 
competent analysis of needs. The issue is rather as to whether 
Its resource level m terms both of 'in-house' expertise and of 
potPTtial to fund projects beyond itself is large enough to be 
cost effective. 

In a review of TAFE operations, Hermann (1982) compares the 
funding of TAFE with the way in whxch o'-her post-school education 
systems m Australia are funded. This is obviously important. 
However, of equal significance is the differential funding that 
can occur within the TAFE system itself. This is especially true 
where the basis of staff continuation is involved. 

There are delicate decisions to be made in this area. Once more, 
the a IS some danger that managerial expediency might be 
permitted to overshadow edu^^itional principle. There is a second 
possibility that tne same expediency will be straightforwardly 
equated with 'meeting the needs of industry'. But the most 
popular course is not of necessity the one which presages an 
emergent trend in work patterns, nor is the practice of basing a 
system's expenditure solely on prevalence of demand one which 
accords with an approach other than the reactive. TAFE has 
sometimes been cast in the rcle of Cinderella, underpaid and 
overworked, yet the best and fairest of them all. Cinderella 
exercised her own initiatives and so won support from the fairy 
godmother. She did not waste hei" time in protest that she was 
unappreciated. TAFE must do likewise. 




Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC). {1978). 
Scienc e an d_ t.echnolog y_ i n_ A u strali a: A report to the Prime 
Minister {Summary and Recommendations). Canberra: AGPS. 

Browne, P., & Mac dona Id, C. (1981). T oward s a clearer con cept of 
TAFE. Melbourne: TAFE Services, Education Department of 
Victor la. 

Buxton, M. , & Keating, P. (1 982) The concept of recurrent 
education in Australia: Philosophies, policies and 
implications for teaching practice in TAFE. In M. Hewitoon, 
(Ed.), Rec'jrrent Education and the Te achi ng Role . ERDC 
Report No. 34, Canberra: AGPS. 

Cla/don, L. F. lEd.) {1982). TAFE : The rhetor ic and the res^ility; 
A cas e study of a Melbourne college . {Task Force Report No. 
6) Melbourne: La Trobe University. 

Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. {1982). Future 
priorities for T A FE in Australia . Vol. 1. Canberra: AGPS. 

Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. (1981). Report of 
1982-84 _Tr lennium. Vol. 1. Part 4, Canberra: AGPS. 

Gaite, A. J. H., & Ryan, A. S. (1980). T he TAFE project; The 
teaching functions and_ ac tivities o £ tL^. h n i c a 1 college 
teachers in Western Australia . Perth, W.A.I.T. 

Hawke G. A., & Sweet, R.{1983). Sonve issues in access and 
select ion . Adelaide: TAFE National Centre for Research and 
Development . 

Hermann G. D. (1982). A genera l rev iew ofdevelopment^within 
TAFE in Australia. Adelaide: TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development. 

Hasen, T. ( 1974). T alent , _ eqaa _li ty and_ mer i toe t acy . The Hague: 
Martinus Nyhoff, 

Jenkins, c, & Sherman, B* (1979)* The collap se of work . 
London: Eyre Methuen. 

Jonei5, 8. (1982). S lee per s wak_e_l Melbourne: Oxford University 



Kangan, M. (Chair, Australian Committee on Technical and Further 
Education). (1974). TAPE in Australia . Canberra: AGPS. 

McKenzie, D. , & Wilkins, C. (Eds.) (1979). The TAFE papers . 
Melbourne: Macnillan. 

Mellors, J. A. (1983). Off-campus studies m TAFE with a special 
reference to the problems of non-completion of course . 
Melbourne: Footscray College of TAFE. 

Merritt, G. (1982). World out of work . London: Collins. 

Myers, R. H. (Chair, Committee of Inquiry into Technical Change 
in Australia). (1980). fechnolog ical Change in Australia . 
Canberra: AGPS. 

Richardson, E. (Chair, .\usLralian Committee on Technical and 
Further Education). (1975). TAFE in Australia , Second 
report on needs in TeCi,nicai and Further Education. 
Canberra: AGPS. 

Sharlow, S. (1982). TAFE and basic life skills. Melbourne: 
TAFE Board Victoria. 

State Council for Technical Education (SCTE). (1980). Victor ian 
*AFE strategy . Melbourne: TAFE Services, Education 
Department of Victoria. 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. (1983). 
Progress report No. 7 . Adelaide.: TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development. 

Taylor, N. (1983). Prediction of performance in the automotive 
mechanics course . Sydney: NSW Department of TAFE. 





The attrition of students from learning institutions has long 
been acknowledged as a major problem although, tot'ay, there is an 
increased awareness of the costs of attrition, both to students 
and institutions. Most stuoents who withdraw have wasted time 
and money and for them the negative college experience may mean 
discouragement from further learning endeavours. It is 
acknowledged, however, that some students may achieve their 
objective without necessarily completing a set study program and, 
for them, withdrawing is not a negative experience. 

Previous research on attrition brings to focus many of the major 
aspects that relate to the activities of teaching institutions 
and to the characteristics of the students themselves. Some of 
the institutional factors consiaered likely to affect students 
are: admission procedures, the public 'image' of the 
institution, the organisation of timetables, the morale and 
quality of teaching staff, the quality of learning resources, the 
nature of teaching, the level and quality of administrative 
support, and the nature of the curriculum. Research has also 
investigated studen t- based factors such as intellectual ability, 
learning style, career ambitions, examination performance, 
motivatici, study ^abits, coping abilities, personality, age, the 
sex of the student, and even religion. 

However, with a commitment to open access to learning, TAFE 
Authorities in Australia generally do not preselect "tudeucs on 
such factors in order to reduce student attrition. Ir stead, the 
strategies employed by TAFE Authorities to improve student 
retention must encompass institutional related factors, while at 
the same time providing support and learning activities to 
facilitate student progress. Such suggestions are not new; the 
Kangan Report (1975) explicitly emphasisied provision of 
facilities and curricula which enable student learning at all 
levels of technical and further education. The Report states: 

The main purpose of education is the betterment and 
de^''*lopment of individual people and their 
contribution to the good of the community. Technical 
and further education snould be planned accordingly. 


" 20 

Emphasis on the needs of the individual should lead to 
easier access to xearning, to better physical 
conditions tor learning, to suitable student and 
teacher amenities, to welfare facilities, and to the 
highest standards of health and safety in workshops and 
labora tor les . 

Strong emphas is shou Id oe placed on unrestricted access 
to recurrent education. The colleges should extend 
preparatory courses, trans fer cour ses and othe r help to 
enable adults to attempt the level of vocational 
educat'on they desire, including the making good of 
omissions or deficiencies related to primary and 
secondary schooling. There should be unrestricted 
access to assessments of knowledge and skills for the 
purpose of gaining formal qualifications, irrespective 
of where or how the individual prepared himself. Entry 
requirements should be progressively eased. (p. 21) 

It mast be stressed that attrition is not the issue in TAFEj 
retention is. However, in order to improve student retention in 
educational institutions, the reasons for student withdrawal must 
be investigated. A considerable number of st ^les have been 
undertaken over the last decades investigating factors, both 
student and institutional, affecting student withdrawal. 

These research studies on attrition have predominantly been 
conducted in two and four year post-secondary colleges in the 
United States using students enrolled in (or who have withdrawn 
from) full-'time courses. Relatively little substantial research 
on student attrition has been conducted in Britain and Australia, 
p3 vCularly research dealing with part-time students. 

To interpret the results of the research that has been 
undertaken, definitions of the common terms associated with 
attrition "^nd retention should be considered. 


For some researchers, attr i tion , dropping out and s tuden t 
w ithdra w al are regarded as synonymous terms, although Malley 
(1981) suggests there is a variety of factors influencing the 
meanings attached to these words. For example, he believes that 
whether the user is speaking from an institutional, educational 
system, individual, or soci e ty-a t- la rge point of viev^ could 
determine what meaning is intended (p. 21). However, th^ 
heightened interest m attrition and retention has expanded the 



terminology, enaoling researchecs to distinguish different types 
of student withdrawal behaviour. The most frequently ased terT.3 
are : 

attainer - one who withdraws before completing a course of study 
but after attaining a personal goal such as a limited course of 
study, skill acquisition, or employment. 

attrition - that which occurs when a student discontinues a 
program of study without completing it. 

dropout - one who discontinues a program of study and does not 
return for additional study at any time. 

pec sister - one who continues enrolment in a p-ogram of study 
without interruption. 

retention - that which occurs when students complete, continue, 
or resume their studies. 

stopput^ - one who discontinues a program of study for a period of 
time but subsequently returns for additional study. 

Confusion could easily arise from an indiscriminate use of such 
terms and, therefore, Pantages and Creedon (1978) observed that 
it IS extremely important for researchers to reach a consensus xn 
the manner in which the critical groups in attrition research are 
to be defined. The definition of terms affects the study's 
usefulness to other researchers and educators and the validity of 
combining the findings from separate studies depends, in part, on 
how attrition was operationally defined m those studies. Panos 
and Astin (1968) concluded that the results of man* attrition 
studies are not comparable because they in fact deal with 
different phenomena. 


Methodological issues 

It is difficult to generalise the findings from studies of 
attrition and retention. Lenning, Beal and Sauer (1980) noted 
that most of the research provides descriptive studies about 
individual institutions. Critics have noted that l^ost studies 
rely heavily on ex-post-facto methodology, looking at the 
characteristics of students after they have withdrawn in order to 
determine what factors may have caused their withdrawal (Marks, 
1967), Many studies rely on information about only the 


persisters or the wilhdrawers without comparing the 
characteristics of both, and Gekowski and Schwartz (1961) have 
suggested that findin9s from studies without control groups 
should be interpreted with caJtion. 

An additional methodological problem inherent in such studies is 
the unreliability of self-report measure^ used with students who 
have withdrawn from courses. Some students may prefer to conceal 
personal problems and give socially acceptable answers while 
other students may not fully understand their reasons for 
withdrawal. it is most likely that withdrawal will result from a 
combination of factors, rather that from one single factor; since 
research tends to support the hypothesis that many of the 
problems encountered by students who withdraw are also shared by 
students who persist (Hackman & Dysinger, 1970). 

Research studies of student attrition and retention should 
ideally be longitudinal (Jex & Merril, 1962). This enables 
closer monitoring of the overall enrolment pattern of students, 
for example if, after withdrawal, they re-enrol at the same of 
another institution, if withdrawal is diagnosed at the time of 
its occurrence, the reasons a student gives for withdrawal should 
be more reliable than in a delayed ex-post-facto design. 

Styles of studies 
Theoretical aodels 

Previous attrition studies are criticised for their lack of 
theoretical framework. Tinto {1975} and Spady (1971) both 
hypothesised a theory of student attrition based on Durkheim's 
theory of suicide. They considered the student who withdraws to 
be a person less likely to be socially integrated within the 
learning community. Research studies have spec i f ic :i l ly tested 
the hypotheses of Spady and Tinto. Spady included in his 
Durkheimian model such factors as the student's family background 
which he suggested might also be related to student attrition. 
T^nto's model placed more emphasis on the college setting, 
student performance and strength of the student's goal 
comm itmen t . 

3tudy of student factors 

Other research studies on attrition have investigated 
characteristics of students or institutions or the interaction 
between these. The designs used lack theoretical validity and 
are criticised for the ad hoc selection and omission of variables 

er|c " 

for study (Boesen# 1976). The stuaies, however, still provide 
useful information on some of the correlates of student attrition 
and retention. 

Trent and Medsker (1968) studied more than 10,000 students from 
several states in the United States over a period of six years. 
Their findings suggested that college persisters entered college 
with an attituQinal predisposition that enhanced their 
development in college, but this disposition was nc evidenced in 
students who withdrew. The study also indicated that 
irrespective of ability und socio-economic status, persisters (1) 
were more intent on attending and graduating from college; (2) 
were more selective in choosing their institution; (3) saw more 
reasons for attending ^college; (4) studied harder; (5) were less 
prone to allow social life tc interfere with their studies; and 
(6) tended to be more intellectual, self-reliant, and open-minded 
than were the students who withdrew*. These results support 
Tinto's theory that one of the major factors in survival is goal- 

Astm (1975) undertook a study of more than 41,000 undergraduates 
in the United States drawn from 358 two-year and four-year 
colleges and universities considered representative of all higher 
education institutions in the country. Students were 
administered questionnaires m their first and fourth years and 
entrance examination results were also recorded. Some of the 
variables which Astin concluded to be related to student 
attrition are: poor high school academic results, low 
aspiration, poor study habits, relatively uneducated parents, 
age, religion, and small town backgrounds. 

Although TAPE endeavours to provide appropriate educational 
experiences, not many of these factors are within the mandate of 
TAPE to alter, but perhaps overall, the factors focus on low 
motivation and low expectations of both male auo female 
withdrawers who had poorer self -concepts than their persisting 

Some American studies have found that women have different or 
additional factors influencing their decision to withdraw 
compared to men. Terry (1972) and Astin (1975) both found that 
women who were married or planned to marry were more likely to 
withdraw, while Astin showed that married male students were more 
likely to continue- Pantages and Creedon (1978) concluded from a 
review of five studies that personal factors were perceived as 
influencing most female students who withdrew, while curcicular 
factors were perceived as influencing male students. Iffert 



(1975), however, found no significant difference in the overall 
attrition rates of *^omen and men. 

Research investigating the relationship between attrition and 
socio-economic factors has provided equivocal results. One of 
the problems related to conducting research into the influence of 
socio-economic factors on attrition is methodological. Not only 
are socio-economic factors difficult to define, but also most 
research is oased on studies of single institutions which in the 
United States are likely to have student populations relatively 
homogeneous with respect to socio-economic factors. (Eckland, 

A similar methodological problem exists in the research on the 
effect of student motivation and psychological disposition on 
attrition. The problem for studies considering motivation is the 
difficulty of determining which motivational factors are 
predictive of persistence and how to measure accurately these 
motives once they are known. Marks (1967) attempted to Measure 
motivational level in terms of the students' own expectations 
about their chances of withdrawing. His findings indicated that 
these expectations are related to the students' level of 
aspiration, fear of failure, and parental attitudes. Marks also 
found that those students who expect to withdraw actually do 
withdraw in significantly high percentages; there is no 
correlation between the expectation of withdrawing and the 
student's scholastic ability; and those students who withdrew had 
difficulty resolving conflicts concerning their commitment to 
educational values. 

Institutional factors 

Although most research studies on attrition have focused on an 
individual institutional setting, some studies have tried to 
relate retention and attrition to generalised college factors. 

Pace (1962) and Stern (1963) initially assessed college 
environment by means of two questionnaires, the College 
Characteristics Index (CCI) as a measure of environmental press 
and the Activities Index (AI), as a measure of student needs, 
Astin and Holland (1976) have developed a measure called the 
Environment Assessment Technique (EAT). Like Pace and Stern, 
Astin and Holland found that it was difficult to make any 
significant causal inferences from previous college environmental 
studies because no provision was made for interaction between 
student characteristics and the college environment. 




Different types of institutions have different images and 
therefore appeal to different types of students. The more 
congruence there is between the student's values, goals and 
attitudes and those of the college, the more likely it is that 
the student will persist at the college. 

Starr, Betz and Menne (1972) reported that the college student 
seeks to achieve and maintain a congruence with the institutional 
environment. The students, according to Starr, Betz and Menne, 
bring certain skills to the environment that will enable them to 
meet the academic and social requirements (press) of the 
institution. When the students* skills are sufficient to meet 
these requirements, the students and the environment are 
correspondent and they will, in all likelihood, persist at that 

With regard to research on the effects of college size on 
attrition, Feldman and Newcomb (1969) reported that large 
institutions: (1) reduce the students* confidence m themselves 
in nerms of their social acceptability and scholastic ability; 
(2) are less likely to be regarded by the students as friendly 
and cohesive communities; and (3) promote less contact between 
students and teaching staff. All of these factors, they point 
out, contribute to increasing student dissatisfaction with the 
institution and thus make student withdrawal more probable. 
Studies have shown that students who withdrew were more 
dissatisfied than persisters with their relationship with their 
teachers, and experienced a barrier between themselves and their 
teachers that prohibited close contact {Hannah, 1969). Lenning, 
Beal & Sauer (1980) refer to research by Grites (1979) who points 
out that the recruitment and admission processes of colleges are 
crucial factors in determining retention, and that trained 
academic advisors should become integral parts of those 
processes. Grites writes: 

As ad visors find out more about student involvement, 
and course selections, they will, in turn become 
significant adults; as they become appraised of and 
gather certain information about their students, they 
will be better able to provide the kind of assistance 
needed to improve retention. The academic advisor is 
an integral component of admission and retention 
programs, and such a resource should not be left 
unused, since those who are not working for retention 
are, in fact, working against it. {Cited in Lenning, 
Beal & Sauer, 1980, p. 62) 


The role of coun8ellin<: 

Many studies indicate that counselling services can increase 
peiiistence but many students tend not to use such services. 
Kamens (1972), for example, found that Stanford University 
students who used academic counselling support services persisted 
better than those who did not use the?'. He also reported that 
thost; students who used psychiatric counsellinc, services had a 
greater attrition rate than those w*^o received academic 

By Car the majority of. the recommendations to^ improving 
retention have been concerned with enlarging the role and scope 
of counselling services for students following enrolment. 
Several studies have indicated that students who withdrew have 
reported dissatisfaction with the college's counselling 
facilities and suggested that improvement of those services could 
have influenced their aecision to withdraw (Hannah, 1969). One 
method of increasing contact between students and counsellors is 
the requirement of an exit-interview as a procedural step in the 
withdrawal process (e.g., Gekowski & Schwartz, 1961), Although 
Hannah hyphothesised that by the time students have such an 
interview, their plans are firm and therefore difficult to alter, 
some studies suggest that this is not the case. Barger and Hall 
(1964) found that those students who withdraw earlier in the 
college year are more tentative in their decision to withdraw, 
and suggested that a mandatory exit interview could persuade at 
least some of them to remain m college while they worked out 
their problems or indecision with a counsellor. 

Financial factors 

A number of studies have been conducted to determine the effect 
of student enployment and financial aid on attrition. Lenning, 
Beal and Sauer (1980) cite research conducted by Astin who 
reported that part-time employm< • correlates positively with 
persistence — especially when (1) the job is under 25 hours per 
week; (2) the job is on campus; (3) the student starts work in 
the first year of study; and (4) the student receives little or 
no other financial support. Scholarships and grants appear to 
increase persistence slightly. For example, Nelson (1966) found 
that the percentages of students awarded scholarships are 
positively related to retention while reliance on loans generally 
-creases persistence. 


Part-tiae students 

An issue of major concern to TAPE is the withdrawal cate of part- 
time students. As has been noted, however, research on attrition 
has predominantly concentrated on full-time students although 
some of the special factors associated witn attrition of part- 
time students have been identified in research. 

Walieri (1981) reports that research on the part-time student 
suggests that part-time students are less likely to make use of 
counselling and other services; part-time students are the least 
likely to become intimately involved in campus and academic life, 
and for many part-time students, education is low on their list 
of priorities, trailing family, work and other responsibilities 
and obligations. The part-time student is more likely than a 
full-time student to withdraw and the teaching institution has 
limited capabilities for influencinc, the decision. In meeting 
the needs of the part-time student Walieri suggests that it is 
important to distinguish between types of students. ?ol example, 
enrolment in community education and occupational upgrading 
courses will by its nature be selective and discontinuous. The 
part-time student pursuing a long-term objective, such as a 
degree or the skills necessary for a particular career field, is 
a different matter. Factors associated with success in meeting 
such goals are likely to be quite different from those for the 
full-time student. Flexible timetabling and the development of 
alternative modes of delivering education are more likely to be 
effective for the retention of the part-time student than the 
retention factors associated with the persistence of full-time 
students (Ross, 1982). 

Withdrawal process 

Chickcring and Hannah (1969) and Hannah (1969) found that 
withdrawing students first discussed their plans with friends and 
parents, and any discussion with teaching staff or college 
p«^rsonnel occurred much later in the wi»:hdrawal process, usually 
at the point of initiating the official withdrawal process. 

Both studies found that withdrawing students generally felt that 
their discussions with teaching staff or counsellors were 
valuable. However, since these discussions occurred after the 
students had already decided to withdraw, they had little effect 
in persuading the students to re-evaluate their decisions. 

There is general agreement in the attrition literature that most 
attrition occurs during the first year and before the beginning 



oe the second (Eckland, 1964; Summerskill, 1962). Barger and 
Hall ( 1964) suggest that the e nd -of - se me s t er periods are 
characterised by stress and anxiety for the student. They 
further suggest that the actual decision to withdraw is made when 
away from college, usually just aCter those stressful periods 
when feelings of relief are high, and the pressure to re-enrol is 
low. It IS at this time that non-college influences on the 
student are strongest. 

Eckland (1964) over a period of ten years followed the careers of 
students who had withdrawn, and found that 70% of the students 
who withdrew eventually re-enrolled. Studying the relationship 
between withdrawing and re-enrolling he found that the chances of 
returning to college become progressively better the longer the 
student was enrolled in college before withdrawing. 

Research indicates that the final decision to withdraw from 
college is generally the result of much deliberation over a 
period of time and is not, in most cases, an impulsive decision. 
The period of time before the student makes a final decision to 
withdraw is an ideal time to intervene with a counselling program 
to help make the decision that is best for the student. The 
problem colleges face is how to devise programs that enable 
college personnel to get involved in the withdrawal process at an 
earlier stage. 


Research into student attrition in Australian institutions has 
followed the trends of research overseas in investigating the 
characteristics of students as the principal cause of attrition. 
Only recently have research fuodels started to include student 
motivation and learning factors in relation to attrition. 
Gilbert (1973) investigated student wastage in the Electrical 
Engineering Certific.ite Course of the New South Wales Department 
of Technical Education. The study focused on student 'wastage* 
which was considered a broader concept than attrition including 
students who fail as well as students who withdraw. Gilbert 
looked at records of student achievement as well as questionnaire 
and interview information to ascertain the reasons for students* 
♦wastage'. His conceptual model emphasised the need to look 
beyond the retention of students in the college towards their 
productivity in employment. The conceptual model of factors 
influencing educational wastage included studer-t and teacher 
characteristics, facilities, curriculum, assessment and workload, 
and attendance. It did not include underlying learning or 
motivational factors. One of Gilbert's most important findings 


was that acar-emic failure was not necessarily the reason for 
student withdrawal. Tb^ reasons students gave for their 
withdrawal were associated with difficulty of th- course or other 
educational factors, <*mployment reasons, personal and social 
reasons and reasons beyond the student's control (for example, 
transfer or ill health). 

Mitchell (1974) studied student withdrawal from the 1972 and 1973 
intakes of the Building Tecnnicians Course at Marleston College 
of TAFE, South Australia. The study used several approaches to 
studying attrition but in particular it compared characteristics 
of persisters and withdrawers with respect to reasons given for 
withdrawal. Motivation factors were included as well as personal 
factors. Mitchell found that both fc^ersisters and withdrawers 
experienced loss of motivation, personal discouragement, home 
problems, lack of educational experienc^=^ dissatisfaction with 
courses and conf J ict with the course or institution. The factors 
which discriminated between persisters and withdrawers showed 
that withdrawers experienced personal study problems and work 
problems while persisters gained satisfaction from the 
institution and encourageme-t. Overall, Mitchell found that 
withdrawers would have problems spread across a greater range of 
areas than persisters, and persisters appeared t^ have a stronger 
personal framework within which to deal with any problems 
occurring . 

Brougham (1978) investigated attrition in a number of programs at 
Strathmont College of Further Education, South Australia. The 
study concentrated on personal or work problems of students who 
withdrew, one of his findings was that some students withdrew 
for a positive reason: i-.hey had achieved their learning 
objective. He also found that students who haa completed less 
i-han ten years schooling had trouble organising study and that 
course related factors of withdrawal were usually related to 
content or lack of interest. Naylor and Naylor (1982) undertook 
a national study of attrition in selected TAFE technician 
courses. The main sources of information were statistical 
returns from each State. Although these were not complete for 
some States, attrition was found tc "^e generally hign, 33 to 43 
per cent, and highest in a comirerce course. 

Hermann and Hawke (1980) looked at factors related to the 
discontinuance of studen's at technician cou.-se level. Two 
hundred and three full-time and part-time studenc:i enrolled in a 
biology subject completed a questionnaire coveri..^ educational 
background, employment status, age, sex, course and career 
expectations, and commitment. Achievement tests in chemistry and 


23 3 0 

mathematics and a test of mental ability f ^J^^^t^aT'o; 

?ollow-up questionnaires looked at reasons tor withdrawal or 


Their results showed that the amount of prerequisite knowledge of 
students .„ the course area was one of the factors most related 
to student persistence or withdrawal. Withdrawing ^^"^-^^ ^^^^ 
course-related reasons more frequently than did petsistets as their studies. The variables of motivation and 

oLltment as measured by tne ^--^--^'-^f„^^;3°^ ^w 
discriminate between and « "7/,;;^; 
relevant employment especially for part-time students was related 
to persistence. 

Hermann and Hawke concluded that ^-"^J//^^,^^^^:;;;', 
s.udent Withdrawal Change as t a a - 

:rri reren;";: : a mI:h:d:io;ical flaw of research studies 
to d te eve„' longitudinal ones, has been the consideration of 
possible attrition-related variables simultaneously in 
lialyses whereas Hermann and Hawk, propose a path analysis model 
as more suited to attrition research. 

Jacobs (1981) investigated attrition from a number of courses at 
Hobart Technical College. The courses: Business Studies 
industrial Electronics, Horticulture and Higher .chool 
Certificate, were identified as having high attrition rates. 

A random Sample of 50 students who had not attended in the six 
weeks prior' to the date of the survey — , ^^^^^^^^^ 
interviewed about their reasons for enrolment, satisfaction with 
their courses, and reasons for withdrawal. Jacobs noted that he 
decision-making process leading to «^^^<^"-^ //^^ "/^^/^ fZ To 
one the reasons given were usually simple. Jacobs was able to 
Tak'e specific recommendations about college P-^rams and 
provisions which could improve student retention in those 
courses . 

Macdonald (1984) investigated students' '^''^^^^^'l^'^^^^^^^^^^ 
courses, with particular reference to selected 

courses, drawing upon American =°^^-^-''"«<^/":\^f^,\",V,f/„ 
studies She noted the gradual change in emphasis in attrition 

ea^c^ from a student-oriented approach to 
perspective that encompassed institutional variables as well as 
St dent variables. Allied to this was a growing tendency to s e 
attrition in a more positive light, when, for nstance it was 
the result of a student attaining a personal goal wit -out feeling 
the need to graduate. 

o 31 2* 


The i^illiams Raport (1979), recommended improved selec*:ion 
techniques and greater opportunities for students to become more 
effective learners as ways of improving retention in 
universities. Similar issues were raised fcr colleges of 
advanced education. The recommendations for TAFE, however, 
focused on maintaining teachers* instructional skills and 
professional knowledge, flexibility of access, and curricula for 
TAFE students. 


Research on attrition in TAPE, and in particular with part-time 
students, does not reveal evidence greatly different from the 
main body of attrition research. The additional pressures of 
work combined with study, the relative youth and educational 
experience of many TAFE students and the unsuitability of some 
TAFE programs for more mature and highly educated groups are all 
factors which relate more closely to attrition in TAFE than in 
other educational institutions. Students already in employment 
undertaking additional studies not necessarily leading to 
promotion or job improvement have less commitment to further 
education than full-time post-secondary students. 

Many studies have failed to include motivational and learning 
vai'iables in examining attrition. The main conclusion to be 
drawn from research into attrition is that withdrawal is seldom 
the result of a single factor but is consistently shown to be due 
to a combination of factors- As such, attempts to isolate single 
causal factors or groups of factors are not often useful for the 
practical concerns of individual colleges. 

Future research 

^uture attrition research could concentrate on three general 

Longitudinal studies. Such studies should extend at least 
for the duration of one program, and preferably for more 
than one intake. The research should prespecify a causal 
model, based on prior research, and include some components 
of instructional processes, curriculum (e,g, relevance to 
work), college and student characteristics and competence in 
prerequisite knowledge, motivation and commitment including 
the goal of the student on enrolling in the course. The 
time of withdrawal then becomes a variable or design factor 
of the study. 


. Intervention atudi.^s. For research purposes the use of a 
control group contrasted with ar. experimental group 
undergoing intervention activities is the ideal, although 
ethically, TAPE institutions might not want co deny students 
the benefit of an activity designed to enhance and extend 
their college experience. However, it may be possible for 
retention rates to be compared with retention rates in 
previous years to determine if a significant improvement has 

, Rtbnogcaphic research studies. Early research has depended 
to a large extent on the prevailing methodology of large* 
scale quantitative data collection and analysis. More 
recent studies have adopted ethnographic research methods, 
looking at factors a? acting the decision-making process of 
small groups or indi\ iuals. This style of research is more 
suitable for the singi^ institutional setting such as a TAPE 

Intervention strategies 

If it is accepted that the emphasis m TAPE is on retention, not 
attrition, individual colleges need to implement intervention 
strategies designed to assist students to remaxn at college. 

The recommendations contained in the attrition literature are 
wide-ranging but in general include the following: 

Admissions officers should interview applicants and analyse 
their records for the purpose of determining their potential 
for persistence, 

, Measures designed to reduce attrition should focus primarily 
(although not exclusively) on first year students, since 
these are the students most likely to withdraw, 

. Comprehensive orientation programs for new students are 
needed , 

, College counselling services need to be better publicised, 

, Group and individual counselling on study habits is 

College researchers and administrators should make far 
greater use of existing college environment assessment 
devices, for example to identify those aspects of the 
environment that create stjdent dissatisfaction. 


* ways to maximise teacher ^student interaction should be 
devised (especially during a student's first year of study). 

. For students who withdraw from the college, an exit- 
interview and follow-up questionnaire would be desirable. 
Such interviews should provide data on which the college can 
base future policies designed to reduce attrition. 


Attrition of students has been acknowledged as a problem for most 
learning institutions for a considerable time. Many of these 
institutions are in a position to select students on criteria 
such as academic performance and motivation in order to reduce 
attrition. However, several major reports have emphasised that 
TAFE in Australia is increasingly expected to do the opposite: 
TAFE is called upon mor^ and more to adapt its programs to any 
person wanting to undertake vocational training or further 

While attrition could become a problem for TAFE under these 
circumstances, public accountability demands that this should not 
be allowed to occur. Therefore TAFE must identify and implement 
strategies which are designed to improve student retention. 

Previous research on attrition has been shown to investigate 
institutional factors from environment to processes, and student 
characteristics such as educational background, intellectual 
ability, age, sex, and more difficult to define and measure 
constructs such as motiva^i.on and commitment. There has been 
little attrition research on teachers* characteristics, teaching 
styles or students* learning styles. it has been suggested that 
different students might have better 'survival' rates in 
different institutions and that a match of students and 
institutions could improve student retention. 

Research into the process of withdrawal for students tends to 
show that most students do not avail themselves of available 
counselling until too late, if at all. Research and affirmative 
action programs (e.g. Landis, 1982) have also shown that planned 
counselling and support activities do improve student retention. 
In this review, a number of strategies has been identified which, 
if implemented, in part or in whole, should improve student 
retention in TAFE in Australia. TAFE. in particular, has a need 
to examine the match between student ability, academic background 
dnd program content. The Kangan Report (1975) and the Williams 
Report (1979) have both stressed the focus of TAFE in Australia 



on open access, flexibility ot instruction, alternative non- 
institutional settings and oridging and remedial programs. The 
very special needs and problems of part-time students, a 
predominant group in TAFE, must also be met. 

All activities to reduce student attrition place greater demands 
on all TAFE personnel to take an active role in retaining 
students but the onus is on individual teachers and college 
principals alike to implement appropriate retention strategies at 
the college level. 



Astin, A. W. (1975). PrevenHna students fr om dropping r,„h gan 
Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Astin. A. W., i Holland, J. l. (1976). The environmental 
assessment technique: A way to measure college environments. 
Jou rnal ot Educational Psychology , 52, 308-316 

Barger, B. a Hall, E. (1 96 4 ). Personality patterns and 
achievement in college. Educational and Psvcholoa . r l 
Measurement . 2^, 3^9-346. 

Boesen, M. T. (1976). Personal chara cteristic, of technician 
course students in Sew South Wal^^ n.p.,K , . ..v.^^ rhrrij. 
Macquarie University. 

Brougham. A. J. (1978). Student attrition-an investigation into 
reasons why students withdr aw from further education 
Pirie: Port Pirie Community College ot 
Further Education. 

Chickering, A. W., & Hannah, w. (1969). The process ot 
withdrawal. Liberal Education . 55, 551-558. 

Eckland, B. K. (1964). College dropouts who came b.'ck. Harvard 
Educational Review 34, 402-420. 

Eckland, B. K. (1965). Social class and college graduation: some 
li!\7-50^'°''^ corrected. American Journal o f Sociology. 

Feidman, K., s Newcomb, T. (1969). The impact of coUeae on 
students. San Frjncisco: Jossey-Bass. ' — 

Gekowski, N., s Schwartz, s. (1961). Student morality and related 
factors. J ournal of Educational Researcj^ . 54, 192-194. 

Gilbert, R. V. (1973). S t . udent v - astage in the ElP^tri... 
Engineering Cer t i f ic;. t e cour^I ^ A m u 1 1 i -concep tua 1 
analysis, unpublished doctoral thesis, Macquarie University, 
School of Education. 

ERIC 29 


Urites, T. J. (1979). Academic advising! Getting us thro ugh the 
eighties . Washington, D. C: American Association ot Higher 

Hackman, J. R., & Dysinger, W. S. (1970). Commitmenb to college 
as a factor in student attrition . Sociology of Education, 

Hannah, W.(1969). Withdrawal from college. Journal of College 
Student Personnel , 10 , 397-402. 

Hermann, G. D. & Hawke, G. A. ( 1 980 ) . Discontinuance from 
Biological Science Technician Courses . Vocational Aspect of 
Education, 32, 19-26. 

Iffert, R. E. (1975). The student retention and withdrawal study. 
College and University , 10, 406-411. 

Jacobs, V. (1981). Student attrition at Hobart Technica l 
Colleg_e . Hobart: Tasmanian Education Department 1981. 

Jex, F. B., & Merril, R. M. (1 962). A study in persistence. 
Personnel and Guidance Journal , 40 , 762-769. 

Kamens, D. (1972). Effects of college on student drop-outs: 
Final report . Boston: North-eastern University, Center for 
Applied Social Research. 

Kangan, M. (Chair, Australian Committee on Technical and Further 
Education). (1975). TAFE in Australia . Canberra: AGPS. 

Landis, R. B. (19B2). Retaining minority engineering students: A 
model program. Engineering Education , 714-718. 

Lenning, 0. T. , Beal, P. E. & Sauer, K. (1 980 ). Re tention and 
attrition: Evidence for action and r esearch. Boulder, 
Colorado: National Centre for Higher Education Management 

Macdonald, C. (1984). Student att rition in TAFE certificate 
courses. Occasional Paper No.2. Adelaide: TAFE National 
Centre for Research and Development. 

Mallev, J. I. (1981). Student progress - enigma or paradox?. 


exploration of some dimensions of stude nt progress through 
tertiary education . Royal Melbourne Institute of 
Technology, Education Unit. Unpublished paper. 




Marks, E. (1967). Student perceptions of college persistence, 
and their intellectual, personality and performance 
correlates. Journal of Educational Psychology , 58 , 210-221. 

Mitchell, J. C. (1974). Student withdrawal; A studjy of student 
dissatisfaction and withdrawal in a further education 
cour se . Arraidale, New South Wales: University of New 
England, Department of Education. 

Naylor, G. J., & Naylor, M. M. (1982). Student attrition rates in 
TAFE. Sydney; New South Wales Department of TAFE. 

Nelson, A. G. (1<>66). College characteristics associated with 
freshman attrition. Personnel and Guidance Journal , 44 , 

Pace, C. R. (1962) . Methods of describing college cultures. 
Teachers College Record , 63 , 267-277. 

Panos, R. J., & Astm, A. W. (1968). Attrition among college 
students. American Educational Research Journal , 5^, 57-72. 

Pantages, T, j. & Creedon, C. F. (1978) . Studies of college 
attrition; 1950-1975. Review of Educational Research , 48, 

Ross, B. (1982). Part-time studies; A new approach. HERDSA 
N e w 0 , 4, 3-4. 

Spady, W. G. (1971). Dropouts from higher education; Toward an 
empir icai model. Interchang_e , 2, 38-62. 

Starr, A., Betz, E. , & Menne, J. (1972), Differences in college 
student satisfaction; Academic dropouts, non-academic 
dropouts, and non -d r o pou t s . Journal of Counselling 
Psychology , 19, 318-322. 

Stern, G. G. (1963). Characteristics of the intellectual climate 
in college environments. Harvard Educational Review, 33, 

Summerskill, J. (X962). Dropout from college. In N. Stanford 
(Ed.), The American college; A psychological and social 
interpretation of the higher learning . New York; Wiley. 

Terry, j. Y. (1972). The aims and needs of college vocatlonaj. 
dropouts; A research report. Ruston, La.: Louisiana 
Technological Univers ity. 





Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical 
synthesis ot recent research. Review of Educational 
Research ^ 89-125. 

Trent, J. W., & Medsker, L. L. (1968). Beyond high school. San 
Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1968. 

Walleri, D. R. (1981). S tudent retention in the community 
college; A review and research design . Oregon: Oregon 
Community College. 

Williams, B. R. (Chair, Committee of Inquiry into Education and 
Training). (1979). Education, Training and Employment . 
Canberra: AGPS. 




The literature cn external studies in TAFE is remarkably sparse, 
a fact commented upon by Jacobs (1983), and the reasons for this 
sparsity are not difficult to explain. Until the mid-1970s the 
literature on external studies (distance education \r;rrespc /ei»ce 
education) itself was not abundant and it is only since the 
establishment of the Open University, which gave external studies 
a new found respectability in the field of tertiary education, 
that writers have turned their attention to the documentation of 
the issues involved. However, educators in the TAFE sector have 
never felt themselves impelled to express their views in print, 
particularly as few of them have had the opportunity to engage in 
research as part of their educational activities. In 
consequence, though considerable educational development has 
taken place in TAFE since the latter part of the 19603, very 
little of it has been documented, and still less has been 

An additional problem, in the case of external studies, is that 
each State in Australia has a single institution serving TAFE 
external students, and those institutions have not only been 
isolated from one another by interstate variations in the 
educational environments in which they operated, but to some 
extent they have been isolated even within their own educational 
system by those who held the view that external studies was, at 
best, a second rate alternative to class attendance, and at 
worst, an inconvenience which had to be suffered until some means 
of eliminating it could be found. 

Faced with this unsympathetic and often uninterested attitude 
TAFE external studies institutions tended to become introverted 
and to direct their energies towards the solving of educational 
problems, as they perceived them. In addition, there was little 
opportunity to test, scientifically, the validity of the 
procedures they developed, because although the number of 
students served by each institution was large, the number of 
students enrolled in any particular subject was oCten 
insufficient for testing to be statistically reliable. 

Er|c " 40 

Nevertheless, it needs to be remembered that substantial nambers 
of students— more than 100,000 in the perio' 1939-1945 according 
to Grimwade et al. (1979)— were served by this system, and one 
must presume that the success rate -vas reasonably high, £oc it to 
have survived. 

Although there are significant differences between the TAPE 
external studies institutions in each State, there are 
Characteristics of TAFE, as a whole, which are common to the 
operation of this sector of education throughout Australia, and 
these basic characteristics play an important part in determining 
key features in TAFE's external studies operations. 


Technical and Further Education in Australia provides educational 
opportunities for people seeking technician or para-professional 
training and also for those who wish to further their general 
education. It also provides trade training for apprentices and 
post-trade training for skilled workers. Each year it caters for 
more than 1,000,000 students, of whom approximately 65,000 are 
enrolled for external studies. However, even though the total 
enrolment in the TAFE external studies institutions is large, the 
number of subjects on offer is also large (approximately 1800) 
and this means that the number of enrolments in many subjects is 
quite small, and jn some cases very small indeed. Western 
Australia, for instance, has some 200 subjects with external 
enrolments of five students, or less, per year. 

It might be arg-ied that such small numbers are not viable, in 
terms of the cost of developing course materials. However, 
because of the particular training neeus of industry there are 
many courses which, though they attract relatively small numbers 
of stu'- "3, are still considered to be essential in terms of the 
econo.i ^onsequencecs of a failure to provide trained personnel 
in F -icular fields. Many of these courses may have enrolments 
sufficient to ensure viable class numbers in the early stages, 
but because of the processes of attrition it may not be possible 
to assemble sufficient numbers of students to run classes in the 
latter stage subjects. The sturients involved, who would 
otherwise be unable to complete their qualifications, are 
traditionally catered for through TAPE external studies. 

It may well be that, in future, through the efforts of core 
curricula committees, substantial changes will occur in the 
number of offerings by TAFE, and this may alter the operational 
framework for TAFE external studies, but until such changes do 


take place TAFE external studies will continue to respond to a 
particular set ot circumstances which has largely shaped its 
development since 1944. when the Australian States agreed to 
establish, and operate, external studies on a large scale. It is 
towards an examination of the effects of this shaping process 
that the remainder uf this review will be directed. 


The literature on external studies, m general, addresses itself 
to eight broad areas of involvement: 

curr iculum 

tutor ing 
admin istration. 

As has been pointed out, the bulk ot the literature deali-g with 

L^^'rr'/'"''"' °' '''''' ^^""^ "^3in, and largely 

devoid oe contributions by TAFE personnel, rhis does not mean, 
however, that the issues themselves have only recently been 
addressed or that those involved in TAFE external studies have 
been unaware ot them, indeed, much of what has appeared in the 

'l^h? """^^^^ considerable debate 

-ithin TAFE external studies since the late 19603, when the first 
waves of change occurred in both the design and production of 

''''' '''''' there 
emerged in TAFE, as elsewhere, the divergence of views between 
the curriculum theorists and the educational technologists. 


In the late 1960s curriculum became a major issue with 
educationalists in general. There was concern about the degree 
t, which curriculum development was being centralised, and the 
degree to which curricula were failing to meet the needs of 

differing school populations. School-based curriculum projects 
were initiated, and these were intended to cater for the needs of 
specific populations and to overcome the problems of 
dissemination and implementation which tended to bedevil 
curricula developed through centralised curriculum research and 
development projects. 

in addition to the changes in the mechods of curriculum 
development, the term 'curriculum' itself came to have a much 
wider meaning and began to encompass an increasing number of 
educational activities. Among these was the development of 
learning resource material, and this tended to create an overlap 
between the activities of the curriculum theorists and those of 
the educational technologists. 

At this time, the educational technologists were sciU trying to 
recover from the disastrous experiences of the early 1960s when, 
as a result of over-enthusiasm, both educational and commercial, 
vast quantities of hardware were placed in schools. Much of this 
hardware, lacking suitable software to support it, and often 
quite unsuited to the needs of the existing educational system, 
ended up gathering dust in spare-rooms and cupboards. This 
initial period, referred to by Davies (1978) as educational 
technology 1 (the hardware approach) was abou , to be replaced by 
educational technology 2 (the software approach). Unfortunately, 
educational technology 2, with its systems appro<.ch, proved to be 
rather more suited to the perceptions of management than to the 
perceptions of teachers, who were still convinced that the 
teacher in the classroom was the hnb of the univer-a and who, 
therefore, showed little enthusiasm for becoming managers of 
educational systems. Nevertheless, distance educators, sensing 
that there were changes in the wind, sought to incorporate in 
their own field, the elements of the new curriculum theories, 
v,hile at the same time following the technologists down the road 
of large scale software production which the systems approach liad 
initiated. Also at this time they began to extcl the virtues of 
what they were doing, and much of the literature of the early 
1970s is clearly oriented towards convincing the reader of the 
legitimacy, and the particular advantages, of distance education. 
In the case of TAPE, although there is little evidence of 
published material, in the broadest sense, there was a 
considerable quantity of written material generated in the form 
of submissions to various bodies (the Australian Committee on 
Technical and Further Education in particular) seeking to justify 
increased funding for distance education. 



At about this time, also, the TAFE external studies institutions 
in some States beg in to modify their traditional approach to 
learning materials design. since the 1940s, most external 
studies institutions had favoured an integrated model featuring a 
number of modules, each comprising an exposition on a specific 
topic and the details of the assignments to be submitted foe 
evaluation. However, the changes that took place in the early 
1970s were not uniform, and appear to have been the result, in 
part, of varying philosophical views: there were some who held 
to a traditional view; some who sought to emulate the Open 
University model; some who favoured the curriculum theorists and 
some who wer« oriented towards the educational technologists. It 
is not appropriate to argue, here, the various merits of 
particular philosophical views, but rather to point out the main 
differentiating textures of each so as to give some indication of 
how these may have influenced the changes in the design, 
presentation, production and delivery of external studies 
material, and the tutoring of external students, particularly in 
TAFE* ^ 


The traditionalists hold the view that the style of presentation 
developed prior to the 1970s has proved itself effective and 
there is little evidence to support the view that the changes 
introduced in recent years have warranted the cost of converting 
the existing course materials, particularly where the investment 
in this material is substantial. Furthermore, the 
traditionalists argue that the success of external tuition lies 
mainly m the tutoring and for this reason they concentrate on 
the operational aspects of external studies: improving 
assignment handling; monitoring the quality of marking; 
encouraging the provision of supplementary mater '^1 by tutors. 


The Open University theorists point to the well documented 
success of the Open University and try to develop a more direct 
contact with the student through taped material, (both audio and 
video), regional centres, broadcasts, and use of the telephone. 


The curriculum theorists seek to improve the design of the 
learning materials package; to make it more student interactive? 
increase its motivating capability by mproving the presentation 
and enhancing the graphical quality of the written material which 


is sent to the student. Their aim is to compensate the student 
for the absence of a teacher. 


The educational technologists favour a systematic approach in 
which the student is given access to as many as possible of the 
available resources, both human and non-human. They favour 
reducing the necessity for all students within the educational 
system to have face-to-face contact with a teacher and do not 
believe that external st'idents, as such, ace especially 
disadvantaqed. They believe that there are significant numbers 
of isolated students in classes and that these are in as much 
need of access to independent learning programs as are students 
who study off-campus. 


While it would be very convenient simply to employ labelling 
techniques in an attempt to explain the observed variations in 
TAFE external studies throughout Australia, it needs to be 
recognised that there are factors in addition to differences in 
educational philosophy which need tc be taken into account. 
There are, for instance the substantial differences in size of 
operation between, say. Hew South Wales and Tasmania. There are 
differences between States like South Australia, which operate 
their own printing cells, and New South Wales which relies on the 
Government Printer. Under the circumstances one could argue that 
any observed differences are the result of a set of 
circumstances peculiar to each State and therefore unlikely to 
have any significance outside its particular area of operation. 
However, since 1^74 when the first meeting of Heads of TAFE 
External Studies Institutions was held in Melbourne, there has 
been a clear intention on the part of TAPE external studies to 
share resources. The Grimwade Report (1979) gave an indication 
of how this might be accomplished, and the meeting of Heads of 
TAFE External Studies Institutions, in 1983, set in motion a 
formal exchange of materials for the express purpose of 
evaluating the potential for large scale exchanges of learning 
programs. It seems reasonable to assume, however, that such 
exchanges of resources will not be confined purely to learning 
programs but will extend eventually to the results of research 
projects, particularly where such projects are aimed at 
establishing the cost-effectiveness of some of the differing 
procedures which are evident in the various States* approach to 
external studies. There is good reason to believe that funding 
levels for education will, in general, not increase substantially 

ERIC 45 

within this decade and it will be to those operations which 
clearly demonstrate their cost-effectiveness that any 
proportional increases in funding will go. 


External studies has long been accused of being excessively 
costly. It can be demonstrated that this is not necessarily so, 
but it also needs to be demonstrated that the tecnniques and 
strategies employed in low cost programs are educationally sound. 
Alternatively, it needs to be demonstrated tnat the effectiveness 
of some high cost programs is substantially higher than that of 
any of the other available options. There is a need to 
demonstrate that cost-effectiveness studies in education are a 
viable proposition, despite the vaguely emotive protests of 
traditional educationalists who claim that comparative 
measurements of educational effectiveness are not possible, yet 
claim that face-to-face learning is 'better* than distance 
learning . 

One of the most pressing needs is for each of the States to 
publish a comprehensive statement of its philosophical position, 
resources, operating procedures and existing research data* 

Secondly, there is a need to determine the extent to which the 
views of the various theorists are valid in a TAFE context, 
because whether or not it is agreed that their ideas have been 
significant in shaping TAFE external studies as we know it today, 
they will certainly try to shape it in the future, and unless 
TAFE is content to be constantly fighting political pressure 
seeking to involve it in inappropriate strategies, it will need 
to base its arguments on objective criteria, not subjective 


TAFE IS a significant force in the field of external studies. It 
has a long history of successful operation and, in general, it is 
better equipped and staffed than external studies in the other 
sectors of education. It would be unfortunate if it lost the 
ability to shape the future development of external studies in 
Australi?^ because of insularity and a lack of credibility in its 
statements about its own activities. It would be even more 
unfortunate if its undoubted ability to enhance the quality of 
education available to all Australians were to be hampered by it3 
inability to attract the sort of funding needed to develop, 
fully, some of the highly cost-effective strategies that it has 


39 46 

already pioneered. TAPE in the early 1970s was highly efeective 
m pressing its case Cor special funding consideracion. TAPS 
external studies in the 19d0s should be equally determined to 
bring to public notice the benefits that it offers. However, it 
needs to resist the temptation to respond to the new technologies 
of the 1980s in a generalised way. There is no doubt, for 
instance, that computer -ass i s ted instruction (CAI), computer- 
managed instruction (CMI) and computer-assisted learning (CAL) , 
are educational realities, but without a clear perception of what 
TAPE is trying to achieve, and a clear understanding of the 
conditions under which it is operating, there is little prospect 
of such high technology being employed effectively. Similarly, 
non-specific claims that particular types of communication 
technology have a place in TAPE external studies are of limited 
value in the absence of some indication as to the type of 
operational systems which will be required, and the total costs 
involved. There is a need for TAPE personnel to stop discussing 
external studies issues in vague generalities ana to get down to 
specific proposals, backed by well researched feasibility 
studies. There i» a need for both formative and summative 
evaluation of learning programs, and a need to publish the 
results of those evaluations more widely than within the 
particular institutions from which they emanate. 




Davies, I. K. (1978). Prologue: 
Hartley & I. K. Davies 
educational technology , vol. 

Educational technology. In J. 
(Eds.), Contributions to an 
2. London: Kogan Page. 

Grimwade, A. E., Evans, D. E. & Davey, P* R. (X979) . The 
capacity for sharing resources in TAFE external studies. 
Interim report to the Australian and South Pacific External 
Studies Association Forum, 1979. Melbourne: RMIT School of 
External Studies. 

Jacobs, S. (1983). Distance education in the TAFE sector of 
Western Australia. Australian and South Pacific External 
Studies Newsletter , 3, 23-36. 


« 48 



Toward the end of the 1960s in the USA, the curtain went up on 
the educational stage to reveal a new movement — competency-based 
education (CBE), 

This model of education evolved from a complex set of 
Circumstances and trends. In the educational scene, several 
trends coalesced around this time, including increasing 
dissatisfaction with current education models, questioning of the 
relevance of post-secondary education, moves a^ay from group 
instruction to individualisation and personalisation of learning, 
and a growing acceptance and application of approaches emanating 
from the behavioural psychology school. At the same time, a 
levelling off in the school population which provided educators 
with a breathing-space to focus on their programs and f.^ducts, 
the puDlic demand for greater accountability, and the 
introduction of new concepts of management (e.g. systems theory) 
and new techniques and resources from business and industry, 
created a climate of educational experimentation. 

In Australia, the comparatively rapid expansion through the 
latter half of the 1960s and the 1970s of first the Advanced 
Education (CAE) and then the Technical and Further Education 
(TAFE) sectors of tertiary education has been followed by 
selective encouragement of particular components of the 
educational system. Factors leading to more stringent conditions 
have included declining student numbers in schools, an over- 
supply of teachers, public demands for more returns from 
education, political calls for educational accountability and a 
lesser priority status for particular educational components such 
as higher education m relation to other pressing social needs. 

Such demographic, social and political factors impinging upon the 
economic context of education have shifted the emphasis away from 
educational concerns relating to quantity toward those relating 
more to 'lualit^— quality of staff, quality of instruction, 
quality of graduate. That this concern for quality has indeed 
become a priority of the national Tertiary Education Commission 
(TEC) is reflected in such moves as the provision of research 




funds for evaluative studies to raise the calibre of tertiary 
education in general (Tertiary Education Commission, 1978), the 
reports on TAPE teacher education and the subsequent granting of 
monies for initiatives in this area (Technical and Further 
Education Council [TAFEC], 1978 and 1979a), the National Inquiry 
into Teacher Education and its concomitant State inquiries whose 
overall focus was the quality of teacher education (Auchmuty, 
1980), and the publication of documents like TAFEC's TAFE 
and_ Training for Skills which was prepared as 'a contribution to 
the growing debate about how Australia might best train the 
skilled people it will require in future years* (1979b). 
Moreover, the Australian Government's response to the report of 
The Committee of Inquiry into Education and Training (Williams, 
1979), announced in November 1979, included several policy 
objectives relating directly to quality: the qualitative 
improvement of the TAFE sector, strengthening che teaching of 
basic skills, improving skills training arrangements, and 
facilitating the transition of youth from school to work. 

The increasing demand for accountability, concern for quality in 
education and attention paid to skill training and youth 
employabi lity has provided impetu': and interest m Australia for 
a variety of applications of the competency-based (QBE) approach 
in post-school education (Harris, 1982b), 

However, CBE has the properties of a chemical wh*ch, through its 
very catalytic nature, is able to produce reactions that either 
generate new processes and products or inhibit further 
experimentation. CBE, m short, has the propensity to polarise. 
On the one hand, many of its advocates have viewed the approach 
as the panacea for education's ills, seeing in it foolproof 
solutions to the many varied problems that have beset education 
for decades. On the other hand, many antagonists in a 
Thermidorian reaction have denounced the appcoach as overly 
product-oriented, narrowly mechanistic and too fragmenting of the 
teaching art. The battlelines on both sides of the CBE 
fence — frequently labelled as the camps of humanism and 
behaviourism — have tended to become so fixed in their positions, 
rigidly poised on the defensive at the extreme ends of the 
educational continuum, that their stance allows them to win 
battles Only over straw men. Neither camp, however, succeeds in 
winning the war 


The stalemate that so often results from such debate derives in 
large measure from confusion over definition. Discussion on the 
efficacy of such an educational strategy frequently generates 



more heat than light, as CBE has meant different things to 
different people. 

It would seem that the most basic problem facing educators and 
evaluators involved in either implementing or evaluating 
competency-based programs is what exactly is meant by competence. 
Two papers which deal exclusively with defining the concept of 
competence are by Bloc. (1978) and Butler (1978). Block, a well 
known advocate of the competency-based model, bases his paper on 
the theoretical works of earlier authors to develop a 
psychosocial concept of competence. He adopts the idea that 
human beings are not passive in dealings with their environment; 
and t-he capacity to deal effectively with the environment is 
measur**d by level of competence. With a sufficient level, not 
only are they able to deal with the environment but they are also 
able to manipulate it, leading to feelings of self-worth. He 
also specifies three environments which must be dealt with: 
socially ascribed, self-selected and self-ascribed environments. 
A repertoire of psychomotor, cognitive and affective competencies 
IS required to cope with the demands of each of these 
envi ronments . 

Butler (1978) attempts to provide an operational definition of 
competence by describing in some detail the principles 
underlying, and processes involved in such a definition. He 
states that the educational function will determine whether the 
description of a competence is general, i.e. as in a highly 
general isable process skill, or specific, i.e. skills which are 
content and context specific. Each level, from generic 
competencies to behavioural objectives, is explained in detail 
with special emphasis given to enabling competencies, which are 
steps that students must be able to demonstrate to proceed 
through their course. 

The concept of learning through the acquisition of competencies 
IS not course or level specific. Competency-based programs can 
be tailored to suit any year level, from junior primary to 
tertiary, and any course i.ype from mathematics to medicine. The 
steps involved in implementation and the many factors which need 
to be taken into account are the same for all courses, regardless 
of level or type. Unfortunately, educators wishing to adopt a 
competency-based approach have had little assistance from the 
literature, especially in Australia. Indeed, in reviews of 
alternative instructional models, competency-based education has 
often been dealt with rather shortly as some other approach with 
one or two things added. 


Those authors who have dealt with CBE merely as something with 
something else added, were not incorrect, but rather lacking in 
their efforts to define it. Competency-based education may most 
appropriately be described as a synthesis of two other well known 
alternative educational systems; Mastery Learning and Keller's 
Personalised System of Instruction, 

The names Carroll, Bloom and Block will be familiar to anyone who 
has read (even luinimally) the literature pertaining to mastery 
learning, Carroll (1963) began the mastery learning movement in 
1963 with the release of his Model of School Learning, which 
questioned the belief that there were fast learners and slow 
learners, good and poor, and never the twain shall meet. 
Carroll's theory can be expressed neatly in the equation: 

degree of school learning ' 


perseverance > opportunity to learn \ 
Ltude + quality of + ability to understand) 
\^ instruction instruction / 

For Carroll, aptitude was not static but rather related to the 
time a student required to learn and the quality of instruction 
received. Under a traditional, time-based system, with all 
students receiving the same instruction (in terms of amount and 
quality of instruction and learning time), achievement measured 
at the end of the subject will be normally distributed; the 
correlation between aptitude at the beginning and achievement at 
the end will be relatively high, around +0,7 (Bloom, 1976), 
However, under a system where kind and quality of instruction and 
learning time are made appropriate to the characteristics and 
needs of each learner, up to 90% of students should be able to 
learn to a standard traditionally achieved by only 10% (Blank, 
1980)* What Carroll had hypothesised in his theory of learning 
was the necessity to separate the capacity to learn from the 

speed of learning to assess a student's ability that low 

achievement could be attributed to inadequate time for learning 
rather than to an inherent inability to learn per se (Spady, 
1982) . 

Hitch-hiking on Carroll's theory, Bloom over the past fifteen or 
so years has enlarged and refined the original hypotheses. His 
main contribution to the theory (Bloom, 1976) has been the 
identification of three independent variables which he believes 
must be attended to before the ideal learning situation can be 
achieved. These are: 



the extent to which a student possesses the prerequisite 
knowledge for a learning task (cognitive entry behaviours); 

the extent to which a student is, or can be, motivated to 
learn (affective entry behaviours); 

the extent to which instruction is appropriate to the 
learner (quality of instruction). 

In his determination to support his premise what variability in 
educational outcomes is man-made through a system which takes no 
account of individual differences in learning (Bloom, 1976; 
Spady, 1982), Bloom hat' undertaken and supervised many scudies on 
the effectiveness of the mastery approach. The studies used as 
evidence for the efficacy of mastery learning in his 1976 book 
were attempts to isolate tne reasons why so many students are 
unable to cope with learning tasks presented to them at school 
when none, if looked at individually, should be beyond the reach 
of the majority of students. 

From the results of these studies. Bloom estimated that up to 50% 
of variance in achievement on successive learning tasks can be 
accounted for by cognitive entry behaviours, up to 25% by 
affective entry behaviours and 20%-25% by quality of instruction. 
These figures are indeed impressive. Unfortunately, as Block 
(1974) pointed out, much of the research into mastery learning is 
'not clean'. That is, it rarely meets with strict experimental 
standards; which is perhaps not surprising as most research has 
been carried out in real settings, in schools with real, everyday 
teachers. To do otherwise would raise ethical questions. 

The contributions of Block himself to the theory have not been 
small* He has taken the theory and translated it into a working 
model, identifying five elements central -o the success of the 
mastery model: 

dia qnos is: A formulation of exactly what is meant by 
^mastery ' ; 

pre sc r ipt ion: Devising a set of instructional ob3ectives 
which all students will be expected to learn to a 
predetermined mastery standard; 

or j^entation : Breaking the instr uc tional objectives into a 
sequential series of smaller learning units, each one 
consisting of approximately two weeks' work; 


feedback : The construction of brief d iagnos tictests for 
each unit to evaluate students* achievement and provide 
feedback on areas of weakness; 

correction ; the use of alternative learning materials for 
each unit, keyed to the areas covered in each of t*ie 
diagnostic tests (Block, 1974; Spady, 1982). 

The second model which forms the basis of the competency-based 
approach is that of the Keller Plan or PSI (Personalised System 
of Instruction). The concept of mastery is central to the PSI 
model as is the belief that aptitude is not static but largely 
dependent upon time and the quality of instruction. However, PSI 
differs from Block's mastery learning model in a number of ways. 
In PSI, the units of instruction generally cover approximately 
one week's work, not two. Teaching is based on either written 
materials, video or audio-visual aids, with the teacher acting as 
an educational manager rather than a dispenser of information as 
in Block's model. PSI is 'individualised', whereas Block's model 
IS group-based, so students proceed at their own pace through the 
units. Finally, PSI requires the attainment of unit mastery (to 
be demonstrated in either written, oral or performance tests) 
before the student is allowed to proceed to new work. But not 
achieving mastery does not constitute a failure, and the student 
will be aided by proctors (advanced students or teachers) in an 
effort to achieve the requi^'^d mastery level (Block, 1974; 
Melton, 1981; Walberg et al., 1979). 

From these two approaches to educdtion has come a whole range of 
instructional models based to a larger or lesser degree on e-ach 
of them. The extent to which competency-based education follows 
the one or the other tends to depend upon the area in which the 
approach is being adopted. As stated earlier, competency-based 
education can be implemented at any level and in any type of 
education. However, the area in which it is most prevalent is 
that of occupational education , where the PSI influence tends to 

Within this field of education, the labels 'competency-based' and 
'performance-based' areoften used interchangeably and a casual 
reader of the literature can become easily confused. If there is 
a difference in the minds of writers, it lies in the nature of 
the subject-matter. 'Performance-based education' is more often 
used to describe the approach used m those occupational areas 
where measures of competency are difficult to specify. A prime 
example of this is teacher education, where the label used is 
PBTE. 'Competency-based education' is more usually reserved for 


technical education and vt^cationai tcc.ining areas, where the 
label is CBVE. 


Houston and Howsam (1972) provide a list of six components which 
they consider basic to the competency-based approach; 

the specification of learner objectives in behavioural 
terms ; 

the specification of the means for determining whether 
performance meets the indicated criterion levels; 

the provision of one or more models of instruction through 
wh ich learning activities take place ; 

public sharing of objectives, criteria, means of assessment 
and alternative activities; 

assessment of the learning experience in terms of competency 
cr iter la; 

placement on the learner of accountability for meeting 
cr Iter ia* 

Blank (1980) l^sts only tour components but incorporates, within 
hi"? fou the six listed by Houston and Howsam plus two others 
which ate also important. The behavioural objectives must be 
'verified essential to entry-level employment' and *each 
student is provided time, within reason, to fully master each 
task'. The specification of sufficient time within reason 
illustrates one of the major departures from the ideal PS I 
approach mentioned above. Peterson and Stakenas (1981) provide a 
list of six components which are similar in cciposition to those 
of Houston and Howsam but they have included method for 
funding instructional services*. This component is net mentioned 
in this light by any other author covered in this review, but it 
surely is a basic requirement to successful ongoing 
implemen tat ion. 

Spady ( 9< 2) includes all the components listed by both Blank and 
Housi.'*)n and Howsam, but goes into greater detail on the process 
of providing instruction which is appropriate to each student and 
which all serious attempts at competency-based education should 
include. The provision of pre-tests for each unit to assess the 
level or student skills for a task can prevent the covering of 


49 55 

material already known and orient the student to specific areas 
of weakness. Sequencing, where appropriate, will ensure that 
each student possesses the necessary cognitive pre-requisites to 
learn the task, and is also essential in courses where dangerous 
tools are used or where incomplete learning can endanger lives, 
e.g. nursing. 

The final component Spady .Usts for a competency-based approach 
IS the need for sound program evaluation. The context in which 
Spady sees program evaluation is as a verification of the 
objectives and learning tasks with *;he larger community (e.g. 
industry). However, there is also the need for internal 
verification by objective evaluation of the results obtained 
through a competency-based as compared with a traditional 
pi og ram. 

It is upon this very rock, however, that attempts at verification 
and evaluation have foundered. The need to have a comparable 
control group poses problems for CBVE implementers as it does in 
any real-life intervention, and almost all programs have had to 
rely solely on the results achieved by experimental groups alone 
to attempt to demonstrate the superiority of the CBVE approach. 


The research literature on CBVE is xndeed sparse. Most studies 
focus on the description of programs or on the development of 
materials. Very little evidence exists on the efficacy of the 
CBVE modal or even of individualised learning materials. Pearson 
wrote of individualised instruction in 1981: *the literature 
contains a lot more on how to and what ought to take place than 
solid evider^e that these hopes are being reulised*, and 
specifically in reference to compe tency*basud approaches, *this 
review did not find any evaluation or research findings as to the 
effectiveness of such approaches' (our emphasis). 

Certainly the 'success' of particular CBVE efforts has been 
almost exclusively based on what observers saw, or thought they 
saw, operating {Knaak, 1977). Research endeavours have been 
plagued by a lack of conclusive evidence often through 
insufficient definition, superficial program implementation, 
fundamental defects in research design, logistic problems or the 
methodological squealing of 'time-based' evaluation procedures 
being fitted to 'time-free' programs. Nevertheless, it is 
possible to highlight some of the more important studies on CBVE, 
while recognising that there remains a fine demarcation line 
between observer opinion and researcher evidence. 


Authors such as Block (1974), Bloom (1976), Torshen (1977) and 
Ryan and Schmidt (1979) have reviewed the significant literature 
on mastery learning. Much ot it is based on studies conducted in 
schools, and lies outside the scope of this review. Suffice it 
to say that the picture painted in these reviews is generally 
rosy, though we must be aware that they are based upon published 
research which tends not to report negative results. Research 
evidence on mastery learning tends to be favourable on such 
dimensions as the acquisition of cognitive skills, reduction of 
variability in achievement and retention, retention ana transfer 
of learning^ student attitudes, time spent in active learning, 
and minimising the effects of student entry characteristics on 
subsequent learning. One interesting though very general review 
is that by Walberg et al. (1979), who analysed studies from 1969 
to 1979 in which positive results in learning were shown to have 
occurred as a result of some innovative change to the teaching- 
learning process. It is informative to reflect on how many of 
these changes, leading to positive results in learning, are 
features within compe tency -based programs. 

A considerable proportion of the research studies on the 
competency -based approach to occupational education focuses on 
teacher education (e.g. Adaras et al., 1981; Enos, 1976; Roth, 
1977; Smith & Nagel, 1979; Thompson & Levis, 1990). Available 
evidence from number of publications, ex tens iveness of programs, 
variety of promotional agencies and effects of corape tency -based 
materials leads to the conclusion that the impact at this level 
has been considerable in America (Harris 1982a, c). Research on 
vocational teacher education points to improvement in the quality 
of training, positive changes to the delivery system and 
considerable impetus being given to comp<= tency-based instruction 
for all vocation?! students (Adams et al. 1981). 

There have also been CBE programs in many other occupational 
programs in the USA. These include medicine, dentistry, nursing, 
law, pharmacy, urban planning, management and liberal arts (Grant 
et al., 1979; Kay & Massanari, 1977; Knaak, 1977). 

Within vocational education* Blank (1980) has examined several 
studies comparing competency-based with traditional approa-^hes. 
He concluded that the evidence shows CBVE, when well-designed and 
properly implemented, to be superior to traditional approaches, 
particularly in terms of enhanced learning, shortened training 
time, allowance for greater chance of success and more favourable 
student attitudes toward the learning process. 



One o£ the most comprehensive reviews on CBVfi has been provided 
by KnaaK (1977). He cites studies which show that the 
possibility of early exit is a strong motivation for some 
students, that students after initial frustration show preference 
for the approach, that such a program is more effective than a 
traditional one Cor 'better students' (slow students are still 
slow, but less frustrated), and that it compares favourably with 
traditional ones with respect to scudent time consumption, 
attrition rate, cost to institutions, and 30b procurement. 

Aside from these reviews, some individual studies ara worth 
mentioning. One quasi-experimental study (Heath and Williams, 
1982) involving 244 marketing students in 16 post^secondar y 
classes across the USA found that students with the least (under 
2 1/2 years) related work experience achieved more when learning 
by the traditional approach, whereas students with more (over 2 
1/2 years) related work experience achieved more when learning by 
the competency-based approach. This interesting result may have 
arisen either because prior experience of some competencies had 
allowed some students to cover more material or the same material 
in greater depth, or because prior experience had allowed 
learning activities, which are based on validated competencies, 
to be perceived as more relevant to the 'real world of work'. If 
these factors do contribute to higher achievements, the CBVE 
approach may be a more relevant system for learning for those 
students who have already had some work experience. 

Another study (Kentucky Department of Education, 1978) aimed to 
interpret the findings of two research projects on CBVE in a 
manner meaningful to teachers and the public. The first project 
was a validation of a 38-item instrument used to measure 
students' attitudes to CBVE, a development which was hailed as 'a 
major contribution to the research effort on CBVE', as this scale 
could be used in future studies with the confidence that it was 
both valid and reliable. The results showed not only that 
students in Kentucky had a positive attitude to CBVE, but that 
such programs were regarded positively by all students regardless 
of their innate abilities or previous success in school. This 
conclusion appears to counter the argument that CBVE works only 
for faster, more intelligent students. 

The second project set out to measure the effectiveness of CBVE 
programs in Kentucky. Involved were three occupational 
areas — bank tellers, secretaries and tractor mechanics — witn two 
experimental and two control classes in each area. Results 
indicated that students in the CBVE classes, by comparison with 
those in th*- traditional classes, learned more on measures of 

''ognitive learningr were able more competently to perform entry- 
level job skills, and leai'nt sub]ect-matter faster. However, the 
data did not support a fourth hypothesis that CBVE motivates 
students to higher levels of performance as measured by increas<*d 
effort, more positive attitude and higher yrades. 

This study is one of the very few presenting research data on «."e 
effectiveness of the CBVE model. Its design was quite rigorous 
and complex. The report, in fact, concluded that the design was 
probably too exacting and recommended that in educational 
settings where both rigorous experimental control and exacting 
measurement were unlikely to be available, 'future researchers 
return to the simple, classic pre-post design*. 

Sewell's study (1974) supports other research evidence that 
students prefer self-paced, individualised programs over 
traditional programs. Involved in this study were 152 students 
in 13 post-secondary vocational classes in Wisconsin. She found 
no significant differences in the attitudes of males and females 
towards individualised instruction, though females did have more 
positive attitudes towards the traditional approach than males. 
Another important finding was that on the dimension of 
effectiveness, students considered that individualised 
instruction resulted m 'a better education for most students* 
(80% agreed with such a statement), and in 'a better 
understanding of the subject' (74%) than did traditional 
instruction (28% and 36% respectively), 


Within Australia, there have been only a few published studies 
with relevance to the competency-based approach. At a general 
level, recent analytical reports have been compiled on 
individualised instruction in vocational education (Macdonald, 
1979 and 1980a), current practices in modular training and self- 
paced mastery learning (Pyke, 1982), modular apprenticeship 
courses and the need for more support for TAFE teachers and 
learners (Robson, 1981), on individualised instruction and 
mastery learning (Locke, 1982c), on the compatibility of Knowles* 
concept of andragogy and self-paced mastery learning (Locke, 
1982b), and on individualised instruction and self*paced learning 
(Pearson, 1981). The reports by Macdonald and Pearson, in 
particular, are excellent reviews, though compe tency -based 
programs as such are mentioned only very briefly. 

Other relevant publications that have appeared recently have been 
concerned with competency-based education as an effective model 

ER?C « 59 

for the training of secondary teachers (Thompson & Levis, 1930) 
and TAPE teachers (Hobart & Harris, 1980 and 1982), as a means of 
training industrial trainers at a distance (Harris et al., 1985) » 
as a potential alternative model in post-school education 
(Harris, 1982b), as an approach to mathematics at primary school 
level (Douglas & Skinner, 1982), and as a guide to the 
development of instruments for evaluating student teaching 
competence (Garnett & Taggart, 1983; Henry et al., 1981). 

All of these reviews and analyses assist m the understanding of 
the CBE model and its implementation m Australia. However, the 
brevity of this review allows no further analysis of them, and 
instead dictates a speo f ic focus now on those few research 
studies which bear an immediate relation to the CBVE model within 
the TAPE sector. 

Within TAPE itself, the most comprehensive studies that have been 
carri''.d out on CBVE programs have been in panelbeating (Harris et 
al., 1985; Macdonald, 1980b; Wickenton, 1981), panelbeating and 
spraypainting (Camaren, 1983) and woolclassmg (Bell, 1982). 

The study at Richmond Technical College (Macdonald, 1980b) set 
out to evaluate the effectiveness of self-pacing as a teaching 
strategy in the panelbeating trade. It concluded that it was 
effective, particularly in terms of its allowance for variation 
in learning rates, accommodation of literacy difficulties through 
use of audio-visual media, generation of high levels of student 
motivation and satisfaction with the course, development of high 
leval of job sat i J'f ?c tion among staff, improved s taff -student 
relationships, reduction of discipline problems, and its 
allowance of free movement of students between practice and 
theory areas. There were problems, however, that required 
attention. These included the noise factor, specification and 
enforcement of standards, design of learning materials, teacher's 
role, and the need for staff training in the operation of a self- 
paced program. 

A small follow-up study (Wickenton, 1981) demonstrated the 
continued high level of staff and student preference for such a 
program. Apart from reported difficulties, however, still 
existing with the concept of mastery and with reluctant readers, 
the most significant problems related to the teacher's role and 
the clear need for further staff development. 

A more extensive study (Camaren, 1983) in Western Australia 
confirmed the Richmond findings on self-paced programs. Since 
this evaluation involved Stage 3 panelbeating and spray painting 



apprentices who had experienced traditional programs in Stages 1 
and 2, their comparative judgments that the self^paced mode was 
superior and preferable to the traditional mode are worth 
highlighting* In particular, there was strong support that self- 
paced instruction contributed to highly desirable affective 
development in students in addition to achieving cognitive and 
psychomotor outcomes. Another conclusion was that the program 
was unlikely to require more or fewer staff than a traditional 
one* The benefits of self-pacing were not found to lie in the 
economics of staffing but in terras of the quality and quantity of 
instruction and in the options for servicing clients aud industry 
more efficiently* The report clairaed that self-paced learning 
succeeded in iraproving the effectiveness and efficiency of 
current instructional practices* However, again the need for 
staff development support before and during implementation was 
under lined* 

Two aspects of these reports should be highlighted here* 
Firstly, they were studies on attitudes , that is, perceived 
effectiveness on the part of those involved. Secondly, each was 
based on data gathered from one college. 

A third study using panelbeating apprentices was carried out in 
South Australia in 1983 (Harris et -K* 1983; Seebeck, 1984). A 
competency-based program was designed* implemented and evaluated 
using data from administrators, staff, scudents and employers* 
An attempt was made to use a group in a traditional program in 
Sydney for comparison of not only atti*:--cc but also data on 
knowledge and practical tests* 

While the test data have not yet been finally analysed, 
preliminary findings support other studies particularly in terms 
of positive staff and student attitudes* Key features of this 
study included its intensive staff development program both prior 
to and during the implementation of CBVE, its development of 
clearly specified criteria for assessing mastery, the 
construction and use of competency profile charts, and its 
assessment of the change process impacting on the TAPE college as 
a result of the introduction of the CBVE program* This time, 
administrator concern (mainly centred on cost) and program 
management surfaced as the main areas requiring attention* 

The monitoring of the use of self-paced materials was the prime 
focus of Bell's study (1982'. These materials were trialled in 
Level 1 of the Woolclassing Certificate at six centres throughout 
Victoria, The evaluation procedure concentrated on quick 
feedback through formative evaluation to curriculum developers 


(the design function), and on portrayal of ,#hdt it was like to be 
involved in the program (the implementat . wii function). Data were 
gathered by means of informal interviews, student questionnaires, 
teacher record sheets and observation. The study found that 
there were two main models of adoption — use of these materials as 
self-paced materials, and use of them simply as learning 
resources. No judgments were made by the author, the major 
conclusion being that 'the self-paced materials have been adopted 
m ways that seem appropriate to the teachers and students 
involved*. The finding on student opinion of the materials and 
program supports that reported in Knaak (1977), namely, an early 
phase of frustration and criticism, followed by one of support 
and confidence. By the end of Term 2, students, irrespective of 
age, sex, previous education, current employment or planned use 
of the course, had a positive attitude to the program, 
particularly to the principle of self-paced learning. The report 
recommended the dissemination of the self-paced materials to ail 
woolclassing teachers in Victoria, and advocated further 
research, using quantified data rather than 'a highly 
interpretive process', on models of implementation, on 
anticipated and unanticipated outcomes of learning by students, 
and on the interrelationships between these two sets of data to 
provide empirical interpretation of the effects of different 
styles of adoption. 

One other study (Drummond, 1981) nighlighted the capacity of the 
CBVE model to accommodate the needs of slow learners. While 
involving only one group of 15 Commercial Certificate students at 
one TAFE college, her research found that the teacher was able to 
spend more time with slow learning students, and that the quality 
of instruction presented in this program was at least equal to 
that provided by the traditional components of the Certificate. 
She concluded that, on balance, the advantages of being able to 
meet individual needs at all levels of ability outweighed the 
disadvantage of extra preparation time needed to instigate the 

Other Australian studies in vocational education have been 
concerned with such areas as modular training (Lambert, 1978; 
Locke, 1982a? O'Donnell, 1978; Wells, 1980), programmed learning 
(Cusick, 1983; Seymour, 1979; Todd & Cawthron, 1977), and 
computer managed or assisted instruction (Cur wood et al., 1982). 
These studies, while having an indirect bearing on CBVE, are 
considered to lie outside the scope of this review. 



Following the discussion on the antecedents and definition of 
CBE, and its research literature, it is perhaps most appropriate 
to summarise this review by direct reference to the perceived 
advantages and disadvantages of this educational model. One of 
the most succinct summaries of the advantages of CBVE has been 
developed by Blank (1980), who from his stance that CBVE is 
better than traditional, instructor-centred approachesr compiled 
the following reasons implied from research as well as from what 
he labels 'common-sense'. 

Gives each student enough time to master each competency 
before moving to the next. 

Shortens training time for some students. 

Meet the needs of special learners more effectively. 

Reduces failures, and early successes can reduce 
absenteeism, tardiness, the attrition rate and behaviour 

Enables educational institutions to offer open-entry, open- 
exit, self-paced programs. 

. Allows proficiency to be held constant — and at a high 
level — and allows individual training time to vary* 

. Is preferred by students, who, through the experience, enjoy 
t»^** challenge and freedom to take responsibility for their 
own learning. 

. Promotes greater accountability of students, teachers and 
the training program. 

Results in more effective articulation among educational 
institutions through clearly stated competency statements 
and program parameters. 

. Keeps students task-oriented and active, :]ust like the world 
of work. 

On the other hand, many writers (Gilli k Wilcox, 1980; Grant et 
al*, 1979j Ingram, 1980? Moss, 1981, Norton et al., 1978), even 
protagonists of CBVE, have been quick to issue warnings and 
cautions. But then, as Hall and Jones (1976) have said, 'the 


57 63 

innovation that sooner or later arouses no resistance must be 
extremely trivial*. These warnings have sometimes been 
philosophical in nature, such as the uncertainty whether the sum 
of the parts does in tact equ::^ the whole, or the outright 
rejection ot what could be, taken to its extreme, a mechanistic, 
dehumanising and restrictive model of training from the 
behaviourist school. Other concerns have centred on the lack of 
adequate research data on the effectiveness of the approach, on 
the costs of setting it up and maintaining it, on what are the 
essential competencies in an occupation. Most often, however, 
warnings focus on the difficulties of instructional management, 
on the shortage of high quality materials, or on the resistanci» 
of teachers who may perceive considerable hard work, potential 
role conflicts and threatened jobs ahead. (Whatever the truth in 
such warnings — Blank (1982) terms them 'popular myths' — it is 
nevertheless the case that the quality of any instructional 
system depends on the performance and commitment of the teacher, 
and that while CBVE is seen to have many advantages, it must not 
be seen as the panacea of all educational ills — 'the ultimate 
aspirin for educational headaches' {Piper & Houston, 1980). 


Competency-based occupational education is a moverrent which has 
gained considerable momentum in North America. There are also 
indications of its taking root in Britain through the 
Government's reform of training arrangements as detailed in the 
White Paper relating to the New Training Initiative (City and 
Guilds, 1982; London Central Office of Information, 1983) and to 
a lesser extent in technical teacher education (Tuxworth, 1977), 
and in Australia through individual programs in TAFE and m TAFE 
teacher education. 

To date, most of the literature on CBVE is North American and 
comprises nainly program descriptions and theoretical analyses. 
Very little research data specifically on CBVE are as yet 
available, and many fields lie fallow awaiting the research 
p loug h . 

This paucity of research is confirmed by a recent survey (Miller, 
1982) of past and present editorial board members of the Journal 
of Industrial Teacher Education , a r'»putable American journal. 
Asked to rank 50 topics that should be investigated, the 
respondents gave 'evaluation studies concerned with the 
effectiveness of vocational education programs (e.g. 
mains trearoing, CBVE)* as sixth most important and 'hard data 
showing the superiority of the competency-based approach to 


64 58 

vocational education (or lack thereof)* as fifteenth, While 
these were the only two mentioning CBVE by name, the fact that 
'criteria for evaluating vocational programs' (ranked 4.5) and 
•alternative concepts for curriculum development in vocational 
education* (ranked 8.5) were also very high on the list is 
indicative of the high priority currently given to the search for 
more effective models of vocational preparation. 

At the descriptive level, there is a clear need for moce analyses 
of Australian CBVE programs; their development, features and 
impact. Until such analyses are published and such information 
disseminated, educators cannot be blamed for finding it more 
comfortable to remain ostriches in the sands of traditional, 
lockstep instruction than to risk sticking their necks out to 
experiment xn the quicksands of program innovation and 
evaluat ion. 

At the evaluative level, studies are required on the efficacy of 
the model itself as a system of vocational training in Australia. 
Such studies may focus on such prime issues as cost-effectiveness 
or the effects on motivation of both students and teachers. It 
would be informative, too, if we had data on what student 
characteristics — for example, nature and length of work 
experience, learning preferences, cognitive styles and 
intelligence — are associated with the most effective learning 
within CBVE programs. Again, research is needed into what types 
or levels of occupational programs might most effectively be 
converted into CBVE, and what specific types of learning 
resources are the most promising to utilise within such a 
program. The field is wide open, and presents an exciting 
challenge to the researcher. Particularly is this the case when 
it is remembered that the research already undertaken tends to be 
based almost exclusively upon attitudinal data. This type of 
evidence urgently needs to be supplemented with observational, 
case study and test data if we are to extend the state of the 
CBVE art. 

Occupational education has a dual thrust, on the one hand to 
develop competent workers in terms of skills and knowledge, and 
on the other to promote desirable attitudes cowards learning and 
the world of work. CBVE represents one response to both o£ these 
desi red outcomes. Available evidence, wh ile predominantly 
anecdotal on the first point and embryonic on the second, does 
seem t-o underline the potential of CBVE as an effective system of 
developing competent workers, and to suggest quite strongly that 
considerable improvements can be made in promoting desirable 
attitudes m students. 



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Blank, W. E. (1980). Competency-based education: Is it really 
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Cusick, B. J. (1983). An evaluation of a programmed learning 
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Douglas, 3., & Skinner, A. (1982). Competency-based education — a 
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Drummond. R. (1981). An investigation into the use of competency- 
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Enos, D. F. (1976). A cost-effectiveness analysis of competency 
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Gilli, A. C. & Wilcox, L. M. (1980). A critical view of CBE. 
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Harris, R. McL. {j.98 2a). Is their life after PBTE? 
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Harris, R. McL. (1982b). Spring or Indian summer: Competency- 
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Harris, R. McL. (19B2c/. A comparative analysis of CBTE in the 
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« 67 

Harris, R. McL. (1983). Industrial staff development using a 
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Heath, B. , & Williams, T. M. (1 982 ). CBI for marketing 

students. Journal of Studies in Technical Careers , 4(2), 

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Hobart, R. B., & Harris, R. McL. (1980). Mystery or mastery? An 
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Hobart, R. B., & Harris, R. McL. (1982). PBTE or not to be, that 
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34(88), 37-43. 

Houston, W. R., & Howsam, R. B. (Eds.) (197 2). CBTE: progress , 
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Ingram, M. D. (1980). Making CBVE work at El Paso. School Shop, 
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Kay, P. M., & Massanaii, K. (1 97 7). PBTE 1 97 7. Where to from 
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Kentucky Department of Education. (1978). A report on research on 
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Knaak, W. C. (1977). Co mpe te ncv -ba sed vocational education: A 
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Lambert, G. (1978). Modular training. Residential conference for 
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Locke, T. (1982b). Malcolm Knowles' andragogical approach: Is 
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Locke, T. (1982c). The implementation of mastery learning and 
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London Central Office of Information.. (198 3). Britain's new 
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Macdonald, C. (19d0a). Individualised instruction in vocational 
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63 6^9 

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For the purposes of this review the term 'educational media' as 
defined in the Draft glossary of TAFE term s (1983) has been 
adopted. This de^^ines educational media as the; 

equipment and materials used for communication in 
instruction. (p. 13) 

Other terms defined in this glossary which are relevant to this 
review are: 

audiovisual aids: non-print teaching materials and the 
equipment required for their display, (p. 9) 

educational resources: the equipment, facilities, materials 
and personnel available for education, (p, 13) 

Related terms that will be used throughout this review are 

educational technology 

learning resources 

instructional materials. 

The Australian Society of Educational Technology has defined 
educational technology as: 

the design, application, evaluation and development of 
system, methods and materials to improve the process of 
human learning. (1975, p. 2) 

This View of educational technology recognises the importance of 
integrating theory and practice and the development of: 

instructional systems (including courses and units of 
study) ; 



instructional methods (including staff training and 
development programs); 

instructional media and materials (including the new 
electronic media and the whole range of print and non-?rint 
materials) . 

Brown and Kenworthy (1982) have defined learning resources as: 

a flexible phrase covering all types of software used 
in the education process, together with associated 
hardware, the expertise of resource personnel and the 
strategies developed to stimulate learning. It 
includes the whole range of materials normally 
associated with libraries (books, periodicals, 
microforms, audio-visual media), together with learning 
packages/programmes designed to achieve specific 
learning objectives, computer assisted and computer 
managed instruction, and any future developments in 
educational communications and technology, (p. 5) 

Instructional aaterials: is used to describe all types of 
instructional aids or audio-visual resources. It includes both 
print and non-print materials, and materials known as 'software'. 
It does not include the hardware necessary to process the 
software, e.g. projectors, video cassette recorders etc. 

While educational media and its application in TAFE have received 
a great deal of attention from writers and researchers overseas, 
especially in the U.S.A. and the U.K. there appears to be very 
little evidence that they have received similar attention in 
Australia. Initiatives in Technical and Further Education 
lists eight related references, four of which are basically 
catalogues of audio-visual materials from a variety of sources; 
two are overseas studies; one deals with media selection and two 
look at existing systems and the potential use of educational 
media m TAPS in only three States. 

Because of this lack of relevant published research on the topic, 
this review concentrates on existing educational media service 
and production within all TAPE Authorities in Australia and 
relies heavily on the information and documents that h»ve been 
provided by TAFE Authorities. 




Within TAPE Authorities in Australia there appear to be two basic 
structures for the design, development and production of 
educational media. One is essentially a college-based operation^ 
while the other is designed to provide learning resources on a 
centralised or departmental basis. 

The college-based structure which is more commonly found in TAFE 
Authorities generally utilises existing expertise and other 
resources that are available within the institution. In many 
cases, teachers identify their own learning resource needs and 
generally provide some or most of the resources to produce them. 

Only in relatively few colleges, with the exception of Victoria 
and the ACT, are trained educational technologists available to 
assist teachers either in this design stage or in their ultimate 
production. The quality of the product, therefore, varies 
considerably according to the facilities available within the 
college and the time which the teacher and/or educational 
technologist can devote to design and production. Very little 
formal dissemination takes place, as generally the materials are 
only used by the teacher developing them and possibly by 
immediate colleagues* 

The advantages of a college-based structure are that teachers can 
develop learning materials which closely match their own needs 
and the perceived needs of their students. Often, teachers are 
likely to integrate such materials into the instructional process 
and make effective use of them because of their involvement in 
their development. in addition, learning resources needed to 
illustrate a concept or to describe a process and which may not 
justify full-scale professional development can often be quickly 
and inexpensively produced *in-house*. 

The disadvantages of this system are that the range of locally 
produced materials is reliant upon the time available to teachers 
and their quality is dependent upon the teachers* skill in 
design, development and production. In addition, although these 
materials may have a potentially wider application, they often 
remain unknown outside of the college responsible for their 
production. This can lead to unnecessary duplication of effort 
by other institutions developing and producing similar resources. 
To overcome this problem the Victorian Association of Educational 
Technologists in TAFE has compiled a Learning materials in 
production listing which is periodically updated and distributed 
to TAFE colleges within Victoria, 



The centralised or departmental structure tends to better utilise 
the varied expertise of teachers, educational technologists and 
other production personnel, as well as the best available 
facilities existing within the TAFE Authority a't one or more 
institutions. Ideally, the needs of all curriculum groups -.ithin 
the State are identified and resources are made available to 
produce materials for statewide dissemination. 

The advantages of this structure are that a wider range of 
materials can be produced and made available as the result of 
decisions made by experts in the respective curriculum areas and 
by specialist media design and production personnel. Duplication 
of effort by individual colleges can be minimised and by 
utilising mass production methods, unit costs can be reduced. 

The disadvantages of a centralised system are that difficulties 
may occur in meeting the resource needs of all teachers, some of 
whom may feel that they have less control over the design and 
development of the end product. In addition, teachers often 
express frustration over the production time involved, ie. the 
time that elapses between the request for specific curriculum 
materials to be developed and the distribution of the completed 

The following is a brief description of educational media 
services and production in each TAFE Authority, 

Australian Capital Territory 

The three TAFE Colleges of Woden, Bruce and Canberra have 
educational media production units or departments producing a 
range of audio-visual materials. 

The Educational Media Centre at Woden TAFE College has a staff of 
two^ both of whom have teaching and media production experience 
and expertise. 

The aims of this centre are to: 

provide expert ise in instructional design; 

design and produce effective educational resources to 
support the college curricula; 

advise and instruct staff on the effective use of media 
production techniques; 



provide an efficient and accessible media service for the 

Within the Educational Development Unit at Bruce TAFE College 
there is a media department with four professional staff who have 
various qualifications and experience in the design and 
production of educational media and one technical assistant. 
This department develops educational media m conjunction with 
proposals for new >^nd revised programs of study but is not able 
to produce large quantities of instructional materials. 

The School of Educational Services at Canberra College of TAFE 
which is involved in curriculum and staff development also has 
two staff involved in educational media design and production. 

Mew South Wales 

A. Oevelopvent of educational aedia 

Educational media resources are developed and designed by 
central project teaas consisting of: 

— a teacher (nominated by the School) as subject adviser; 

— an education officer as project consultant and 
instructional designer; 

— professional support staff for final design and 

. college based or regional teans where the last two roles 
above are carried out by a Regional Media Co-o rd i na tor , or 
where all three roles may be carried out by a teacher with 
suitable expertise; 

individual teachers using local college facilities and 
equipment rather than regional instructional design centre 

Of the three approaches outlined above, individual teachers using 
college equipment account for the majority of materials produced 
within the Department. However, ready-made commercial products 
account for a large percentage of the instructional materials 
used by teachers. 



7he aim of the team approach outlined above is to ensure that in 
major projects the educational specifications are confirmed 
before final design and production begins. 

Film and video titles are loaned or distributed centrally 
following negotiation for the right to make copies. Other audio- 
visual and print materials are accessed directly by college 
libraries or teaching sections. 

For centrally developed materials, production and distribution 
are arranged to the teaching school's specifications. Copies are 
sent to designated sections and ::ollege libraries. Masters are 
held centrally, alt'iough supplementary copies or further 
distributions are only arranged by special request from the 
school concerned. 

Locally developed material remains 'one off except where 
regional distribution has been anticipated. Here central 
agercies may assist with multiple copying, however, all masters 
are retained by the regional centres, 

B, Production centres 

Central ised_centres 

Those centres located centrally tend to specialise in certain 
production areas, with facilities capable of producing high 
quality masters for statewide distribution. Their clients 
include Head Office curriculum support groups and the teaching 
schools as well as individual teachers in some cases. To a large 
extent these centres are interrelated in their development and 
production processes. 

The centres involved mainly with educational media are the 
Educational Resources Branch and the Controller's Unit. 

The Educational Resources Branch consists of four sections: 

the Curriculua Resource neTelopsent Section, which is 
involved m the development, design and production of 
instructional materials for statewide distribution; 

Technical Services, which produces and duplicates audio and 
video tapes; 



Educational Resources Co-ordination Unit, which provides 
advice, facilities and training to assist teachers select, 
develop and produce instructional materials through central 
and local »ntres; 

External Course Materials Developaent Section, responsible 
for the development and production of instructional 
materials for distance teaching through the College of 
External Studies. 

The Controller's Unit con>5ists of two sections: 

a Design Office, producing high quality technical 
illustrations and drafting work for use by teachers and 

a Photographic and Fila Services Unit, producing a full 
range of photographic materials requested by Teachers, 
Schools, Head Office Services and support units. 

Regional centres 

There ace six centres located regionally which are called 
Regional Instructional Design Centres and which house a broader 
range of more basic media equipment. They exist to support 
curriculum implementation at the regional or college level and 
have as clients individual teachers, teachers as regional 
teaching school representatives, as well as Head Office 
curriculum support groups that have regional representation. 

These centres, while they exist to serve regional needs, remain 
professionally responsible to the central Educational Resources 

College centres 

Development and production of instructional materials occur m 
all colleges wherever facilities or equipment are directly 
available to teachers. 

Some quite highly equipped production centres exist in colleges 
to directly involve students as part of the teaching program of a 
particular school. For example, Biological Sciences (Podiatry), 
Applied Electricity (Film and Television Tecnniques), Business 
and Administrative Studies (Advertising and Public Relations), 
and General Studies (Library Technicians). 



Northern Territory 

There is no central educational media production centre; however, 
a building program is underway to provide facilities to develop 
educational media and it is expected that this will be completed 
in 1985. 

A range of learning resources is prepared by a number of schools 
within the Darwin Community College and the Learning Resources 
Centre at the college as listed below: 

School of Australian Linguistics — production of vernacular 
literature for bilingual education and native language 
literacy programs and the preparation of course materials 
for on-site and external courses in these areas. 

School of Business and Administration — production of 
instructional materials including syllabus documents, 
student lesson notes, assignments, transparencies, 
filmstrips, audio and video recordings and computer-based 

Home Economics Department — production of instructional 
materials as required; including syllabus documents, teacher 
guides, student lesson notes, transparencies, sectioned aids 
and models. 

Learning Resource Centre, Darwin Community College — 
production of teaching and learning aids suitable for 
courses conducted at the Darwin Community 
College — particularly where commercially produced aids are 
either not suitable or not available. 

School of Trades — production of instructional material as 
required — all materials except audio, video and computer- 
based resources. 


The State Resource Materials Centre {RMC) has been set up at the 
Yeronga College of TAFE to facilitate the provision of learning 
resources m the RMCs of TAFE Colleges throughout Queensland. 
This includes resources not only to be centrally acquired and 
catalogued by a central Bibliographic Unit but to be developed, 
where necessary, by a central Teaching Production/Reproduction 
Audio-visual Unit. It is the integration of instructional and 
curriculum design, resource production, library and media 
services in a single administrative entity which enables the 



State RMC to service the educational resource needs of TAf£ 
colleges. The State RMC has an advisory and managem»»nt role with 
regard to the development of the resource sharing network of 
college libraries throughout the State. The sharing of resources 
IS facilitated by a microfiche union catalogue of Queensland TAPE 
College RMCs. 

The Production Unit offers three kinds of services to colleges: 

use of editing and audio recording equipment 
central production. 

The emphasis in resource production has been on videotapes, slide 
tape programs, photographic stills and audiotapes. In addition, 
teacher guides and student lesson notes, charts and 
transparencies, are produced at the State RMC. 

Requests for program development originate from a variety of 
sources including Curriculum Branch, other Head Office Sections, 
colleges and other authorities. Preliminary checking of existing 
resources is undertaken before original productions are 
developed. The college librarians play an active part in 
suggesting suitable programs to produce since they are aware of 
gaps in available resources. 

The State RMC in 1983 held 55 slide/tape masters, all except six 
being original State RMC productions; and more than 1000 video 
masters of which 46 are original State RMC productions. Some 70 
per cent of the remaining programs have been made available by 
companies for free distribution to colleges. Because of the 
dearth of commercially available material, TAPE has traditionally 
made extensive use of films and videos produced by various 
commercial and industrial organisations. The remaining 30 per 
cent of masters have been purchased from commercial production 

Little formal evaluation has been undertaken oc the effectiveness 
of TAFE-produced audio-visual materials in the teaching/learning 
process. In the absence of media liaison officers, college 
librarians play an important role in prjviding feedback on the 
effectiveness of these materials. 

All original productions are distributed to appropriate 
Queensland TAPE colleges free of charge. However, in view of 
increasing demand by other Queensland institutions for Queensland 
TAPE programs, the procedures for marketing programs at coat 
price are being investigated. 

ebIc " so 

Apart from the State RMC there is very iittie co i lege- ieve i 
production of educational media. 

South Australia 

The Centre for Resource Development, Adelaide College of TAFE 
offers a centralised service to all TAFE colleges throughout the 

to provide and operate materials design and production 
facilities in the following media: print, pho*- graphic 
(prints and slides), audio, video (including film), and 
miscellaneous visual items (fOt example, overhead 
transparencies and graphics); 

to conduct or contribute to staff development and inservice 
activities related to educational use of the above media; 

to offer courses in media production (confined at present to 
non-pr int med la) ; 

to develop and maintain liaison with other TAFE colleges and 
with the Curriculum Development Branch and the Educational 
Resources Branch witn regard to media requirements and 
applications ; 

to provide technical consultancy and advisory service to 
TAFE Buildings Branch and other offices concerned with 
specifying and purchasing media production and replay 

The two major components of this Centre are Educational 
Publications and Educational Multi-Media. Educational 
Publications prepares and produces printed learning materials 
which form the basis of almost all external studies courses for 
the department. 

Educational Multi Media researches, prepares and produces 
instructional materials in video, audio and slide formats for use 
in TAFE curricula throughout the State. It also provides some 
inservice and public courses in media and broadcasting. 

The aims of Educational Multi-Media are to; 

provide a service ot learning resource deve'opment m 
response to specific educational needs? 

It aims: 


augment or complement such development ^ork for those 
colleges which have their own media services; 

provide for colleges which have no in-house development 
resources, given that most colleges are unable to be self- 
sufficient in this regard; 

provide co-ordinated resource development where two or more 
colleges have similar or congruent needs. (Examples of 
resources developed in this way include. Ha. i ciress ing, 
plumbing. Automotive, Matriculation Studies, EPUV) . 

Servict^o offered by Educational Multi-Media include: 

. the planning, educational design and development of course 
resource packages; 

the preparation, production and servicing of such projects; 

the promotion of effective utilisation methodology in terms 
of user application; 

. tne distribution of resource materials throughout the TAFE 
college network, and to Education Department schools via the 
Educational Technoiu>^y Centre; 

the development and conduct of appropriate courses in media 
production for departmental staff, the community, and for 
the professional radio and television industries. 

The Educational Resources Branch in the department monitors and 
reviews production at Educational Multi-Media by its close 
involvement in the Production Commitmtnts Panel. To allocate 
priorities for production to proceed the panel uses the following 
cr 1 ter la. 

It must be shown that: 

a proven need exists, and that this need is consistent with 
departmental priorities; 

any necessary subject expertise can be made available f^r 
completion of the project; 

production facilities have the capacity to include the 
project in a future schedule; 



. no resources already exist, or may be available from other 
sources (for example, commercially) which could reasonably 
meet the educational need. 

Under the terms of the South Australian Film Corr^oration Act all 
video or film materials produced by T^FE have ti.eir copyright 
vested in the South Australian Film Corporation. Because of this 
situation, other TAFE Authorities have experienced difficulties 
in acquiring these resources. This has resulted in uuder- 
utiiisation of a wide range of excellent video programs. 

In addition to the central production t'nit at the Centre for 
Resource Development, Adelaide College, several larger colleges 
have established, or are in the process of setting up, in-house 
resource production units. These range in complexity from simple 
materials preparation areas where teichers may produce slides and 
overhead transparencies to more sophisticated facilities for 
audio and video program production. However, these college 
prciuction units in no way duplicate the activities of the Centre 
for Resource Development. Whereas the latter is concerned with 
producing materials for use in a wide range ol courses across the 
Department, the in-house units are producing learning/teaching 
matarials primarily to meet specific needs within the individual 
college. Because of this localised approach it can be clearly 
identified rs a different level of production. 

In-house production units have he-i an impact on the teaching 
program m a r.umher of TAFE colleges, incl'j'ing Marieston, 
Panorama, Adelaide, Croydon Park, Regency Park, Elizabeth and 
Gilles Plains. 


The Tasmania Media Centre is operated by the Education Department 
and although it mainly provides instructional materials for 
primary and secondary schools it produces materials on request 
for the Division of TAFE. 

Many of the learning materials developed are multi-media in 
format and may include slides, audiotapes, printed materials, 
photographs, wall charts and more recently, microcomputer discs. 
The Centre has a production capacity and speciali;;t knowledge for 
all these formats since ics officers are aware of the potential 
and appropriateness of each. 




Decisions as to the most effective format and the most effective 
organisation of content are made in the light of the educational 
brief supplied by curriculum consultants and subject supervisors. 
However, decisions are joint decisions endorsed by the 
appropriate consultants. The process of development and 
production is time consuming and intricate. When materials are 
first written and edited it is usually necessary to produce 
limited copies of a prototype kit or booklet. This prototype is 
then trialled by teachers. Modifications and revisions often 

Educational validity and cost effectiveness are balotnced through 
dialogue among curriculum consultants, specialist teachers and 
Media Centre officers. 

Materials are produced in consultation with those who generate 
materials, are to use materials, and have experience both as 
educationalists and media officers. 

National marketing of the Centre's products is widespread and is 
co-ordinated by the Centre's National Marketing Committee. 

In addition to the Tasmania Media Centre, limited production of 
instructional materials is carried out at the centres described 

Hobart Technical College, Resource Centre 

This resource centre provides a service for staff and students in 
support of the College's teaching and learning programs by 
worKing with teachers in the planning and production of learning 
materials relevant to the curriculum an-dl by making these and 
other r sources available in an integrated collection* The 
College., through the School of External Studies, also produces 
distance teaching/learning materials for external students. 

Burnie Technical College Library 

The major aims of this centre are to: 

facilitate resource based teaching; 

encourage teachers to produce their own resources applicable 
to the curriculum; 

share these resources with other tea 'hers and colleg s. 


79 84 

Devonpoct TechnicJ^l College — Teacher Aide Centre 

This cfcicre produces materials required by teacher^^ of the 
courses -onducted by the college. 

Tasaar.^dn College of Hospitality, L.R.C. 

This centre provides materials support for the teaching and 
learning programs of the College, 

Launceston Technical College 

Unfortunately no information was provided from this college, 
although it is believed that significant development of learning 
materials does occur. 

One of the features of the organisation and utilisation of 
instructional materials in Tasmanian TAPE colleges has been the 
success of a number of Learning Resource Management Projects. 
These projects, commencing with the Automotive Trades Department 
of Launceston Technical College in 1979, have now been 
implemented in a number of colleges and curriculum areas. 

The broad objectives of these college-based j^rojects have been: 

^o establish a plan to make existing resources more 
accessible and suitable for classroom use; 

to identify those resources used by other colleges (in 
Tasmania and otner States) and to arrange for duplicate 
copies to be made available; 

. to support the production of teacher-made learning materials; 

. to improve routines for library support of the teaching 
department concerned; 

. to prepare lists of resources to match teaching units ffor 
example books, films, tapes, ki.3, etc). 


There is no centralised educational media production facility as 
such for rAFE in Victoria, but some of the larger colleges have 
been assigned a statewide responsibility in particular media 
formats. For example, the Moorabbin College of TAFE provides a 
videotape dubbing service not only to TAPE colleges in Victoria 



but to other educational institutions throughout Australia. The 
dubbing service obtains the copyright release for films suitable 
to support TAPE programs, copies these films onto a master 
videotape and provides copies of these films on videotape for 

The videotape catalogue of more than 500 titles is ^/oduced using 
the Moorabbin College computer which enables continual catalogue 
updating and an updated catalogue on microfiche is distributed to 
dubbing service users throughout Australia free of charge, three 
times a year. 

The Victorian TAPE Board funds the dubbing service operation and 
any user of the service other than a Victorian TAPE college is 
required to pay a service fee of 50 cents per program minute for 
copying. In addition, dubbing service users must bear a portion 
of any copying fee payable to a copyright owner, where this is 

The Audio-visual Department of Moorabbin College of TAPE also 
produces a wide range of t€»levision programs to support TAPE 
courses, for example, during 1983, 30 programs of a high 
standard were produced in ;»reas as diverse as Hairdressing and 
Panelbeating . 

Programs are usually requested by faculty c o- o r d i na t o r s . 
However, requests from individual teachers are also considered 
an' ssessed for their educational value and suitability for 
pLoa icti^n using the medium of television. 

These programs, when completed, are incorporated in the TAPE 
videotape dubbing service, so that they are available to other 
educational institutions throughout Australia. 

Richmond TAPE College offers a similar service to Moorabbin for 
materials produced for Motor Vehicle Studies. The majority of 
these materials are produced at Richmond and include video, 
slide/tape programs and printed materials. 

Preston TAPE College also offers a statew\de service for the 
duplication of slides or slide sets for subsequent distribution 
on a demand basis. 

In addition to these three colleges, there are major production 
units at a number of other TAPE institutions, including Box Hill, 
Collingwood, RMIT, Swinburne and Gordon. 


One of the features of educational media development and 
utilisation in TAFE in Victoria is the number of trained and 
qualified educational technologists working as in str uct iona J 
designers/educational media designer^> and producers. For 
example, at both Richmond and Box Hill there are four 
professional staff involved full time in such activities. 
Further demonstrating the active role of educational 
technologists in TAFE in Victoria is the existence of the 
Victorian Association of Educational Technologists in TAFE 
(VAETT) which aims: 

to promote and provide informed representation to any bodies 
requiring input about Educational Technology in the TAFE 

to provide [a forum] for exchange of information, ideas and 
research regarding learning programs in the TAFE system; 

to provide opportunity for regular communication and 
discussion of common problems concerning Educational 
Technology within TAFE; 

to foster co-operation between individual TAFE colleges in 
the area of Educational Technology; 

to foster co-operation with Education Technologists 
generally and with other interested persons or 
organizations. (VAETT, undated, p. 1), 

This very active group holds regular meetings, workshops and 
conferences and provides an opportunity for an exchange of ideas 
and information. As part of this information sharing, the VAETT 
produces Learning, mater ials in production , which is a regularly 
updated listing of learning materials being developed at a number 
of TAFE institutions within the State and is held in a data bank 
at Frankston College of TAFE. 

Another useful reference tool is R.esc trees in Victorian TAF E 
colleges which is published by the TAFE Board Library. The 
resources listed comprise both print and audio-visual materials 
produced by the contributing colleges. 

Some commeicial materials are also included. Supplements are 
published in May and August of each year and an annual cumulation 
IS compiled at the end of each year. 




Western Australia 

Television facilities at Mount Lawley Technical College are used 
for both training and production. These facilities, staffed by a 
manager and fo^r technical staff, provide a central television 
production and dubbing service to all TAPE colleges throughout 
the State, This service provides 30-50 individual video titles 
each year for individual colleges, curriculum groups and for the 
Technical Extension Service, It also provides a centralised 
audio production and dubbing service. 

Funding and expertise for scripting and other developmental costs 
arj the responsibility of the body requesting production, for 
example, a curriculum group or college. 

The Curriculum Development and Research Section has, as one of 
its aims, the production of official documentation and associated 
teaching materials. It produces a wide range of learning 
resources or arranges to have them produced by Mount Lawley or 
other TAPE colleges, by the Technical Extension .service or by 
contracting to private media producers. It allocates funds for 
learning resource production on a priority basis. 

By far the largest production house in the Western Australian 
system is tne Technical Extension Service which has as its main 
aim the production of learning packages for distance education 
students. Although it produces mainly print materials, it also 
produces slides, audiotapes and videotapes. An interesting 
feature of the Western Australian system is the Technical 
Publication Trust which has been set up to reproduce and market 
instructional mat**rials on a Divisional basis and recovers the 
cost of materials produced by sales to college bookshops. 

All colleges have a library resource centre with facilities for 
the production of a limited range of audio-visual resources. The 
extent and sophistication of these materials depends on the 
priorities of the individual college with regard to the 
development of college-based learning materials. 

At least one staff member responsible for the audio-visual area 
is attached to each LRC to assist teaching staff with audio- 
visual service and, in many cases, college-based productions. 


The accelerating pace of technological cha.ige in recent years has 
rebuited in spectacular achievements in electronics which are 


forming the basis of the new, information-based society. Given 
that the achievements of the next ten years can be expected to be 
even more spectacular, the impact of technological change on 
education will inevitably be far reaching. 

The probable immediate future for educational media, is to be 
found in an extension of current directions, but on an increasing 
scale, as technology and software become cheaper and human 
resources more expensive. Technological developments in areas 
such as micro-electronics, fibre optics and lasers will create 
cheap, mass-produced equipment with the potential to 
revolutionise instructional delivery systems. The micro- 
processor revolution will continue and programmable personal 
computers will become (and are becoming) a& common as personal 

Media saterials production will be simplified by 
cameras recording images digitally rather than on film, 
by voice actuated word processor/photo composition 
systems and by computer graphics, videotape and 
videodisc technology will replace the conventional 16min 
film, and satellite and microwave telecommunications 
will link the remote rural dweller with the inner-city 
in\ 5itant in a single distance learning system. 
(B- A & Kenworthy, 1980, p. 12) 

In th .3 section it is proposed to briefly examine the potential 
impact of some of these technologies on TAPE in the near future. 

Microcomputer g 

Inexpensive, desk-top programmable personal computers are now 
available to undertake sophisticated computer-assisted 
instruction. The instructional modes that can be programmed 

(a) tutorial approach — the computer presents material, asks 
questions to determine assimilation by the student and 
corrects any misunderstanding; 

(b) inquiry approach — the student asks for specific information, 
the computer responds with relevant data; 

(c) dialogue — th* student asks a general question, the computer 
provides a complex answer, leading to further questions by 
the student; 



(d) explanation/interpretation — the computer presents complex 
learning material and responds to general questions. 

Microcomputers are also being coupled to other learning 'devices, 
such as TV sets, video and audio cassette playback unitS/ 
videodiscs, or slide/tape packages, to provide an integrated 
learning system. Using this type of instruction, many different 
computer programs and data sets are being produced, distributed, 
and plugged into computers as needed. 

An even greater impact can be expected from the pocket teachin9 
computer now under development. In the view of Evans (1979) 
these pocket computers, no larger than the average pocket 
calculator, and selling at approximately the same price: 

, * . will, in the course of the 1980s, transform the 
educational system and at the same time create a new 
industry to capitalise on this development. Pocket 
calulators . . are very important straws m the wind, 
and the speed with which they have swept through the 
Western school system — while educationalists are still 
standing around uneasiiy musing whether they are a good 
thing or not — is an indication of the shape of things 
to come. (p. 119) 

The flexibility of the new generation of computers, large or 
small, IS, says Evans, virtually infinite, and the range of tasks 
they can perform is limited only by the range of program? which 
can be written for them. The implication for TAFE is that t is 
necessary to identify now those areas in which computer-aided 
learning can be most efficiently and effectively introduced. 

Interactive video 

Although educational television has proved a valuable resource 
for education over a number of years primarily for its usefulness 
as a mass communications device, its effectiveness as a 
presentation medium meeting the specific requirements of 
individual learners has been somewhat limited. However, 

. . . new developments in television recording 
technology ace beginning to make possible a more 
learner-oriented approach to the use of television as 
an instructional medium, by allowing the prospect of a 
marked degree of 'interactivity* between viewer and 
programs, which at the limit will represent a totally 
individual experience for each person. (Duke, 1983, 
p. 12) 

ERIC 90 

In a study sponsored by the Council for Educational Technology in 
the U.K. in 1983, Duke also reports that: 

. . . the convergence of con^puter and video-recording 
technologies has now reached a stage where it is 
possible by computer control of a videotape player to 
obtain sufficient random access to recorded sequence to 
utilize these as active components of an individualized 
learning scheme. Moreover, the emerging videodisc 
technology promises more important freedom to present 
high quality nr^ving and still pictures in rapid random- 
access, or in slow motion, with great flexibility, 
under computer-guided sequencing. The advent of the 
V ideodisc, telev isi on's equivalent to tne long-piay ing 
gramophone record, at last appears to release the 
television programme from the linear sequential format 
it inherited from the motion film; offers opportunities 
for constructive symoiosis between the computing and 
television worlds; and holds out to the educational 
technologist an exciting new component with which to 
construct interactive, individualized learning systems. 

Videotex is the generic term embracing broadcast teletext 
information and viewdata information transmitted along telephone 
networks. Teletext services broadcast coded 'pages' of written 
or simple graphic information inserted into the vertical image of 
the television program signal. The information is displayed on 
the screen of a normal television receivei using a special 
decoder . 

Teletex was originally developed by the British Broadcasting 
Corporation in 1971. Since then, both the BBC and ITV have 
developed teletex services (known as *Ceefax' and 'Oracle* 
respectively) offering up-to-date news, sports, weather and a 
wide range of other information services. Duke (1983) writes 
that . . . 'Broadcast teletext can also be used to carry 
computer programs. Special 'intelligent* television terminals 
are required to capture and decode the signals from the specially 
compiled master program and dump these into a cassette recorder* 
The BBC/Acorn microcomputer can also be adapted to receive 
programs broadcast over the BBC Ceefax Service. Viewdata is a 
comparable type of information service carried over telephone 
lines for which the user pays local call rates and a page charge. 
Unlike teletext, it is a two way system and the user is able to 

(p. 13) 




interrogate the data base by means of a key pad to obtain a 
specific Item of information. It offers a virtually unlimited 
number of information pages, determined solely by the capacity of 
the computers supporting the service. 

Probably the best known viewdata system is PRESTEL, developed by 
the British Post Office and now operating widely throughout the 
United Kingdom. Privately owned computers can be connected to 
the PRESTEL network utilising 'gateway' techniques, thus enabling 
subscribers to gain access to a number of database sources. 

In Canada the Federal Department of Communications has developed 
a highly sophisticated screened-data system known as 'Telidon*, 
which combines alpha-numer ic text with an advanced graphics 
capability. The availability of sophisticated graphics offered 
by systems such as Teiidon provides particular opportunity for 
educational applications in such areas as: illustrations in 
mathematics, science and technical subjects; comparative charts 
in economics and statistics; maps and profiles in geography and 
surveying; drawings and cartoons in adult literacy, and others. 

Screened data systems are becoming established in Australia, such 
as the Elders and the Westpac commercial systems, and Telecom's 
Viatel service begun in February 1985, while the Educational 
Techology Centre has been engaged In trials for the past year. 

Possible educational applications which TAFE could make of 
screened-data systems include: 

as a replacement or alternative to conventional print 
activities, including an evaluation of the efficiency of 
electronic publication of specialised material: 

as a 24-Lour information and retrieval system, releasing the 
learner from the restriction of college schedules; 

1 computer-assisted and computer-managed learning; 

as a means f distributing career information. 

Satellite co—unications 

Australia's National Communications Satellite System (NCSS) is 
likely to become operational m late 1985. The system will 
provide a medium through which a number of communications 
technologies will be able to operate. 

ERJC " 92 

with the advent of the satellite system the Homestead and 
Community Broadcasting Satellite System (HACBSS) will allow 
direct broadcasting to remote areas of Australia. In addition to 
oroadcasting services it will bring telephone and communications 
links to areas of Australia which are currently underserved. 
A Commonwealth/State Advisory Committee on the educational use of 
communications technology was established in 1982 to recommend a 
balanced program of trials in the educational use of 
communications technology. The Department of Education and Youth 
Affairs chairs and services this Committee, which has members 
representing education authorities from all States and 
Territories, and consultant members from the university, college 
and TAFE sectors. 

The program of trials is intended to demonstrate ways 
of improving existing education services as well as 
developing new services which exploit the special 
features of communications technology. The emphasis is 
on the use of technology for educational purposes, 
rather than the technical trialling of equipment* 
Trials in the field of distance education at all 
educational levels clearly are of major importance, but 
the Aivisory Committee sees merit in considering other 
potential educational uses in areas such as 
facilitation of system administration, distribution of 
teaching materials and resources, and campus linking 
for teaching purposes to provide balance in the 
program. (Advisory Committee on the Educational Use of 
Communications "technology, 1983, p* 1). 

The Committee is liaising with appropriate communications 
authorities and organisations, including those developing the 
Australian domestic satellite system and has appointed a 
Communication Planning Task Force to plan for the educational use 
of AUSSAT (the Australian satellite). 

Satellite communications, toqether with other communications 
technologies, offer the potential to deliver TAFE programs to 
students in remote areas at both trade and non-trade levels and 
to assist in providing other formal and non-formal forms of post- 
secondary education. 

Despite this, TAPE Authorities have generally done very little in 
planning or in conducting trials for the future use of such 
technologies. If it is accepted that future teaching and 
learning methods will undergo far-reaching changes through the 
use of modern technology, the existing technologies described 



above represent only the first wave of this technological change, 
which If properly applied, has the potential to bring about a 
significant improvement in the quality of education. 


Since this review was written the Victorian TAFE Board has 
approved the first phase of a significant initiative involving 
the educational use of the new technologies. 

This initiative will explore the potential of 
telematics to assist in the provision of learning 
programs to identified groups, and will develop 
strategies for further initiatives (Victorian TAFE 
Board, 1984, p, l) 

In an unpublished paper, TAFE and Tele mat;j_r^ (1984, p. 1) the 
term Telematics is defined as 

• . . a generic term for all electronically based 
communication systems—for example, recorded and 
broadcast audio and video, computers, videotex, 
telephones and sa t e 1 1 i te s— a 1 1 of which have 
considerable potential for application in education. 

The Victorian TAFE Off-Campus Network (TOCN) has been funded to 
carry out the first phase of this project which will 

. identify and assess related activities and resources in TAFE 
and in other sectors of education 

. identify an appropriate course of study 

select the target markets 

. determine the telematxc modes to be used 

. develop evaluation criteria. (Victorian TAFE Board, 1984, 
P- 3) 

Er|c 94 


Advisory Committee on the Educational use of Com m unications 
Technology . (1983). Unpublished paper, Canberra: 
Department of Education and Youth Affairs. 

Australian Society of Educational Technology, (1985). National 
Consti tution . Adelaide. 

Brown, A. J., & Kenworthy, B. R. (1 980). A£e1 i c a t j,on s .of 

educational technology in TAFE . SuDmission to the Enquiry 
into Education in South Australia. Occasional Paper Number 
10. Adelaide: Department of Further Education. (TAFE 
Document No. TD 325). 

Brown, A. J., Kenworthy, B. R-, & Davies, A. ( 1 9 8 2 ). The 
provision, organisation and utilisation of learning 
resources in TAFE colleges . A report on an investigation 
supported by the Evaluative Studies Steering Committee of 
the Tertiary Education Commission. Adelaide: Department of 
Technical and Further Education. (TAFE Document No. TD 
796) . 

Duke, J. (1983). I nteractive video: Implications for e ducation 
and training . Working Paper 22. London: Council for 
Educational Technology. 

Evans, C. (1979). The mighty micro: The impact of t he computer 
revolution . London: Go 1 lane 2. 

National TAFE Clearinghouse (1982). Initiative s in technical and 
further education . No. 4. Adelaide: TAFE National Centre 
for Research and Development. 

TAFE Board Library. Resources m Victorian tafe colleges. 
Melbourne: TAFE Board Victoria. Series. 

Victorian Association of Educational Technologists in TAFE. 
Constitution . Melbourne. 

Victorian Association of Education Technologists in TAFE. 
Learning materials in production . Melbourne. Series. 

Victoria TAFE Board. (1984). TAFE and t elematics. Unpublished 
paper . 



The author wishes to thank his BLMR colleagues Norm 
Fisher, Fewer Scherer, Bill Merrilees, Lynne Williams 
and Allan Stretton for helpful comments on this paper. 
The responsibility for interpretation and all remaining 
errors are the author's. 


In the last few years, some authors have dis^'ussed the issue of 
supply and demand for t rade spe r son s , in particular the DOLAC 
Report (1980), Richardson (1981), Merrilees (1982), Wallace 
(1982), DOLAC Working Group Q983). One important result to 
emerge from these studies is the central importance of movement 
out of the trade as an element in the calculations. ^Replacement 
demand' or 'wastage' in many cases was found to be the dominant 
component of demand. Notwithstanding the importance of movement 
out of trade there is still a lack of good information on this 
issue as well as on other aspects of the careers of 
tradesper sons. More recencly, a number of studies has been 
completed which addiess the issue of wastage from trade and, to a 
varying degree, the theme of career paths of tradespersons. 

Information on career paths, and the movement out of trade in 
particular, is important in forecasting supply and demand but the 
significance goes deeper. Career movements of tradespersons have 
iipplica t ion s for education and training, and therefore for 
educational authorities, employers and governments. There are 
many issues relevant to policy which analysis of career paths 
helps in clarifying. For example, knowledge of the extent of 
movement out of trade, the occupations moved to and the reasons 
for the movement c: n aid in assessing whether trade training is 
being used efficiently both from a personal and social viewpoint, 
whether thare is a need to offer more direct training for 
occupations that tradespeople move to, and what may be the best 
and most efficient ways to effect the outward flow from the 
trades, if this is considered desirable. 



The particular aspects of career path of most interest from a 
labour market perspective are the use made of trade skills and 
human capital accumulated during training and how far this 
training forms the first stage in a career-long accumulation of 
related skills. These issues can be addressed by an analysis of 
the job and training history of individuals, or, at the very 
least, of gross flows. 

However, a tradesperson will generally hold several jobs during a 
working life--in and out of trade, and at differing levels — and 
not necessarily in a systematic progression. This complicates 
career path analysis, but insights can be gained by concentrating 
on the major aspects of career path, and, for thii purpose, 
relatively simple ^flow analysis is an adequate methodology. The 
available sources of information essent^^ally provide data which 
are suitable for this type of analysis only, although oome 
sources hold data on career path which could be analysed in 
greater detail. 

This review collates systematically the information from several 
sources on three major aspects of career path of tradesper sons: 
the time spent in trade, the destination of those who leave, and 
the motives for doing so. Furthermore, given restrictior. imposed 
by available data, the review deals only with the career path 
after completion of training for apprenticed tradesper sons. 


The main sources of information are surveys of tradesper sons and 
census data, all of which have been undertaken within the last 
four years but with different coverage of regions, trades and 
time period. Two surveys have covered most traaes nationally, 
namely Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (1982), and National 
Training Council (NTC) (1983). other surveys have restricted 
attention to individual States and particular trades; the main 
analyses include the NTC (1983) survey of apprenticed 
tradespeople, Queensland Industry and Commerce Training 
Commission ( ICTC) (1983), NSW TAPE (1983), and Hocking and Burns 
(1980). Several other more restrictive sources, have been of some 
help for this review, but of lesser importance. While the two 
national studies have covered tradespeople who had graduated up 
to 40 years before the survey, the State studies surveyed 
tradespeople who had completed courses some 2 to 10 years before 
the survey. A description of all sources is presented in Appendix 


Further differences between the studies concern sample size. The 
ABS national survey covered almost 4,000 tradespersons, but other 
studies have been much smaller: tor example, the Hocking and 
Burns Tasroanian study and the NSW TAPE study covered only 109 and 
82 persons respectively. These differences should be kept in mind 
when considering results from these various sources. 

Two studies currently in progress, and due to report in the next 
year or so will oe of considerable importance for detailed 
analysis of career path. These are the Centre for Research in 
Education and work study for the NSW Council of TaFE on retention 
of tradespeople in their trade, and the study by the National 
Training Council of apprentices, in two States, one year after 
comple t ion. 


The first major aspect of career path is the extent to which 
trade qualified persons spend time working as a t r a<f e spe r son. 
Three main career groups can be identified: persons who never 
work as a tradesperson after completing an apprenticeship, those 
who will always work as a tradesperson, and those who spend only 
part of their working life as a tradesperson. The survey 
conducted by the ABS in 19S2 (see Table 1) indicates that these 
groups represent approximately 6 per cent, 37 per cent and 53 per 
cent of the to»-al respectively. 

Thosr who spend only part of their working life as a tradesperson 
may do so in one long continuous span or in several spans 
interspersed with work outside the trade, while for the first 
group there is a precise notion of the career span spent as 
a tradesperson, the span is less precise for the latter group. 
Thus It is important to document not only the time spent as a 
tradesperson, but whether this is continuous or not. The 
information on this latter aspect is not readily available but 
there is some information on the frequency or quantity of changes 
between trade and non-trade jobs. The first task of Section 6.4 
of the review is to discuss job changing and time spent as a 

The second major aipect of career paths is the destination of 
trade qualified persons on leaving a job as a tradesperson. In 
particular, the relevant question is whether such movements are 
to trade-related or to non -trade-re lated jobs. This is an 
important indication of how far acquired skills are being 
utilised. AS a consequence, it is natural to inquire into the 
motivation for such movements. This aspect is covered in Seccun 
6.5 while the former aspects are dealt with in Section 6.4, 



Year of Qualification 

Trade Pre 1940 1940 1950 1960 i970 1980 All 

Status -49 -59 -69 -79 -82 Years 

Never worked as 

a tradesperson 6.9 5*9 

Never had a break 
of at least one 

year from trade - 36.9 
Had one or more 

breaks from trade 93.1 57,2 

All Persons 100.0 100.0 

J 7.7 5.3 8.8 6.4 

38.3 40.4 53.5 73.1 <7.2 

56.5 51.9 41.2 18,1 46.4 

100.0 100.0 l'*0.0 100.0 100.0 

Source: ABS: Career Paths of Persons with frade Qualifications, 
Australia, September to November 1982 (Preliminary), 
(Cat. HO. 6424.0) 

<::areer path patterns 

Job changing among trade qualified persons 

Early career of traae qualified persons . The ACER (1983) surveys 
indicate that about 32 per cent of persons in the sample, on 
completion of apprenticeship training, had not gone to a skilled 
manual occupation,^ (about one quarter had taken a white collar 
job and two thirds semi-skilled or unskilled jobs). The NTC 
study, on the other hand, showed that 18 per cent of these first 
jobs had not been m the trade, although only half were not 
trade-related. The difference between these two estimates may be 
due to the differences in periods and trades covered, but this 
notwithstanding, the estimates indicate that a surprisingly high 
proportion of persons completing apprenticships — one in five to 
one m three do not start in trade. 2#3 


However, within only a short time, most of these apprenticeship 
graduates come back to work as t r ad espe r son s. Thus, the ABS 
survey data, as shown m Table 1, indicates that by the third 
year after completion, only 8.5 per cent had not worked as a 
tradesperson. This is a very significant decrease in the 
percentage from some 18 to 32 per cent who do not start as 
tradespersons to 8.5 per cent who have not yet worked as a 
tradesperson three years later, ^ This percentage can be expected 
to fall slightly further m later years again as more trade 
qualified persons take ^obs as tradespersons. but there is 
probably some 5 or 6 per cent who never work as tradespersons. In 
fact, Table 1 suggests that ail those who are ever going to 
work in trade will start a job as j tradesperson within the first 
13 years after apprenticeship completion as the percentage of 
those who never worked in trade is almost constant- thereafter. 

One important is^ue of interpretation should be noted. The ABS 
survey referred to above does not provide the career paths of a 
single cohort, such as the cohort of graduates from 40 years or 
so. Consequently, the career path changes noted above are not 
actually observed, as would occur if a single cohort were 
followed through, but rather are inferred. However, provided that 
there were no differences in the average personal and labour 
market characteristics of the individuals ov^r time, the career 
path inferred would be reasonably similar to that observed, 
except for the impact of external factors, such as labour market 
conditions and social attitudes, which do change over time. For 
example, the career pattern inferred for the first three years 
after graduation from the ABS survey are those of the post-1980 
graduates but this pattern would be expected to differ from that 
of the 1970 or 1940 graduates. It would be desirable ij separate 
out the constant career path elements from the variations flowing 
from the labour market and social attitudes, but the data (and 
analysis to date) do not permit such sophistication. This 
construction of a ♦synthetic cohort* from data at a point n 
time, however, is the technique that is used by demographers in 
constructing aggregate measure of mortality, for example. 

These r^eflections on the A3S survey data also apply to other 
surveys , and this should be borne in mind in the interpretation 
of the data. However, for our purposes the data are taken to 
provide a reasonably accurate picture and it will be -onvenie. . 
to refer to the situation of those who qualified 10 years ago 
(say) as the typical experience 10 years after graduation. 

Job changing in the later career of trade Qualified persons . The 
evidence points to considerable job changing after the first 

phase of the career of trade qualified persons. The NTC survey 
showed that in the first 10 years after completion of an 
apprenticeship, half the individuals had held three jobs and 
about one fiilth had held more than five jobs. Job mobility was 
greater in the building trade group, especially after the third 
job, than in the metal trade group. 

The Queensland ICTC (1983) survey indicates an even greater 
degree of job mobility; for exa-nple, people had held four jobs on 
average in the first 10 years after completing an apprenticeship. 
More interestingly, the greatest mobility seems to be in the 
earlier years, so that individuals had held 2.6 jobs in the first 
2 years, 3.4 in the first 5 years and 4.0 in the first 10 years. 

Separation of job changes into the categories in and out of 
trade, provides an interesting pattern. The ICTC survey indicates 
that the 30b changes are divided as shown in Table 2. 



Years after Total Jobs in Jobs not Jobs not in trade 
graduation jobs trade in trade as a % of total job 

2 2.6 1.9 0.7 27.0 

5 3.4 2.6 0,8 23.5 

10 4.0 2.9 1.1 27.5 

Source: Queensland ICTC (1981) 

That is, non-trade jobs are most important m the first 2 years, 
less so in the neKt 3 years, and again significant in the span 5 
to 10 years after completion.^ 

The NTC survey confirms this general pattern and provides more 
detailed job histories. The movement out of crade is quite high 
for the first and second job change, decreasing considerably 
thereafter, while for the first two job changes the movement out 
of trade exceeds the return to trade, these offsetting movements 

are about equal by the fourth 30b. Interestingly, the NTC survey 
found that almost a third of trade apprenticed tradespeople who 
had started in a 30b out of trade returned to the trade for the 
second 30b, as did aboul a quarter of those in trade-related 

These net movement statistics certainly indicate the possibility 
of continuous movements in and out of trade, but nor.e of the data 
sources actually document individual 30b changing habits. It is 
thus not possible to identify whether these changes are duG to a 
few individuals making many moves or whether changing is more 
widely spread. 

Time spent in trade 

This discussion indicates that useful measures of time in trade 
would include not simply the time until trade is finally 
abando.»3d, but also the sum total of time in trade jobs and the 
time to the first braak from trade. The ABS survey is the only 
source which 'ran provide information on the latter aspect, while 
no other source provides information direct ly on the first two 

The published information from the ABS survey, as presented in 
Table 1, indicates that just over a quarter of trade qualified 
persons have their first break, of a year or more, from trade 
withm the first 3 years, a further 20 per cent in the next 10 
years and 13 per cent in the 10 years after that.*^ Individuals do 
not seem to break from trade after 20 years, if they had not 
already done so before. 

The available information, while not able to suggest how long 
people stay in trade before they abandon it, does indicate 
indirectly how much total time individuals spend working in 
trade. A profile of the proportion a given cohort still in 
trade, provides the basis for estimates of average or net length 
of time spent in trade, althouqhthis may not be continuous . 

The census data, as presente'^ in Table 2, show that the 
proportion in trade decreases more or less equally between the 
age groups 15-19 and 20-24 and between 20-24 and 25-34, and 
thereafter the proportion is essentially constant.^ The average 
time spent in trade can be calculated as almost 23 years, 
although about 4S per cent spend less than 10 years in trade. 

Table 3 presents the evidence on the proportion of trade 
qualified persons working as a tradesperson from the five main 
surveys. The information ^rom the census, the ABS and the NTC 


(omnibus) surveys are quite comparable in terms of coverage and 
the results are encouragingly similar*^ 

These differ somewhat from those of the other surveys, but this 
is not altogether sur->rising, given the differences in geographic 
coverage, trade, and age groups. A significant difference exists, 
for example, in the estimated proportion holding a trade 30b 
after ten years between the surveys conducted in Queensland and 
Tasmania, and the national surveys and the NSW survey — the former 
estimates are low^r. The study by Broom et al. (1980) also shows 
that just over half of those who had started as skilled manual 
workers were still so employed 10 years later. 

A useful way to condense this information is by calculating a 
'wastage rato\ Given the preceding discussion on job changes, it 
is clear that the usual notion of a wastage rate as an 
abandonment of trade is inappropriate and that a wastage rate in 
terras of a loss rate from potential tradespeople-hours is a more 
useful concept. Th2 census, the ABS and NTC survey imply a 
wastage rate of about 5 to 6 per cent p. a. over the first ten 
years after completion of an apprenticeship, and a long-term rate 
{over 40 years) of about 1.5 per cent p. a. 

There are differences between trade groups in the proportion 
working as a tradesperson with increasing age. The census 
provides the only detailed long-term information, and this shows 
that among the major trade groups, electrical trades have a 
higher proportion in trade in each age group, by as much as 10 
percentage points in some cases, than either the metal or 
building group, which are themselves quite similar. This may 
partly reflect the fortunes of the related industries during the 
last 20 years or so, but "generally these results are not 

Are tradespersons more occupationally mobile than other workers? 
The data from Williams (1979 and 1980) suggests that skilled blue 
collar (building) and skilled blue collar (other) (this excludes 
metal, electrical and building skilled workers but includes all 
other skilled workers) had higher overall rates of occupational 
mobility in the 12 months prior to November 1972 ard 1975 than 
workers in other major occupational groups. On the other hand, 
♦^here was also considerable movement into these occupations and 
the net outflow was only slightly more than for other 
occupations* Indeed, the net outflow was greatest for the skilled 
bl'ie collar (metal and electrical) occupation group. 






Not work ing in tr ade 


Year of 

Work mg 





(and survey 

corople t ion 



us mg 








tra in ing 

sk i lis 


or Years 

per son 



comple t ed 

urn/-**' # n Q Q 1 \ 

1 7 / J - / 7 





43. 6 




















hBS^ (1982) 

Before 1940 





6. 9 










48 . 9 

16. 6 












63 . 4 













T ^ / 1 Q D 1 \ 
iv- IL ( i 70i } 



. 5 

66. 4 









NSW TAFE (1980) 








i (1980) 



1958 -59 , 

















1 Category includes trade related occupations ds well as 
managerial and supervisory positions. 

2 Residual covers 'no occupation*; the first set (Part I) of 
results refers to the omnibus survey and the second (Part 
II) to the mtarview survey. 

3 Residual is unemployed. The percentages are of those in the 
labour force at the time of the sarvey. 

4 Residual is unemployed, incapacitated, student, no response. 

5 First set of figures refers to the fitting and machining 
trade and the second to carpentry and 3oinery. 

These higher rates can be partly explained by two factors^ as 
noted by Williams (1979). Firstly, by the overlap in the 
IMPACT occupational classification in the skilled and seni- 
skilled blue collar areas. Secondly by the subdued labour markec 
conditions in 1972 and particularly 1975, which particularly 
affected the employment of building tradespeople and to a lesser 
extent that of other trade groups. 




Qualification 15-19 20-24 25-34 3S-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Total 

Trade - 


















e lectr ical 


































bu I Id ing 

















pr int mg 

















c loth mg 


































Source: 8LMR analysis of 1976 census matrix tape MTX22. 


What is the direction of ■ovenents out of trade ? 

As trade qualified persons do take jobs out-of-trade it is 
important to ask: what are the occupations of non-trade jobs, are 
these trade-related or r.ot, and what is the direction of these 





1 5 






3 5- 










. 5 














Techr ic lan 


. 4 


. 8 


. 5 







0 . 



Admin istrat I ve 
















Di rectors 


. 1 















. U 




. 6 




. 4 


. 9 




Cler Lcal 















































Workers in 

transpor t , 

commun ica t ions 
















Same trade 
















Other trades 
















3emi-sk i 1 led 
































Service, Spo. t 













7 . 



Armed Services 












Inadequa te ly 
















descr ibed 
















Source: BLMR analysis of 1976 census matrix tape MTX22, 


1 tin 
-I V u 

Occupations of persons out of tr ade> Available survey data 

generally do not identify the actual occupations of those trade 

qualified persons who have taken an out-oC-trade 30b. In the NSW 

TAPE study such persons were found to be employed in a number 0£ 

different occupations, from truck driver to policeman and 

ironworker. The census provides the most useful data in this 

respect. Table 5 indicaces that trade qualified persons were 

employed in occupations as diverse as prof e ? s ional /techn ica 1, 

administrative/managerial, sales, clerical and service, sport and 

recreation. The census also confirmed what many have expected: 

that trade qualified persons are more dispersed across the 

occupational ranie than persons with any other form of 

qua 1 1 f ica t ion . 

^re these occupations t r ad e - r e la t ed ? The information on 
occupations, especially at the broad level, does net indicate 
whether trade skills are still being used even if only in part. 
The NTC survey employed an occupational c lass i f ica t ior which is 
more useful for exdmining occupational change by trade qualified 
persons. Essentially, the movements away from being an employee 
tradesperson can be categorised as: 

working in trade but in self employment or as an employer; 

promotion to hiv-jher status within trade (e.g. foreman); 

promotion to higher status occupations in same broad 
occupation category in which trade skills are still 
important e.g. technician, manager; 

movement to an occupational area related to trade, e.g. 
engineering, salesman, trade teacher, government inspector; 

movement to another occupation where trade skills are 
irrelevant, e.g. truck driver, policeman, clerk. 

The firat three movements are generally labelled, in broad terms 
as being in-trade, the fourth as t r ade-r e ^ated and the fifth as 
out of trade. 

Table 4 indicates that a large proportion of persons not actually 
working in trade are still using their trade skills. For example, 
the NTC, ABS and ICTC surveys indicate that only some 15 to 23 
per cent of those who had completed trade qualifications in the 
10 years prior to the surveys were not using trade skills in some 
way. That is, about as many were working in trade related jobs as 
were employed as tradespersons.^^ ' ^ ^ 



In Table 3, an estimate was presented of wastage from trade work 
but an alternative measure is the wastage from use of some trade 
skills. Thus, over the first 10 years after completion of an 
apprenticeship, the wastage rate in the *use of trade skills* is 
only between 3 and 4 per cent p. a. (compared to 5 to 6 per cent 
for working as a tradesperson) while over the 30 yearshorizon it 
IS only about 1.5 to 2 per cent p. a. 

What IS the direction of these movements ? Some movements can be 
considered to be occupational advances such as promotion within 
the trade or to higher status positions in the same occupation 
category, e.g to foreman or technician positions. Other movements 
are, in effect, made sideways, while some are even occupational 
regression, e.g. to semi-skilled or unskilled positions. While 
promotion and lateral movements, especially to self employment, 
suggest pL!ll factors were the main motivation, the movements 
sideways, and downwards seem to indicate push, rather than pull 
factors, at work. These motivation!, will be considered in the 
next section. 

Table 5 presents census data on occupation of trade qualified 
persons at various ages. The recognisable regression into semi- 
skilled and unskilled positions represent about 11 per cent of 
total, at all ages, indicating that this movement is generally 
well established from the earliest years of the trade careers. 

The advance and lateral movements within the trade me-it farther 
analysis: they a'-e numerically the most significant^^ and ars a 
kind of career progression. The movements which are discussed 
here are those to supervisory (foreman, manager) and technjcian 
positions, and those to self employment. 

Some broad indication or importance of these movements are 

available from Table 6. Th*^ tirst point to note, from the ICTC 
and NTO surveys, is that the major movements to supervisory 
positions and to self employment occur in the first 10 years. The 
transition to supervisory positions continues for many years 
after but at a slower rate, but the movement to self employment 
essentially stops after the first 10 years (at least in net 
terms). The movement to technician or post trade level 
positions IS of lesser significance and less than might be 
expected. Even 10 years after completion of trade training only 
4.5% of individuals had gone to technician positions (see Table 
6), and this percentage seems to remain constant thereafter (see 
Table 3). There are clearly differences in movements between 
trades, but these cannot be explored with the available data. 
Some further points about these movements are presented below. 



TABL£ 6 



(a) NTC Survey 










I / • 


Proraofid in trade 






Self sitployed/Employer 






Trade related 






Out of trade 






Administra t ion/Sales 






Mana^jer ial/Supervisory 






Self -employment 












Public servant 






No present occupation 

3. z 











(b) ICTC study 

Occupation/Area of work 












Super visor /Foreman 





. 5 

Technician/Post- trade 





. 5 

Other, requiring trade skills 






Not requiring trade skills 






Trade based Self employed/Employer 






Non-trad* based Self employment/ 





















The pattern that emerges from the ICTC and NTC studi**s is that 
about 12% of trade qualified persons are promoted to 
fore m an/supervisor positions in the first 10 years or so after 
completing an apprenticeship and that this proportion rises 
steadily during this p**r lod. The proportion increases "hereafter 
so that after 20 years about one in six trade qualified persons 
IS at foreman or supervisory level. 

0!® Jll-tO-t echn_ic i_an_£OS_i t does not seem to be as 

Significant an avenue of advance for trade qualified persons as 

would be expected. This result, derived from the Queensland 

survey could understate the movement for a number of reasons, but 

the limited evidence from other sources tends to confirm the 

1 8 

broad .nature of these findings. Ir - 3restingly, Ihe ICTC survey 
suggests that over half of those working as technicians some ten 
years after completion of t ^de training had started in a 
technician position within tw years after completing trade 
training. Although unconfirmed, it is quite possible that 
movement to technician positions is an intermediate step to a 
management position later on. 

Self employment for tradespersons is an iniportant career option. 

The census data show that self - .-^ployment is far more likely 

among trade qualified persons than among those with any other 
1 9 f icat ions. Furthermore, census data, presented in Table 7, 
show that the proportion in self employment at first incteases 
with age, particularly in the age groups 20-24 and ?5-34, but 
then peaks in the age group 35-44 and thereafter decreases, until 
most employees retire at 65. This pattern is confirmed by the 
results from the NTC and ICTC studies in Table 8, (Although the 
ICTC study shows more self employed within the first ten years, 
this may reflect differences in trades covered. Overall, some 
15% of trade qualified persons are working as a self employed 
tradesperson within ten years of completing an apprenticeship. 

There are significant differences between trade groups, as is 
indicated in Table 7. For example about a third of all building 
tradespeople a*.e in self employment {or employ others) by the age 
of 25-34. The ICTC study indicates that this proportion is 
greater among bricklayers and plumbers and lower among painters 
and decorators. In the other major trade groups, self employment 
IS considerable i" the motor tradt, bu*- relatively low in the 
electrical and metal trade groups. 

The ICTC stuuy suggests that, apart . - employment in the 

trade, self employment outside the ttuci. also important. The 
first movement to self employment seem'S to be within the trade 

10 5 


but later movements to self employment include a fair proportion 
to non-trade businesses. Thus, for example, after ten years, 22.7 
per cent of the Queensland sample were in self employment but 
3ust 15 per cent were in a trade based business, compared with 
the situation after two years m which 13.6 per cent were in self 
employment with 10.2 per cent in a trade based business. 




Occupation Age 

15-19 20-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-60 65+ Total 

Trade - 


















e lec tr ical 


































bu i Id mg 

















c loth ing 

















pr mt ing 






























20 . 




> total 

















u -trade 













1 1 . 




Source: BLMR analysis of 1976 matrix tape MTX21. 

Note s : 

1. This table refprs to persons who are employed m trade 
occupations. Hence it includes those who report trade 
qualifications as well as those who do not report trade 
qualifications. It was not possible from the matrix tapes 
available to cross classify occupation, qualifications and 
occupations status at a sufficiently detaile-^ level for the 
ana lysis . 


111 106 

Tmhz 8 



Source (and year 
of Survey) 

Year of 
compiet ion 
of training 

Wor k ing 

in trade as 




NTC (1981) 












ICTC (1981) 







Further training 

Advance to supervisory and technician positions iray be expected 
to be associated with further training but unfortunately 
information on this aspect is quite limited. Tne NTC pilot survey 
askea persons to state what additional qualifications had been 
obtained but these results have not been analysed. The ICTC study 
noted whether further study had been undertaken. This indicates 
that withm two years of completion of trade training, 29.0 per 
cent of tr adespe r sons had taken some further training, the 
percentage rising to 30.9 per cent after five years and 40.3 per 
cent after ten years. This percentage was highest among those 
currently working as technicians, but as these are only a small 
proportion of the sample (less than 5 per cent), considerable 
further training must also be undertaken by those not working as 
technicians and particularly by those in or aiming for 
supervisory and managerial positions. It would be desirable, of 
course, to have greater breakdowns of the training, at least by 
type and by occupation (current and expected) of those 
undertaking it, and the current trades study by CREW for the NSW 
Council of TAFE will meet this need. 





The reasons why some t r a d e s p e r s o n s advance to 
managerial/supervisory or technician positions, or iateraiiy to 
se i f -e mp ioy men t in the trade, are not too difficult to 
conjecture. Overall, these jobs offer better pay and more 
rewarding or varied work with the possibility of continual 
improvement. It is not as reasonable to conjecture about 
regression to trade-related or non trade-related jobs. This is, 
nevertheless, an important issue and all surveys of career paths 
have included questions on reasons for leaving the trade. 

Table 9 ummarises the evidence from the surveys. Basically, 
better pay and/or working conditions and the opportunity for 
improvement in the alternative job are the reasons most commonly 
given for leaving the trade. Unfortunately, it is generally not 
possible to differentiate the reasons given by tnose who had left 
to advance from those who moved laterally or regressed. 
Nonetheless some insights can be gained. 

The ABS survey provides the clearest evidence. Persons advancing 

2 2 

to managerial/supervisory positions generally indicated 

promotion as the main reason for leaving work as a t radespe r son, 

with seeking better pay/security as the second most important 

reason, although the difference between these two reasons in such 

cases is quite blurred. On the other hand, for those who moved to 

jobs where trade skills were not being used, the mam reasons 

giveii were seeking more pay and, quite simply, wanting a change. 

On the other hand, a significant minority (12.01) indicated that 

being laid off and decline of trade were the main reasons; that 


is, they were pushed out. 

The reasons for leaving the uirade given by persons who eventually 
returned to work as t r ade spe r son s were also quite interesting. 
The main reason was 'wanting a change', but the next most 
important reason was 'seeking more pay/security'. Given that 
these people eventually returned to trade, this may indicate a 
certain propensity among t r ade spe r son s to seek short term 
benefits outside the trade with the knowledge that they can 
return to the trade at a later stage. 

The NTC and the ICTC studies broadly confirm the central 
ir.portance of pa/ in the decisions to leave the trade. The NSW 
TAFE study on fitters and turners provides some additional 
(secondary) reasons, nanely 'lack of promotional opportunity' and 
'loss of interest in the trade' but managers and supervisors who 
had been interviewed as part of the study were of the view that 



*lack of margin for skill* ^as t^e prme reason. The Hocking and 
Burns (1980) study £ound thit wacjes and job satisfaction were the 
principal reasons, although many fitters and turners also 
indicated their dislike of dirty working conditions and 
repetitive work while carpenters emphasised job security. 

A survey conducted by the ABS between February and May, 1979, on 
working conditions noted that trade qualified persons ^ere the 
least satisfied workers with regard to pay, and pay was desired 
as an improvement by a significantly greater proportion of trade 
qualiLied persons than by any other qualification group. 

Finally, it should be noted that the seeds of the decision to 
leave trade may form well before completion of apprenticeship. 
Suporting this notion are the results from the NSW TAFE study. 

This found that some 45 per cent of Stage III apprentices claimed 
that they expected to leave the trade within a few years of 
completion, and that for about half of the sample of tradesmen 
and students interviewed, fitting and turning was not the 
preferred career choice; for about half of them, another trade 
was preferred. 

What v^ould induce trade qualified persons currently not working 
as a tradesperson to return to the trade? The NTC study asked 
this question of persons who had completed training within the 
last 10 years, and perhaps not surprisingly, the most desired 
incentive was better pay, with better work conditions (including 
shorter hours) and job security the next most important 
incentives. Nevertheless, about one quarter indicated that no 
incentive would be adequate and one-fifth were unable to reply. 
The study report did not indicate, however, whether there were 
differences according to time out of trade. The NSW Council of 
TAFE study will address these issues in more detail. 



{m) US Survey 



Persons not 
SkiKs in 30b 

Persons »*or» 
in ttad«s 

X*aid off 

^1 i 

3 9 

S«CKin9 sore p»t stc^t ^Ij 

i$ 3 

22 3 





: & 



wanted a C^ar9« 


IS 2 

33 1 

Faiily/Per so<-.A. Health 



17 6 

Decline of Triit 

6 7 


6 7 


S 9 




IOC 0 

lOO c 


(b) 2CTC 


Year of 

Apprent icesh ip 

Coitpieti or 




Opportunity to progress in yojr 

trade or to start own bus.r<ess 


36 0 

28 2 

letter pay/workmg conditions 

33 6 


More security 


11 < 

15 4 

Unable to find 3ot> as trsd-srea" 



i e 

Other {1**- " *'»{Je advancement 

30b sati faction/ riore int«:esti 

13 9 

15 4 

15 4 


0 0 


0 s 

Lets ph/jirally deJTSndiOQ than 

trade wor^ 



C 9 



ioo 0 

ic) HTC Survey (All apprenticed' 

Reason for bj persors 
who are no longer n tra^e^ 

Reason for leaving 
trade work the f*rst 

Like present 30b 




Ditlii^e factory w^rk 


working conditions 


Hot secure 

Hote aoney 


Pay «fas not 90od 


Var lety 


Oppor tun; t // laprovement 






Own bjsmess 


Can't say 









Anyone ^ho had had a brctk of one year or wore fron trade lonetise in their career was as^ei 
theft for reason for leav}n9 the trade on that occasion. The table cross classifies reaso 
usesge of trade akills in cur rent 30b. Asterisks (*j in table indicate that fij»bers were too 
publ 1 cat lOn 


ffcentage* are ;jased on a agltiple Choice set of answers and Bay not_total IOC ] 

115 ' 

ers and aay not total 100 per cert. 



A major problem to date has been the lack of suitable data bases 
on career paths, but in the last 2 or 3 years some large and 
reasonably detailed surveys have been conducted which provide 
much better sources than in the past. However, there are still 
several limitations in these sources which can be grouped into 
three categories: incomplete analysis, partial coverage of the 
trade workforce, and shortcomings in the collected data. These 
are discussed below: 

(a) Past research has essentially concentrated on the broader 
issues, such as flows into and out of trade employment, 
which have required quite straightforward tabular analysis. 
The data sources, however^ do provide quite a reasonable set 
of data Items which permit more sophisticated statistical 
analyses, particularly if supplemented with additional 
information on labour market conditions (e.g. wages and 
unemployment rates). This may enable the establishment of a 
link between flows and underlying reasons. This should be 
the next st^ge of research, 

(b) To date, surveys of the career path have concentrated almost 
exclusively on persons who qualified through an 
apprenticeship, ignoring those who arrived from overseas and 
those who have been upgraded. There is little^ but strong, 
evidence that the career paths of these groups are quite 
different. It is important that their experience be 
documented^ since they appear to comprise a sizeable 
propor^:ion of the group being considered (upgraded 
tradespeople appear to represent up to 20 per cent of stock 
and Overseas migrants represented between 15 and 30 per cent 
of new additions to stock during the last 15 years}. 

(c) Decisions about career choices are often made well before 
completing and sometimes even before starting an 
apprenticeship. Consequently, a career path analysis of 
tradespeople should logically begin in future surveys and 
studies at least at the commencement of the apprenticeship 
pe r lod . 

(d) Current data sets do not permit a direct calculation of the 
time spent in trade, because they did not seek to document 
the job history of individuals, but rather only the current 
3ob. What IS required is a well documented :]ob history of 
individual*^ from several _dif£erent c o h o r t s , i.e. a 
longitudinal study, so that the career pattern can be 


established over a whole set of laoour market conditions. Of 
course, the unavailability of such data also precludes a 
proper analysis as suggested in (a), since it is not 
generally kno^n when and why trade qualified persons change 

(e) Related to (d) is the fact that by concentrating on current 
job rather than job history a number of intermediate career 
steps may be missed. For example^ if the transition from 
trade to manager is o*ten via the technician level, this 
latter movement may be missed out if only current job is 
asked of those who had qualified 10 years ago and are now 
manag ? r s. 

(f) It would appear important in understanding the career path 
of individuals to have greater knowledge of personal and 
employer characteristics and attitudes as well as of the 
prevailing labour market conditions. These dimensions are 
generally missing from current sources. 

(g) The issue of motivation for leaving the trade, while 
generally well covered in surveys, is somewhat incomplete. 
The surveys have asked for first move out of trade or for 
last move out of trade before current job. What is required 
are reasons for each move in and out of trade and by stage 
of career, and, in particular, reasons for returning to 

(h) As there are differences between trades, even within trade 
groups, in the career paths, it is necessary for policy 
purposes to have data from surveys on individual trades, 

ther than on trade groups or on the entire trade 


This review of the available evidence on career paths of 
tr ade spe r son s suggests that there is considerable net mooility 
out of trade, but that over a complete career individuals also 
move in and out of trade more often than was thought. The main 
movements out of trade ate advances to trade or trade related 
jobs, although a significant percentaae are regressions. 

Overall, ^he usage of trade skills, even by those not working as 
a tr adesper son, is high. The main reasons for leaving the tiade 
appear to be pay and conditions and job security, although other 
reasons are also important. 



Tlie review also identified a number of areas in which current 
sources are deficient, particularly in terms of coverage of the 
workforce and in the range of issues covered. 


1. It IS not possible to identify from the published data 
whether all exits from apprenticeship were due to 
completions. Some of these exits may have been due to 
apprentices dropping out before completion which would 
reduce their opportunity of gaining trade jobs, and hence 
the movement to non-trade jobs indicated by these data is 
upward biased. 

2. The ACER survey covered a random sample of persons who had 
been 14 years old in 1 975 and was conducted in 1979, 1 980 
and 1981. This part of the NTC survey covered persons who 
had completed an apprenticeship up to ten years before the 
survey in the metal, electrical^ motor and building trades. 

3. Partly in recognition of the importance of wastage m the 
first year, the NTC has commissioned a study of the class of 
1982 to explore among other issues, the labour market 
experience of apprenticeship completers in their first year 

4. The 8.5 per cent actually represents an average of those who 
had completed some time between 1980 and the survey date, 
1982. If only the percentage of those who had completed in 
1980 (3 years before the survey) could be estimate^l, this is 
likely to be somewhat lower, as the percentage is expected 
to decrease with time out of apprenticeship. 

5. The exception is the ANU mobility survey, documented in 
Broom et al. (1980), which allows the career path of 
different cohorts to be analysed separately. However, the 
sample of tradespeople is quite small and separation into 
cohorts is not feasible on statistical grounds. 

6. This can be derived from the data in Table 2. In the first 
two years after graduation, 27.0 percent of all 3obs are not 
in trade. For the next 3 years, only 12.5 per cent (0.1 out 
of 0.8) of all new jobs taken on during that period are out 
of trade. On the other hand, in the period 5 to 10 years 
after graduation, 50.0 per cent (0.3 out of 0.6) new jobs 
are not in trade. 



7. Table 1 presents data on those who never had a break of a 
year or more from traJe by year of graduation. The 
percentage whose first break is within the first 3 years is 
26.9 (= 100-73.1), within the next 10 years it is 19.6 (= 
73.1-53.5), etc. 

8. This estimate as well as all other estimates from the census 
are subject to two main problems: the omission of persons 
with trade and higher qualifications and the difficulties 
posed by the occupational classification in the 
identification of trade jobs. If a correction were possible 
for these two problems, they would tend to lower the ratios 
indicated in the table. 

9. The proportion in trade derived from the NTC survey is 
within 5 to 10 percentage points of that derived from the 
ABS surveys. 

10. Analysis by the BLMR provides an estimate of the wastage 
rate from the pool of t r ade spe r son s , i.e. apprenticeship 
completers and overseas migrants. The calculations suggest a 
wastage rate over a long term of 3 to 4 per cent p. a. The 
wastage rate, r, is calculated from P = p (i - r)", where 

= proportion still m trade n years after completion of 

apprenticeship, and therefore P = i.O. 


11. The evidence on the clothing and printing trade, on the 
other hand, would seem to suggest a strong cyclical 
influence. The proportion in trade among those qualified in 
the clothing trade is much "ower than for any othe" trade 
while in the printing trade .t is the highest. The downturn 
m the clothing industry is undoubtedly a major factor in 
the first case as is the relative stability of the printing 
industry in the second, 

12. Analysis by the BLMR indictes that nine occupation groups 
are required to account for 90 per cent of t r ade s pe r sons 
compared with only three for degree and diploma graduates 
and five for technician certificate graduates. 

13. The percentage using trade skills but not working as a 
tradesperson varies significantly between the sources? but 
the variation is reduced when working as a tradesperson and 
working in trade related job are summed. Not using trade 
skills IS the difference between total and this sum. 


119 U4 

14. The higher figure is for those who had completed exactly 11 
years prior to the survey# wt^ile the lower figure is for 
those completing within the last ten years. 

15. Analysis of 1976 census on earnings of 25-34 year old male 
metal trade qualified persons indicates that 17.5 per cent 
were earning less on average in some occupations than in 
metal trade occupations/ especially in the semi-^killed and 
unskilled occupations (as well as farmers an^ transport 
workers). On the oth**r hand/ the variance of earning was 
higher in some of the'se occupations/ particularly the non- 
manual. This would suggest that some regressions hjive 
resulted from push rather than pull factors. The important 
push factors are loss of job and technological obsolescence. 
Both would affect older workers more/ and this is suggested 
by the fact that only 4.7 per cent of 15-19 year olds were 
in semi-trade occupations compared with 9.0 per cent of the 
55-64 year olds (1976 census). 

16. The major net movements after the first ten years seem to be 
into self employment (other than as a tr adespe r son) / to out 
of trade/ or trade related occupations/ and out of the 
workforce. In the first ten years/ however/ the ICTC survey 
indicates that the large movement out of trade is mainly 
compensated for by movement into foreman/ technician and 
trade-based and non-trade based self employment. 

17. Broom et al. (1980)/ on the *-he other hand/ found that 
outflow mobility was mostly regression in the first 10 
years. Indeed/ 3 of the 4 mobility paths were to lower skill 
levels. Some of these regressions were apprentices who 
failed to complete and went into semi-skilled work. (This 
group is not covered by this present study.) The main route 
of advance was into small businesses. Of the 30 men shown as 
moving into managerial positions in m id^career / 12 vere 
owner managers/ mostly in firms with few employees. 

18. Technician training provisions and skill requirements within 
industry in Queensland could be responsible for the 
relatively minor movement to technician positions noted in 
the Queensland ICTC survey. Unfortunately there is little 
evidence from other States to compare with. In general/ it 
is not possible to obtain data on the percentage of those 
pursuing a certificate or technician course whc had 
completed trade training. The study for the NSW Department 
of TAFE on retention of tradespeople in their trade 
indicated in the draft report on the electrical fitting 



trade that about 20 per cent of all respondents (persons who 
had completed trade training) had studied for subjects of 
the certificate course in electrical engineering. As the 
sample was biased towards the more recent graduates, this 
figure may be expected to understate on the percentage who 
eventually study for certificate subjects. On the other 
hand, it is to be noted that technician positions and 
technician training is much more common in the electrical 
trade than in any other trade. 

The census is not helpful n sorting out the size of the 
movement to technician qualifications from trade 
qualifications. The census records only highest 
qualifications, and therefore trade qualified persons with 
technician qualifications are recorded as possessing only 
the latter. Consequently data on trade qualified persons 
working as technicians would understate the number of 
technicians with trade qualifications. Finally, surveys 
which record only the current occupation of trade qualified 
persons may miss the movement to technician positions if 
this is an intermediate movement on the way to a managerial 
position. A more cosnplete 30b history would help to clarify 
the career movements. 

19. This IS based on unpublished BLMR analysis, which also shows 
that unqualified t r adespe r sons have a lower propensity to be 
se If *e mployed. 

20. The ICTC study covered the main trade groups. BLMR analysis 
of census data indicates that the omitted trade groups have 
a lower propensity to be self-employed and therefore the NTC 
and aggregate census data are expected to yield estimates 
lower than the ICTC study. 

21. Some further evidence of the extent of post-trade training 
IS provided by NSW department of TAFE statistics on 
enrolments in courses for post-trade qualifications. These 
show that at the end of December 1981, 8,888 persons were 
studying for a post*trade course, 60 per cent of whom were 
aged between 19 and 25. This compares with about 47,000 
apprentices in training at the end of June 1981. Stationary 
stock-flow analysis suggests the post-trade courses 
{typically two years long) have an annual inflow of about 
4,500 while trade completions are approximately 12,000 
annually. These estimates in turn suggest that about 35 to 
40 per cent of graduates undertake post-trade courses. 



fhe survey only identified 'employed trade qualified persons 
WHO use some skills in current 30b'. It is assumed cnat 
managerial/supervisory positions reqjire some trade SKiiis. 

23. One plausible reason why some persons who, having lost their 

trade jod, are not currently using trade skills may be due 
to the fact that they have been 'turned off as a result of 
tneir experience in trade, and particularly the 
pr ecar lousness of trade work in the labour market. Tnis 
would be consistent w ith the evidence on tne impor tance of 
job security as a reason for leaving trade work. The 
original loss of trade may, of course, be due to 
technological oDsolescence or loss of productivity, which 
would affect older workers more. See Endnote 15 for further 
ev idence . 

24. In the ICTC study, persons who were self-employed, including 
in trade, were treated as having left the trade, so that 
•opportunity to start own business' is an important reason 
for leaving the trade. This unfortunately deflates the 
relative importance of all other categories of reasons. 




Australian Burea_ of Statistics. (1981). Working conditions , 
Australia, February — May 1979 . 

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1982). Career pachs of 
persons with trade q_ualif Ications, Australia. September to 
November. (Preliminary) (Cat. No. 6424.0). 

ACT Office of Further Education. (1979). Survey of drstinations 
of ACT further edi' t ^ation graduates . Canber ra: 1979. 

Blandy, R., S Richardson, S. (1982). The fate of the class of 
'71'. Australian Bureau of Labour , Supplement No. 4., 
September . 

Broom, L. , Jones, F.L., McDonnell, P., & Williams, T. (1980). The 
inheritance of inequality . London: Rout ledge & Kegan Paul. 

Centre for the Study of Higher Education. Career development 
project . Principal investigator Prof. D. 0. Beswick. 
Personal comment. 

Corrigan, B. W. (1981). Labour supply response in the skilled 
metal trades, Hunter Regions, NSW: A pilot stady . Honours 
Thesis, Newcastle University. 

DOLAC, (1980). Prospective demand ror and supply of skille_d 
1 a bo u r , _1_9 8 0 - 1 983 . Department of Labour Advisory Committee, 
September . 

DOLAC Working Group. (1983). Supply of and demand for skilled 
labour . Report of the DOLAC Working Oroup, September. 

Hocking H. , & Burns, K. (1980). Learning a trade: Studies in 
apprentice training and career patterns of tradesmen . 
Hobart: Education Department. 

Merrilees, W. (1982). Foreca_sting the demand for skilled 
tradesmen in the 1980s . Paper presented at the Conference 
on The Economics of Australian Immigration, February. 

National Training Council. (1963). Surveyof career paths of 
tradeSiHenr A pilot study . Prepared by w. D. Scott and Co. 
Pty. Led, June. 


EHJC 123 


Department of Technical and Further Education. 
Report of the fitting and machining trade coar se 
committee . Sydney. 


reyi e w 

Queensland Industry a'ld Commerce Training Commission. (1983). 
Results o f the survey of tradesmen who completed their 
apprenti ceship five years ago . Brisbane, June. 

Richardson, 3. (1981). Skilled metal tradesmen: Shortage or 
surplus. Austral. an Bulletin of Labour , 1(4). 

Scherer, p. (1981). Apprenticeship training and its effec ^-s on 
the lab our market . Joint Conference on Youth Employment, 
Education and Training, 23-25 February. 

Tertiary Education Commission. (1981). Report for the 1982-84 
tr lennium, (Vol. 1, Pt. 4). Canbe.ra : AGPS. 

Wallace, j. (1982), Skilled trade supply . Paper presented at 
the Conference on The Economics of Australian Immigration, 

Williams, L. (1979). A demographic analysis of Australian 
occupational mobility. Australian Bulletin of Labour , 7(3). 

Williams, L. (1980). Occupational mobility in Australia: a 
quantita tive approach. Unpublished Ph.D thesis, University 
of Melbourne. 

Williams, T., Clancy, J., & Slater, J. (1983). Transitio ns. An 
A_7ER working paper, February. 





This appenrJix tabulates and discusses the av^ilaole sources of 
information on career patns of tradespersons. Some sources are 
actual studies on career paths of tradesmen, wnile others provide 
this kind of information but not as the main aim of the study. 
As a result, some sources are generally more informative than 
others and it is useful to separate the sources into three 
groups: primary, secondary and other sources. The primary 
sources are major sources of information on career paths while 
secondary sources are those which illuminate some aspect of the 
topic. Sources of only peripheral Importance are included under 
other sources. 




1, frimMTy Souroea 

Naffle of 



_Cr verage^ 


Sample Size 
(completed Responses) 

Year of Survey 

of Results 

ABS Ail ages 


ICTC 1970/71 
(1983) 1975/76 



and Burns 
( 1980) 

All tradespersons who Australia 

completed an 

apprenticeship cr 

were recognised by TRRa 

Ketal, electrical Queensland 

building and ' ehicle 


Approx MOOO 
civilians, aged 
15 and over 

September to 
November 1982 

Part I 

Part I All 

Fart I Aust, 

Part I 762 



persons aged 

from 1950 

l8 and over 


Part II 

Part II Metal 

Part II V-c, 

Part II i4i8 

Cohort of 

electrical , 




motor, building 

1953/ 5M 

Carpentry and 




joinery, fitting 


and turning 


All persons (17^14) who 1981 

completed an 

apprenticeship in 

mentioned trades 

in Qld in 1975/76 

and 103t for the 

other two cohorts 

(i,e, 176 and 

352 responses 

respectively ) 



ABS (1983) 






Hocking and 


Naae of 


Sampld Size 

Year of Survey 






(coapleted Responses) 

of Results 


Group I 

Fitting and turning 


Group I 82 


NSW Department 



of TAFE ( 1980) 

couple ting 



Group 2 

Group 2 1400 


in Stage III 

in 1977 



2. Secoodary Sources 

Name of 

Cove rage 

Saaple Size 

Year of 






('"Offlpleted Beaponaes) 


of Reaulta 


All agea 

All tradea 


Enti re population 

197 If 1976 

ABS Census of Housing 


and Populacion. 

Matrix tapes provide 

the raw data. 

Studies which have 

used this data 

include Schafirer 

(1981) Tertiary 

Education Codrolsaion 

(1981), and unpubld. 

analyaia by BLMR 



All tradea 


About ^00 to 500 

1979 to 

Williaois, T et al 

( 1983) 

who were 1^4 

with apprentice- 



in 1975 

ship training 



All trades 




Blandy and 


who were in 

Richardaon (19«i2) 


Yeara 10, 

son (1982) 

11 and 12 

m 1971 


Ail agea 

Grouped into 


Approx ilOOO- 

1972 and 

Williams (1979) 


akiiled t)lue 

5000 tradea- 


and Williams 



( 1980) 


metal and 

elec tr ical ^ 

building and 



Aii agea 

All trades 


Approx ^00-500 


Broom, L. ct dl 




0 y 


± C\ 

3* Other Sourcea 

NoiSo i. 


Sanple Size 


of Results 

wUUl CO 

L'Onor u 



(completed Responses) 

of Survey 

Hel bourne 



Year ^^ 
in 1973 

All trades 


120 in 1982 


Uni. (1982) 







Hunter Region 
of NSW 





Office of 







less than 100 


ACT Office 





This review presents a survey of curriculum development as it is 
practised on trade courses in the TAFE sector o£ the educational 
system. Its conclusions are based on data drawn from reported 
research into and discussion of such curriculum development 
conducted both within States/Territories and on a national basis. 

Curriculum development practice in trade courses has been 
evolving towards a highly systematic and standardised procedure, 
gradually in the case of New South Wales {Haworth, 1980, 
pp. 13-14) but apparently more s i ng le-m inded ly in Victoria in 
recent times (Braddy, 1981; Findlow, MacKenzie & Peters, 1981; 
King, Litheriand & MacKenzie, 1931). This trend has been 
confirmed by the findings of the national study of TAFE 
curriculum development processes and still further 
standardisation has been urged {Broderick, 1982, p. 20, and 817). 
Such a development is not surprising given the widespread 
agreement, among those involved, about the highly specific focus 
of trade courses. Their primary concern is with the promotion in 
the learner of vocationally relevant skills and cognitive 
learning (see for instanc<^ Broderick, 1982, p. xv i and 23; 
Schilling, 1978, p.i; SvirsKis, 1980, p. 3), both of which are 
essentially training or instructional tasks and so are readily 
amenable to teaching in a behavioural objt^ctives curriculum model 
(Stenhouse, 1975, pp. 80-81).^ It is towards the achievement of 
such relative iy unambiguous ends that system approaches to 
curriculum development are most readily applicable {Schilling, 
1978, p. 1). Consequently, it is important to review briefly 
some of the key features of that approach. 


In general, a system may be defined as a set of elements which 
interrelate with each other and which are co-ordinated towards 
the accomplishment of a set of goals {von Bertalanffy, 1969; 
Churchman, 1 968; Griffiths, 1964). t*urther, a system may be 
tuought of as a conversion process transforming inputs into 
selected outputs, careful attention always being paid by its 



administrators to the acceptability of those outputs to the 
system*s environment. It is axiomatic that a system should be 
responsive to the level of support it receives from its 
environment: the continuation of inputs, and therefore the 
system's survival, depend upon it. 

In practice the system approach to studying any phenomenon, such 
as curriculum development, provides the student with a broad, 
*all- inc lu s i ve' perspective of the variables involved. Indeed, 
this is Its strength in that as it constantly reminds its users 
(be they researchers or practitioners) of the breadth of 
interrelated elements that collectively affect the curriculum's 
operation, thereby reducing the likelihood of a dysf unctionally 
narrow focus of attention. Of course, whether or not all 
relevant factors are confronted depends entirely upon the user's 
awareness of and willingness to include them in the analysis. It 
should be noted that this paper does net attempt to specify in 
fine detail the intricacies of curriculum development in trade 
courses but seeks rather to present a critical commentary at the 
broader level. This approach has been taken in view of 
Broderick's recently published and highly detailed report on the 

This system model (Figure 1), is used to structure the following 
analysis of curriculum development in TAFE trade courses. Since 
the curriculum development system exists primarily to service the 
needs of more than one interest group (such as employers and 
governments) and of individuals within its environment, it is 
necessary to note briefly some of the main forces from that 
source which influence the system. 


Consideration of the context within which curriculum development 
is carried out reminds the observer that it is more than just a 
response to educational needs, in that it is facilitated or 
constrained by powerful non-educational considerations such as 
politics, industrial relations and TAFE resources (National 
Working Party on Metal Trades, 1980). Indeed, it is the task of 
governmenta to assess periodically such factors and subsequently 
to meld thej' priorities into policies. Not uncommonly, ad hoc 
committees of inquiry are established to assist government in 
this task. The report of one such committee, the Kangan Report 
(1975), established the philosophical framework that remains 
fundamental to curriculum policy in the 1980s, including trade 
education . 



The Kangan Report stated that 'general education and vocational 
education should not be artificially separated'; rather, an 
integrated approach was necessary in the interests of improving 
individuals' levels of personal development and their subsequent 
flexibility in continuing vocational development (Kangan, 1975, 
pp. 7-9). Recurrent vocational education was identified as the 
'best hope' for the community in coping with chanqes in 30b 
specifications, but only if considerable effort was made in 
ensuring its 'relevance and modernity' (Kangan, pp. 10, 36). To 
that end, curriculum developers were urged to draw upon the 
'theoretical knowledge and practical experience' of those in 
industry, commerce and community services when developing courses 
{Kangan, p. 10-11). Further, it was suggested that tnere would 
be 'advantages in consistency of curricula in all States in major 
courses' and that concerted efforts should be made to that end 
(Kangan, p. 11). Regular and frequent course reviews also were 
urged. Viewed broadly, these recommendations are clearly being 
heeded in current curriculum development policy and practice. 

Beyond the issue of curricular emphasis and content, the Kangan 
Report also made several observations and recommendations about 
the implementation of its philosphy. Foremost was the 
identification of the teaching force as the key agency through 
which 'effective widespread impact* of Kangan philosophy could be 
achieved, but only if teachers' enthusiasm could be captured by 
improved initial and in-service training opportunities {Kangan, 
p. 41). Such identification of the central role of the teacher 
m curriculum implementation has been reinforced recently by a 
literature review on the topic (Kennedy, 1984, p. 21). A second 
major recommendation was for a greatly increased effort to 
incorporate 'new learning technology' in the teaching strategies 
adopted (Kangan, p. 38). Mor^ specifically, strong concern was 
expressed that increased opportunities be made available for 
students to vary the pace and time of day at which they learned 
by improving ti.e provision cf 'self learning aids, resources such 
as libraries, correspondence le^'ons, audio and visual 
presentations* (Kangan, p. 37). 




'Social factors affect coiBBunity» including 

'Political Coomerce and Industry's attitudes to 
'Economic TAPE curriculua policy. 

Since course graduates* attitudes, skills and 
knowledge are the sajor Indicator of the worth 
of the curriculum, they are a key influence 
upon its development. 

Delivery system facilities, including standards of 
teacher training and development, affect curriculum 






Aims/Ob; :.ves 

•indicators of 

Desi gn 


need for change 


to existing 



Evaluation plan 


•Supports for 




of course 



tat j on 

Role of 

and learning 
achieved by 
the client 
group is a 


of the I 
curriculum I 
design and its 


•Evaluation data on curriculusf 
including Impact upon students, 
design and lmDlementat_ion. 

Figure 1. A system laodel o£ curriculum development 




i^hiie progress has undoubtedly been made since 1975 towards the 
realisation of the Kangan Report*s r econimenda t i on s, by 1979 it 
was evident that much remained to be done in, among other areas, 
staff preparation and development (Willia-ns, 1979, p. 331). More 
generally, by 1982 Broderick was convinced that the 
•philosophical concepts contained in the Kangan blueprint for 
TAPE . . . (had) . . . not been applied as . . . recommended* 
(Broderick, 1982, p. 26). He pointed to the adversely altered 
economic climate in 1979, compared with that of 1974, as being a 
major contributory cause of such a disappointing situation 
(p. 25). 

In addition to the impact upon curriculum development of factors 
such as broad governmental policy and economic climate, other 
more specific environmental influences also are significant. For 
example, there exists a feedback loop (Figure 1) by which 
environmental responses to system outputs are channeled into one 
of two main categories of input to system administrators, either 
demand for change or support for the status quo. For example, 
Soo (1980) noted that a major source of stimulus for the trade 
course under review came from employers who sought a re- 
structuring of the course. In some trades, licensing authorities 
external to TAPE also monitor the standards of graduates and 
therefore of their training courses (Svirskis, 1980, p. 7). 
However, such environmental feedback sources are usually 
complemented by a w ith in-sy stem feedback loop {Figure 1) . 
Typically, these latter influences may include College 
administrators, lecturers, special advisory committees 
established to monitor the standards of graduates, and analyses 
of past students* opinions and pass rates (Brady, 1978; 
Broderick, 1982, p. 806; Schilling, 1978; Svirskis, 1980). In 
all TAPE Authorities formal policies, which specify procedures 
for regular course review, either exist or are being finalised 
(Broderick, p. 20; Svirskis, p. 3). By such means, the 
curriculum development system for trade courses is alerted to 
tne need for action, both from its environment and from within. 

Beyond the feedback loop just mentioned, the trade course 
curriculum development system also contains input, conversion 
process and output elements. Each of these now will be examined 
m turn by drawing upon selected, published literature. 




Out of the analysis which follows, a significant characteristic 
(in the writer's view) of curriculum development in trade courses 
in TAPE will emerge, viz. thi t the bulk of such literature 
relates to the inputs and design components of the system model, 
and that a relatively small amount addresses the implementation 
component and outputs of the system. Such an apparent pre- 
occupation by TAPE Authorities with the input and design 
components of the system is corroborated by the findings of the 
recent national study of curriculum development processes. Of 
the thirteen 'common core' processes agreed to by the project's 
steering committee as being representative of practice 
nationally, only one, that of 'quality control', appears to 
extend beyond syllabus design (Broderick, 1982, pp. 13-19), that 
is, beyond the 'curriculum design' component of the conversion 
process within the system model. 

As noted already, the motivation for curriculum development in 
TAPE trade courses is partly institutionalised in formal policies 
specifying periodic reviews, but it may stem also from the 
efforts of individuals or groups to seek changes in response to a 
perceived educational/training need. The inputs component of the 
system model of curriculum development represents the processes 
and their resultant products that lead to the presentation of 
relevant data to the appropriate decision-makers, upon which a 
decision will be taken to proceed or not with a review. 

Typically, system inputs comprise a submission which summarises 
the first three of Broderick's 'common core' processes, viz. 
recognition of claims that an educational/training need exists, a 
subsequent investigation of that need aimed at defining precisely 
its nature and finally, an assessment of the degree of demand by 
prospective students for the course involved {Broderick, 1982, 
pp. 13-19). In essence, the input component of the system model 
can be regarded as a form of situational analysis^ of the 
curriculum in action, with particular attenti^ii being focused on 
the alleged area of need. Practice varies among 
States/Ter c i toe ies and eveii from case to case within each; 
however, a generalised account of the process usually involved is 
given below* 




The investigations of vocational education needs and demand 
usually are carried out concurrently, under the management of 
some form of advisory committee which may or may not be 
representative of teachers, industry and TAFE curriculum 
officers. A wide range of data sources may be drawn upon, 
including literature reviews of practice reported from interstate 
and overseas (Broderick, 1982, p. 805; Findlow et al., 1981), 
industrial visits and personal interviews (Schilling, 1978; Soo, 
1980), student opinion (Brady, 1978) and TAFE college attendance 
records (Soo, 1980). These data may provide insights into 
various dimensions of the needs/demand issue such as future 
trends and developments m the trade, including employment 
patterns, and opinion about the respective responsibility of TAFE 
and Industry for the teaching of knowledge and skills. But the 
most common approach to investigating vocational educational 
needs is the conducting of structured industrial or occupational 
surveys (Broderick, 1982, pp. 805-807). Such surveys, which 
gather data primarily about tradespersons' major duties and 
tasks, provide the essential data by which subsequently developed 
trade course curricula are kept relevant to and integrated with 
industry's labour force needs (Schilling, 1978). A good example 
of the rigorous approach taken to this task is that described by 
King et al. (1981) in which the questionnaire was developed, then 
validated and trialled before finally being administered to a 
sample of tradespersons and the results analysed. The data 
yielded typically provide desciiptions of the job profiles of 
duties and tasks of the tradespersons, the personal skills 
required to perform the 30b, the tools handled, and the 
environmental conditions under which they work (King et al., 
1981; Walsh, 1980). 

It is worthy of note that tried and proven though it may be, the 
survey approach to providing a datum base upon which to judge the 
need for, and if appropriate carry out, subsequent curriculum 
development, is not without its disadvantages. in essence these 
are the relatively high costs of the exercise, in terms of both 
time and resources, which result m an inadequate rate of review 
of courses. Consequently, there is a tendency to search for 
alternatives that can be administered easily while still yielding 
acceptably accurate data. At the time of writing, a research 
project sponsored by the TAFE National Centre for Research and 
Development is currently in progress for the purpose of 
identifying 'which methods are most applicable to the 
circumstances and needs of curriculum developers in Australian 
TAFE' (TAFE National Centre for Research and Development, 1983b, 
p. 93). In their recent progress report, the researchers list 
some seven approaches including the DACUM (Developing a 



Curriculum) method, the Search Conference, the Delphi rechniqus, 
Force Field Analysis and the Nominal Group Technique as well as 
examining techniques for combining approaches to the task 
(Anderson & Jones, 1983). 

•Approval i.n principle* for curriculum development to proceed 
beyond the recognition of need and the subsequent investigation 
of both need and demand, is common to all TAFE Authorities in 
some form or other, though the level at which that approval is 
given varies with the kind of course and the particular Authority 
concerned. Generally, related documentation is simple, involving 
a brief background statement, a course structure and target group 
identification, and is prepared by the executive officer of the 
program/syllabus sub-group (Brof^erick, 1982, p. 806). In all 
TAPE Authotities the decision to grant approval in principle for 
a project to proceed is influenced by the strength of client 
group pressure favouring it* If the decision taken is to proceed 
w'th curriculum development, the data gathered during the 
investigative stage become input to that process (Broderick, 
1982, p. 810? Fox et al., 1979; Schilling, 1978, p. 1; Svirskis, 
1580, p. 18). 

The conversion .process 

Once approval for course development is obtained, a syllabus 
committee of the relevant study area/program/advisory committee 
(which may be standing or ad hoc) is appointed and has 
considerable freedom in developing the course syllabus 
(Broderick, 1982, p. 809). In at least some cases, an effort is 
made to ensure overlap between the group which carried out the 
investigation of need and demand and the syllabus committee so 
that use of the research data already gathered is facilitated 
(Svirskis, 1980, p. 17). The common pattern across TAFE 
Authorities having specialised curriculum branches/sections is 
for th ecutive officer to be appointed from among their ranks. 
This r jrn appears to be policy in the most centralised States 
(New dcuth Wales, Queensland and Western Australia), is varied 
slightly in others (Tasmania, the Territories and Victoria) and 
departed from most frequently in South Australia where the 
chairperson is elected and most often is a college-based subject 
expert (Broderick, 1982, pp. 808-809). As teaching staff provide 
the subject expertise for curriculum development, the capacity of 
the college system to release staff for such duties is a constant 
constraint upon the overall process (Svirskis, 1980, p. 5). 

With respect to the process of curriculum development, no single 
prescriptive model is in ise nationally. But while individual 


research officers are free to, and do, vary the details of models 
used, a basic model of the means-ends type is the usual starting 
point. Such an approach to curriculum design has a history of 
success in the context of vocational course development (Lambert, 
1980, p. 20; Svirskis, 1980, pp. 8-9). 

CurriculUB de^ilgn 

In essence, a means-ends model of curriculum design assumes that 
clear educational ends, or objectives, of a course can be pre- 
specified and that in the light of such information appropriate 
means to achieving those objectives can ♦^hen be chosen (Lambert, 

1980, p. 20). In the context of trade course design, where the 
objectives traditionally have described basic knowledge and 
skills relevant to a trade, such a rationale readily applies 
(Svirskis, 1980, p. 8). However, caution should be exercised 
before attempting to apply such an approach to the design of 
courses in other TAFEC streams where precise pre-specif ications 
of outcomes might be neither possible nor desirable, such as in 
Stream VI (Svirskis, 1980, p, 8). And even within trade courses 
It is now being argued by some that such a narrow focus of 
attention and effort is inappropriate (Stevenson, 1982, 
pp. 13-24) . 

The means-ends model of curriculum design seems to have been 
taken up by some TAPE Authorities in a 'ruthlessly objective' 
form (Lambert, 1930, p. 20) under the banner of the Instructional 
Systems Model (Table l)."^ In this latter model the focus is on, 
primarily, learning behaviour both during and after instruction, 
an approach which is sympathetic to the ex reme view of how 
behavioural objectives should be used in e^^ucation (cf. Mager, 
1975). As Braddy (1981, p. 28) stated, 'learning takes place by 
doing. Before the learning can become complete we must put into 
practice what we are attempting to learn . . . '. He went on to 
J?fend the approach against accusations of a narrow focus on 
vocational skills by pointing to the model's insistence that 
consideration be given to all the dimensions of curriculum 
design, including classroom organisation, teaching technique, 
learning process, assessment, evaluation and validation (Braddy, 

1981, p. 30). While examination of the model (Table 1) reveals a 
preoccupation with overt behaviour, with the attendant risk that 
cognitive processes not readily manifest unambiguously by overt 
behaviour may be overlooked, it does seem a strength that 
curriculum design extends beyond syllabus design into the areas 
of implementation and feedback. 











a) Analyse the job 

(From the job incumbent ascertain the duties 
and tasks performed) 

b) Identify the training requirement 
(Identify from the total task list those 
skills which are appropriate for training) 

c) Formulate training objectives 

(Translate the training requirement into 
training objectives) 

d) Prepare train ing objective tests 
(Construct tests for each training objective 
which clearly specifies the standards to be 
achieved by each trainee) 

a) Derive enabling objectives 

(Develop subsidiary knowledge and skills to 
achieve the training objectives) 

b) Develop lear n mg un i ts 

(Specify teaching processes and media to be 
usad to achieve the enabling objectives) 

c) Select instructional strategies 

d) Produce learning resources 
Teach the course 

(The success of any course is dependent upon the 
quality of instruction) 

Review college performance 

(Ascertain the compatibility of college 
facilities* instructors) 

Feedback from the job 

(Formally obtain feedback from graduates relating 
to the quality and relevance of the training they 
have received) . 

Sources: Braddy (1981, p, 29); Lambert (1980, Appendix A). 



CurriculUffl ispXeiientation 

Support for such an holistic approach to curricalum development, 
which integrates curriculum design with plans for its 
implementation and subsequent evaluation, was given by Broderick 
in his study. He recommended that all TAFE Authorities should 
develop procedural policies to ensure that design and 
implementacion personnel plan co-operatively from the outset of 
the curriculum development process. Such policies should 
establish procedures for arranging relevant staff development in 
which curriculum designers and implementers communicate, for 
ensuring adequate human and material resources are available to 
develop and implement courses, and finally, for conducting course 
evaluations, student assessments and the maintenance of course 
standards (Broderick, 1982, p. 816). Clearly, Brodetick's study 
revealed that, nationally, TAFK Aathoriti^js had not been 
employing such a system-wide approach. As noted earlier and 
pursued below, the preponderance of relevant literature reviewed 
for this paper focuses mainly on the inputs and curriculum design 
elements of the broader model (Figure 1), a fact that is 
consistent with Btoderick's findings and his r*icoraraenda tion that 
a further study be undertaken, on a national basis, into the 
implementation of TATE curricula (Brodeiick, 1982, p. 818). It 
is pleasing to note that some research on this issue is already 
under way (TAFE National Centre for Research and Development, 
1,83 (a); Kennedy, et al., 1983). 

Broderick gives further recognition to the capacity of the 
Instructional Systems r*odel to foster such an holistic approach 
to curriculum development by acknowledging its impact upon 
implen:en ta t ion , particularly in Victoria. As a consequence of 
its implications of a specific teaching role, Vic'ioria is the 
only St" te where teacher guidance is refined *^on'. guidelines. 
However it also has influenced practice inters*:ate ^tady, 1978, 
pp. 37-41; Lambert, 1980, p. 41) ds the tr'^nd towards modular or 
unitised curriculum organisation shows (BroGsrick, 1982, pp. 810- 
811). What is not clear is tne extent generally of that 
influence, or of any other influence, on the traditional role of 
the teacher as the disseminator of information. If Haworth's 
assessment of practice in New South Wales is any guide, then a 
shift towards a "*ore student-centred teaching strategy, whi'rh 
places more emphasis on learning theory than previously, might be 
discernible (Haworth, 1980, pp. 3-4, 15). Lambert's (1980) 
report of research into several teaching strategies is an 
encouraging sign, as is 0'Donnell*s (1978) development of 
guidelines on the use of modular curriculum design. 



It is a further strength of the Instructional Systems Model that 
it gives clear recognition to the fact that the impact of any 
course, no matter how well designed, is largely determined by how 
well it is implemented. It is for this reason that many of the 
reports reviewed for this paper urge increased att»rntion upon 
staff development, though with quite different ends in mind. 
Thus some regard it as the means of ensuring that the planned 
curriculum is implemented precisely as intended (Fox et al., 
1979; Schilling, 1978, pp. 77-78), where others believe that a 
more professionally autonomous role for the teacher must be aimed 
at (Lambert, 1980, p. 21). The extent to which one or the other 
of these perspectives accurately describes either the current 
cole of TAPE teachers, or their desirable future role, will be 
judged better as more research data come to hand. But regardless 
of that decision, there is general agreement on the need for more 
staff development activities focused on curriculum design and 

The power to approve courses varies among States/Territories and 
may include one or more of the Di r ec tor/Oi r ec tor-Ge ner a 1 (of 
Education, Further Education, TAFE), the Minister, an 
Apprenticeship Authority, and a Statutory post-Secondary Board. 
However, wherever such powers are held beyond the Director or 
Director-General's office, it is usual for them to be delegated 
to some extent to that office (Broderick, 1982, p. 811). But 
whatever the mechanism, this phase of the total process is the 
first at which a new/revised syllabus is subject to scrutiny by 
interest groups within the system's environment. It thus 
constitutes a preliminary feedback loop to curriculum developers 
(Figure 1) about the acceptability of their product. These 
interest groups include apprenticeship authorities, employer and 
employee bodies (Broderick, p. 812). 

The most visible product of the curriculum policy-making system 
is the course syllabus, this usually being the document that is 
submitted to endorsing bodies for final approval* However, 
fuller curriculum documentation is sometimes inclu >d, in which 
case such implementation related plans as the im ications of 
relevant educational technology, sfcaf^ development n Is specific 
to the course, and textbook lists may also be submitted 
(Broderick, p. 812). 




!• General characteristics 

Turning to the nature of TAFE trade course curricula, ideally, 
certain distinguishing characteristics ijay be identified 
(Broderick, 1982, p. 12). Thus, the focus of these curricula i3 
sharply upon raising the level of students' occupational skills 
performance, related knowledge and attitudes. In addition, their 
aim is to integrate the college educational experience with 
students' industrial training and experience so that the two 
complement each other as much as possible (Soo, 1982, p. 22). To 
this end, the syllabus objectives are drawn ^rom an assessment of 
needs which encompasses the individual, industry and the 
community (Hermann, et al., 1976, pp. 183-187) and may contain up 
to five different co.aponents (TAFE National Centre, 1983(c), 
p. 28) : 

* general education - aimed at promoting in the student 
an appreciation of the contribution to society made by 
tradespersons and of their obligations as responsible 
citizens (TAPE National Centre, 1983(c), p. 15); 

* theoretical base * upon which is built the students* 
knowledge of and skill in the practice of the trade; 

* planned practical component - which provides experience 
of the relationship between theory and practice; 

* skills development - either in a real or simulated work 
situation (Pulsford, 1983, pp. i2-36) which is aimed 
not only at developing students' basic trade skills but 
also at developing them further in an attempt to 
facilitate their rapid adaptation to "new methods of 
work, materials and processes" (NSW Department of TAFE, 
1981, p. 4); 

* general industrial experience - which provides the 
student with an overview of the "context" and 
''circumstances" of trade life (Pulsford, 1983, pp. 34, 

In the final analysis the nature of the course graduate provides 
the ultimate test of the efficacy of the course. And on this 
issue Broderick reports that graduates are adaptable and readily 
able to transfer to other occupations because their cou.^e has 
focused on skills and knowledge rather than particular industrial 
skills (Broderick, 1982, p. 12). 




In addition to the mainsteam trade courses referred to above, two 
closely related categories of courses ace worthy of special note. 
These are the pre-employment courses and the National Core 
Curr icula. 

ii. Pre-employment courses in trade training 

One type of pre-employment course offered by TAPE takes the form 
of introductory trade courses designed for students who have not 
yet secured apprenticeships (Cohen, 1983). Such courses are 
studied full-time and because they are scheduled differently from 
normal apprenticeship courses, may lead to accelerated progress 
through an apprenticeship once the student obtains one. In 
principle, this is achieved by presenting, for example, in one 
year what would normally be studied by an apprentice in two years 
(Hutchison, 1978, p. 12; Methods Section, Qld. TAPE, 1979, pp. 
11, 14). Consequently, successful students of such courses are 
much more attractive to employers because they already have 
developed knowledge and skills which make them immediately useful 
when they take up w (Birkin & Daniels, 1981, p. 24). A 
further incentive to employers to offer such students an 
apprenticeship is the fact that the cost of their training is 
shared more equitably between employer and Government than is the 
case with the conventional apprenticeship scheme (Methods 
Section, Qld TAPE, 1979, p. 11). 

There are two mam types of pre-employment courses currently in 
operation which, while sharing the above stated characteristics, 
also have distinctive features: they are pre-vocational (trades- 
based) courses and pre-appr en t icesh ip courses (Pulsford, 1983, 
pp. 51-62); Hutchison 1978, pp. 1-8, 50-52). Thus the pre- 
vocational (trades-based) courses, following upon the Queensland 
model which was pioneered m 1977 and subsequently adapted for 
use m Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, introduce students 
to a wide variety of trades so that they may choose more wisely 
what finally to specialise in. The syllabus for such studies 
draws directly upon the 'theoretical base' and 'planned practical 
component' of the separate trade courses covered. But what is of 
most interest about the pre-vocational model, in the context of 
this paper, is 'Skills for Living*, aimed at complementing the 
students* development of technical skills with social and 
cultural skills {Hutchison, 1978, p. 7). This li a significant 
development m trade education because of its focus upon the 
'total person' rather than the traditionally narrower focus upon 
only the vocational development of the student. It is this 
latter emphasis that pre-apprenticeship courses reflect, their 
notable feature being their well structured 'set of experiences' 



designed to substitute for the 'skills development' and 'general 
industrial experience' that apprentices normally acquire in their 
workplace (Pulsford, 1983, ?. 62). 

However, taken collectively, pre-employment courses still display 
a high degree of correlation between their content and 
organisation, and that of the normal trade courses. At present 
that too IS the status of most National Core Curriculum syllabi. 

iii. national Core Curricula 

A National Core Curriculum (NCC) is 'a TAFE course provided for a 
single study area or occupational area, where a core of 
knowledge, skills and curriculum pratices has been agreed i^pon by 
TAFE Authorities as being common tr* the programs conducted by 
each TAFE Authority' (Jones, 1983c, p. 12). As implied by this 
definition, an NCC syllabus does not prescribe fully the 
curriculum for any course, it being up to each Authority to add 
to the core as local needs dictate. The rationale underpinning 
the NCC initiative is at least partly an economic orie in that a 
co-operative approach nationally co syllabus and materials 
development is assumed to have the capacity to make available 
better quality products in a relatively cost efficient manner. 
This assumption has been vindicated already to some extent 
through the success of the Electrical, and Carpentry and Joinery 
NCC projects. As a minimum, NCC documentation comprises a 
syllabus document, which specifies national core aims, course 
structure, its contents and/or objectives. Possible additions to 
this syllabus include teaching methodologies, resources and 
assessment practices. Currently a range of syllabus formats is 
in use (Jones, 1983 (b), Appendices F, H, J, K, L, N, P, Q) and 
Jones has speculated on the desirability of a standardised format 
in the interest of minimising ambiguity in communication about 
the core (Jones, 1983 (c), p. 29)* 

In Jones' opinion, roost NCC syllabuses have been produced by 
blending existing individual TAFE Authority syllabu.^es in order 
to preserve all elements common to the majority (Jones, 1983c, 
pp. 24-25). While Jones regarded this 'reductive' approach to 
the task as not being the preferred one, he did acknowledge that 
constraints upon the time available for the exercise, the extent 
ot resources available to support it and the relatively low 
priority given to it by some State/Territory Authorities almost 
certamiy has made any alternative untenable in the short term at 
least. However, Jones was able to point to some instances of his 
pr<?f^^:rel ' 9**'^e r a 1 1 ve' approach to syllabus development in which 
a separate, national needs analysis formed the basis of the new 


syllaoas {Jones, 1983c, pp. 24-26). Perhaps this latter approach 
will become more common as the benefits of the MCC are 
demonstrated and support for the concept grows. 

The extent to which any trade course meets the vocational needs 
of Its clients, and therefore the expectations of its system 
administrators, can be assessed only by the gathering of 
appropriate information which is then fed back to those 
administrators. As noted already, ail open systems have one 
external channel, through their environment {Figure 1), by which 
such data are transmitted. But all systems also have an internal 
channel, or feedback loop, which provides evaluation data. It is 
that latter system component 'which now is considered. 


Feedback data ire generated at different levels of analysis m 
large organisations such as TAFE. For instance, at the system- 
wide level of policy making, major reviews of current practice 
are corom^i ssioned from time to time, recent examples being 
Broderick's {1982) review of curriculum development processes and 
Jones' {1983a, 1983b, 1983c) reports on the development and 
implementation of national core curricula. This kind of fesdback 
has the capacity to snape curriculum development policy 
generally, with more specific impact filtering through to the 
levels of particular courses. For example, both Broderick and 
Jones have drawn the attention of policymakers to the inadequacy 
of knowledge about and attention to the implementation of TAFE 
syllabuses. Recently a research project on this topic has been 
commissioned by the TAFE National Centre for Research and 
Development {Kennedy, et al., 1983; TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development, 1983a). It seems probable that other 
projects will follow with ultimately useful findings emerging to 
guide curriculum design and implementation. 

At this lower system level, where the design and implementation 
of particular trade courses takes place, already there is a well 
established feedback mechanism in operation, in the form of the 
curriculum review procedure which has been described above. As 
noted there, it is this withm-system, rather than environmental, 
feedback T^echanism which largely is responsible for the input of 
data to guide the design of new or revised syllabuses. Ideally, 
by this means data relative to both curriculum design and 
implementation ought to be gathered, though here again the 
relative neglect of the implementation dimension can also be 
di scerned . 


A further Jeficiency in the feedback data gathered by coarse 
reviews is implied in the recommendation of Birkin and Daniel 
(1981, p. 24) that future trade course curriculum reviews 
incorporate a section that assesses the associated pre- 
apprenticeship course. Such action might minimise the need for 
specific studies, such as those of Khan (1982), Putt (1982), and 
Smith (1983). 

The generation of Eee<?back data completes the i npu t-process- 
output-f eedback cycle of the system model. In applications where 
periodic reviews are the practice, as in trade courses in TAFE, 
such data are absorbed into new inputs which form the basis for a 
new cycle of the whole process. The final section of this paper 
IS given over to brief comments on two aspects of the curriculum 
development process in TAFE trade courses that seem to be 
undergoing, or need to undergo, closer scrutiny. 


The two issues that seem to the writer to be worthy of further 
discussion now are firstly, the upturn of interest in curriculum 
implementation and secondly, the exploration of possible 
implications of that development for the terminology that is used 
to communicate ideas about curriculum development. 

Curr icu lua iapl emen tat i on 

The general thrust of both Broderick's (1982, p. 818) and Jones* 
(1933(c), p. 28-30) recommendations that implementation 
strategies (including teaching practices and material resources) 
be planned concurrently with syllabus design, is consistent with 
the system approach to cutriculum development, as it is described 
in the Victorian context (Braddy, 1981) or as used to structure 
this paper. The underlying concern is with directing the 
attentions of policy makers and policy implementers alike to the 
system as a whole in an effort to avoid one component, such as 
design, being highly developed while another, such as 
implementation, is largely overlooked. After all, no matter how 
educationally sound a curriculum design is, it will count for 
little if, at the classroom/workshop level, the necessary 
material resources, teacher dedication and expertise to translate 
that plan into pr;*-^ 7e are missing. Stated alternatively, the 
costs of mountinc ^phisticated need and demand analyses and 
translating these into curriculum designs are unlikely to be 
matched by subsequent benefits unless more attention is given 
than at present to the implementation phase. For fiis reason it 
IS pleasing to note that research into the implementation of 



trade curricula has begun already. It is also encouraging to 
note, even before any results from such research are available, 
that some instances of successful co-operative resource 
production, in the context of national core curriculum 
development, are emerging. It seems imperative that this general 
assault upon the problem of improving curriculum implementation 
be sustained and strenc chened. 


If this holistic approach to curriculum development does take 
root, an immediate consequence will be the need to re-examine the 
meanings ascribed to key cerms used when communicating on the 
topic. What IS needed is a set of terms that reflect the system 
perspective on curriculum development, including its implied 
focus on the ends of the process {student learning), as well as 
the means (syllabuses, material and human resources) of achieving 
It. To this end the recently published *Draft Glossary of TAPfi 
Terms* (TAPE National Centre, 1983) is a useful starting point 
out to which both additions and amendments seem warranted. 

On the assumption that curriculum development (a term not defined 
in the Glossary) is the process of creating or revising a 
curriculum, the logical starting point is with the latter term. 
There the Glossary is explicit: A 'curriculum* is 

The total program of study in a course, involving 
objectives/content (the syllabus), learning activities, 
student assessment and specified resources. 

However, there is the danger that such a definition might be 
interpreted as defining a curriculum to be essentially a 
blueprint for action which is discrete from the processes of both 
Its implementation (another term not defined in the glossary) and 
evaluation. Consequently, the process of curriculum development 
then could not embrace these latter activities. This seems to be 
an unnecessarily restrictive set of meanings to adopt and is one 
that IS mconsisteut with the system approach to curriculum 
development , 

fundamental to the system approach is the notion that curriculum 
design (another term not defined in the glossary), implementation 
and evaluation are part of an integral whole which should never 
be considered piecemeal. Within such a frame of meanings, it is 
the curriculum design that constitutes the plan for action. The 
term 'curriculum* then can be given an alternative meaning, one 
that shifts ihe focus of attention away from the plan more 



towards its impact upon the learner. A curriculum then is 
defined in terms such as *The activities experienced by a person 
following a . . . course or programme . . (Broderick 1982, 
p. xvi), or, 'all the learning which is planned and guided by the 
TAPE Authority whether it is carried out in groups or 
individually, inside or outside the TAPE college (Jones, 1983(c), 
p. 5). What IS valued most by those adopting such definitions is 
not the intention c*' a course (conveyed through its design), but 
rather its impact upon the learner when actually presented. 
Building on that notion of a curriculum, curriculum development 
should be defined as the process whereby a curriculum's design 
and/or its implementation process is initially worked out, or 
revised in response to demonstrated need. 

The need for a clear and widely understood language with which 
TAPE curriculum theory and practice can be debated is underscored 
by the growth of the national core curriculum movement across 
Australia. But standardisation of terras should not be an a 
priori ex«»rcise, rather, it should follow upon close analysis of 
the field in question, care being taken to define terms in a way 
that reflects the values of the time. Of course, values 
appropriately change over time as n*»w knowledge modifies theory 
and practice. The meanings assigned to terms should follow suit. 
If the impression gained during the preparation of this paper, 
VIZ. that an holistic approach to curriculum development is 
emerging, is accurate, then it is the set of values implicit in 
that approach to the task that should be reflected in how terms 
are used. 

1. There are at least two grounds on which to challenge the 
dominance of behavioural objectives in vocational education. 
One is the belief that such education should contain a 
component concerned with personal development of the student 
(Curriculum & Evaluation Section, 1978). 

Another basis of challenge is the concern for fostering in 
students greater adaptability in the face of change through 
the development of independent thinking (Stevenson, 1982). 

2. This term is used in the sense defined by, for example, 
Soliman (1981) and Nicholls and Micholls rl972). Although 
these writers refer specifically to the school context, the 
idea IS readily applicable to the TAPE context. 



This version of the model has been augmented by the addition 
of a NEED phase, prior to analysis, which focises on 
identification and definition of need. It is further 
elaborated by the inclusion of a column which identifies the 
parties involved at each phase. For further details see 
Education Department of VictOi^ia fl980). 




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Pulsford, T. (1983). Attendance patterns in trade training . 
Adelaide: TAFE National Centre for Research and Developm3nt. 

Putt, M. (1982). Survey of 1980 pre^-apprenticeship students in 
NSW Technical Colleges . Sydney: NSW Department of TAFE, 
Educational Planning Branch. 

Schilling, G. (1978). An occupational survey and Lt_s 
implications for training; A study of the automotive paint 
refinishinq industry . Adelaide; South Australian 
Department of Further Education. 




Smith, F. (1983). Sjjppiemen tary report; Evaiaation of CNQQ7 pre- 
vocational coarse in eng 1 neer ing/constr act ion, experience of 
qradaates . Brisbane: Carricaiam Branch, Division of TAPE, 
Queensland Department of Education. 

Soiiman, I. (Ed.). (i98i). A model for school based planning . 
Canberra: Curriculum Development Centre. 

Soo, V. (1980). Refrigeration mechanics trade course review 
report . Sydney: NSW Department of TAFE. 

Stenhouse , L. (1975) . An i n trod uct ion to cure culum research and 
deve lopment . London: Heinemann. 

Stevenson, J. C. (1982), The role of TAFE in developing student 
abilities to acquire new skills in times of change . 
Brisbane: Mimeo, TAFE Curriculum Branch. 

Svirskis, A. (1980), Curriculum development in the NSW 
Department of TAFE, Sydney: NSW Department of Technical 
and Further Education, 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. {1983a). 
Progress report no. 6. Adelaide: TAFE National Centre for 
Research and Development. 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. (1983b), 
TAFE piojects in progress, no. 3. Adelaide: TAFE National 
Centre for Research and Development, 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. (1983c) 
Draft glossary of TAPE terms. Adelaide: TAFE National 
Centre for t search and Development. 

Victoria, Education Department. (1980). Instructional system" 
model vocational education . Melbourne: Support Services 
Unit, Planning Services, Education Department of Victoria. 

Walsh, J, P. (1980), A vocational survey: a study of th e 
carpentry and joinery industry in Tasmania . H o b a r t , 
Tasmania: Education Depar tment. 

Williams, B. R. (Chair, Committee of Inquiry into Education and 
Training). (1979), Education, training and ejtployment . 
Canberra: AcjPS, 






This review sets out to underscore the continuing and increasing 
need for curriculum evaluation inTAFE, while cecognising the 
complexity of the problems, the size oe the task, and hence the 
need to establish priorities. Several approaches known to the 
author are discussed to illustrate the nature of the task and the 
way it might be tacKled. A model is suggested in an attempt to 
conf r structure on the nature, purposes, and goals of 
evaluation, and to recognise and support requests that the 
elements of any evaluation study should be clearly delineated, 
understood, and communicated. A brief rationale is suggested for 
an emphasis on college-based evaluation of curiiculum. Finally, 
some suggestions are made for further work in this ar*?a. 


The place of evaluation in curriculum as the process of gathering 
information, processing the information, making judgments that 
lead to decision making in curriculum, is sufficiently well 
established in both the theory and practice of curriculum not to 
require substantiation and elaboration here. This broad meaning 
will be assumed in this review. The concepts of formative and 
summative evaluation are equally familiar, although as Roe and 
McDonald (1983) point out, the distinction between the two is 
^convenient but not always tidy* (p. 2). Stake (1976) argues that 
one reason for the distinction not being always clear is that in 
any course, there may be a number of components where evaluation 
IS summative, whereas the overall evaluation is formative. For 
example, the evaluation may show that content in some areas is 
what is required and should stay, whereat other content may be 
irrelevant and should be discarded; or assessment strategies may 
prove to be inappropriate and should change. Again most of the 
components may turn out to be worthwhile in themselves but a re- 
ordering is required. The word 'review* as applied to TAFS- 
courses may include formative evaluation or summative evaluation. 
A review is likely, however, to be formative in the sense 'Let's 
see how the course has been going so we can improve it whers 
necessary*, rather than summative in the sense 'Now that that 



course is ail over, let's find out how good it was, how well it 
met the stated objectives — just for the record'. In other words, 
as Ainley and Fordham (1979) state 'it would be mistaken to view 
these roles of evaluation as mutually exclusive* (p. 58). In 
general, then, formative evaluation is designed to ir^ptowe a 
program (or course, or part of a couise, or an aspect or 
component of a course). It need not necessarily apply only m 
cases of a pilot or trial program. Summative evaluation tends zo 
oe reserved for a process at the end of a course, i.e. when it 
may be regarded as complete and a decision is pending, not simply 
as to whether a course will be modified and what form 
modifications will take, but whether, in fact, it will continue 
at all. 

It IS important that another distinction be accepted, i.e. 
between evaluation and assessment. Rowntree (1977) explains the 
difference in this way: 

Evaluation is an attempt to identify and explain the 
effects (and effectiveness) of . . . teaching. In such 
an attempt, assessment is clearly a necessary 
component. Assessment, whether formal or informal, 
reveals to us the most important class of 
"effects* — the changes brought about in the knowledge 
and understanding, abilities, and attitudes of our 
students, (p. 7) 

Assessment results can be seen as part of evaluation by providing 
important information (Mitchell, 1982a). 

It IS helpful to consider also the relationships between 
curriculum research and curriculum evaluation. Here again 
distinctions are 'convenient it not tidy* and not everyone will 
agree that distinctions need be drawn. With the recent stimulus 
given to both research and evaluation within each State TAPE 
Authority and at the national level, the importance of activities 
in these areas is becoming recognised. Instruments, techniques, 
and methodologies used in curriculum research and curriculum 
evaluation are similar. Hunkins (1980) distinguishes between the 
two by pointing out that research design often sets out to keep 
treatments constant so that 'conclusions can be reported 
unequivocally' (p. 315). Such an experimental posture may 
prevent a necessary modification in a program as a result of 
evidence from the evaluation. Related to this, is Hunkins* 
reference to the fact that class environments are replete with 
myriad variables, some known and some unknown. By trying to 
control these, a sterile classroom could result. The evaluator is 



not specifically in the business of advancing 'the 
curriculum knowledge with the addition of universal 
315). This position is also defended by Popham (1975). 



The above basic ideas are important inTAFS and therefore to this 
paper but it is not necessary to go beyond these comments to a 
wider or deeper discussion of curriculum evaluation in general. 
In 1982, with funding from the Tertiary Education Commission, and 
following a proposal from the Higher Education Research and 
Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Roe and McDonald 
conducted in five States a series of workshops on evaluation in 
post-secondary education. Among the participants were personnel 
from the TAPE Authorities. Following the workshops, and based on 
them, the workshop leaders have published I_n_f_o_r m ed profe ssional 
judgement; A gui de to post-secondary eval uat Ion (1984). This 
has sections on the development of curriculum evaluation as a 
field of study as well as ideas for methodologies and 
instruments. The book will prove very useful for persons who 
wish to go beyond the basic ideas introduced above. 


Quite early in the so-called curriculum reform movement, many 
writers were calling for greater emphasis on curriculum 
evaluation. Bebell's study (cited in Payne, 1974) said evaluation 
must be seen as part of the curriculum development process, the 
'other side of the coin of curriculum development* (p, 4). Pious 
exhortations that evaluation must be an ongoing process abound in 
the literature. Evaluation is undeniably 'a good thing', not just 
desirable, but essential. Then why is there relatively little 
serious evaluation done? Why is it that sooften little notice is 
taken of some of the evaluation that is done? Why does evaluation 
appear so often to be out of phase with other aspects of 
curriculum? These questions apply to ail sections of education 
and certainly to TAFE. In the Kangan Report (1975) the Committee, 
acting itself in the role of evaluator, reported that it had 

. . . that some TAFE institutions persist with many of 
the processes common to traditional secondary 
educat ion— processes that assume that adult student 
needs ace litcle different, (p. 19) 

The Kangan Report, in discussing evaluation pointed out that 
'most changes that have occurred in TAFE have been based on 
experience from overseas', that 'the evaluation of changes that 
have occurred, has normally been perfunctory' (p. 163) (a serious 



indictment indeed). Because of other deficiencies in coarse 
design (absence of clearly defined objectives which make explicit 
the intent and characteristic features of a coarse), it has been 
'difficult to formulate without ambiguity a set of criteria on 
which to base a systematic evaluation of the course effectiveness 
except in terms of knowledge acquired by students at a particular 
time . . . during the course, (p. 163). In this same section, 
the report chose to include, by way of example, the significant 
fact that 'studies of wastage from courses have seldom been 
carried out, although the findings of such studies may have some 
general applicability and assist in the reduction of wastage in 
future courses' (p. 163), Recent work (e.g. Gumming & Mountney, 
1984), IS being directed to this problem. 

The Kangan Report also made it clear that certain areas were 
worthy of serious consideration and evaluation. 

The process still adheres to examination dominated 
curricula, teacher dominated learning in the 
traditional classroom style, and the maintenance of 
such suspect learning devices as compulsory class 
attendance, (p, 19) 

Members of the Committee must now fed partly reassured that in 
the States this advice has been Seeded, that some evaluation 
projects along these lines have ^^een initiated. The Report made 
other suggestions, both implied and explicit, for evaluation as 
well as research. 

Trie research q^c^'lon, 'What techniques will worH most 
effectively to teach what content and what process to whom?' 
{p. 166) could be an evaluation question if related to specific 
contexts, as the following statement demonstrates: 

, , , the Committee stated its concern to step up the 
pace and volume of research relating to access and to 
problems of literacy, student assessment, technology, 
and other matters. Within this general objective the 
Committee considers that the specific studies to 
receive priority >;hould include: 

(d) , , , Development of new curricula to meet 
technological, social and other change; formative 
evaluation durinc the developmental stages to 
ensure that the coarse components are appi.opriate 
for ^he general vocational intent, taught 
effectively by the teachers and can be assimilated 


by the students? 'summative* e v<i 3 '4t ion of the 
completed curriculum to ensure ti?t the course 
graduates in industry or commerce have gained the 
skills and attitudes intended. The development of 
effective methods for broadening students* social 
awareness, (pp. 167-8) 


Of the evaluation projects completed in the last ten years, (i.e. 
pos t-Kangan) , and those currently being undertaken, many 
concentrate on innovat ions in prog rams or components or aspects 
of programs. These innovations themselves reflect new demands, 
new philosophies, new ideas from the fields of pedagogy and 
industry. The curriculum innovations have often been possible 
because of special funding and the evaluation projects also have 
attracted funding. This is great. It supports very largely the 
value of formative evaluation. 

There is, unfortunately, the real danger that the more 
traditional, well established courses (and there are plenty of 
these) may escape the kind of scrutiny they need and that can be 
provided by summative evaluation studies. Many of the existing 
trade courses are in this category, although in some States (as 
the literature shows) some work is being done. As well, 
evaluation and review are being completed by work in National 
Core Curricula (Jones, 1983), The magnitude and nature of the 
problem are cogently stated in the teport of the Tertiary 
Education Commission for the 1982-34 triennium: 

. • • there are about 4000 vocational and preparatory 
courses offered in TAFE colleges at present. These 
courses must be continually reviewed and updated in the 
light of technological change, and new courses must be 
developed in response to emerging community wants and 
needs, (p. 93) 

An example of what I mean by an emphasis on curriculum innovation 
when jt comes to curriculum evaluation is provided by the 
following extract from a proposal for an evaluation project: 

The introduction of CN099 Dental Prosthetic Technology 
Course brings a new phase of trade training into 
Queensland TAFE colleges. This new development replaces 
an existing three-year block release training program 
with a full-time three-semester training program. 
Because this development cou'd be the forerunner of 


coarse developments in other trade areas, it is 
important that the development, introduction and 
progress of the new coarse be monitored. While it 

is important that an attempt be made to ascertain to 
what extent students have met the stated aims of the 
coarse, m this evaluation, the initial emphasis will 
concentrate on identifying defects in the procedural 
design, particularly in the sense that planned elements 
of the syllabus document are not being implemented as 
they were originally conceived. (TAFE, Department of 
Education, Queensland, 1983, p. 1) 


Pre-employment courses are here meant to include pre-vocat ional, 
pre-appr ^nticeship, and other pre-employment courses although the 
term has had other meanings. Many of these can be included under 
the rubric of 'transition courses', a term whose exact 
connotations have been singularly elusive. The definition in the 
Dr af t. g lossarj^ of TAFE terms (1983) for 'transition orograra' is 
used here: 

This term refers to a method of funding rather than to 
a specific type of course. It refers to courses, funded 
directly by the Commonwealth Government, v;inch are 
offered to secondary students and to young school 
leavers selected according to their specific 
requirements m obtaining permanent ^r*ployment. (p. 29) 

(Many courses previously described as transition now come un^^er 
the provisions: of the P^r t^cipanion and Equity Program.) To the 
group of courses in this discussion must be added courses in the 
Educational Program for Unemployed Youth (EPUY). A considerable 
amount of time has gone into evaluation of these types of 
courses, largely, as suggested earlier, because they are 
relatively new. There have been several conferences on 
transition courses and more written evaluation information 
produced about these courses in the last five years than for any 
other group of courses. At the National Conference on Evaluation 
of Transition in Melbourne in November, 1981, reports from the 
different Authorities made it clear that evaluation serves 
different functions, including: 

( a) account abi li ty, 

(b) objectives achievement, 

(c) cost effectiveness, 

(d) program improvement (especially self-improvement) , 

(e) resource allocation decisj on-making. (Kemmis, 1981, p. 2) 

r!c 159 


Ainley and Fordham (1979) provide a detailed, valuable account of 
work done in evaluation in pre-employment courses and include 
descriptions of data-gathering and analysis processes. 

The Stufflebeam CIPP model (Context, Input, Process, Product) is 
appropriate here. For example, in regard to context evaluation, 
Davis and Woodburne (1983) say: 

The lack of any definitive theoretical basis on which 
to call when designing courses is a source of concern 
to many course co-ord inator s and teachers in the 
(Transition) program, and obviously it would be helpful 
if there were some theoretical basis for saying 'this 
content is desirable* or 'this is not', (p. 70) 

The separate TAFE Authorities have all conducted evaluation of 
pre-employment courses. (See for example. Khan, 1983; and 
Mitchell, 1982b, for descriptions of activities in Queensland 
TAFE). Hocking (1982) lists a number of issues that arose during 
the course of a study made on evaluation of pre-employment 
programs. They are: 

1. Most evaluation of pre-employment programmes take place 
within State branches of research or curriculum associated 
with the State Division or Department of TAFE, 

2. A much lesser amount of evaluation in the pre-employment 
area is bemg undertaken by independent evaluators. 

3. Little formal evaluation is being undertaken by TAFE 
teachers themselves, unlike the school sector where school 
level evaluation by teachers is a growth industry of the 
compulsory sector, 

4. Evaluation of pre-employment programmes deals mostly with 
programmatic issues rather than policy issues. 

5. The understanding of administrators of TAFE of the use of 
evaluations was seen to be limited. 

6. Most evaluation is commissioned by an entity with a vested 
interest in a specific evaluation out Dme. 

7. The audience and purpose of the evaluation is often not 
spec i f ied. 

8. The range of approaches to evaluation has been limited. 



9. There is some doubt about the links between evaluation 
activities and d*»cision-inaking. (pp. 133-135) 

Hocking concludes on this rath-^r sombre note: 

Underlying all the other issues outlined is a lack ot 
definition of the purposes of many pre-employment 
programmes in the present economic context. Whilst the 
aims of these programmes remain unclear, evaluation of 
such programmes will be problematical. Evaluation of 
the programmes themselves cannot enlighten decision 
makers on the place of such programmes in today's 
society. Activity and research funding related to 
preparation for employment need to be on a wider basis, 
(p. 136) 

At a seminar on pre-employment courses held in Brisbane m June 
1983, the first two of the recommendations have further 
implications for curriculum evaluation. They read as follows: 

1. That terms such as ' p r e- app r e n 1 1 c e* , 'pre- 
employment*, and 'pre-vocational' are acknDwledged 
to be misleading and that courses be catt^gor ised 
into, and be known by, the recently endorsed 
relevant T\FS streams. 

2. That the Transition program be carefully evaluated 
by the Commonwealth Government and the guidelines 
modified to allow for a greater degree of 
flexibility and the responsibility for the Program 
be transferred to the Department of Education and 
Youth Affairs, (p. 2) The story to date of 
evaluation in pre-employment (transition) 
programs, however well-intentioned the separate 
evaluations have been, points to a need for 
clearer statements of purpose and greater co- 
ordination of effort when evaluations of such a 
generically large group of courses, involving 
thousands of actual and potential customers, is to 
be undertaken. The lessons from the transition 
story are worth remembering. 


A model seems necessary to help provide a structure for planning 
in curriculum evaluation, particularly if limited funds, limited 
resources, and too few trained staff are available to mount the 
kind of evaluation projects that are necessary; it may help in 

dei'ermining priorities and providing direction. This i#roposed 
model is meant to be consistent with approaches to evaluation as 
described in the now classical models of the likes of Stake 
(1967) and Stufflebeara (1971) and with general techniques of 
evaluation reports in the literature m the field. It seeks to 
suggest ways to improve co-ordination and provide a conceptual 
framework for 30int efforts by evaluators in TAPE. 

The dimensions that provide a framework for evaluation in 
curriculum include levels, foci, areas of responsibility, and 
audience. In TAPE, the levels would oe the classroom, the 
college, the system, (i.e. the TAPE Authority). The foci would 
include course and subject content, aims and objectives, teaching 
methods, student assessment, the learners themselves and their 
learning processes and styles, the teachers and resources. Areas 
of responsibility refer to such questions as: Who requested the 
evaluation? What peison or group will do the evaluation? 
Audiences may include the public, industry, organisations, 
teachers, administrators, research workers. In all cases, 
judgments are made and decisions are, at least, expected. 

These dimensions can be represented in what may be called a 
cross-sectional model (Figure 1). In this model, the concentric 
circles represent the levels at which the evaluations are 
initiated or conducted or directed. 

Figure I. 

A cross-sectional sodel for planning curriculun 




is the classroom level; the students ace within this circle* 

B is the section/department level within a college. 
C is the college level. 

D is the TAPE Authority level (i.e. the Department of TAPE in 
some States, the Division of TAPE in others and so on). 

E is the wider level of the community (society) including the 
wider education context, industry groups, parents, 
employers, the general public. Australia-wide evaluation 
projects commissioned by the TAPE National Centre for 
Research and Development and the Commonwealth Government 
would clearly be examples of evaluation at this level. 

Each of the lines (1, 2, 3 . . , ) represents a focus for the 
evaluation and its length suggests the groups caught up in the 
evaluation. An example of an activity represented by line 1 would 
be a teachers attempt to determine whether an innovative 
teaching method is working with a group of students. 

Line 2 may represent a senior teacher's concern about a section's 
attempt to report on students* achievements* Line 6 may represent 
a college principal's concern that students selected for a given 
course can cope with the content. Line 7 may represent an 
investigation by a Curriculum Branch (Head Office or TAPE 
Authority) of the way a new syllabus is being implemented in a 
number of colleges. Line 11 may represent the liaison between a 
TAPE Authority and an industry group vis-a-vis the progress of a 
course in which the two groups share an involvement and an 
interest and so on. 

It would not be too difficult to use all the lines in the model 
to give examples of current curriculum evaluation in TAPE in 
Australia. What this does not say, however, is where the current 
emphases lie. The model may be useful in prompting thinking about 
where emphasis should lie and how evaluation efforts at the 
various levels may be co-ordinated. 

The model will, of course, indicate just how complex the task can 
be, particularly if we now consider that there is a large range 
of foci for evaluation, and a large number and variety of 
courses. The model would be inadequate if recognition was not 
qiven to the need to co-ordinate a range of evaluation studies. 
The lines are not meant to be seen in isolation. In the next 
section, the focus is on the inner circles. 


It is interesting to note the nurabec of recent studies in TAPE in 
Australia of projects to aid teachers in the classroom in their 
own evaluation of curriculum. The rationale for this rests on a 
number of propositions but three are worth mentioning. One is 
that, as is obvious, and as has been mentioned earlier in this 
paper, the amount of work is simply too massive for a relatively 
small group of evaluators. The tasks are likely to become more 
numerous rather than less. Secondly, it could be c-rgued that for 
many of the facets of the curriculum, for many o£ the subjects 
and courses offered, the teachers in the classroom, workshop, 
laooratory are in the best position to conduct the evaluation and 
would have as much motivation to do so as anyone else — as much to 
gain or lose. The third is that there are current moves to 
devolve responsibility for curriculum design and development onto 
TAFE teachers. Since, axiomatically, evaluation is part of 
curriculum design and development, teachers need to know how to 
go about evaluation. The obvious need here -s for serious and 
concerted attempts to provide teachers with professional 
development workshops and guidelines in curriculum evaluation. 
This point cannot be made too strongly. 

Following the HERDSA workshop referred to earlier in this review, 
initial attempts have been made to assist colleges in Queensland 
with self-evaluation to include evaluation of curriculum and 
aspects of the curriculum. For example, the following questions 
were suggested for consideration by colleges. The first set 
{•college aims and objectives') although meant to be general, 
also concern the curriculum. 

Criterig for self evaluation of TAFB colleges 
1- College aias and objectives 

1.1 Does the college have =1 written set of ^'Ams and 
objectives? (or goals or purposes?) 

1.2 If so, to what extent are they useful for and used in 
present and future operations? 

1.3 How do these relate to the systematic TAFE aims and 


1,4 Who produced the aims and objectives? 



1.5 What is the nature of the relationship between the 
college and the community? How do the aims and 
objectives of the college relate to the community? 




What are the procedures for evaluation of student 
learning? To what extent are the«e procedures used? 

Is classroom teaching performance reelected in the 
effectiveness of student learning? If so, to what 
extent? How is this measured? 

Do the teachers concern themselves with student 

Is there sufficient emphasis on processes and 

What informal learning activi.*:ies/services are 
provided? What non-formal (incidental) learning occurs? 

What do students value f^'om their experiences a*- this 

What do students seem not to enjoy about their 
experiences at the college? 

Are ther:. procedi-res for evaluating assessment 
strategitfd in the college? To what extent are these 
procedures used? 

What courses are there in the college? Who designed 
and who developed these courses? How were they chosen 
for this college? Are they still appropriate? 

What curriculum documentation axists? How is it used' 

What is the relationship between the planned and the 
received curriculum? 

How are programs evaluated? 

What attitudes do community groups (including industry 
and commerce) have to these courses? 



3.6 Do students express satisfaction with vhe courses? What 
is the drop-cut rate in the various courses? 

3.7 What are the attitudes of the teaching staff to thes« 

3.3 How effective are the extension courses? How is this 

As well as this, a set of Gu ide lines for. College Personnel 
Undertaking Progra m Evaluations (Smith, 1984) has been"p7epared. 
The use of these guidelines is explained in the introduction; 

. . . there is a growing need for colleges to seek 
greater involvement and responsibilities in developing 
courses, devising teaching and learning methods, and 
assessing students. These college based initiatives 
need to be supported by appropriate evaluation studies. 
The following guidelines have been prepared to assist 
college administrators and teaching staff who wish to 
undertake college based evaluations, {p. 1) 


This has been a general discussion of a number of issues in 
curriculum evaluation in TAPE in Australia. A large list could be 
prepared for those aspects of curriculum evaluation not included. 
Evaluators working in isolation often clamour for information on 
techniques and methodologies that have worked for others. How 
often do evaluators feel they are reinventing the wheel when it 
comes to designing a questionnaire or interview schedule, when 
the basis of an appropriate instrument is already in existence, 
one that has been trialled, validated, and usea productively. 
There must be examples where a participant observation 
methodology has been successful and others where the methodology, 
for a variety of reasons, has failed. It would be valuable to 
know which of a range of statistical processes have proved 
useful, in different contexts, and for different purposes. Ways 
to share experiences, to discuss successes and failures, to build 
up a background which will go some way towards developing 
coherent theory for evaluation in TAPE are needed. A major study 
leading to a handbook and/or a regular publication would be 
valuable. Reports on evaluation studies are available and others 
can be made available for such a publication. National 
conferences and seminars, such as the one organised by the 
Canberra College of TAPE in September 1984, will suggest further 
ways to improve evaluations at the classroom level as well as 
those at other levels. 



Kemmis (1981), summing up the National Conference on Evaluation 
of Transition said that reports presented and discussions held 
led to four required strategies. 

. Strategies for costing awareness of evaluation 
res_^onsibilities throughout the program. These were hinted 
at, but no clear points emerged with a general commitment to 
communication among those involved. 

. Strategies for supporting evaluation efforts throughout the 
program. Interest was expressed in the conscious allocation 
or resources {by Commonwealth and State Authorities) for 
evaluation across all levels. In particular, consultancy and 
resources should be made available for individual 
program/institution evaluation efforts. Action research was 
suggested as a form for local evaluation work. It could be 
linked to other school-level evaluation and project self- 
evaluation initiatives. 

Strategies for co-ordination of evaluation responsibilities 
and accivities. There was sup,oort for the notion that 
State, Commonwealth and other agencies should give attention 
to evaluation priorities across program types and levels ot 
responsibility. State committees might have special 
obligations here. Patterns of resource allocation across 
evaluation effo.ts required further consideration. 
Difficulties in communication between levels were noted. 

Strategies for dissemination of evaluation reports . The 
role of the National Clearinghouse was noted here. The 
network of conference participants was also recognised as a 
potent informal network for communication and dissemination, 
{pp. 3-4) 

Course design and development are proceeding apace in all TAPE 
Authorities, and nationally. The need for evaluation studies to 
keep pace with this activity has never been more apparent than it 
is now. 




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An approach to evaluation of pre-vocational education in 
TAPE . Hawthorn, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational 

Bebell, C. (1962). Evaluation and curriculum development. 
Educational Leadership , 17 , 4-6. In D. A. Payne, (Ed.). 
(1974). Curriculum evaluation: Commentaries on purpose , 
process^ product. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and 
Company . 

Camming, J. J., & Mountney, P. E. (1984). Attrition and 
Retention in TAPE. In T APE Reviews . Adelaide: TAPE 
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Davis, D. J., 4 Woodburne, 0. (1 983). Interventions in 

transition: An evaluation of the TAPE response in six 
Australian regions to the School to Work Transition Program 
Canberra: AGPS. 

Hocking, H. (1982). Evaluation of pre-employment programmes in 
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Conference of the Australian Association foL Research in 
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Hunk ins, P. P. ( 1 980 ). Curriculum development program 
improvement . Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merritt Publishing 
Company . 

Jones, N. (1983). Ma_t_x_Qnal__core curricula: Development and 
intp le me n t a 1 1 on . Adelaide: TAPE National Centre for Research 
and Development. 

Kangan, M. (Chair, Australian Committee on Technical and Further 
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Kemmis, S. (1981). Some highlights from the National Conference 
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163 168 

Khan, S. (1983). An investment in the future; Broad-oased 
education in Queensland . Brisbane: TAFE, Departmant of 

Mitchell, D. A. (1982a). Assessment as part of evaluation . Paper 
presented at the conference of the Curriculum Interest 
Group, Armidale. 

Mitchell, D. A. (1982b). Pre-employment courses in TAFE , 
Queensland ; Cur ren t research and evaluation . Educational 
Research in the 1980*s. 1982 Annual Conference of the 
Australian Association for Research in Education. Collected 
Papers, pp. 125-131. 

Payne, D. A. (Ed.). (1974). Curriculum evaluation; Commentaries 
on purpose, process, product. Lexington, Massachusetts: 
D. C. Heath and Company. 

Pophara, W. J. (1975). Educational evaluation. Englewood Cliffs, 
N. J. : Prentice Hall. 

Roe, P., & McDonald, R. (1983). Informed professional judgement ; 
A guide to evaluation in post-secondary education . S t. 
Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press. 

Rowntree, D. (1979). Assessing students; How shall we know them ? 
London, Harper and Row. 

Schilling, R. (1983). Common s_k i lis across t rades . Adelaide; 
TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. 

Smith, F. (1984). Guidelines for college personnel undertaking 
program evaluations . Brisbane: TAFE, Department of 
Education, Queensland. 

Stake, R. E. (1967). The countenance of educational evaluation. 
Teachers College Record , 68, 523-540- 

Stake, R. (1974). Language, rationality and assessment. In D. A. 
Payne, (Ed.), Evaluation; Commentaries of purpose,, process , 
product . Lexington, Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company. 

Stake, R. E. (1976). Evaluating^ ^ lucationa l programmes: The need 
a g 'che response. Paris; Organization for Economic Co- 
operation and Development. 


stuff lebeam, D. L. , Foley, W.J., Oephart, W.J., Ouba, E.O., 
Hammon, R. L., Merrimanr H. 0., & Provas, M. M. (1971). 
Edacational evalaation and decision making . Itasca, 
Illinois: F. M. Peacock. 

TAFE, Department of Education^ Carriculara Branch, Queensland. 
(1983). TAFE National Pre-employment Seminar , Brisbane. 

TAFE, Department of Education, Queensland. (1982). Cr iteria for 
self -eva luat ion of TAFE Colleges. Trial checklist. 
Br isbane. 

TAFE, Department of Education, Queensland. (1983a). An 
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Cour se . Brisbane. 

TAFE, Department of Education, Queensland. (1983b). Procedures 
for carriculum design and syllabus approval of TAFE courses 
in which TAFE colleges have a major desig^n involvement . 
3r isbane. 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. (1983). 
Draft glossary of TAFE terms . Adelaide. 





Staff development, which is the professional, vocational, and 
personal development of an organisation's most important 
resource, its personnel, is receiving renewed emphasis in 
today^s competitive economic climate* 

Emerging, and rapidly changing technologies, have caused many 
organisations to undertake an urgent assessment of the current 
and future training needs of their human resources. In some 
cases, the outcome of the assessment has been most unpalatable to 
the organisations concerned. Valuable human resources have been 
found to be technically inadequate to meet the demands of new 
technologies, in both theoretical and practical terms. 

Smaller organisations have lost their competitive edge due to the 
prohibitive cost of purchasing new equipment and of cetrc^.ning 
staff. In attempting to continue with obsolescent equipment and 
with staff with outdated skills, these organisations have 
eventually met their predictable demise. 

As a major teaming organisation to business, commerce, and the 
public service, TAFS Authorities are particularly vulnerable to 
the effects of technological changes, particularly with regard to 
staff and equipment updating. A search of the Australian 
literature indicates a developing thrust in the field of TAPE 
staff development. This is likely to increase as TAFE Authorities 
are forced to grapple with the problems of staff obsolescence. 
This review examines some of the current staff development 
programs and research while suggesting areas for further research 
into this most crucial field. 


The TAPE s**ctoc is facing ever - i nc r easi ng public demands to 
provide a greater variety of courses of a vocational, general 
interest, and leisure oriented nature. New technological 
developments, a changing societal structure, and a new emphasis 
upon leisure have presented chaUengea for which many TAPE 



institutions have been unprepared. The present climate of greater 
public accountability, coupled with increasingly severe financial 
constraints and cliabin-; enrolments, has only tended to 
exacerbate the situation. 

The demands facing the TAPE sector for the 1980s have been 
determined by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), in its 
Report for the 1982-84 Triennium (1981a) as encompassing two 
major priorities: 

The first is to provide the knowledge, skills and 
educational environment which will best ensure a 
skilled, adaptable and well-inf orn ed workforce able not 
only to meet the complex demands ci a changing society 
and workplace but also to realise the individual 
potential of its members in the face of these changes. 

The second and related priority is to prepare as many 
young people as need or seek assistance to make a 
smooth and rewarding transition from chi Id hood and 
schooling to the challenges and opportunities of adult 
life. (Vol. 1, Pt. 4, pp. 13-14) 

In attempting to meet these priorities, TAPE must continue to 
rely heavily upon the technical, specialist, and teaching 
expertise of its teaching staff. In this regard the Williams' 
Committee (1979) has argued: 

The basic quality and effectiveness of any teaching 
organisation is largely determined by the quality of 
its teachers. For teachers in the TAFE sector, 
technical knowledge and skill in their Subject field, 
professional competence as teachers and personal 
development as individuals with a breadth of view, and 
some administrative capacity, are all important, 
(p. 310). 

Of some significance is the reference to administrative capacity, 
heralding the current emphasis on administrative training for 
both TAFE administrators and potential administrators. 

It is imperative then for TAFE systems to be attuned to the needs 
of both industry and tbe community. Ideally, TAFE institutions 
need to be staffed by highly trained, competent administrative 
personnel and support staff working in close co-operation with 
innovative and up to date professional teaching staff. However, 
the Tertiary Education Commission, in expressing concern over 
this issue in its Report for the 1979-81 Trienniuffl claimed that: 

. . . little attrition has yet been ^iven to the 
important task of ensuring that TAF£ teac'ners keep up 
to date in their 3ab3ect areas, the content of whicn 
may be changing rapidly with changes in the vocational 
fields for which the teachers are preparing people, 
(p. 146) 

Some two years later, the TAFE Staff Development Committee (1981) 
could still claim m the NSW VAFE Quarterly Joarnali 

Evidence suggests that the technical knowledge of a 
significant number of TAFS teachers lags behind 
technological developments in industry and, what is 
more, as the pace of technological change increases 
this situation will probably worsen, (p. 2) 

Some further criticism has been levelled at TAFE staff 
development by the Williams* Committee (1979) which rebuked TAFE 
for its • . . . inadequate staff preparation and development* 
(p. 28), a comment which was quite justifiable at that time. 

From the foregoing typical criticisms it can be seen that the 
provision of on-going programs of staff development for teaching 
staff in TAFE institutions, have not always received the high 
priority which they deserve. Only m comparatively recent times 
have TAFE Authorities addressed the need for teaching personnel 
to update their technical skills and knowledge. 

Teaching skills and professional development programs have also 
received considerable attention from TAFE Authorities. Competency 
Based Teacher Education programs (CBTE) , and modular self-paced 
learning packages are being utilised as part of the fotal staff 
training and development program in some States. 


Dillon-Peterson (1981) has provided a useful definition of staff 
development in an educational setting which is particularly 
appropriate to the TAFE sector: 

Staff development is a process designed to foster 
personal and professional growth for individuals within 
a respectful, supportive, positive organisational 
climate having as its ultimate aim better learning for 
students and continuous, responsible self-ren2wal for 
educators and schools, (p. 3) 


Generally speaking, staff development can Ce approached from two 
very different viewpoints, where the first, and perhaps the most 
common concept, is the 'defect approach*. This traditional view 
of staff develofnent has as its basis, the detection of 
weaknesses in tht technical or teaching skills of staff. 
Appropriate activities are then developed to repair the faulty 
condition. This 'band aid* approach is slowly giving way to the 
second and more acceptable model of staff development; the 
'growth approach*. 

The growth model is particularly well-suited to the human 
resource development concept, where the needs of the organisation 
are balanced with the needs for self-fulfilment, job 
satisfaction, and the technical and teaching requirements of 
individual staff members. 

The major difference between the two models is where the growth 
approach consists of an ongoing developmental program, tailored 
to individual requirements, and where a collaborative approach is 
taken. The premise underlying the growth model is that 
participation in, and responsibility for, the teacher*s own 
professional development will increase the effectiveness of the 
staff development process- 
In the past, the ^ain thrust of many staff development programs 
has unfortunately been aimed almost solely at teaching staff. The 
needs of other essential personnel in the TAPE system have 
frequently been ignored or unrecognised. The Tertiary Education 
Commission (Report for the 1932-84 Tnennium, Vol. 1, Pt 4, 
p. 107) has identified the various categories of personnel where 
staff development is required as including: 

senior teachers and senior administrative staff 
full-time teaching staff 

part-time and short-term contract teachers 

non-metropolitan teaching staff. 

These categories of personnel provide a useful basis for 
assessing the staf^ development requirements of personnel in TAFE 
institutions, while ultimately relating towards satisfying the 
needs of the client group. 

Client group needs for vocational training are particularly 
pressing on TAFE; the TEC in its Report for the 1 982 - 
8 4 Tnennium (1981a), has stated: 



TAfE is the principal trainer of skilled manpower for 
industry; its oatpat in trade and technical training 
will be critical to the development plans of the next 
decade. (Vol. 1, Pt. 1, p. 174) 

Furthermore, the TEC noted in its Report some potential problems 
likely to arise from technological developments, particularly: 

. . . some vocational areas are undergoing such rapid 
dev3lopment that teachers will need special assistance 
in updating and maintaining their vocational knowledge 
and skills. (Vol. 1, Pt. 4, p. 137) 


Staff development in TAFE poses a considerable problem for the 
TAFE Authorities and it is evident that technical updating and 
retraining programs are becoming major features in staff 
development schemes. As an indication of the size of the problem 
one TAPE Authority has indicated the retraining needs of its 
staff in the following manner: 

... it is estimated that 33 per cent of staff will 
require major retraining in the next five years, a 
further 36 per cent in the following five years and 23 
per cent within 15 years. Thus, in the foreseeable 
future, about 12^15 per cent of DFE staff will require 
major retraining every year. (South Australian 
Department of Further Education, 1980, p. 24) 

The financial implications for such an extensive retraining 
program are awesome, and particularly so when coupled to the 
requirement for updating expensive capital equipment to meet the 
demands of new and changing technologies. Nonetheless, suitable 
means must be found if TAFE is to maintain its educational 
credibility and technical competence in meeting the demands of 
the 1980s. Stronger and more co-operative links with industry 
could be a useful strategy for providing access to new equipment 
for familiarisation purposes. In the same manner, a joint co- 
operative approach involving industrial interchange of staff 
could be mutually ben*»ficial to both TAPE and industry. 

In Older to ensure this technological updating and retraining of 
staff, the TEC has recommended that the J^ational Staff 
Development grant be increased as follows: 



from $2.9 million in 1981 to $3.6 million in 1982 

from $4.3 million in 1983 to $5.0 million in 1984. 

The prp'^sdres upon senior administrative personnel will be 
considerable, particularly with regard to the planning, 
organising, and controlling functions of their roles. With this 
in mind, staff development of administrative personnel has been 
accorded a high priority of TAFEC: 

The major recommendations of the Staff Development 
Committee relate to the development of senior staff in 
TAFE colleges and the maintenance of the technical 
competence of TAFE teachers. (Tertiary Education 
Commission, 1981a, Vol. 1, Pt 4, p. 136) 

Senior administrative staff development programs can be expected 
to increase quite significantly in the near future as the full 
implications of the situation become apparent to TAFE. 


TAFE college administrators typically have progressed through the 
ranks as teachers in particular trades or professions and have 
had little, or no^ prior administrative experience. Relatively 
few TAFE college administrators are professionally qualified in 
management or educational administration. The demands of the job, 
and frequently a lack of encouragement from the system, have 
tended to relegate professional administrative and management 
studies to a low priority. 

Nonetheless, many senior administrative staff have taken the 
opportunities afforded by the various Public Service training 
organisations and TAFE staff development schemes, to undertake 
short courses and seminars of an administrative nature. Senior 
administrative staff have attended conferences, actively 
participated as members of professional administrative or 
management organisations, or commenced professional reading 
programs in these areas. 

It is essential however, that skills gainv^d at these activities 
bear directly upon the administrative role and meet the perceived 
needs of the individuals concerned. Some guidance has been 
provided by the TAFE Staff Development Committee (1981) of the 
TEC in this re:;pect. The Committee has proposed four sets of 
skills required in differing amounts by various levels of senior 
TAFE college staff: 



skills related to the management of organisations 

skills relating to the management of staff 

skills related to the management of the educational process 

skills related to understanding the nature of TAFE and the 
industrial^ economic and social contexts in which TAPE 
operates, (p. 11) 

The TEC Committee noted that any special thrusts towards senior 
staff development in the 1982-84 Triennium, should desirably 
include these identifiable and interrelated areas. 

Thg Education Department of Western Australia, Technical 
Education Division (1981) addressed the need for training and 
development of TAFE college administrators at some length. In a 
major staff development exercise, principals, deputy principals, 
heads of department and senior lecturers were surveyed to 
ascertain their perceptions of the degree of importance of 
35 specific competency statements which had been obtained from a 
literature search. These statements were considered as 
encompassing all of the competencies required for the effective 
execution of the duties of college administrative personnel. 
These competencies were classified under the following nine broad 
categories, listed in order of importance as perceived by the 
respondents to the survey: 

skills of management 

understanding the Technical Education Division (TED; and 
likely future developments 

knowledge of tr,^ TED administrative network 
financial management 

skills sociated with extra-institutional management 
skills associated "ith educational leadership 
skills in college administration 

understanding procedures of college admini'3tration 
understanding procedures of staff management. 



Further to rating the competency statements in order of 
i.iportance to the administrative duties of respondents, the 
administrators were requested to indicate the degree of 
importance which they attached to the training of administrative 
staff in these competencies. The outcome was somewhat surprising 
in that respondents, as a whole, did not believe that prior or 
suDsequent training in these competancies was necessary. It was 
subsequently pointed out that the respondents were experienced 
practitioners with little, or no, formal training for the 
positions they currently held. In all probability the^»- an^w^^rs 
reflected their pragmatic approach to administration. 

The WA 'technical Education Division selected Com^yetency Based 
Administrator Education (CBAE), as the most appropriate form of 
training and development for their senior administrative 
personnel. The CBAE program was considered most suitable for TAPE 
due to its individualised, self-paced nature and its other 
advantages which included: 


systematic programs 

emphasis on final performance 

modular form 

practicality of outcomes with regard to trainee and program 
accountabi lity . 

No formal qualifications were to be attached to the successful 
completion of the proposed CBAE program, although the integration 
of the in-service CBAE program, with an appropriate college of 
advanced education or university course, was considered to be 
desirable . 

Senior TAPE personnel in New South Wales have the opportunity to 
participate in three approaches to training through the Ne South 
Wales TAFE Staff Development Division. The three approaches are: 

Promotion Training 

Executive Development 

. Organisational Development 


The aim of the Promotion Training approach is to develop suitable 
administrative and managerial skills in staff looking towards 
promotional positions. The emphasis of this training program is 
upon experiential learning, rather than upon administrative or 
managerial theory. Assistance with the program is provided by 
both senior staff and the trainees' peer**. 

Individual Executive Development programs are offered to 
administrative and managerial personnel who have demonstrated 
their potential for more senior positions. The program normally 
operates at two levels; externally through courses, seminars and 
conferences, and internally through work-related staff 
development activities including special projects, secondments 
and staff exchanges. 

The aims of Organisational Development Training include: enhanced 
communication and co-operation between TAFE college staff members 
and working groups; aiding in the development of innovative 
apprs^aches to problem solving; organisational goal setting; and 
the development of an awareness to client group needs and 
appropriate responses to these. 

Senior administrative staff development in the South Australian 
Department of TAFE takes the form of a series of Management 
Workshops on top*cs of immediate use to participants. The aims of 
the progra^'i -^ra to develop in an informal way, the knowiedqe of 
managerial concepts and problem solving skills of use in college 
and head offic* sit'^ations. 

The following characteristics are included in the general format 
of the workshops, which 

are self-contained: participants need attend only those 
workshops in which they are interested; 

are aimed at developing practical skills or an understanding 
of managerial concepts; 

have a minimum of theoretical input; 

represent an ac t i v i ty -ba sed methodology, including: 
discussion, case studies, role play, etc. 

include a period in which to plan the inpl ntation of 
concepts and/or skills covered; 



incorporate a philosophy tnat ideas about management have to 
be adapted to meet their particular context? 

. comprise one half day per week for thirty weeks for the 
entire program. 

It IS farther expected that participants will attend the 
workshops with tne following: 

clearly established goals 

enough autonomy to implement changes in their work situation 
and/or . . 

an agreement with their own management to develop on-the-^ob 
implementation of ideas or concepts learned. 

Sessions are generally well attended and feedback is sought from 
participants to evaluate the various ^ctivitles and to 
incorporate any modifications suggested as necessary. Typical of 
the session content are the following: 

Managers and management 

Time management and handling paperwork 

Effective delegation and participative -management 

Leadership and motivation 

Tools for planning and control 

Program management and budgeting 

Problem solving and decision making 

Irlvalu- ting organisational performance 

Staff development and the college manager 

Marketing ai educational program 

Improved communication 

Improved lecturar perfoLmance. 



The writer surveyed 63 per cent of the total Business Studies 
lecturing staff in the South Australian Department of TAFE, in an 
attempt determine perceived staff development needs {Snewin, 
1981). Respondents were asked to state the most important staff 
development activity which they would like to see introduced into 
their school or college. 

Responses to the question were subsequently categorised under the 
following headings: 

Inter-Personal Skills 

Technical/Specialist Skills 

Career Development. 
Under the heading of Inter-Personal skills, respondents placed: 

counselling procedures 

teamwork skills 

collegial decision making 

human relations training. 
Technical/Specialist Skills received the following responses: 

industrial secondment — involvement with a commercial 

regular interchange of staff with industry, commerce, public 
administration, and community leadership activities; 

attendance at seminars and continuing educational programs 
in one's f^eld of expertise; 

residential Business Studies conference; 

visiting speakers on specialist subjects of an industrial or 
educational nature* 

Carjer Development attracted the following respont^es: 

teaching methodology for both full-time and part-time 
teachers; 1 O i 




techniques for developing coarse material; 

regular i n t e r-d i sc i pi ina r y exchanges of views and 

introduction of computer usage to staff for e<? 'cational and 
administrative applications. 

Ainley and Fordham (1980) discovered in their survey of TAPE 
Authorities in South Australia and Victoria that up-to-date 
knowledge of recent developments in their area of specialisation, 
was the roost important staff development need for full-time TAPE 
teachers. Four other areas of need were: 

curriculum development skills 

understanding the nature of TAPE 

counselling skills 

a basic administrative knowledge. 

Subject matter and teaching practice skills and knowledge were 
also emphasised as important by many teachers in the survey. 
However, the main thrust in current staff development trends is 
undoubtedly centred on technical updating of TAPE teaching staff. 

Ter , cal updating involves training staff to bring their 
existing SKills in their respective fields up to date with the 
latest technological developments* In particular, these latest 
developments would include processes, materials, tooling, or 
methods, while similar updating of theoretical knowledge m the 
areas of expertise would also be included. 

The South Australian Department of TAPE allocated $86,000 it-* 1982 
for the purpose of updating technical competence amonq its 
lecturing staff. Specified activities included: 

industrial leave 

industrial courses 

research projects 

external courses, seminars, workshops, conferences , etc. 
specially designed activities using external experts 



other activities open to negotiation with the Department 

{Soi»th Australian Department of T'echnicai and Furtner 
Education, 1982, pp. 1-5) 

The Department utilised the following criteria for the selection 
of proposals for approval: 

priority given to program or curriculum area by Department 

relevance to commerce, industry, and community needs; 
urgency of update; 

number of people who would benefit in the Department; 

specific nature and methodology of the project as set out in 
the submission for funds, including educational objectives 
and purposes; 

steps which the officer would take in disseminating the 
knowledge and skills gained to appropriate Department 

the nature and extent of support from the college orincipal 
or branch head. 

College principals were urged to view the proposed activity as 
being in addition to the normal staff development activities 
expected of staff- Similarly, it would also be expected that the 
proposed activity was a priority for the particular program or 
curriculum area and was also a college priority. 

The 1982 program provided the opportunity for 190 staff members 
to undertake some form of Technical Competence Training. 

The major updating emphasis involved the lectronic and micro- 
electronic changes in equipment used in each industry. 

In the 1981 survey of Business Studies lecturers at the S.A- 
Department of TAPE, (Snewin, 1981) staff showed three areas of 
need as being */ery Important*. These were, in order of 

updated technical/specialist skills 



student assessment/evaluation 

student counselling skills. 

In the same survey, respondents stated that the most important 
forms of staff development were, in order of importance: 

involvement with an industrial project 

conferences, seminars and workshops. 

Short courses, part-time and full-time study, were perceived to 
be of almost equal importance by respondents. However, the 
industrial project involvement was by far the most popular choice 
with TAPE Business Studies lecturers. 

Snewin found that 49 per cent of respondents had attended no in- 
service activities in the previous t^relve months, while 43 per 
cent had attended between one and four activities m this period. 


Respondents to the Business Studies survey quoted the following 
constraints as 'Very Important' in restricting their attendance 
at staff development activities, in order of importance: 

cost of activity {travel, registration etc.) 

difficulty in obtaining suitable replacement 

department policy on attendance 

lack of encouragement from school. 

The survey carried out by Ainley and Fordham (1980) produced 
Similar results; respondents indicated that under the main 
heading of System-Wide Policies the following three factors were 
the main constraints upon staff development attendance: 

funding, particularly for travel and registration costs; 

policies and regulations affecting attendance; 

policies affecting replacement staff, promotional and salary 
criteria, amount of Departmental support and types of 
centrally initiated activities provided, (pp. 9-10) 



Under the main heading of College Policies, Ainley and Fordham 
noted four background factors likely to influence the 
effectiveness of the college staff development program: 

location of the college; for example, distance from industry 

Size of the college 

type of college 

college staff development policies. 

The final major heading of Characteristics of Staff indicated the 
factors which were likely to affect attendance. These were; 

the number of staff at the college, since this affects the 
matter of replacement st It 

number of staff working in the same area 

teaching responsibilities of staff members 

personal or domestic responsibilities — particularly acute 
for par^ ime staff. 

A supporti environment involving the co-operation of both 
college ad inistrators and the peer group would be beneficial in 
reducing the effect of the foregoing constraints upon staff 
development activity attendance. Team teaching and the allocation 
of staff development funds into a pool for the use of replacement 
staff could further reduce attendance restrictions. 

Of the sample of 53 Business Studies lecturers surveyed in the 
S.A. Deparment of TAFE by the writer, 46 were not currently 
enrolled in any educational field of study. Perhaps of more 
concern was the fact that 43 of the respondents were not enrolled 
in any study program in their technical/specialist field either. 

Another South Australian study of a TAFE School of Mechanical 
Engineering by Swain and Cappo (1980) which involved 42 lecturers 
found that while 40 were not enrolled in any further technical 
studies 34 were undertaking no further educational studies. It 
should be pointed out that in both of these examples the majority 
of the lecturers had already attained their basic teaching 
diploma, while most had trade or professional qualifications 
prior to joining the Department. 




Clinical supervision of new teachers in their colleges continues 
to receive close attention from staff development per-onnel. 
Variations of the clinical supervision approach have been in uSe 
for some years; indeed the Division of TAFE in Queensland has 
ased clinical supervision in its teacher preparation program 
since 1976. 

In Victoria, Educational Services Co-or d i na tor s are located in 
TAFE colleges to assist TAFE teachers with staff development 
matters. Their principal role is to develop and implement 
college-wide policy ir. the educational support services area and 
within this function, staff development is a major 
responsibility. TAFE teacher education and initial teacher 
training is similarly embraced by the Educational Services Co- 
ordinators role. The success of this program has led to an 
expansion in the Victorian TAFE Educational Services area. 

The Staff Development Centre of the South Australian Department 
of TAFE has introduced a program of Clinical Supervision into its 
staff development activities. Following the training of college 
staff as teacher trainers, officers of the Staff Development 
Centre provide a management consultancy service to assist these 
college-based clinical supervision co-ord inators. The management 
consultancy service is also available to all line managers in the 
colleges and in head office to assist with the planning, 
organising, implementing, and evaluating of local staff 
development programs. The Centre also assists with longe term 
college-based senior staff development projects. 


Teacher education programs have often, justifiably, been accused 
of a prescriptive and inflexible approach in the past. Although 
the debate on the inclusion of liberal studies and technical 
subjects m teaching diplomas still continues, there is a very 
real need for TAFE teacher education authorities, in conjunction 
with TAFE systems, to continually evaluate the effectiveness of 
their courses. 

In some States* awards in teaching in further education have 
allowed students to combine specific areas of interest with their 
formal educational studies. This increased flexibility can 
provide student teachers with the opportunity to update their 
theoretical knowledge of a technical subject, within their own 
area of technical expertise. For example, the entry of 
microprocessors into so many technical fields has produced a 
knowledge gap in the subject matter of many TAFS teachers. 

Trainee teachers enrollecl in one South Australian CAE can 
undertake up to 50 per cent of their studies in areas of their 
own cioice. Students may take this opportunity to update their 
technical knowledge in new development, s, or carry out research 
projects into TAFS needs, or research and develop new courses for 
their institutions. 


From the foregoing discussion on TAPE staff development 
activities, a number of ^reas for further research would seem to 
be evident. A literature search of TAFE staff development 
research indicates that this field has not received the attention 
which such an important matter deserves. The following research 
recommendations are suggested as being worthy projects for 
considerat ion. 

Joint assessment by college administrators and industrial 
managements of the needs of industry in the short term and 
long term, with implications for TAFE, including possible 
partnership roles in retraining and technical updating 
measures for TAFE staff. 

Assessment of the retraining needs of TAFE staff facing 
obsolescence, as distinct from skills updating needs in 
their technical/specialist areas. 

The determination of the likely profile of a 'typical* TAFE 
teacher needed five years from now^ with particular emphasis 
upon vocational and educational qualifications and skills, 
while indic?^inq specific aptitudes and attitudes likely to 
be necessary at that time. 

Research into the specific administrative/management skills 
and knowledge required by TAFE college administrators, with 
suggested methods for attaining these. Consideration should 
be given to the desirability of full-time and part-time 
study of formal courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, 
reading programs, secondments etc. 

Further research into the feasibility of industrial 
interchange on an industry-by-industry basis. 

Research into the educational and training needs of part- 
time TAFE teaching staff. 



A feasibility study into the interchange of TAFE teachers 
with teacher training institution educators, to enable each 
of these to better appreciate the work of the other. 

. Assessment of the staff development needs of TAFE 
administrative staff and support staff. 

. Investigation of the possibility of utilising TAFE staff as 
consultants in their area of expertise, to other government 
departments, on a paid basis. This would provide outside 
experience as well as a new interest in the area of 
expertise o£ teaching staff. 

. The determination of the desire of TAFE teachers to engage 
in team teaching and group discussion activities, with a 
view to developing a more open, co-operative, and coherive 
teaching group. 

, Assessment of changes in career interest TAFE teachers 
with the passing of time. This could be of even more bene fit 
if linked to regular career counselling and performance 
appraisal programs. 

Review of study leave provisions to enable staff to continue 
their professional development with some relief fiom other 
duties, after they have completed their basic teaching 
quali f ica tions. 

- Research into the need for more extrinsic rewards and 
recognition in return for successful completion of further 
studies of an educational or a technical nature. Rewards 
other than those of a promotional or financial nature should 
be determined. 

Research into the ways of developing future administrators; 
possibly using an understudy system; for example, linked 
with career counselling. 

The determination of the factors which influence the 
successful outcomes of staff development activities. 

In conclusion the assessment of the educational, and the training 
and development needs of administrative, support, and lecturing 
staff in TAFE Authorities can no longer be postponed. Effective 
Human Resource Development programs must be given immediate 
priority if TAFE is to successfully meet the challenges of the 




Ainley, J., & Fordham, A. ( 1 9 8 0 ). Evaluation of staff 
development in TAFE; Summary , Hawthorn: ACER. 

Dillon-Peterson, B. (Ed.) (1981). Staff development/organisation 
development. Virginia: Association for Supervision and 
Curriculum Development. 

Education Department of Western Australia, Technical Education 
Division. (1981). Management development for TAFE college 
administ rators m Western Australia (Staff Development 
Discussion Paper Series No. 2). 

Snewin, D. G. (1981). Co 1 leg e -ba s ed staff development for 
business s tudies personnel at the South Australian 
Department of Fur ther Education , Unpublished m. Ed. Admin, 
thesis, University of New England. 

South Australian Department of Further Education. (1980). The 
effect of tec hnological change on staff skills and equipment 
needs in the Department of Further Education. Paper tabled 
at November Conference of Directors of TAFE, Cairns. 

South Australian Department of Technical and Further Education. 

^^^^2). Report o n vocational update programme . Adelaide. 
Swain, R. & Cappo, J. (1980). The effect of technological change 

on TAFE. Submissions to Committee of Enquiry into Education 

in South Australia. Occasional Paper No. 4. Adelaide: 

South Australian Department of TAFE. 

TAFE Staff Development Committee of the Tertiary Education 
Commission. (1981). Maintaining the technical competence 
of vocational teachers in TAFE. NSW TAFE Quarterly Journal, 
3(2), 2-9. ^ ~ • 

Tertiary Education Commission. (1979). Report for the 1979-81 
tr lennium . Vol. 1. Canberra: AGPS. 

Tertiary Education Commission. (1981a\ Rgport for the 1982-84 
Triennium , Vol. 1. Canberra: AGPS. 

Tertiary Education Commission. (1981b). Report for the J.982-'84 
triennium . Vol. 4. Canberra: AGPS. 

Williams, B. R. (Chair, Committee of Inquiry into Education and 
Training). (1979). Education, training and emplovment . 
Canberra: AGPS. 





The Williams Committee noted that 'intecest in evaluating the 
quality and quantity of the education system has grown faster 
than the capacity to do the evaluation' (Williams 1979, p. 804). 
Nothing could be truer in respect to the evaluation of TAPE 
colleges because a review of this field of activity in Australia 
pro\'ides very little reading. 

It IS interesting to contrast this absence of .valuations of TAPE 
institutions with what would be required if they were more like 
non-educational profit seeking businesses. The consequences of 
continuing to neglect this area could well be seen as having a 
number of adverse effects on the system. The time therefore 
seems ripe for a closer examination of the likely future role of 
evaluation ir the development of TAPE colleges. 

In addition to looking at "he limited amount of wock being done 
on the local scene, this review will draw upon various overseas 
examples of institutional evaluation which have relevance to TAPE 
m Australia. 

It should be stressed that the topic addressed is whole 
institution evaluation. Thus, while evaluations of parts of 
college operations have become more common in recent 
years — program evaluation being a good example — little attention 
has been given to the whole college. The implicit assumption in 
evaluating a college i n toto is that the whole is greater than 
the sum of its :^arts, an important idea to be kept in mind in 
what follows. 

Any discussion of the literature needs co begin by explaining how 
the term 'evaluation' is being used. Firstly, the review 
differentiates between * research* and 'evaluation' and the 
distinction made by Popham (1975) has been accepted. Popham sees 
research studies as those primarily designed to add to the body 
of knowledge on the subject being researched. Research is about 
drawing conclusions; it emphasise:^ the value of truth and has 
high generalisability. Evaluation, on the other hand, is about 


providing information for particular purposes. Just what these 
purposes are remain the subject of some debate but there are two 
main approaches. These are evaiautions providing: 

information for decision irakmg based on an assessment of 
worth or merit, 

information for improvement. 

The first of these derives from a number of authors (House, 1980; 
Scriven, 1967; Stufflebeam et al., 1971), whereas the second has 
been proposed by Cronbach and his associates (1980). They are 
not mutually exclusive alternatives, although the first implies a 
more judgmental attitude towards evaluation than the second. 

Irrespective of the degree of judgment involved, the 
genera 1 isabi li ty of educational evaluation results is usually 
much less than is the case with educational research. However, 
there seems to be little value in pursuing the issue of 
definition beyond these general statements because this review 
will focus on an understanding of the different functions of 
evaluations . 

Two broad categories of evaluation will be considered, those with 
a *formative* emphasis and those with a *summative' emphasis. 
This paper adopts the formative and summative distinction 
suggested by Scriven (1967). Formative evaluation refers to the 
act of assessing worth or providing information about the 
activities of an institution in which the activities are capable 
of being modified during the course of the evaluation. Such 
evaluations are characterised by flexibility and a commitment to 
making changes as soon as these are perceived to be necessary. 

Suramative evaluation, on the other hand, assesses the worth or 
provides information on an activity at some predetermined point 
in time or on the activity's completion. Summative evaluations 
have little flexibility. They may be designed with improvement 
in mind, but any changes aimed at improving things are made at 
uhe end of the evaluation. 

Monitoring the use of an interim collection of curriculum 
materials in a classroom setting is therefore the task of a 
formative evaluator. In this situation the materials can be 
improved during the life of the evaluation. However after these 
curriculum materials have been enshrined between hard covers, an 
assessment of their worth would become the province of a 
summative evaluator. 



As defined above, formative evaluations are those directed 
towards ongoi.ig modification and improvement of an existing 
situation and, although a number of summative elements may be 
addressed during the course of the evaluation, there xs no doubt 
about the overall emphasis. 

An example of how this might work in practice can be seen in the 
evaluation of a collegers teaching program, if, during such an 
evaluation, a decision was made to introduce a staff development 
program to Irain all staff in improving some aspects of their 
teaching techniques, then th:s should have a substantial 
'formative* impact on the whole teaching program. On the other 
hand, if a decision was made to terminate an elective subje'^t at 
the end of the year because enrolments had dwindled to almost 
zero, then this is a *summative' decision with a i^eldcively small 
impact. Overall, the effect on the teaching program of the 
formative element (the introduction of the staff development 
program) is much greater than that of the summative element (tt.e 
termination of a single subject). When such a pattern is 
repeated in other areas of a college's operations the formative 
emphasis of the evalution becomes apparent. 

Case study evalu ations 

During the 1970s a growing disanchantment with the agricultural- 
botany approach to socia? science research led to an upsurge of 
interest in more qualitative methods (Campbell, 1974; Cronbach, 
1975; Parlett fi, Hamilton, 1972). 

In more recent times, with a number of aspects of the 
experimental approach to social science research discredited, 
evaluators such as Stenhouse (1979) have been arguing for a 
greater concentration on case studies. Stenhouse believes there 
has been an overvaluing of the written source, of t^e statistical 
and of the accounts the educational systems offer of themselves. 
While he concedes the value of the statistical approach in 
industrial and agricultural settings he feels that: 

the attempt to deploy it to evaluate education and 
social programmes, thereby guiding decision makers by 
law-like predictions, has exposed serious weakness in 
the paradigm. (p. 9) 

Stenhouse believes that the way to approach this problem is 
through case studies grounded in day-to-day educational reality. 


He offers two principal methods, the ethnographic tradition of 
participant observation and the gathering of oral evidence by 
interview. A case study approach to institutional evaluation 
which conformed with 3tenhouse*s view would call for observation 
and description of the highest order. 

MacDonald and Walker (1977) define case study as the examination 
of an instance in action. The word 'instance' is chosen because 
it implies a goal of generalisation. The authors point to the 
esteera in which the procedure is held in disciplines such as 
medicir^e, law, psychology and anthropology, but note its limited 
use in education. They identify a number of the reasons for this 
which are essentially bound up in the human respon^ses to this 
type of study and the inevitable questions aboiit raliability and 
validi ty . 

MacDonald and Walker propose a set of guidelines for dealing with 
case studies in a way which addresses reliability and validity 
issues. For instance, they see a need for 'condensed field work' 
which ensures quicker feedback than is traditionally available 
from such studies. They also advocate the use of techniques 
which have their origins in such fields as journalism, 
documentary film making and novel writing. 

Perhaps more importantly they see confidentiality as a critical 
aspect of the procedure. They believe many people are ill- 
equipped to handle a skilled interviewer and would want to ensure 
that retrospective control of editing and release of data was in 
the hands of the participants in a case study. 

Evaluators using a case study approach have other significant 
matters to consider. Simons (1977) has, for instance, argued 
that they muct resolve to act as 'honest brokers' of information. 

The purpose of the case study is to make the experience 
of innovation accessible to public and professional 
judgement, and not to provide a vehicle for the biases 
or personal judgement of the evaluator. (pp. 179-180) 

Just how far this 'honest broker' analogy can be taken is 
debatable, some wouJd claim it is just not tenable. Indeed, 
Cronbach et al. (1980) in their tormidable list of 95 theses 
about evaluation, include a number which challenge the notion of 
the evaluator as an impartial individual. Consider, for example, 
Thesis No. 44 - 


The evalaator's aspirations to benefit the larger 
community has to be reconciled — sometimes painfully — 
with commitments to a sponsor and to informants, with 
the evaluator*s political convictions, and with his 
desire to stay in business. (p. 6) 

Institutional self-study for laprovea ent 

In 1980 the National Center for Higher Education Management 
Systems conducted a survey of American universities and colleges 
which showed that 882 institutions out of 1082 surveyed had 
established a formal process of program review. In virtually 
every case ^program review' was defined by the institution as 
teaching or administrative 'unit review' (Holdaway^ 1981) . 

The widespread commitment to se 1 f -i n i 1 1 a ted evaluation m the 
United States contrasts with the paucity of such efforts in this 
country. Following their review of various types of evaluations 
in Australian Universities Clarke and Birt (1982) conclude: 

If i^n 1 ver s 1 ti es are to avoid having dramatic changes 
imposed on them by governments through control of the 
parse strings, they should fully embrace the principle 
and practice of 'continuous' assessment and review of 
their role, structure and function to achieve 
internally controlled evolutionary changes within the 
constraints of public funding and public expectations, 
(p. 24) 

Although Clarke and Birt direct their attention more towards 
summative types of evaluations m Australian universities, their 
message seems equally applicable to TAFE colleges. 

Institution self-study for improvement usually consists of two 
major phases: an internal study phase conducted by the 
departments or institution and a formal review phase conducted by 
a review team which may include experts from outside the 
institution. However many variations of these procedures occur 
under the self-study for improvement umbrella. (See, for example 
Reinstein & Williams, 1979; and Vancouver Community College, 
1979) . 

The bulk, if not all, of the evaluation work in the cases cited 
is carried out by the stacf and the reports produced p^re mainly 
directed at the internal community of the institution. 


Evaluations with an emphasis on such things as accountability, 
cost efficiency, c r ede n 1 1 a 1 1 1 ng and i n t e c - i n s 1 1 1 a 1 1 ona 1 
comparisons are for the most part summative in nature. 

The procedures for the accreditation of colleges in the United 
States have spawned their own special evaluation industry. 
Although these college accriditation procedures typically contain 
the notion of improvement through self-study, their underlying 
purpose is to meet a set of standards established by the U.S. 
Council on Pos t- s econda r y Accreditation. Failure to achieve 
accredited status can adversely affect a college's ability to 
obtain government funds and studencs from a non-accredited 
college can be denied employment opportunities (Kells, 1980, 
p. 9). 

Some authors, (for example: Wickline, 1971; Dtnnison, 1979) see a 
relationship between the concept of financial audit and 
educational evaluation. This view stresses the terminating or 
sammative natare of the evaluation as well as its cycj-ical 
qualities. Evaluations of an *audit' type are recommended at 
varying periods of from one to five years. 

Sizer (1**"9) notes as increasing interest in accountability 
procedures in recent years. However, he is dubious about the use 
of management techniques, such as the Program Planning Budgeting 
Systems (PPBS) and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) , in assessing 
educational institution performance for the simple reason that it 
IS very difficult to get agreement or what should be the short 
and long term goals of an institution. Nevertheless, he does 
advocate the use of performance indicators and the application of 
basic accounting theory to judge the standards of the indicators 
that are used. 

Other authors are pessimistic about the quality of available 
measurement instruments (Lindsay, 1982; Romney et al., 1979). 
Despite this, when discussing the 'efficiency dimension' of 
institutional performance, Lindsay argues for comparative input- 
output approaches which use a range of quantitative techniques 
from simple ratio comparison to more sophisticated multi- 
dimensional comparisons. Such a view contrasts sharply with that 
of the formative self-study evaluation propon^»nts who downplay or 
reject the idea of inter-institutional comparison. 




A search of the recent Australian literature reveals little that 
approaches a whole institu»-ion evaluation of a TAFE college. 
Elsewhere in this volume Mitchell (1985) has noted Queensland 
initiatives in college evaluation but these are not yet the 
subject of any reports. One of the few reports available is 
Woodburrie'b (1982) evalaution of Mount Druitt Technical College. 
While che scope of this study was reasonably comprehensive, it 
did omit a consideration of the key area of student learning. 
Woodburne excused this omission on the grounds that to take it up 
was beyond the resources of the study. Nevertheless this is a 
serious deficiency when considered in terms of evaluation for 
improvement. It is hard to see how any realistic judgments can 
be made about college improvement if the issues of teaching and 
learning are r3t addressed. 

More recently a study commissioned by the TAFE National Centre 
for Re:;earca a».d Development (Byrne et al., 1984a) describes a 
number of procedures designed for the evaluation of TAFE colleges 
whicn have been cried out in New South Wal^2s, South Australia and 
Victoria. This report and its accompanying Handbook on TAFE 
college evaluation should go a lorg way towards improving the 
stace-of-the-ar t in the TAFE area. 

At this time It IS difficult to be sure whether the prevailing 
persuasion for TAFE institutional evaluation will be toward a 
formative or summative emphasis. Although Byrne et al. are quite 
unequivocal in their preference for the formative c'lrection (a 
bias they share with the majority of writers on the subject) the 
strength of the summative *lobby' with its stress on 
accountability cannot be denied. 

Factors such as 

institutional goals 
problem oriented approaches 
measurement instruments 
ext-ernal consultants 
governmeic reviews 

colleges as a part of a wider TAFE Authority 

all influence the formative 
different ways. The effects 
considered below. 

versus summative .rgument in 
of each of these factors are 



The role of institutional goals 

Miller*s (1979) extensive study of the assessment of college 
performance is based on 

a simple model composed of goals and objectives, the 
human and material resources needed to achieve these 
aims, and evaluation to determine progress toward the 
desired ends. (p. xi) 

A number of others of the formative evaluation persuasion, Astin 
(1974), Clift (1981), Kells (1980), Kowa 1 sk i -F i r estone (1982), 
use a similar goals-based starting point for working towards 
institutional improvement. 

However, for TAPE Colleges to begin their evaluations from such a 
Dase currently presents a challenging problem because most lack 
goal statements specifying, m reasonably precise terms, what 
they are attempting to do in education and traini^'ig, la 
management, in cororaanity relations and in most other areas of 
their operations. While some colleges do have goal statt*ments 
they are the exceptions, most approach the question of goils in 
an ad hoc faanion and make reference to the broad goais of 
TAFE which have been articulated by the various TAFE Authorities. 
These broad goals generally do not address the issues in ways 
that are useful for evaluation purposes. 

It is important to appreciate that the goals-based approach does 
not escape criticism. Sometimes this criticism is low-key and 
comes in the form of advice on the need for a more qualitative 
approach to the problem. 

Institutional evaluators should us« objective data 
where available and appropriate but make no apologies 
for using subjective data (or. It is better to be 
generally right than precisely wrong). (Miller, 1981, 
p. 90) 

Other writers are more strongly critical and advocate a goal-free 
approacn to evaluation which involves gathering a broad array of 
actual effects and evaluating the importance of these effects in 
meeting demonstrated needs. 



The evaluation makes a deliberate attempt to avoid all 
rhetoric related to program goals; no discussion about 
goals IS held with staff; no program brochures or 
proposals are read; only the programs outcomes and 
measuceable effects are studied. (Patton, 1980, 
p. 55-56). 

The use of institutional goals in evaluations reflects to a large 
degree the value orientation of the individuals doing the 
evaluation. In a;^ Australian TAPE setting with staff involved m 
the evaluation process a fully blown goal-free approach would not 
be feasible — college staff work with a set of goals in their 
heads no matter how poorly articulated or inappropriate these may 

Problem oriented approaches 

Rather than approach the evaluation of an institution from a 
coniideration of its goals or its achievements it is possible to 
go directly to areas in which it is experiencing problems or 
seeking to make changes. This ^^pproach, which has been used in 
the united King'Joirj, has been described by McMahon (1982). Called 
the Guidelines for Review and Institution Development (GRIDS), it 
involves an initial review of a school to identify priority areas 

for action wnich then become the focus of staff attention with 

outside help as appropriate. GRIDS is a rational problem-solving 
approach to institutional evaluation which is similar to 
approaches that have been tried in the united States. Arns and 
Poland (1980) have described two similar evaluation procedures, 
one by the University of Vermont and the other by Ohio State 
University . 

More recer.tlv, in Australia, Thomson (1983) has described an 
approach to TAFE college evaluation which requires the 
identification of domains within a college that are perceived by 
the staff to be problem areas. Once these 'problem domains' are 
identified a shift can be made from the broadly based domains to 
more specific goals. The roove from domains to goals is a 
sensitive operation and one for which alternative strategies need 
to be considered- It is one thing to agree that the domain of 
staff development is not what it should be, but quite another to 
decide what are the goals of staff development that need to be 
addressed in any in-depth investigation. 

The suggestion is for the goal statements to be developed at a 
series of staff iteetings where everybody can take part in the 
process of articulating what the college should be aiming to do 




in tne various domains. Alternatively, college evaluation teams 
can choose to make use of prepared sets of goal statements. 
These procedures are more fully described in Byrne, et al. 
(1984a) and a comprehensive set of statements is provided in 
their Handbook (3yrne et al., 1984b). 

The u se of standard i nstruaents 

While a number of prestigious testing organisations have produced 
instruments for use in institutional evaluation, the value of 
these instruments is the subject of some debate. Buros n978) 
cites numerous reports on the use of Educational Testing 
Service's, Institutional Goals Inventor/ (IGI) in the assessment 
of institutions. Miller (1979) noteb that the I ns 1 1 t.j t lonal 
Self-Study Service of the American College Testing Program has 
been m us? since ^970. 

Pace (1976) and Moos (1979) have reviewed a large number of 
instruments aimed at aspects of institutional evaluation. 

Other authors advocate that the development of instrument? should 
be planned from the beginning by the evaluators. Oressel (1976) 
puts this point about instruments when stating 

. . . any evaluation is unlikely to be e^fectiv^e anless 
those involved in the process and in the ultimate 
decision . . . have a thorough understanding of the 
instruments (tests, inventories) used and the data 
collected. Indeed, only those who have attempted to 
develop evaluation instruments have an understanding of 
the complexities of defining criteria cind collecting 
evidence. Because such an understanding is a 
necessity, I am hesitant about suggesting the use of 
already existing instruments, (p. x) 

While one can be very sympathetic to Dressel's view, there are 
problems with his approach when the situation of the typical 
Australian TAFE college is taken into account. This is because 
it seems likely that TAFE college evaluator? will be drawn mainly 
from within the college and Jt is known that, for most colleges, 
they will lack experience in carrying out an evaluation. 
Therefore it can be argued that the provision of instruments as 
exemplais will lighten the workload of the evaluation team and 
increase the chances of success. Such an approach has been 
outlined by Thomson (1983) and examples are provided in 3yrne et 
al. (1984b). 

B«ternal consultants 

External consultants ter4d to be mandatory for summative studies 
such as accreditation but only desirable in formative studies 
such as self-evaluations. External consultants are seen as 
having the advantages of competence in both the academic area and 
in evaluation, of having no vested interests, and of lifting the 
evaluation burden from existing staff. The problems they bring, 
however, include the fact that their cost can be prohibitive, 
they may take considerable time to come to grips with the nuances 
of a particular program, they may lack working relationships with 
institution personnel, and may be re<_ irded with suspicion by 
staff. Furthermore, there are the problems of whether an 
institution chooses to act on the recommendations of a review 
committee and of internal repercussions which can result from 
ill-advised remarks or conclusions. 

The quality of the external consultant is obviously of prime 
importance for an evaluation. On reading the reports of some 
external consultants one could be forgiven for believing that 
although they came to find out, they left before they were found 

The roleof qovernaent reviews 

While PAFE may not have done much evaluation at the college 
level. It has taken a number of long hard looks at itself through 
the medium of government reviews. 

Calls for more information, more reviews and inevitably, more 
research, permeate all reports into technical and further 
education in recent years. See for example, TAPE in Australia 
(1975) [Kangan Report]; Submission to Committee of Inquiry into 
Post-secondary Education and TrairMg (1977) [Coughlan Report); 
Tasmanian Education: Next Decade (1978) [Connell Report); 
Education, Training and Employment (19/9) [Williams Report); 
Education and Change in South Australia (1982) [Keeves Report). 

The Williams Report takes a somewhat more formative approach to 
the problem of making judgments about the outcomes of education 
than do many other governmental reports. 

An eclectic approach to evaluation is imposed even more 
strongly by the circumstances of the Australian post- 
secondary scene. A sensible judgment of the outcomes 
of education must be related to the specified 
objectives and tempered by th^ realisation that some of 



the objectives are embedded in the very processes ot 
education. Because neither the objectives not the 
outcomes can be expressed in quantitative terms it is 
not possible to say that the efficiency of the post- 
secondary education system or of any sec:or within it 
IS a particular percentage, or that performance could 
be improved by a particular percentage if specified 
actions, at specified costs, were undertaken. {p. 7^^) 

Such a view must be considered against the others referred to 
earlier (Clark & 3irt, 1982; Lindsay, 1982; Sizer, 1979), who 
would presumably reject the eclectic approach because of their 
perceptions of the directions government policy is taking as a 
response to the public* s demand for accountability. 

TAF K colle ges as part ofa TAFE Authority 

Only a handful of TAFE colleges in Australia are autonomous 
institutions; the vast majority are part of a centrally 
administered TAFE Authority. In nost cases a whole college 
evaluation must cherefcre take into account issues that are 
beyond the control of the individual college community. 
However, identifying issues that are beyond control is far 
from straightforward. The influence of college management 
on matters that are nominally centrally controlled, tnough 
Siubtle, IS often very strong. Any college evaluation must 
therefore carefully consider the relationship between the 
college and the TAFE Authority. 

The relationship between college and TAFE Authority in effect 
adds J separate dimension to the evaluation process. Judgments 
regarding college effectiveness in certain areas may need to be 
made in terms of both internal and external criteria. Staff 
development at a college might, for example, be judged poor but, 
because staff development funds are exteriially controlled, the 
remedy whi would bring about improvement may be beyond the 
college*s control. 

Irrespective of whether future TAFE college evaluations have a 
formative or summative emphasis, they will always involve 

identifying or specifying the information required in order 

to CO. iuct the evaluation; 

obta in 1 ng the i nf ormat ion; 

using or applying the inf ormat ion. 



The literatjre abounds with warnings about the need for 

careful planning; 

dedicated, even inspired, leadership; 
commitment from the staff involved; 
adequate resources, both human and material. 

What IS more, the evaluation of any educational institution 
presents formidable methodological problems. Whole college 
evaluations are difficult undertakings if for no other reason 
than they generate enormous amounts of data. Individuals or 
groups setting out to evaluate the effectiveness of TAPE 
institutions need to keep these points firmly in mind. As 
Sarason (1967) has pointed out in his study of change in schools 

. . . to describe and understand a single school, let 
alone a school system, presents staggering problems for 
methodology and theory. (p. 229) 

This in no way suggests that single college evaluations are of 
dubious merit but rather points up the uniqueness of each 
institution. Dcessel (1976) makes this point in a similar way 
when he states: 

No college that I have known well has ever solved a 
local problem by alterations undertaken to change its 
position relative to national norms. There is no 
substitute for thoiough local study of all factors and 
possible impacts of chdnge prior to renovation or 
i nnova tion. (p. 181) 

TAFE colleges are highly complex organisations and each has its 
own individuality. it follows from this that ^ny attempt to 
produce a tightly prescribed set of evaluation procedures for the 
TAFE system would be extremely difficult. Ho single set of 
evaluation techniques and instruments will be equally applicable 
to all TAFE institutions. 

Furthermore, the evaluation of institutions can evoke many 
negative reactions. Romney et al. (1979) have identified four 
categories of liabilities and disadvantages associated with 
institutional performance assessment namely: 

Politica l lia b ili ties 

Involving balance of power issues inside and outside the college. 



Methodological cautions 

To do with understanding of the state-of-the-art of performance 
assessment and evaluation. 

Bconoaic concerns 

Relating to the potential costs of the effort, especially as they 
are contrasted with the potential benefits. 

Philosophical caveats ^ 

Concerning such things as individual and organisational behaviour 
patterns as well as missions and purposes. 

In addition to such warnings to the evaluators tnere is a 
requirement for some form of caveat emptor for the clients. The 
nee"* for careful planning and frank dialogue from the earliest 
stages cannot be overstressed. 

2 13 



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Byrne^ M. J., Houston, D. , & Thomson, P. (1984a). An approach 
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Byrne, M. J., Houston, D., & Thom son, P. (1984b). Evaluation o f 
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Coughlan, H. K. 

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Kangan, M. (Chair, Australian Committee on Technical and Further 
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Most of the ma]oc inqair:''3 into post-school education and 
training in recent years ha-e commented on the low participation 
rates of various disadvantaged gr:>'jps including disabled people, 
and have made recommendations concerning the rpmoval of barriers 
to entry and the improvement of services. TAFE is the most 
available form of post-school secondary education in Australia 
and a major provider of vocational education, but the Kangan 
Report (1975) commented on the failure of TAFE to provide for 
handicapped students and made recommendations to improve this. 

Other inquiries concerned witn serv*,ces to handicapped people 
have doc:umen*;ed the need for t^ost-school education and vocational 
training ^or handicapped persons. (Warnock, 1978; Drummond, 1978; 
NSW Anti-Discr iminat ion Board, 1979, 1981; NSW Department of 
Education, 1982). All have commented on the lack of: 

post-school educational services; 

information rbojt incidence and participation; 

information about needs and problems; 

research into and evaluation of intervention and 
compensatory strategies; 

teachers trained to work with disabled adult?. 

The lack of hard data presents problems for a reviewer, but those 
studies that have been undertaken have established that there are 
unmet needs which TAFE could address. TAFE has began to explore 
needs, develop innovatory p'-ogtams, services and policies for 
disabled people and there is existing information on very nearly 
every issue. This review will be concerned with identifying 
issues, related research and innovatory practices and policies. 



The World Health Organisation, defines 'Handicap', 'disability* 
and * impa irment' as follows: 

I mpair m ent — a generic term which embraces any disturbance in 
normal stractjre and functioning of the body including 
systems of mental function. 

Disabil I ty — is the loss or reduction of functional ability 
and activity that is consequent upon impairment. 

A h and icag is the disadvantage that is consequent upon 
impairment and d i sab 1 1 1 ty. Handicap represents the social 
and environmental consequences to the individual stemF»ing 
from the presence of impairment and disability. (MSW Anti- 
Discrimination Board, 1981, p. 2) 

People differ in the severity of their handicap and the kind of 
handicap can affect their functioning differently. For the 
purpose of this review tha focus will be on handicap, i.e. the 
extent to which the impairment and consequent disability is a 
handicap. The term will not be used in this review to mean all 
people handicapped in some way, but the following definition 
suggested by the South Australian Committee on Rights of Persons 
with Handicaps (1978) will be used: 

A handicapped person is one who as a result of a 
physical impairment together with community attitudes 
and the physical environment is substantially limited 
in his opportunities to enjoy a full and active life. 

(p. a; 

Accessibility for the disabled is defined as 'characteristics 
of facilities, programs etc. that allow them to be used by 
individuals with an impairment'. (Draft GlOEsary of TAPE Terms, 
1983, p. 7) 


Tindall and Gugerty (1979) point out that vocational education of 
the disabled is in one sense the revival of a concept as old as 
vocational education itself: the provision ot vocational training 
designed to meet the needs of the individual student. In another 
rense, it is a major departure from tradition, because it 
embraces a philosophy which indicates that all ace entitled to 




realistic opportunities to obtain skills needed to achieve 
dignified employment which leads to an increased sense of self- 
worthr economic independence, and social esteem. 

Vocational educators agree that training for skills leading to 
employment or to further vocational education should be made 
available to all who can profit from it. However, as Tindall and 
Gugerty (1979) point out, in practice, roost students are allowed 
only two alternatives: meet the standard requirements or fail and 
withdraw from the program. For disabled persons the choice is 
either to accept the special programs established for 'them' or 
recejve no education. Physical barriers, prejudice, and 
screening procedures for many educational programs prevent roost 
handicapped people from even enrolling in educational and 
training programs that are becoming more important in the 
competition for employment. 

The philosophical roots of the opportunities which should be 
considered are embedded in the principle of normalisation, and 
the principle of equal opportunity, 

Wolfensberger (1972) states that there is no universal agreement 
on the definition of normalisation, but offers two definitions 
which to him convey the same message: 

(1) *the implementation of normalisation* means the use of 
culturally normative means to jffer people life conditions 
at least as good as those of average citizens and to enhance 
or support their behaviour, appearances, status, or 
reputat^awEr tH t 

(2) normalisation is the utilisation of means which are as 
culturally normative as possible to establish, enable, or 
support culturally normative behaviours, appearances, 
experiences ana interpretations. 

Administrators and practitioners v/ho support and practise 
individualised planning and programming m vocational education 
are in the best position to implement a philosophy of 
normalisation for disabled persons. Such individualisation would 
ensure that each disabled student would be laced in an 
educational setting that was the least restrictive alternative 
possible to meet his or her vocational training needs. 

Some States now have anti-discrimination legislation, which makes 
discrimination on "he grounds of handicap unlawful, e.g. New 
South Wales. 



However, Australia does not have legislation requiring education 
for handicapped students to be provided in the least restrictive 
alternative as some other countries have. Nor is there any 
legislation requirement to provide post-school educational 
opportunities tor school leavers. Some TAPE Authorities have 
equal opportunity policies for the delivery of services for 
disadvantaged students, and Mitciiell (1981) argues for the 
development, approval and promulgation ot policy statements on 
education and training for the disabled by TAPE Authorities. 
However, to date only the t^SW Department of TAFE has promulgated 
policy statements specifically concerned with provisions for 
disabled students. 

Co— unity attitudes to disability 

Services for handicapped persons relate to community attitudes 
toward disability. Disability in the past has been regarded as a 
stigma and disabled people kept out of society. Disability has 
also been considered as an illness and medical intervention the 
required strategy. Disabled people have been thought to be 
incapable of independent living and personal deci sion-a.aking and 
have required guardianship and custodial care. In ^ paper 
presented at the OECD International Seminar (1982) Pearl stated 
s,aat 'Liberal colonialism*, that is, knowing what is best for 
'poor unfortunates* incapable of acting on their own behalf, has 
been a prevalent attitude. Today, community attitudes to 
disadvantage are gradually changing and focus not only on the 
disadvantage but see disadvantaged people as people with the same 
needs, rights and abilities as other people. The type of S€'rvices 
provided relate to community attitudes rather than to 'L4beral 
colonialism* which tended to produce segregated development. 
Emphasis on equal opportunity tends to promote use of L'igular 
serv I'^es. 

Open or Sheltered ettployiient vs. adult life wi thou t^ work 

Disabled people have had problems in obtaining open employment 
not only because of their particular disability whicn may prevent 
them from carrying out particular jobs but because of community 
attitudes (NSW Anti-Di scr iminat ion Board, 1979, 1981). However, 
research has shown many disabled people make good employees 
despite their handicap (Pati, 1978). For other disabled people 
the option of sheltered employment is chosen. This may be because 
of the seventy of the handicap, difficulties of obtaining jobs 
in open employment or lack of opportunities and/or training for 


open eiiployment. Bellamy, and Nettleback, m papers presented at 
the OECD Australian Seminar on Disabled Young People (1982), have 
shown severely handicapped people given the right training can 
learn complex vocational skills for employment. There are however 
a group for whom eniployment is not an option either because of 
their limited capacities, possible short life span, or choice. A 
continuing recession causing high unemployment in western 
countries may increase the numbers of those adults, both disabled 
and non-disabled, whose life is without work. Education for 
leisure or sel f -employment may become more important. 

Medical vs. educational aodel foe intecvention 

For many handicaps, medical intervention with medical treatment, 
nursing and therapeutic services is currently the dominant 
service. In the medical model, intervention is directed to 
treating the disability and its symptoms. In the educational 
model, the person's abilities are enhanced by additional 
training. The Warnock Committee (1978) recommended a change from 
medically orientated categorisation and labelling of hand..caps 
and disab lities to a more sophisticated mu 1 t i -pr o f es s lona 1 
assessment of individual needs. 

Multiplicity of service providers 

Some services are offered by the Departments of Health, Social 
Sec'jrity or hospitals under a medical model. Rehabilitation 
schemes ace offered to clients of various categories. The 
criteria for eligibility are usually unrelated to educational 
needs, e,g. receipt of sickness benefits, invalid pension, 
institutionalised, suitable for open employment following 
retraining, etc. Other services are offered by voluntary, 
community or educational institutions and are related to the 
goals of those organisations, e.g. adult literacy, ridmg for 
disabled. Provisions with a multiplicity of service providers 
result in some duplication of services, some omissions, and no 
overview. An OECD Conference (1982) commented on the 
' CO -n pe t I t I o n ' for clients for services resulting in 
underu t il isa t ion. Yet, for many, relevant services are hard to 
find or unobtainable and the continuation of the s^srvice is 
uncei.* tai n. 

Type and severity of handicap 

The intervention and type of educational service needed varies 
with the nature and severity of the handicap. Hearing impaired 
and visually impaired students need special communication 



procedures. Physically handicapped students need assistance witn 
mobility and manual dexterity. Intellectually handicapped 
students need special programs to suit their different learning 
needs. Attitudinal problems are also important. Where vocational 
education for open employment is given a high priority, 
intellectually and severely handicapped students face greater 
prejudice as they are assessed as unlikely to be successful in 
open employment. 

Role of TAPE with respeCi. to other goverruient and non-c^overiment 

TAPE ma) provide a comprehensive post-school educational service 
or complement the service provided by other agencies or 
DepartmentSi e.g provide specially prepared programs of 
vocational or non-vocational education in sheltered workshops, or 
activity therapy centres, Health or Welfare Department 
institutions. The policy decision taken and level of resources 
will determine the nature and extent of TAPE programs and 

Priority given to provision for the handicapped in TAFB 

Equal opportunity for the handicapped will be more costly per 
handicapped student than for a non-handicapped student when 
additional special services are required. The cost will increase 
with the severity of the handicap. If low priority is given to 
establishing special services among other claims, e.g. women. 
Aborigines, unemployed youth, apprentices, etc., provision of 
equal opportunity for the handicapped will be mtnimal. 


Integration in mainstream programs vs. _ special seq related 

Integration m mainstream programs is favoured by proponents of 
normalisation. However, in practice it can mean a number of 
things. It may mean locational integration m which special and 
regulai classes have the same physical environment but operate 
separately, e.g. special schools and regular schools on the same 
site. A further variant is social integration whereby students in 
special classes at regular schools share ou t-of -classr oom 
activities but in-classroom activities are separate. Punctional 
integration occurs where handicapped students join regular 
classes part-time or full-time. Policies of integration can be 
implemented m a number of w<.ys. Firstly, handicapped students 




canoe treated like any other students with no special services 
and allowed to enrol in any class. Secondly, they can enrol in 
any class but receive special support services, e.g. tutorial 
assistance, modification of assessment procedures, etc. Thirdly, 
the special programs and services for handicapped can be provided 
in regular colleges with appropriate facilities. The first 
strategy provides for minor handicaps, the second extends 
services to moderately handicapped, and the thir'^ allows 
provision for the more severely handicapped. 

If special TAFE colleges for various disabilities were 
established, access for disabled students would be limited both 
geographically and in the range of courses offered. The number of 
disabled students in the same stage of the same course with the 
sama disability will always be low because of the low prevalence 
of some handicaps. In order to provide choice of course and 
location, integration is an essential strategy. However, 
integration without special services to enable disabled students 
to benefit from instruction impedes access to all f^xcept those 
who have overcome their disability. 

Consideration needs to be given not only to the provision uc 
special services but to the range of educational experiences 
provided by TAFE. Many regular students are alienatea by school 
as studies of school retention rates show and disabled people 
cannot be integrated into an education system which reiects large 
percentages of 'normal' people. 

Continuitiq coaprehenslve education vs. specialist non-vocational 
or vocational education 

Compulsory education up to the school leaving age tends to 
provide programs for the 'whole of life' needs of the students, 
i.e. recreational, personal development, communication as well as 
cognitive skill development. Post-compulsory education in TAFE 
colleges tends to be more specialised t roviding for specialist 
vocational training or non-vocational education in specified 
areas. Many handicapped people particularly the intellectually 
and severely handicapped need continuing comprehensive education 
(NSW Anti-Discr imination Board, 1979, 1981; NSW Department of 
Education, 1982). 

IE a decision is taken that TAFE provide a comprehensive post* 
school or continuing education service to meet the educational 
needs of handicapped people for full personal development, it 
will require TAFE to provide educational services it does not 
cradi t lonally provide to regular students. If TAFE limits its 



educational service for the handicapped to the range of programs 
offered now for tne commanity, this will require less resources. 
The former would require establishing programs in content areas 
which are not now part of TAFE and hiring teachers and curriculum 
developers with expertise in these areas. Special accommodation 
Ziid facilities would have to be provided and additional 
accommodation made available for the extensive programs required. 

work preparation vs, suppleaentary training 

Work preparation programs tend to be offered as ful -time 
training and involve education in social skills as well as 
vocational skills. Granville Work Preparation Centre has found 
that social skill training when offered in conjunction with 
vocational training increases the handicapped person's chances of 
gaining and remaining in open employment {Hauritz, 1979). 
However, the majority of TAFE programs have been developed to 
provide part-time education supplementina work skills of students 
in employment. This strategy is i*;ss suited to students trying 
to overcome employers' negative attitudes and trying to gain 

Transition frcwschool to adult life 

Most TAFE programs are based on the assumption of an adult life 
with work. It IS also assumed that self-care skills necessary for 
independent adult living have been acquired by adult life. This 
is not always true for handicapped people. Educational programs 
need to be offered, both in content and by process, to increase 
independence and to allow choice of life-3tyle according to 
disability, needs, and wishes (NSW Ant i -Di scr i mi nat ion Board, 
1979 , 1981). This process has to be more gradual for disabler* 
people, with sufficient support in the early stages to build 
confidence and enable the person to exploie vocational and non- 
vocational education suited to their abilities. Link programs for 
disabled school pupils have been very effective here 
(Commonwealth Schools CommisSi^on, 1980j Taylor, 1978). Support 
however may need to continue in special programs in TAFE to 
enable successful transition to an adult mode of learning. 


Physical accessibility of colleges 

To enable physically handicapped students to attend regular TAFE 
classes, TAFE colleges must be accessible. Level access and 
access to upper floors need to be provided as well as special 



toilet facilities and enough space in classrooms, laboratories 
and workshops for wheelchairs. Special equipment to operate 
machines and suitable desk and bench heights are also important. 
Many TAPE colleges are not physically accessible as reports from 
New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia indicate 
{Buchanan, et al., 1981; SA Department of Further Education, 
1980; & Whitmore, 1981). Special equipment for visually impaired 
students is also required to make print accessible (Kangan & 
Smith, 1977). New TAPE colleges wnich are Commonwea .^h-funded are 
required to be wheelchair accessible. However, many old buildings 
still need renovation as surveys in New South Wales, Western 
Australia and South Australia have indicated. 16 funds ar? not 
available to upgrade all of these, priorities will have to be 
set. The strategies chosen need to fit the circumstances. 
Alternatives include: 

several colleges designated for ph} Sically disabled students 
and made completely accessible; 

building an accessible suite of classrooms in each college 
and relocating classes; 

ensuring all courses offered at only one location are 

Off-caapus prograas 

External studies programs can provide a means for non-vocational 
and vocational education for disabled people. Programs can also 
be offered by TAPE teachers in locations to suit a group of 
disabled people (Alexander, 1981; Broomhall, 1981; Johnstone et 
al., 1981). These stratp»gies can improve access to TAPE and 
provide a valuable service. However, the range of programs 
available is limited. Courses which require hands-on experience 
with expensive high technology equipment are not easily made 
available off-campus. Social skills training often needed by 
disabled students requires interpersonal interaction. 

Many disabled students cannot learn from traditional 
correspondence courses. Frequent absen'^es from school, or hearing 
impairment or intellectual disability may cause disabled students 
to have low literacy and numeracy levels. Audio-visual, self- 
instruct lonal materials may be necessary together with special 
tutorial assistance. Visually impaired students may require 
material to be presented orally. 

ERIC an 216 

These are valuable strategies and should be improved to meet the 
needs of disabled students. However, they do not assist 
normalisation or integration and as the sole means of access to 
TAFE for disabled would not on their own achieve equal 


Hearing impaired students have communication problems both in the 
oral and written mode. Particular attention needs to be given to 
assisting the communication process for hearing impaired 
students. The language used in lecson notes, texts, and in 
examination questions may need to be simplified.- and additional 
tutorial assistance, use of signs, interpretation, and training 
for the teacher in special communication skills for the hearing 
ira;^ aired will be necessary, depending on the degree of handicap 
{Byeis, 1982; Kangan & Smith, 1977). 


Information on TAFE programs and services needs to be as widely 
available as possible to enable career choice and suitable course 
and college options to be accessed. Guidance and counselling is 
particularly important (Kangan & Smith, 1977). Disabled people 
often tend to be less confident of their abilities and may need 
to overcome barriers of low self-esteem and fear or rejection. 
Efforts will i.eed to be made by the TAFE college to build 
confidence and tak3 the information to the handicapped student in 
such a way that it will be utilised. Outroach programs, link 
courses and orientation programs have been successful in 
overcoming barriers and building confidence (Alexander, 1981; 
Broomhall, 1981; Commonwealth Schools Commission, 1980; 
Johnstone et ai., 1981; Taylor, 1978). Careers markets and 
special leaflets have also been useful. 

Ad»i3sionj selection, and ^ issessment procedures 

The existing procedures can be discriminatory. Students with a 
physical disability may not be able to fill m enrolment forms. 
Formally stated entrance requirements may not have been obtained 
because of disrupted schooling. Procedures for concessional 
entrance or granting of equivalence should be considered. 
Selection or assessment tests may require the students to exhibit 
their skills in a manner their disability prevents. Alternative 
communication methods may have to be found, e.g. an oral 
examination substituted for a written one, use of typewriter, 
tape recorder or amanueusis, large print exam papers, use of sign 

Er|c "217 

language interpreters, etc. {Buchanan et aL., 1981). To 
facilitate these procedures, TAPE in NSW has developed a policy 
for admission, assessment, selection and course modification for 
physically disabled students. 


Modification of curricula is necessary for many disabled 
students. Some disabled students may be able to do ir.ost but not 
all of a specified course because of tneir physical disability. 
Flexible course structures need to be considered to enable 
disabled students to qualify for certification {Buchanan et al., 
1981). Alternative or modified curricula with appropriate goals 
and teaching processes need to be developed for some handicapped 
students, e.g. intellectually handicapped (Byers & Hocking, 1979; 
Commonwealth Schoox^ Coirnisrion, 1980; Hauritz, 1979; CECD/CERI, 
1982; SA Department of Further Education, 1979). 

Class size 

Disabled students have different needs and problems to non- 
disabled students. As tea-hers have to spend more time assessing 
the students' abilities, planning programs which take this into 
account, and conducting the program, a reduced class size is 
necessary both for safety and efficiency {Buchanan, et al., 1981; 
NSW Department of Education, 1982). 

Mainstreaming of disabled students in regular TAFE classes ir.eans 
TAFE teachers will be providing the course delivery. Most TAFE 
teachers do not have expertise in special education and have 
indicated the need for training and support to provide service to 
aisablod students (Buchanan et al., 1981; Ward et al., 1978). An 
alternative strategy would be the use of special education 
teachers for disabled students. However, these teachers do not 
have content expertise in the wide range of vocational and non- 
vocational educational skills taught in TAFE and this could limit 
options for disabled students. Resource teachers with special 
educational expertise can assist TAFE teachers with disabled 
students and improve course delivery for the student. Special 
education teachers will be required to cover special content, 
e.g. language development for hearing impaired students; using 
the optacon for visually impaired students. Consideration should 
also be given to training a pool of TAFE teachers in special 
education to improve service delivery in particular content areas 
with consistent enrolment of disabled students, e.g. home 




science- Specialised prpparation is not available in all fields 
in all States for teaching disabled students (OECD/CERI, 1982). 
An inquiry in New South Wales noted no teacher education courses 
were available to prepare teachers working with disabled adults. 
Priority will need to be given zo teacher education if se'^vice 
delivery is to be adequate. 

Support to teachers 

A number of programs have run successfu'iy with multi- 
disciplinary teams, i.e. TAF':: teachers, social w kers, 
psychologists, special educators, therapists, e.g. Granville Work 
Preparation Centre, Krongold Centre for Special Education. Other 
programs have run witn a minimum of support. However, the NSW 
survey (Buchanan et al., 1981) indicates teachers express a need 
for specialis*- advice foi assessment of student needs and 
planning programs. Many TAFE colleges now have counselling 
services but few counsellors have expertise in the assessment of 
disabled people. 

There are now resource teachers in TAFE Authorities in some 
States but the number of these compared with the provision for 
secondary schools is minimal (NSW Department of Education, 1982). 

Educational and student services 

Support services for students and teachers have been established 
in TAFE, e.g. student counselling, libraries, student amenities, 
course information officers, curriculum developers, teaching and 
learning resource developers, building controllers and planners, 
safety officers. All these provide a specialist service which 
enhances the role of TAFE. Many of these services are becoming 
aware of the special needs of disabled students, and within these 
services ther j is some movement towards establishing expertise to 
service needs in this specialist area. New South Wales has a 
specialist curriculum development 'o»ip, the Special Uroups Unit. 
South Australia has seconded a specialist officer to the 
Curriculum Operations Group. There is evidence to show the 
beneficial effect of special assessment, counselling, appropriate 
curriculum and teaching resources (NSW Department of Education, 
1982; Warnock, 1978). However, there are insufficient specialist 
services to provide uniform quality for the number of disabled 
students who could and would wish to benefit from appropriate 
' ograms. 



Special ancillary services for disabled students 

Special ancillary services provided at primary and secondary 
level for disabled students include special transport, ancillary 
staff to assist with toileting and feeding, and therapy. TAPE at 
present provides none of these services. 

Co-ordination of TAFg Services 

The disabled person may require specialist support services 
provided by other agencies, e.g. specialised accommodation, job 
placement, mobility training, etc. To facilitate the availability 
of services as needed, the Warnock Report (1978) recommends 'a 
named person' to whom the disabled person may go for advice. 
Within New South whales TAPE, Consultants for Disabled act as 
'named persons' for TAPE students and can make contact with other 
agencies to obtain and co-ordinate services. However, the number 
and location of consultants does not enable an effective 'named 
person' to be available for all TAPE disabled students. 

A'^titude of non-disabled students 

Disabled students will always be a minority in a TAPE college. 
Any strategy to assist disabled students must take into account 
attitudes of and effects on non-disabled students. If the 
strategy of integration was detrimental to non-disabled students 
it is questionable if it should be followed. However, the 
evidence suggests that it is beneficial to both, not only 
cognitively but socially (OECD/CERI, 1979). 

Planning and co-ordination of services 

TAPE services for the disabled have tended to develop on a local 
basis, one college in response to a local community organisation, 
one college ir. response to an individual. Planned co-ordinated 
services promoting continuity of programs despite personnel 
ch.-nges, and a Statewide service do not exist in most States. 
Recent .eviews of services by States acknowledge successful one- 
off programs but point to gaps in services {Buchanan et al., 
1981; SA Department of Further Education, 1979, 1980). Increased 
planning and co-ordination of services is recommended to enable 
effective programs to be offered in many locations according to 
the needs of disabled people. 

o 220 


TAPE has an expanding educational role but resources are limited. 
TAPEC reports have described the resource backlog which must be 
overcome to enable TAPE to fulfil its traditional role as a 
provider of vocational education. Yet TAPE is also being asked to 
provide special programs with very little incr ase in resource 
provision, for unemployed youth, retrenched workers. Aborigines, 
women, and disabled people. 

Interest in TAPE as a provider of non-vocational and vocational 
education for disabled students has increased significantly in 
the last decade. 

Howevec, surveys and inquiries reveal many deficiencies exist. It 
is apparent that servicas for continuing and tertiary education 
for disabled students are minimal compared with existing 
provisions for compulsory school age disabled students. Yet 
current enquiries reveal even the latter to be deficient (NSW 
Department of Education, 1982). Any increase in level of service 
for compulsory school age children will result in demand for 
increased service provision beyond school age. It is apparent 
that increased resources are needed if TAPE is to play a 
significant role as a post-school educator for disabled people. 

National sharing of information, curriculum development, and 
resource development will help maximise the usage of scarce 
specialit*^ resources. Increased evaluation of services and 
programs is also necessary to assure quality of provision. 

Research is also needed to test assumptions, as research evidence 
available today suggests many previously held attitudes were 
based on false assumptions; e.g. handicapped people are 
unemployable, therefore do not need vocational training. 

The potential of disabled people has been demonstrated by a 
considerable number of studies and disabled people and their 
advocates have become more aware and vocal. Existing anti- 
discrimination legislation particularly legislates against 
discrimination in educational services. TAPE will continue to be 
faced with the challenge of providing quality education to meet 
the needs of disabled people in the future. Action will be needed 
to resolve the issues raised in this review. 




Alexander, M. (1981). The outreach project for the North Sho re; 
1981 annual report . Sydney: NSW Department of Technical and 
Further Education. 

Beasley, V. J., & Glencross, 0. J. (1977). Handicapped tertiary 
students problems; Needs and possibilities . Adelaide: 
Flinders University Press. 

Broomhall, J. (1981). Blacktown outreach 1981 annual report . 
Blacktown: NSW Department of Technical and Further 

Buchanan, K., Macinnis, P., & Pearson, M. v 81). A survey of the 
incidence of needs of and provision for handicapped students 
in TAFE colleges in 1980; a summary report. Sydney: NSW 
Department of Technical and Further Education. 

Byers, P. (1982). A preliminary investigation into the need, 
problems and possible means of provision for further 
education for the deaf. Hobart: Tasmanian Education 

Byers, P., & Hocking, H. (1979). What does the future hold ? 
Hobart: Tasmanian Education Department. 

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training of handicapped adolescents and their, transition to 
adult SGCietji^ - policies and practices in Australia . 
Canber ra. 

Commonwealth Schools Commission. (1981). The preparation of 
disabled young people for adult society - d iscuss ipn_ paper s. 
Canberra: Union Offset. 

Drummond, N. (1978). Special education in Australia with special 
reference to _ de ve lopme n t s j n the educat ion of the 
h andicapped in the decade of rehabilitation . S/dney: Royal 
Far Wect Children's Scherae. 

Funnell, S. (1979). Th e NEAT work experience for handicapped 
secondar^L students; An evaluation . Sydney: NSW Department 
of Education. 



Hauritz, M. (1979). Langaage and skill acqaisition of mildly 
intellectaal 1/ handicapped adolescents in a work preparation 
setting . Sydney: Granville Work Preparation Centre. 

Johnstone, W. M., Sharke, J., & Davis, W. (1981). Illawarra 
outreach project annual report 1961. Wollongong: 
Wollongong Techn ical College. 

Kangan, M. (Chair, Australian Committee on Tecnnical and Furtner 
Education). (1975). TAFR in Australia. Canberra: AGPS. 

Kangan, M,, & Smith, G. (1977). Removing post school learning 
barriers: Handicapped people . Canberra: Technical and 
Further Education Commission. 

Mitchell, J. C. (1981). Involvement and lole of TAFE in the 
e ducation of disabled people . Adelaide: South Australian 
Department of TAFE. 

New South Wales An t i - D i s c r i m i n a t i o n Board. (1979). 
Discrimination and physical handicap . Sydney. 

New South Wales A n t i - D i s c r i m i n a t i o n Board. (1981). 
Discrimination and intellectual handicap . Sydney. 

OECD/CERI. (1982). Australian seminar on__disabled young people - 
access to enhancement of living and contributing citizenship 
through education and technology. Canberra: Commonwealth 
Department of Education. 

OECD/CERI. (1979). International seminar on the transition of 
handicapped adolescents from school to employment of further 
studies - school programs and services which help 
handicapped youth prepare for employment . Pans: OECD/CERI. 

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Jou r na 1 , 55 , 146. 

Parmenter, T. (1980). Progressive assessment of individuals as 
an evaluation of a progr .m. Sydney: Granville Work 
Preparation Centre. 



South Australian Committee on the Rights of Persons with 
Handicaps. (1978). The law and persons with handicaps . 
Adelaide . 

South Australian Department ot Further Education. (1979), Fi rst 
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South Australian Department ot Further Education. (1980). 
Physically disabled adults , Adela ide. 

TAFE National Centre for Research and Development. (1983). 
Draft glossary of TAFE terms . Adelaide. 

Taylor, N. (1978). Lin': programme for deaf high school students . 
Sydney: NSW Department of Technical and Further Education. 

Tmdall, L., & Gugerty, J. (1979). Least restrictive alternative 
for handicapped students . Ohio: National Centre for 
Research in Vocational Education. 

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leavers: Their further education, training and employment . 
Slough, Bucks: NFER. 

Walker, E. (1981). TAFE and the disabled . Sydney: NSW 
Department of Technical and Further Education. 

Ward, J., Parenter, T. , Riches, V., & Hauritz, M. A. (1978). A 
study_ of the attitudes of NSW school principals towards the 
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P'^eparation Centre. 

Warnock, H. M. (Chair, Committee of Enquiry into the Education of 
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Watts, B. H., Elkins, J., Henry, M. B., Apelt, W. C. , Atkinsonr 
J. K., & Cochrane, K.J. (1978). The education of mij^dly 
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Government Publishing Service. 

W^itmore, F. (1981). Involvement of __TAF£__.i_"_ Pj^P^g^ams for 
disabled. Perth: WA Department of Education. 



Williams, B. R. (Chair, Committee of Inquiry into Education and 
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Working Party on a Plan for Special Education in NSW. (1982). 
Strategies and initiatives for social education in NSW . 
Sydney: NSW Department of Education. 





One of the most interesting and important of the developments in 
TAP2 in the post-Kangan period was the introduction of the TAPE 
Transition Program under the sponsorship of the Commonwealth 
Government. The review that follows examines briefly the setting 
from which the Program arose, the development of policy, the 
growth and development of the Program, administrative 
arrangements for the Program, the effectiveness of courses within 
the Program and some '.ey issues raised by the Program. 

For the purposes of this review, distinctions are made among the 
following commonly used terms: transition, transition education, 
the TAPE Transition Program, and transition courses. 

TRANSITI ON IS the total process through which young people 
pass from childhood dependence to adult independence. 

TRANSITION EDUCATION was that part of the process provided 
by the education system to assist young people in their 
trans ition. 

THE TAPE TRANSITIO PROGRAM was the response of TAPE to 
those initiatives in transition education funded by the 

TRANSITION COURSES were the courses developed within th-i 
Transition Program. 


From the end of World War II to the 1970s there was little 
interest in and concern for the process by which young people 
moved from school into the workforce. This lack of attention 
reflected an awareness of the general ease with which most young 
people were able to obtain their first jobs, and change those 
jobs and their careers a number ^f times if they found their 
initial choices uncongenial. 



The post-school education system played a role in this movement 
toward adulthood, but only for a minority of young people. TAFE 
played its part in this process through the few full-time courses 
that it offered, but more importantly through its part-time 
courses which enabled the young to both learn and earn as they 
pursued their careers. As long as the early job market remained 
healthy, the post-school education system could confine itself to 
preparing for employment those young people whose occupational 
choices demanded substantial training and education. 

Beneath the untroubled surface in this period, forces of change 
were at work. In broad terms the role of unskilled workers was 
declining as the rate of structural, social, and technological 
changes gathered pace. At the same time, however, the standard of 
general education was rising, post-school education participation 
rates were increasing and together with selective immigration it 
was possible on the whole to meet the demand for a more 
sophisticated workforce while at the same time finding employment 
for most of those who wanted work. Despite the changes that were 
occurring, the combination of the school system, the post-school 
system and the early job market were working satisfactorily to 
make the transition from school to work smooth for the great 
majority of young people. 

This sense of satisfaction was shattered in the 1970s when the 
unemployment rate rose sharply after thirty years in which it had 
averaged 1.9 percent within a range of 1.1 to 3.2 percent. What 
was particularly startling was the rapid giowth in youth 
unemployment. By 1979, 17.0 percent of 15-19 year olds were 
unemployed as were 9.3 percent of 20-24 year olds. If one looked 
at the long-term unemployed, Australia had at this time a far 
greater proportion of adolescents, 35.8 percent of total long 
term unemployed, than most other OECD countries (OECD, 1980). 
Faced with this problem, the Commonwealth Government decided to 
intervene in the transition process. It was this intervention 
that was to bring TAFE into a whole new field of educational 
endeavour . 


The accelerating rate of unemployment, and in particular, youth 
unemployment, was the spur which caused the Commonwealth 
Government to react. To understand the policy that flowed from 
this reaction, we must grasp the decisions arrived at by 
successive Commonwealth Governments. 



From the perspective of the 1980s, the diagn:>sis of the problem 
seems simple: there are not enough jobs to go arojnd. This was 
the point of view taken by the Whitlam Government, A point of 
view which led to job creation schemes, particularly in the 
public sector. With the discrediting of that Government came the 
discrediting of this diagnosis and the discrediting of job 
creation as an acceptable strategy. 

The diagnosis accepted by the Fraser Government was that a major 
cause of the problem lay not in the lack of jobs, but in the 
mismatch of the skills of job seekers with the jobs available or 
potentially available. If the Commonwealth were to intervene 
successfully, therefore, it would need to intecvene in the 
education system as wel? as the labour market- 

The broad thinking that underlay the policy was spelt out in an 
address on 4 October 1979 to the National Press Club by the 
Commonwealth Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs: 

The basic philosophy behind the thinking is that young 
people in the 15-19 years age group should have a 
comprehensive range of education, training and 
employment options available to them which makes 
unemployment, in the sense of idleness at the 
community's expense, an unacceptable alternative. Young 
people should not enter the labour market until they 
are properly equipped to enter employment or are able 
to obtain employment. 

This philosophy was expressed m a more developed manner by the 
Australian Education Council when it- stated in a press release in 
October 1979: 

The Australian Education Council, meeting in Perth, 
endorsed the need for a comprehensive policy on 
transition froir school to work. This should be 
developed and put into effect through co-operation 
among the States, the Northern Territory and the 

The aim of the comprehensive policy should be 
ultimately to provide all young people in the 15-19 age 
group with options in education, training and 
employment, or any combination of these, either part- 
time or full-time, so that unemployment becomes the 
least acceptable alternative. 



The Council recognises that a comprehensive policy will 
need to encompass a rationalisation ot existing benefit 
schemes and incentives to young people and to industry 
in order to ensure that they are mutually consistent 
and do not provide disincentives to participation in 
education and training. 

This concept was expanded even further in a major policy 
statement by the Commonwealth Minister for Education on 22 
November 1979: 

The problems of transition are not, I stress, an area 
for government action only. A comprehensive approach to 
the problems requires the intense understanding and 
support of the whole community. Teachers have an 
obvious and crucial part to play. Parents need to 
encourage and support their children and to be 
interested and involved in the vital work of the school 
and the decisions made by authorities affecting their 
children. To a large extent the motivations and 
attitudes of young people are affected by the 
expectations their parents have of them and the 
encouragement they receive at home. Employers should 
develop closer links with education systems, 
particularly at the local school level, in the 
interests of, on the one hand, schools understanding 
better the requirements of the kplace and, on the 
other hand, of employers appceci- ^^g more clearly the 
education process and the difficulties faced by young 
people and their teachers in preparing adequately for 
the complex requirements of life and work in the 
eighties and nineties. Organisations of employers 
should lend their support and participate in the 
working out of the new arrangements. 

From the point of view of TAFE, the key concern was to be how 

this evolving policy was to be implemented through the 

initiatives that were to be funded by the Commonwealth 


From the very first policy statement, TAFE and the schools were 
seen as the key implementing agencie«5 {though not the sole 
agencies). This was made clear in the first lisc of initiatives 
produced by the Commonwealth Government. 



Developments likely to occur in 1980 with support from the 
Commonwealth's provision of an additional $25 million 
include ; 

Expansion and development of transition courses in TAPE 
institutions, including pre-apprenticeship, pre-vocational 
and pre-employm3nt courses. These would be full-time courses 
up to one year in duration to prepare young people for 
vocations, particularly in the trades and technical 
occupations where shortages of skilled workers still exi'^t. 

Expansion of the number of places available in the Education 
Program for Unemployed Youth (EPUY). It is expected that an 
additional 7,000 places could become available in these TAFE 
courses in 1980 with substantial further increases in later 

Development of improved services and techniques for 
identifying potential early school leavers. 

Expansion of school counsellor, vocational education and 
guidance services to provide more intensive and 
comprehensive assistance fot students at risk and their 
parents . 

Development of alterna^ive courses in schools for potential 
early leavers. 

Establishment of after-school and vacation programs of 
vocational education and counselling. 

Development of 'link' courses involving students' 
participation in programs combining elements of secondary 
and TAFE courses. 

Teacher development programs. In-service courses and re- 
orientation programs to fit numbers of teachers for their 
roles in the development and implementation of alternative 
courses and identification and counselling of 'at risk' 

Community education projects to include increasing 
employers' and parents' understanding of school activities 
and programs to increase teachers' awareness of specific 
employment requirements for new employees- (Ministerial 
Stattiient, November, 1979). 



The Commonwealth aad thus nominated the kinds of activities it 
saw as appropriate to implement the pol.:/. It then nominated the 
target group at which these initiatives were aimed. 

Our primary concern is the 50,000 young people who now 
leave school each year with poor employment prospects. 
We wish to provide appropriate education and training 
courses for them and also tackle the problem of those 
in the schools who are likely to be in similar 
difficulties when it comes their turn to leave. 

It should be emphasised that though the Transition Policy was 
meant to cover all school students, the programs that flowed from 
this policy were to be provided for that target group, i.e., 
those who were most likely to become unemployed. This group was 
seen as being deficient in some way: in general education, in 
30b seeking skills, in 30b skills or in a combination of these. 
It was these deficiencies that had to be corrected. 

The role of TAFE in implementing the Transition Policy was to be 
made clearer when the guidelines for the TAFE component of this 
Transition Program were spelt out; indeed it was the guidelines 
that were to give the specific direction to the TAFE share of the 

The guidelines for TAFE at no point stated that participants in 
the Program should be unemployed; however, the guidelines also 
stated that preference should be given to the unemployed, that 
the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) should be the primary 
source of referrals and that to qualify for the transition 
allowance, program participants needed to have been unemployed 
for four months and to have been away from full-time education 
for four months in the previous twelve. What this ensured then 
was that for TAFE the Program was not concerned with the 
transition from 'School to Work* but the transition from 
^unemployment to College to Work'. Such a program assumes that 
most graduates of the Program would find jobs as they re-entered 
the workforce. This assumption of course reflected the initial 
analysis of the Fraser Government that a ma]or cause of the youth 
unemployment problem lay in the lack of appropriate skills of 
young people. The Program, wherefore, would give participants on 
completion the appropriate skills to obtain Jobs. It was this 
viewpoint that was to become of increasing concern to TAFE staff 
as the job market for young people continued to deteriorate as 
the Prog'.am expanded. 





A course sponsored by the Commonwealth Government for the young 
unemployed had existed since 1977. This course, Educational 
Program Cor Unemployed Youth (EPUY) , in many ways epitomised the 
view of the Praser Government towards the TAFE Transition 
Program. The target group was those young people with a history 
of significant unemployment who exhibited, in the eyes of the 
CES, major weaknesses in their general education, job seeking 
skills and self-confidence. It TAPE could 'smarten them up', then 
the CES could find them jobs. 

EPUY of all the courses within the Transition Program was to be 
the one that provoked most debate over its role and 
effectiveness. It was seen by many TAFE teachers as being outside 
the TAPE mainstream, as beinc, no more than expensive child 
minding, and as being an administrative burden. The close contact 
that It brought with the CES raised not only administrative 
issues, but also educational issues such as whose right was it to 
select students. The use of contract staff in the course was seen 
by some as an attack on working conditions of TAFE teachers. The 
ideological split among teachers on the course over the aims of 
the course raised problems over determining criteria for judging 
the effectiveness of the course, a difficulty deepened by the 
methodolog ictil problems in evaluating employment success of 
graduates if that was accepted as a criterion for success. 

Despite all of these problems, EPUY was to prove one of the most 
interesting courses that TAPE has produced. The aura of 
indecision about the aims of the course, the special nature of 
the student body, the range of teachers who worked in the course 
and the fact that EPUY did not fit neatly into existing TAFE 
administrative arrangements were to lead to a plethora of 
innovation and experimentation in course design, teaching and 
admin istra t ion. 

This experience was to be of great assistance when the full 
Transition Program was introduced in 1980. 

Under that Program which was announced in ^Jovember 1979, the 
Commonwealth was to fund TAFE for three categories of courses: 

(1) BPUY 

(2) Pre-employment (non-trade) 

(3) Pre-apprentice and pre-vocational (traie based). 


229 232 

Using Commonwealth funds, TAFE was asked to develop transition 
courses within these categories. The course'* were meant to form a 
package covering a variety of potential job opportunities at both 
the skilled and operative levels. As ca**^ be seen from the 1981 

22. TAFE proposals should make provision for young 
people with a wide range of needs. They should 
provide for practical skills training and work 
related education, where possible in a vocation- 
ally relevant environment. Accordingly the 
following types of proposals may be considered: 

(i) Proposals for courses similar to those 
conducted under the Education Program for 
Unemployed Youth. 

(II) Proposals which provide individuals with an 
improved capacity for making vocational 
choices without the commitment involved in 
occupation-specific courses. For this group 
of students, courses providing vocational 
education relevant to a range of oucu^jations 
or a vjroup of industries are favoured. 

(iii) Proposals likely to enhan'^e specific 
vocational development and employabi li ty of 
participants, having regard to such factors 
as likely job opportunities and course 
location. Training for specific job vacancies 
wiuh employers (possibly eligible for support 
under the National Employment Assi stance 
Training Scheme) are not appropriate for 

(iv) Pre-apprenticeship and pre-vocat ional courses 
in the apprenticeable trades. TAFE 
authorities would be expected to consult with 
industry and other appropriate agencies on 
the skill content of courses and the 
acceptability of successful trainees, and 
would be expected, wherever practicable, to 
secure credits for students in respect of 
these courses towards any subsequent 
apprenticeship fc^r both exemption from 
technical education and reduction in the 
apprenticeship ^rm. 



23. In the developmeat ot TAFE proposals the authority 
should maintain a balance between the various 
types of courses so that the whole spectrum of 
needs, backgrounds, abilities and educational 
achievements of the target group is provided for. 

24. Courses should normally be provided on a full-time 
basis but curricula incorporating periods of on- 
the-job experience would not be excluded. Courses 
may vary in length but should usually be of at 
least one term or semescer duration. 

These guidelines were to create a number of problems; firstly, 
guideline 22 (iii) suggests that courses should be created to 
meet labour shortages, but that they should not be designed to 
meet the needs of specific employers. In those locations where 
there were few major employers and job vacancies, this 
distinction was to prove restrictive and confusing. Secondly, 
there was no clear procedure suggested for testing the relevance 
of course proposals to the needs of the labour market. Thirdly, 
the apparent opportunity to create part-time courses under the 
guidelines did not exist as the guidelines were in practice 
subordinated to the regulations concerning the employ...jnt of 
students and the payment of allowances. 

Another feature of the guidelines was the provision that special 
attention should be paid to the needs of disadvantaged groups: 

Having regard to their special d i f f ir. u 1 1 i es in the 
transition process, the needs of girls ind youpg women 
should ta adequately provided for in prr>posals. 

The neeis of disadvantaged groups, for example, 
migrants. Aboriginals, the isolated, the handicapped, 
should be given particular attention in the proposals. 

This gave the Program an element of positive discrimination for 
which the critics of the Program often failed to give the 
Commonwealth Government due credit. 


An outstanding feature of the Program as it developed was the way 
in which its administration drew together State and Commonwealth 
Department's at the National and State levels, and colleges and 
CES offices at the local level. In addition, the search for 
relevant courses was to lead TAFE into even closer contact with 



local industry and with industries with which 7AFS had had little 
contact through its traditional courses. 

The emphasis on meeting local needs was to give college staff 
increased opportunities in developing courses and in creating new 
management structures. 

An important problem for TAFE administrators in creating a 
management structure and employing extra staff to run and deliver 
the courses was the initial five years limit placed on the 
funding of the Program. The Commonwealth was asking the States to 
set up a major program, the funding of which could either 
disappear at the end of the period or would have to be replaced 
by major contributions from the States. Though the Commonwealth 
Government committed itself to providing $150 million for the 
five year period {covering both the TAFE and the Schools 
Programs), approvals of courses were to be on an annual basis. 


From the beginning, the Commonwealth Government realised that 
some incentive would be needed to persuade at least some of the 
unemployed that they should enter the Program. A Transition 
Allowance of $6 a week on top of the unemployment benefit was 
introduced, therefore, in 1981. To be eligible for the allowance 
the student had to be: 

15-19 years old (15-24 if in an EPUY cours?) 

away from full-time education for four of the last twelve 
mon t h s , 

registered with the CES dS unemployed. 

Two undar standable but i.icorrect assumptions could be made from 
this: firstly, that all students in courses funded by the 
Commonwealth Government under the Program would be receiving the 
allowance; and secondly, that all students receiving the 
allowance would be in Commonwealth funded courses. In fact, about 
15 percent of students in Commonwealth funded courses did not 
receive the allowance, and a number of students receiving the 
allowance were in State funded courses rather than Commonwealth 
funded courses. 


fhe strong growth of the Program can be seen in Table 1. 







Number of place approved 

EPUY 5 , 550 ( es t } 


J , D u u 

^ Q Rft 
J / J oo 

P r e —emp loyme n t ) 
Pre-vocational } 2,737 
( t r adc S'^ba sed ) ) 




P r e -appr en t icesh ip 170 


3 26 


Total 3,457(est) 




Number of courses approved 

EPUY 275 (est) ^ 

27 S / f»q t- i ^ 

J *t J 

Pre-employment ) 
Pre-voci tional ) 104 
(tr adjs-based) ) 




Pr e -appr en t icesh ip 9 




Total 388(est) 




{1} Approved arrangements 
DEIR, 14 Feb 1983. 


the start of 

the /ear. 

Source : 

(2) Includes EPUY courses 

which were not 

funded under the 

Transition Program. 

ERJC 236 

On observing the strong growth of the Program one can get a 
distorted view of its importance in the total package of employ- 
ment initiatives funded by the Commonwealth Government. In terms 
of individuals affected, the Special Youth Employment Training 
Program together with a range of smaller placement programs were 
in 1982-3 reaching five times more individuals than was the 
Transition Program? in addition, the Community Youth Support 
Scheme catered for some 60,000 participants in 1981-2. 

In considering the extent to which the Program was penetrating 
the unemployed population and particularly the long-term 
unemployed, it can be seen in Table 2 that it has provided 
opportunities for only a small proportion of those for whom ic 
could have been judged to be of assistance. 



Age groups - 25 years 

15-19 yrs 20-24 yrs or more 

Male Female Male Female Male Female 

Education-based 0.079 0.059 0,013 0.022 0.004 0.004 

Employment-based 0.454 0.373 0.159 0.131 0.037 0.022 

Specialised 0.045 0.024 0.018 0.011 0.013 0.004 

Total 0.578 0.456 0.190 0.164 0.055 0.031 

(a) Source of labour data: Department of Emp oyment and 
Industrial Relations and unpublished data ABS Labour 
Force Experience Survey 1981 — includes only thL reporting 
17 weeks or more unemployment during the 12 months prior to 

(b) Source of table: Hay and Lampe (1982). 





It has already been noted that there was considerable discussion 
as to the aims of EPUY courses with the most dissent being over 
whether or not EPUY should concern icself with ec^uipping its 
students for specific jobs. In some places of high long-term 
youth unemployment, teachers were adamant that their concern 
should be with teaching the students to cope with continued 
unemployment rather than wasting time giving them sub-skills they 
might never use. 

This same argument concerned many teachers and administrators of 
the other courses in the Program. The argument was put strongly 
by them that judging the effectiveness of the courses in terms of 
employment* outcomes was not only unrealistic, but also 
inappropriate in that such judgments overshadowed the other 
positive outcomes of the courses. 

Further strength was added to the argument against taking too 
much notice of employment outcomes by noting that the more 
successful the Program was in reaching the long-te^^m unemployed 
an'J including members of disadvantaged groups, the lower the 
likelihood of employment for Program graduates. 

Against these propositions, however, it must be argued that for 
the majority of young people who entered courses the main 
motivation was wanting to get a job. Moreover, most teachers in 
the Program agreed that this was the main motivation for 
enrolment of their students {Davis a Woodburne, 1983). 

Apart from the argument whether or not employment was a valid 
criterion for evaluating the success of courses in the Program, 
^valuators were faced with the methodological problem of finding 
a standard against which to judge employment success. Clearly as 
the students were a select group, to judge their employment 
success against general levels of unemployment was misleading. 

Most TAFE Departments* evaluations of their courses within the 
Program have simply recorded the proportion of graduates who 
obtained jobs without attempting tQ judge how successful were 
these results. Two important studies, Hubbert (1980) and Harrison 
and O'Neil {1982) judged the employment success of the courses 
they looked at as dismal, but they both failed to iudge the 
success of graduates against any really comparable group* 



Davis and Woodbarne (1983) produced the first study of 
comparative employment success. In summary, their findings on 
employment success were that: 

1. When all the variables available are considered, the 
courses did help participants get jobs. 

2. Many other factors apart from course participation 
determine employment, e.g., length of previous 
unemployment and the local labour nnarket. 

3. The proportion of course participants who did not get 
jobs witnin seven to nine months of completion of the 
course was very high {67 percent of the target 
population of the study). 

In their study, they surveyed teachers in EPUY, Trade Level and 
Non-Trade Level courses as to their perceptions of the importance 
of other course objectives for the courses they taught. They 
found that a fairly ^:\mon and relatively high ranking was given 
by all teachers of each of the course types to the strengthening 
of work and social attitudes and to some provision of general job 
skills; however, teachers of EPUY ranked improvement of literacy 
and numeracy skills and provision of social contacts 
significantly higher than did the teachers of the other courses. 

While it is important, therefore, to evaluate the employment 
outcomes of the courses, this should not be done in isolation 
from the range of other positive benefits that both students and 
teachers saw as important and as being realised. 


Prog ran scope 

As indicated earlier, the penetration by the Program of the ranks 
of unemployed youth, particularly young adults, was very limited. 
This limitation sprang firstly from the constraints imposed by 
the funds available. This limitation, however, reflected the 
Commonwealth Government view that the Program was only one of a 
variety of strategies for implementing its transition policy. 

In support of the Commonwealth Government position, it should be 
emphasised that education in the short term can have only a minor 
influence on employment. From a longer perspective, education may 
help create demand for labour and improve the quality of labour 
supply, but in the short-term the only jobs it could create would 


be those needed to service any courses created under such 
programs as the TAPE Transition Program. Unfortunately, this less 
grandiose view of the Program was often overshadowed by the 
rhetoric of selling the Program both to participants and to 

What has also often been lost sight of in the debate over the 
role of the Program is the considerable input that TAPE made to 
the transition process through its array of State funded courses. 
Indeed, one of the interesting aspects of the total TAPE 
contribution to transition was that the same courses could be in 
both 'Programs* depending on the time at which it commenced. New 
South Wales, for example, made a major effort in expanding its 
pre-apprenticeship and full-time secretarial courses just prior 
to the commencement of the Coror^onwea 1 th Program. It was to be 
funded, however, only for the additional places created in these 
courses after the commencement of the Program. 

If TAPE was seen as only one of a group of partners in the 
transition process, the others being the home, the school, the 
other post-school institutions and the early 30b market, it can 
be seen that the TAPE Transition Program must inevitably have 
been limited in its potential effects on the broad problem. 

Course design 

In the attempt to meet the requirement of the guidelines that 
courses should take account of local labour maikets, the 
initiative for suggestions for courses and for their design 
sprang often from the college level. Given that this has not been 
the traditional role of colleges, particularly for occupational 
courses, the Program provided valuable opportunities for TAPE 
personnel to develop new skills and to expand their understanding 
of local labour markets. In doing this, new relationships were 
created between colleges, schools, amployers and the CES, and 
even between the colleges and their own head offices. 

In addition, the search for appropriate curriculum initiatives 
for the Program led to interesting new approaches to occupational 
curricula design. Tne stimulus for this debate sprang from the 
problem of needing to create courses that would have employment 
benefits for participants within a labour market where semi- 
skilled jobs have been shrinking in number and have become 
increasingly likely not to offer long-term employment. Thus the 
search for appropriate courses led to the examination of more 
broad-based curricula. 



staff develop«ent 

The history of the Program provides an excellent case study in 
policy implementation, lo students of policy implementation 
theory, it will come as no surprise that despite clear policy 
statements and guidelines and appropriate administrative 
structures, the success of the Program has hinged on the capacity 
of the staff involved at the point of delivery. 

In this respect, one of the most notable features of the Program 
was the staff development effort made within the Program. The 
Commonwealth deserves recognition for its funding of an array of 
staff development exercises within the Program which were used 
not only to raise awareness of policy, but also to develop new 
skills. There has been no other single program in TAFE that has 
made such an attempt to involve all levels of staff in 
appropriate staff development activities and to bring them 
together at the local, regional, State and national levels. 

Regional co-ordination 

If programs such as the TAFE Transition Program are to be as 
efJective as possible, they must be based on a firm grasp of 
local needs, they must have the co-operation of the relevant 
local parties, and above all they must be co-ordinated with the 
other programs that together form the total strategy for the 
implementation of the policy. 

Though the TAFE Program reflected local needs and engaged the co- 
operation of the relevant local parties, there was not a high 
degree of co-ordination with the other State, Commonwealth and 
private initiatives in the tran^^ition field. Clear examples of 
duplication of effort, conflict and a lack of comprehensiveness 
can be found; examples which meant that young people were not 
able to get all the help the res'-.urces available could have given 

Though it is in the nature of things that initiatives in response 
to complex problems tend to develop in a piecemeal fashion, 
particularly if responsibilities are shared, it is unfortunate 
that this should have occurred with the Transition Program where 
the original policy statements displayed such a clear grasp of 
the breadth of the problem and the need for a co-ordinated effort 
to respond to 1 1. 





The TAPE Transition Program was a valuable if stiall part of an 
attempt to tackle' the broad and complex problem of improving 
opportunities in the transition process. Apart from creating 
opportunities for those young people who participated in courses, 
the Program had positive effects on TAPE in that it stimulated 
local initiatives and led to innovations in course design, course 
delivery and administrative structures as well as stimulating new 
skills in TAPE through the comprehensive staff development 
activities it engendered. 

A less obvious but also important benefit of the Program was its 
effects on TAPE teachers as they came in contact Increasingly 
with the unemployed. Prom this contact, many teachers had to 
reassess their attitudes as well as develop new skills. 

Though the Transition Program was seen by many TAPE teachers 
initially as an incongruous part of TAPE activities, after four 
years it was accepted as an integral part of the effort of TAPE 
to meet community needs and formed the basis on which the P.E.P. 
program was later developed. 




Davis, D. J. (1982). Generic skiiis approaches - three overs'^as 
studies. In Identifying occapational skiiis reqa irements : 
A review and consideration of work m the area . Background 
paper for Section 22 (Education Symposium) at the 52nd 
Congress of ANZAAS, Sydney. 

Davis, D. J., ( Woodburne, G. J. (1983). Interventions in 
transitions; An evaiuation of tine TAFE response in six 
Austraiian regions to the Commonweaith school to work 
trans i t ion prog ram . Canber ra: AGPS. 

Harrison, D. , & O'Neiil, M. (1982). Destination of TAFE 
participants I98I. (January to June) . Adelaide: South 
Austraiian Department of Industrial Affairs and Employment. 

Hay, M. A., & Lampe, G. L. (1982). Women in national training 
and emploj^ment programs. Bureau of Labour Market Research 
Conference Paper, No. 13. 

Hubbert, G. D. (1980). An evaluation of the education program 
for unemployed youth . Canberra: AGPS. 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (1980). 
Youth employment; The causes and consequences . ParLs: OECD.