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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 105-112

An assessment model for competency-based curriculum in vocational education and training in Iran


1 Assistant Professor, Departement of Educational Planning and Management, Islamic Azad University, Branch of South Tehran, Tehran, Iran
2 Departement Educational Science, Islamic Azad University, Arak, Iran

Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohammad Nourian
No. 113, 7th Boostan St., Pasdaran, Tehran
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.152223

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  Abstract 

Aim: The complexities of current labor market have led fundamental transition in vocational education and training curricula, and it's become much significant, a competency-based point of view and simultaneous attention to technical and nontechnical competencies. To evaluate the quality of technical and nontechnical competencies used in vocational education and training curricula in Iran in order to present an assessment model was the objective of this research. Methods: The research method was a survey, and the statistical population was a group of 30 experts in authoring and editing of vocational education and training textbooks. All the samples were censured, due to a small population. The research tool was a two-part interview, containing questions about the existing situation and the desirable situation of attention to technical and nontechnical competencies in vocational education and training curricula. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests were used to analyze statistical data. Results: The results in technical competencies part showed that the average attention rating to tasks like: The proper way to work with tools, paying attention to all aspects of a profession and work environment health and safety is higher than average but still is far away from the desirable situation. Conclusion: The average attention rating in nontechnical competencies part to tasks like teamwork, professional ethics, new technologies, entrepreneurship, and resource management is lower than average and is too far away from the desirable situation.

Keywords: Approach, competency-based, nontechnical competencies, technical competencies, vocational education, and training curriculum


How to cite this article:
Nourian M, Ghoddousi F. An assessment model for competency-based curriculum in vocational education and training in Iran. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:105-12

How to cite this URL:
Nourian M, Ghoddousi F. An assessment model for competency-based curriculum in vocational education and training in Iran. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 18];1:105-12. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/2/105/152223


  Introduction Top


Industrial revolution changed the entire educational system in Europe and involved many people in technical and vocational training, and broad reforms were started in most educational systems around the world since 1950. [1] However, today the world is facing many new situations like: An information society, globalization in different areas, changes in production techniques and work organization, the development of science and continuous transitions of technology and the significant role of science in production all of which can change skills and create new jobs. Then labor market is constantly in the need of manpower with new and complementary skills. [2]

It was believed for years that the more the knowledge and technical skills, the more the progressed one would be, but new researches have showed that nontechnical skills also play an important role in achieving a profession. The effect of nontechnical skills has increased more than technical ones, as a result of rapid changes in technology, complexity of work environment, increased rate of competition in the world of work, various products and services and the need for sustainable development and etc. [3]

One researcher believed that the curriculum, which is only based on obsolete skills, is not capable of responding to the needs of today's competitive world eventually he says skills required by the market, should be considered in connection with industrial needs. [4] As a result, vocational training is influenced by labor market needs.

Vocational education and training is a path in high school education. However, courses after high school education may be considered as vocational education and training; high school education gives a better concept to technical and vocational education. [5] Hence, the objectives and content of high school vocational training have changed entirely. As it was indicated in some definitions, [6],[7],[8] Objectives and consequently nontechnical content has been added to the vocational trainings. So, high school vocational education can help people prepare to work and gain continuing vocational training. European Centre for Development of Vocational Training is based on the point that school vocational trainings as an initial vocational and educational training must pave the way for learners for continuous vocational and educational training. These two trainings supported by Office of European Union, [9] are fulfilled if students are competent in nontechnical areas like: Teamwork, professional ethics, using new technologies of communication, entrepreneurship and resource management, in addition to knowledge, skill and specific technical approaches.

Although education system is a social subsystem, the way vocational education and training systems change would be different in various countries. [10] Hence, this research is done to give an answer to this question: How much are nontechnical goals taken into account in high school vocational education and training in Iran? How can determine the need for nontechnical goals in curriculum?

Main approaches in vocational education and training curriculum are a systematic approach and competency-based approach. The purpose of the systematic approach or Systematic Curriculum and Instructional Development (SCID) is to facilitate training people in charge of sensitive affairs of a job. Choi et al. [11] showed the procedures in the following:

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Educational objectives and content are concentrated on a specific occupation as it's showed in SCID chart. In other words, the objectives and technical content in education are prioritized. But, competency-based approach or competency-based training is based on real competencies in the world of work and whatever is done by a trainee is considered as learning outcome. [3]

Some researcher in explain these two approaches in vocational education and training in France: Behaviorism was received by French since 1960s. It was concentrated on observable and measurable learning outcomes. Accordingly, education is an issue, methods, and tools. All competencies that are supposed to be gained are defined automatically on the basis of categorization. Criterion for measurement of success is: General objectives and behaviors must be done by a leaner (using action verbs, arranging an activity or homework and etc.), conditions in which a work in done (in terms of equipment, devoted time, materials and etc).

In the contrary they in (2005) believe that competency-based approach refers to structuralist theories and also competencies gained by trainees through doing a task in a situation and to generalize it to that task. In addition, in Janart et al. ideas, the specification of competency-based approach is to define competency in relation to situations that are created by verbal learning. [12] Capacity building institution in vocational education and training area regards France as the origin of structuralism point of view. [13] To concentrate on competency-based approach, trainings must include both technical contents and objectives (basic and specialized skills for and occupation) and nontechnical ones. Nontechnical skills or key skills are dependent from a particular occupation and include more than one occupation or world of work or even a society.

For instance, National Qualifications Authority of Ireland considered competency as practical application of knowledge that means effective and creative view and development of knowledge and skill in human situations. "Human situations" refer to civil and social situations and specific job opportunities. Competency depends upon trainee's attitudes, feelings, values and sense of self-sufficiency. [14]

Vocational competence in Germany is regarded as a coherent capacity, which is based on knowledge skills, abilities, solving complex issues at work, learning and social and personal situations. The vocational competence at the first place is a series of methodical, technical, social and personal aspects, which combine the capabilities of learning and cognitive. [15] That is why capacity building institution in vocational education and training area regards vocational education in German as holistic. [13]

Dutch researchers are trying to cover a wide range of human behaviors in their definition of competence in terms of knowing, wanting and being able by concentrating on what work wants from an individual. For instance, in Muller's idea, competencies of an individual are: Performance-based capabilities of an individual including a set of knowledge structures and also cognitive, interactive and emotional abilities, if you need psychomotor skill along with the attitudes and values, which all are necessary for doing problem-solving tasks and playing a role in a business, organization or special occasion considering more generally and more effectively. [12]

There are three aspects of competence in Slovenia: Cognitive, functional and social. The last aspect reflexes a social approach and it aims to establish an independent and ethical attitude to others, society, and the environment and also includes development, responsibility, and independence. [16]

Studies on competency-based approach in many countries showed the attention to objectives like Teamwork, professional ethics, entrepreneurship, human resource management, new communication technology in vocational education and training. Training these objectives along with technical objectives in a profession or skill can help learners to achieve competence.

Vocational education trainings existed in Iran for more than a century. However in recent years, emphasis and importance of these trainings was doubled, due to the importance of independence and self-sufficiency in Iran. Vocational education and trainings are currently running in three ways: Knowledge-based vocational education and trainings which are presented by Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology and also is sporadically presented by Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture sporadically and it is under the control of Applied Science University. Proficiency-based vocational education trainings which are presented in permanent training centers, nongovernmental vocational and educational institutes and industrial training centers and supervised by Technical and Vocational Education Organization of Iran. Unformed vocational education and trainings are done sporadically with teacher - student method and in an extensive occupational field. The graduates who were trained this way will not receive a certain degree or certificate. According to the latest statistics, the percentage of vocational students of total students in our country is 5.81%. [17]

The studies conducted on Job prospects of graduates from vocational and educational schools showed high percentage of unemployment among graduates; undeniable deficiency in technical and nontechnical proficiency of individuals arrived in labor market; the lack of coordination between the technical and educational system and nature of existing occupations and businesses in society; lack of attention to the individual and society and the labor market, etc., statistics shows the need to study and do several researches on all disorders to underlie and resolve issues. [18]

In this research, vocational education and training curriculum in Iran has been studied, and the researcher examines the attention given to technical and nontechnical competence in vocational education and training curriculum and presents an assessment model for competencies.

The research is going to answer the following questions:

  • How much attention is given to technical competence in vocational education and training curriculum in Iran?
  • Is there any need to reform vocational education and training curriculum in terms of technical competence?
  • How much attention is given to nontechnical competence in vocational education and training curriculum in Iran?
  • Is there any need to reform vocational education and training curriculum in terms of nontechnical competence?



  Methods Top


This research is using the survey method, and it is a descriptive research. Statistical population includes 30 experts in authoring and editing of vocational education and training text books which all were censured, due to a small population. The data is collected by interviewing experts. The interviewer has recorded data in checklists by checklist instrument. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used to assess the validity of the instrument, and the number was 86%.

The checklist mentioned has two parts; the first part contains questions about technical competence and in the second part there are questions about nontechnical competence. Interviewees are asked to answer questions twice in each part. In the first step, they must give an opinion about the current situation of vocational education and training curriculum and in the second step determine the desirable situation of curriculum in terms of technical and nontechnical competence.

The data is analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests and the current situation and desirable situation of attention given to vocational education and training curriculum in terms of technical and nontechnical competence is compared and the need to reform would be determined if there is any difference.


  Results Top


To answer the first question "how much attention is given to technical competence in vocational and educational curriculum in Iran?" the collected data was analyzed in three areas. Which is displayed in following table.

According to [Table 1], experts in vocational and educational curricula believed that what follows is the attention given to technical competence in vocational and education curricula in Iran: Proper working with tools and equipment of a desired basic profession 0% very little, 3.33% little, 86.66% much and 3.33% very much; total training of a profession 0% very little, 6.66% very little, 83.33% much, 10% very much; health and safety of a profession 0% very little, 30% little, 70% much, 0% very much.
Table 1: SCID process

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According to [Table 2], average score of attention to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran is 2.91 which is upper than average index of 2.5. Kruskal-Wallis test confirms with certainty the 95% significant difference between average index and the obtained average. Total training of a profession having average rating 3.03, proper working with tools and equipment of a desired basic profession 3, health and safety of a profession 2.7 are in place respectively.
Table 2: The frequency distribution and percentage of attention given to Iran's technical competence in vocational and educational curriculum

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The second research question examines the necessity of giving attention to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran. In order to this the need to reform the curricula will be determined. Frequency and percentage of desirable situation due to the attention given to technical competence is displayed in the table below.

According to [Table 3], experts considered the necessity of giving attention to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran as follows: Proper working with tools and equipment of a desired basic profession 0% very little, 0% little, 36.66 much and 63.33% very much; total training of a profession 0% very little, 6.66% little, 40% much and 53.33% very much; health and safety of a profession 0% very little, 0% little, 63.33% much and 36.66% very much. Experts determined the situation desirable which indicates, in total, desirability of technical competence in world of work 0% very little, 2.22% very little, 47.77% much and 51.11% very much.
Table 3: T‑test score, the attention given to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran

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According to [Table 4], the average score of attention to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran is 3.488 which is upper than average index of 2.5. Kruskal-Wallis test confirms with certainty the 95% significant difference between average index and the obtained average. However to experts the average rating for way of work with tools and basic equipment must be 3.63, attention to all aspects of a profession 3.47 and of attention to health and safety 3.37; they must be given the most attention respectively in vocational and educational curricula.
Table 4: The frequency distribution and percentage of necessity of giving attention to Iran's technical competence in vocational and educational curriculum

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It is displayed in the table below, a comparison done between current situation and necessity of giving attention to technical competence to determine the need to reform curricula by using Mann-Whitney test.

According to [Table 5], the average rating of current attention given to technical competence in Iran's vocational and educational curricula is 67.77 and the average rating of desirable one is 113.23. Due to the value of P < 0.05, the difference is significant statistically. Although the current situation is good but it is still far from the desirable situation.
Table 5: T‑test score, the necessity of giving attention to technical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran

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The third and fourth research questions are related to nontechnical competence. For this the data related to current attention to nontechnical competence in Iran's vocational and educational curricula is given firstly in table below.

According to [Table 6], the attention given to technical competence in Iran's vocational and educational curricula is as follows: To be concerned with students' learning environment, 6.66% very little, 66.66% very little, 26.66% much and 0% very much; to be concerned with professional ethics in the workplace, 6.66% very little, 40% little, 13.33% much and 0% very much; attention to communications and new technologies (wireless, internet…), 6.66% very little, 66.66% little, 26.66% much and 0% very much; attention to entrepreneurship, 3.33% very little, 73.33% little, 23.33% much, 0% very much; to be concerned with learning resource management, 0% very little, 43.33% little, 56.66% much and 0% very much.
Table 6: the current attention and desirable attention to Iran's technical competence in vocational and educational curriculum

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According to [Table 7], Kruskal-Wallis test results is as follows: The average rating of nontechnical competence includes importance of teamwork 2.2, to be concerned with professional ethics 2.06, attention to communications and new technologies 2.2, attention to entrepreneurship is 2.2 which are lower than average index with 95% certainty. To be concerned with learning resource management is however upper than medium which its significance is not confirmed. I total the average rating for nontechnical competence is 2.24 an the T value is – 5.85 which is lower than medium and shows not giving enough attention to nontechnical competence in Iran's vocational and educational curricula.
Table 7: The frequency distribution and percentage of attention given to Iran's nontechnical competence in vocational and educational curricula

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The fourth research question examines the necessity of giving attention to nontechnical competence in Iran's vocational and educational curricula. In order to this the need to reform the curricula will be determined. The data related to this question is given in the [Table 8].
Table 8: T‑test score, the attention given to nontechnical competence in vocational and educational curricula in Iran

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According to [Table 8], the necessity of giving attention to nontechnical competence in Iran's vocational education curricula is as follows: To be concerned with teamwork, 0% very little, 13.33% little, 53.33% much and 33.33% very much; to be concerned with professional ethics in the workplace, 0% very little, 3.33% little, 63.33% much and 33.33% very much; attention to communications and new technologies, 0% very little, 6.66 little, 53.33% much and 40% very much; attention to entrepreneurship, 0% very little, 13.33% little, 66.66% much and 20% very much; to be concerned with learning resource management, 0% very little, 0% little, 33.33% much and 66.66% very much. To expert this is a desirable situation.

According to [Table 9] and [Table 10], Kruskal-Wallis test results is as follows: The average rating for necessity of giving attention to nontechnical competence including the importance of student's teamwork is 3.2%, being concerned with professional ethics in the workplace 3.3%, of giving attention to communications and new technologies 2.32%, giving attention to entrepreneurship 3.07, being concerned with learning resource management 3.67%. All of which are higher than average index.
Table 9: The frequency distribution and percentage for necessity of giving attention to Iran's nontechnical competence in vocational and educational curricula

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Table 10: The t‑test score for necessity of giving attention to Iran's nontechnical competence in vocational education curricula

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  Conclusion Top


Outcome-oriented approach is to reconstruct old movements like learning for mastery and to learn on the basis of competency. [19] Spady [20] who supports outcome-oriented learning in the United States, believes that outcome-oriented learning means underlining and organizing all school plans and training efforts at defined outcomes which students supposed to reflect after they finish school. Recently, criticisms for outcome-oriented approach have been increased. Glatthorn and Jailall [21] is one of the critics of outcome-oriented approach. As a result of these criticisms, competency-based approach which refers to structuralism according to Janart et al. [12] became prominent. Giving attention to technical objectives and contents and nontechnical ones is approximately visible in all educational approaches. This research is concentrated on technical and nontechnical vocational education and training curriculum. Based on the research literature study, previous researches and this research a model is presented for assessment and reformation of technical and nontechnical contents. This model is shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: An assessment model for competency-based curriculum in vocational education and training

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According to this model, these three factors are effective in current situation of vocational education and training: Vocational needs, beliefs of those involved in vocational education and the history of vocational education. On the other hand, three other factors, in terms of attention to technical and nontechnical contents are effective in desired situation: New needs of labor market, new technologies and vocational education and training experiences in the world. Vocational education and training experts are qualified to comment elements of technical and nontechnical contents in current situation and desired one. This is more important to give attention to variety of fields and specialties in vocational education and training. Comparing opinions given by experts towards current situation and desired one for every elements of technical and nontechnical contents, will lead to determine if any of the elements need to be reformed. The results of this research shows technical contents in vocational education and training in Iran, is higher than average. While nontechnical contents are very poor in current situation. But as experts believe, what is more prominent in results is that to reach the desired situation, both technical and nontechnical contents are very important. Based on the results of the statistical analysis, there is a large gap between current and desired situation in both technical and nontechnical contents and vocational education and training curricula need to be reformed technically and nontechnically.

While safety and health has the lowest score among the other elements of technical contents, focus on working skills and basic equipment is the factor which needs to be reformed firstly. The results related to nontechnical contents showed that all five factors are lower than average, but they don't need to be reformed the same. The one needs to be reformed above all is, learning human resource management.

 
  References Top

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    Figures

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9], [Table 10]



 

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