Qualitative assessment of a community college/business partnership: BNSF railroad dispatcher training program at Tarrant County College
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Qualitative assessment of a community college-business training partnership adds depth and detail to the evaluation of the program’s success in preparing graduates who meet the expectations of the business partner. It provides colleges and businesses with answers to three common measures of effectiveness: Student indicator: How well did the program prepare graduates for this job and/or career? Employer/Business indicator: How do graduates of this program perform on the job? Did the program adequately prepare them for the job? Instructor indicator: What was the affect of the instructor on the students’ perception of the program and their subsequent feelings of preparedness once they were “on-the-job?” How does the instructor affect the perception of program quality? The value of student/graduate perceptions and business partner’s perceptions are critical in assessment of a training program’s success. In addition, an instructor’s teaching capabilities combined with professional on-the-job experience in the training program’s field are essential to community college-business training program quality. Special care must be taken when selecting instructors. Instructors should be included in all stages of program development. The method employed in this study is readily adaptable for assessment of any training program and can also be extended to career and degree programs that produce graduates ready to begin a particular job and/or career (for example, nursing).