Theories and Concepts in Vocationalism

Theories and Concepts in Vocationalism

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9250-1.ch002

Abstract

This chapter starts by introducing an economic concept in education called education production function. Then it establishes the critical quality dimensions of students' learning outcomes. Broadly, the literature on student learning outcomes were divided into two sections: college resources and student engagement. A conceptual framework drawn from the college impact models was developed. Four representative models were reviewed: Astin's I-E-O Model, Tinto's Theoretical Model of Drop-Out, Pascarella's General Model for Assessing Change, and Weidman's Model of Undergraduate Socialization. The theory behind these models is engrossed on the quality of students' experience in colleges and how it facilitates their academic achievement. Based on these models, a new conceptual model of college outcomes was developed that is simplified and more inclusive of variables encircling learning outcomes of college students.
Chapter Preview
Top

Education Production Function

An education production function (EPF) is an application of the economic concept of a production function to the field of education. It relates various inputs affecting a student’s learning (schools, families, peers, neighborhood, etc.) to measured outputs including subsequent labor market success, college attendance, graduation rates, standardized test scores (Hanushek, 2016). Most analyses of education production functions have direct results (Hanushek, 2003). The IPO model is an example of EPF depicted in its simplest form as: Input —> Process —> Output (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, & Jundt, 2005). The IPO framework is based on systems theory of science and society which states that, any group of objects that work together produce some result. As a technical and general academic area of study, it predominantly refers to the science of systems that resulted from Bertalanffy's General System Theory. He posits that, open systems take inputs from their environment and then return them as some sort of product back to their environment (Rapoport, 1986). Since education system is a productive system that has outputs (Adeyemi, 2008); its components can therefore be represented using IPO framework where ‘Input’ refers to all factors affecting student learning, ‘Process’ refers to the teaching and learning process, and ‘Output’ refers to the academic standings (Clare, 2004). Consequently, the success of students depends on how lecturers and students effectively utilize the inputs in the teaching and learning process.

The critics of IPO model have suggested that a feedback loop should be added to the original IPO model emanating primarily from outputs and feeding back to inputs or processes in order to incorporate the reality of dynamic change. This was basically to eliminate the assumption that group functioning is static and follows a linear progression from inputs through outputs. In education context, lecturers should stride towards giving challenging tasks to students and provide feedback on their progress (Littlejohn, Stephen, & Karen, 2008). There is no doubt that the IPO model reflects the dominant way of thinking about group performance. As such, it has taken a crucial part in guiding research design and encouraging researchers to sample from the input, process and output categories in variable selection. Recent research is increasingly moving beyond a strictly linear progression by providing alternatives to the traditional IPO model that are not purely mediated. These alternative models have suggested that inputs may directly affect both processes and outputs. The college impact models discussed in this chapter are perfect example of mediated IPO model which this study adapted to develop a new conceptual model of student learning outcomes.

The chapter views, inputs as the college resources (Greenwald & Hedges, 1996); and outputs as student outcomes (Psacharopoulos, 1994). Because outcomes cannot be changed by fiat, much attention has been directed at inputs; particularly, those perceived to be relevant for policy such as resources. In addition, the study identifies student engagement as an indispensable feature that intervenes the interaction effects between the inputs and the outputs (Astin, 1999). The resource theory of pedagogy is most favorite among administrators and policy makers. Used here, the term resource includes a wide range of ingredients believed to enhance students learning: physical facilities, human resource and fiscal resources. In effect, the resource theory maintains that if adequate resources are brought together in one place, student learning and development will occur (Greenwald & Hedges, 1996). Many college administrators believe that the acquisition of resources is their most important duty (Astin, 1993). Provision of adequate learning facilities such as equipment and human resources boosts the quality and relevance of imparted skills to learners.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset