ERIC Number: ED336031
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-May
Reference Count: N/A
Critique of a Method for Surveying Employers. AIR 1991 Annual Forum Paper.
Banta, Trudy W.; And Others
This paper describes and critiques a 1989 employer/alumni study conducted by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) and four other state postsecondary institutions. The study was designed to: (1) develop a questionnaire to tap opinion about graduates' preparation and a method of administration that could be used by both 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education; (2) determine employers' priorities for the content of a college education for their employees and to compare those priorities by institutional type and occupational classification; and (3) determine employers' perceptions of graduates' preparation and skills and to compare these perceptions with those expressed by graduates themselves, as well as to analyze these perceptions by institutional type and occupational classification. The study method involved: (1) mailing alumni surveys to all 1987-88 academic year graduates; and (2) sending a letter to each employed graduate explaining the study's purpose and requesting permission to mail a questionnaire to his/her supervisor. Upon receiving permission, the employer questionnaire was sent to the supervisor with the graduate's signed permission statement. Results indicated that employers placed most value on oral and written communication skills, technical preparation, computing experience, and paid work experience in the field. College grade-point average was not related to employers' performance ratings. The critique notes, however, that the basic methodology has inherent problems with permission-granting rates for alumni low and employers' questionnaire responses highly positive, showing little variance. Telephone contact with alumni to obtain permission, coupled with interviews with employers who complete the mailed survey is recommended. Contains 34 references. (GLR)
Descriptors: College Outcomes Assessment, Comparative Analysis, Education Work Relationship, Employer Attitudes, Followup Studies, Graduate Surveys, Higher Education, Institutional Research, Job Skills, Mail Surveys, Outcomes of Education, Postsecondary Education, Questioning Techniques, Questionnaires, Relevance (Education), Research Methodology
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: AIR Forum; University of Tennessee Knoxville
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (31st, San Francisco, CA, May 26-29, 1991).