An investigation into computer education offered in New Hampshire secondary schools as perceived by teachers and compared to the needs of business as perceived by data processing managers
Carter, George E.
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A major role of secondary education for the 1990's and beyond will be to provide computer education. The purpose of this study was to investigate what computer instruction was being offered in the secondary schools of New Hampshire. The study focused on the perceptions of three groups in order to determine what type of computer education, curriculum content, and expected competencies were being required. Procedure: A questionnaire was designed, tested, and used to collect data from 148 business computer teachers, 148 mathematics computer teachers, and 101 data processing managers from the State of New Hampshire. Part I of the questionnaire included general demographic information, while Part II contained ninety-two items organized into forty-four questions uqing a five point Likert Scale. Of the total population (N=397), two hundred fifty-two or 63% returned the questionnaire. Findings: Basic, Pascal and Fortran were the most commonly taught computer languages in the secondary schools, but data processing managers clearly do not regard them as essential. Data Processing Managers and the Mathematics Computer Teachers both agreed that computer literacy instruction was the most important followed by computer applications and computer programming. In contrast the Business Computer Teachers reported computer programming most important followed by computer literacy and computer applications. Additional instruction, as perceived by the three groups, was needed in improving communication skills, developing problem solving techniques, and providing additional software applications. Conclusion: Several conclusions regarding secondary computer education in the State of New Hampshire were drawn. There was total agreement that the top three computer applications taught in schools were used in business. However, the perceptions regarding (1) type of computer education, (2) curriculum content, and (3) expected competencies were significantly different. Recommendations Are: (1) Instructional priorities need to be identified by secondary computer teachers and data processing managers; (2) partnership with New Hampshire businesses needs to be established; and (3) more data should be generated a) by local, state, and national educational agencies, in order to establish adequate foundations and standards for computer education, and b) further research in each of the areas of secondary computer education needs to be considered.
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