Academic journal article Education

An Empirical Study of Student Recruitment in Teacher Education

Academic journal article Education

An Empirical Study of Student Recruitment in Teacher Education

Article excerpt

In recent years there has been a steady increase in enrollment of part-time students in higher education, especially in the area of teacher education (Tight, 1991). The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1989) report that "during the 1990s, institutions - having learned from the past - are apt to recognize more readily that the cultivation of new constituencies and the offering of new kinds of programs may be critical to their continued health" (p. 42). The most updated statistics collected by the U.S. government project that the ratio between full- and part-time students will be less than 1.3:1 by year 1998 (National Center for Education Statistics, 1993, table 170). In response to the ongoing change of student constituency, an important need has emerged in school program reforms to accommodate more full- and part-time students.

According to Hammond (1994), most higher education programs to date were designed to meet the needs of full-time students. The California Commission of Teacher Credentialing (1984) identified the part-time vs. full-time attendance as an important factor affecting student scores in the California Basic Educational Skill Test (CBEST). Thus, while full- and part-time students may share common needs on some aspects of teacher education, their different needs ought to be analyzed to solicit factors for further improvement of student recruitment. The empirical data analysis presented herein is to investigate school and program factors to facilitate recruitment of full- and part-time students in teacher education.

Background

Nowadays, many public institutions are facing increasingly intensified challenges from private schools in student recruitment. In California, for instance, a most updated institutional report showed that two small private schools were ranked on top of the ten largest state-wide credential granting institutions (Fitch, 1995). The competition was largely caused by the fact that many private institutions have aggressively added less rigorous weekend or evening programs at locations close to public universities. Consequently, many part-time undergraduate students at public universities were extracted to these private credential programs after completing their undergraduate degrees.

The challenge to the effort of re-gaining student enrollment in public universities could be more strenuous had no attention been paid to the needs of the rapidly expanding part-time student population. Hammond (1994) pointed out:

It has been projected that within the next ten years the student population at colleges and universities will change profoundly, Enrollments will increase dramatically, but the majority of students will not be the eighteen- to twenty-four-year olds who come to higher education directly from high schools. Instead, the largest group will be students who are older and attend school on a part-time rather than full-time basis. (p. 323)

Unfortunately, program reforms thus far have lagged behind the ongoing change of student constituency. Blaxter and Tight (1994) reported:

There is undoubtedly some poor quality organization and teaching within higher education and this affects both part-time and full-time students ... But those who are committed to providing quality higher educational opportunities for adults are too frequently, along with the adult learners themselves, being let down by the slow or inadequate responses of their institutions to their needs. (p. 127)

While the lack of institutional support may have been an administrative problem in many colleges and universities, the institutional commitment to teacher education had been traditionally strong in the California State University system. Denham (1985) observed: "The California State University system ('CSU') trains the majority of California teachers; in turn, ten percent of the nation's teachers are trained in California" (p. 41). Watkins (1989) further pointed out:

In the California State University System, there is no debate over who is responsible for training future teachers. …

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