CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Survey of South Carolina Industries and Postsecondary Institutions to Determine Computer Skills Needed By High School Graduates

Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Center for Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

William E. Stevens

Abstract

This study sought to determine whether the computer skills expected of high school graduates by postsecondary institutions and employers are being provided by high schools in South Carolina. All colleges, universities, and technical schools in the state were surveyed. One hundred industries in the state were also selected. Of the fifty - four postsecondary institutions surveyed, forty responded, while sixty- one of the selected industries replied to the survey.

Two major areas were explored in this survey. In the first area, participants were asked to assess the computer skill level of entering freshmen and recent job applicants. The second area polled participants to determine the desirability of making a computer course that emphasizes word processing, data base and spreadsheet usage a high school graduation requirement.

Hypothesis testing was used to analyze the data. A normal distribution was selected as the sample size since each sample was greater than thirty. A left-tailed test was appropriate to determine whether each of the hypotheses would be accepted at a level of significance of .05. A significant number of postsecondary institutions in South Carolina report that high school students do not receive adequate computer training from their schools before graduation. While 40% of the institutions answered that the students were inadequately trained, 45% of the respondents were undecided. A significant number of postsecondary institutions in South Carolina agree that a computer course with word processing, spreadsheet, and data base usage should be required for a high school diploma. Of the postsecondary institutions responding, 67. 5% endorsed a mandatory course.

A significant number of South Carolina industries do not report that recent job applicants have received inadequate computer training from their high schools. Undecided was the largest response to this question measuring49.2%, while 40.2% report that students have not received adequate training. A significant number of industries in South Carolina believe that a course emphasizing word processing, spreadsheets, and data bases should be required for graduation. Of the industries responding to the survey, 80.3% endorsed a mandatory course. A model curriculum to address the needs articulated by the survey respondents is included in this study.

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