32 SES 11, Workplace Learning and Educational Management
In 2014, a new reform of the VET system in Denmark was decided by a broad political coalition in the Parliament. This reform implies fundamental changes in VET, for example by changing the course structure and design, by an intended boost of teaching quality, by limited access, and a separation of young and adult learners in separate classes.
The reform is based on four clear objectives. For each objective additional result targets are set. The objectives and targets are: 1) More students should choose to start a VET immediately following form level 9 or 10. By 2025 at least 30 per cent should choose a VET immediately following form level 9 or 10. 2) More people should complete a VET. The completion rate must improve from 52 per cent in 2012 to 67 per cent by 2025. 3) The VETs must challenge all students in order for them to reach their fullest potential. The share of the most gifted students must increase year by year. 4) The trust and well-being of students enrolled in the VETs must be strengthened. The well-being of the students and the satisfaction of the businesses hiring the students (for apprenticeship) must gradually increase up until 2020.
This extensive focus on reform objectives and targets reflects governance principles of performance management. Performance management is an idea that is growing in popularity, in Europa and abroad. In Denmark, the VET reform represents an example of how management philosophy and ideas of performance management inform a number of current reforms in the policy area of education. The logic of performance management is that organizations and individuals are given objectives, measurable indicators are derived from these objectives, and features such as authority or incentives are deployed in order for organizational actors to meet or improve performance (Pollitt, 2013: 346-7).
To ensure the implementation of the reform the Ministry of Education has formulated the objectives and targets. At the same time a data warehouse is built to provide both the ministry and local colleges with data for monitoring trends in target achievement. This governance on performances is on the one hand done with the purpose to ensure development and progression of VET on a national scale, on the other to qualify, inform and boost quality work at local level.
Hence, this paper explores the reform implementation at local level of objective 3 on VETs to challenge all students. Objective 3 addresses issues of quality in teaching at VET colleges. The objective realization is based on initiatives of competence development of teachers and managers and a promotion of pedagogical concepts of e.g. project based teaching, individualized teaching meeting the needs of each student, theory-praxis relating teaching, and improved feedback. This paper explores how these initiatives of quality in teaching are implemented by educational managers. From the ministry growing attention, expectations and aspirations are paid to the role of educational managers in VET and their ability to facilitate effective reform implementation at local level. However, the local role and position of educational managers are often ambiguous and followed by a number of individual and organizational challenges. It is these challenges that we want to address and discuss within the framework of performance management and additional governance concepts in Danish VET (party governance, quality governance, taximeter governance). Hence, the question we address in the paper is what challenges do educational managers in VET colleges meet when implementing recent reform initiatives? How do they handle challenges that may arise in the tensions between productivity and development, performance and learning?
Bouckaert, G. & B.G. Peters (2002). “Performance Measurement and management. The Achilles’ Heel in Administrative Modernization”. Public Performance & Management Review, 25:4, 359-362 Broadfoot, P. (2007). An Introduction to Assessment. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group. Flarup, L.H., Greve, J., Søndergaard, N.M., Hjarsbech, P., Slottved, M., Friche, N., Larsen, K., Hjermov, P. & Madsen, A.S. (2016). Grundforløb på erhvervsuddannelserne inden reformen – Baselinemåling. København: KORA, Det Nationale Institut for Kommuners og Regioners Analyse og Forskning. Friche, N. (2010). Erhvervsskolers evalueringspraksis – intentioner bag, anvendelse og virkning af evaluering i erhvervsuddannelserne. Ph.d.-afhandling. Aalborg Universitet. Gardner, J. (red.) (2006). Assessment and Learning. London: Sage. Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2013). Styrken ved feedback. I: Andreassen, R., Bjerresgaard, H., Bråten, I., Hattie, J., Hermansen, M., Hoppenbeck, T.N., Kirkegaard, P.O., Madsen, C., Timperley, H., Weinstein, C.E. & Wille, T.S.: Feedback og vurdering for læring. Dafolo Forlag. Frederikshavn. Jakobsen, K.H., Lausch, B. & Sørensen, K.H. (2014). Feedback i erhvervsuddannelserne. Frederikshavn: Dafolo Forlag. Jensen, T.P., Koudahl, P. & Tanggaard, L. (2013). Fastholdelse af erhvervsskoleelever i det danske erhvervsskolesystem. Upubliceret. Lauridsen, I., Evers, J. & Knudsen, L.D. (2009). Anerkendelse, dialog og feedback. Pædagogisk ledelse på uddannelsesinstitutioner – med eksempler fra erhvervsskolerne. Undervisningsministeriets temahæfteserie nr. 7 – 2009. Louw, A.V. (2013). Indgange og adgange på erhvervsuddannelserne. Analyse af tømrerelevernes muligheder og udfordringer i mødet med faget, lærerne og de pædagogiske praksisser på grundforløbet. Ph.d.-afhandling. Aarhus Universitet. Ministry of Education, 2014. Political Act on Better and More Attractive VETs [Aftale om Bedre og mere attraktive erhvervsuddannelser, 24. februar 2014. Regeringen (Socialdemokraterne og Radikale Venstre), Venstre, Dansk Folkeparti, Socialistisk Folkeparti, Konservative Folkeparti og Liberal Alliance. København: Ministeriet for Børn, Unge og Ligestilling]. Pollitt, C. (2005). “Performance Management in Practice: A Comparative Study of Executive Agencies. Journal of Public Administration and Theory, 16: 25-44. Slottved, M., Søndergaard, N.M., Friche, N., Greve, J., Hjarsbech, P., Hjermov, P. & Hald, S.S. (2016). Hovedforløb på erhvervsuddannelserne inden reformen – Baselinemåling. København: KORA, Det Nationale Institut for Kommuners og Regioners Analyse og Forskning. Wille, T.S. (2013). Vurdering for læring. I: Andreassen, R., Bjerresgaard, H., Bråten, I., Hattie, J., Hermansen, M., Hoppenbeck, T.N., Kirkegaard, P.O., Madsen, C., Timperley, H., Weinstein, C.E. & Wille, T.S.: Feedback og vurdering for læring. Frederikshavn: Dafolo Forlag.
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