Academic skills at work : two perspectives

by Cathy Stasz, Dominic J. Brewer

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Educators, employers and policymakers are interested in academic skills because changes at work require different school preparation if youth are to make a successful transition to employment. Two perspectives for studying skills identified issues in defining and measuring skill requirements for school programs. The two perspectives share the view that skilled behavior is multivariate, and detailed case studies demonstrate how academic skill requirements are contextually bound. The learning environments should reflect potential uses for the knowledge being taught. Technology education should make explicit connections to academic skills and, above all, promote an understanding of why a particular application works. Results from this project are far from conclusive. To further explore multivariate relationships among skills and to sort out the relative importance of education versus experience in rewarding labor market performance, the authors need better information about types of jobs, and more reliable data on non-academic skills from a larger population.

Originally published in: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, MDS-1193, May 1999.

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