Itís all about success, and with Pro3000, we ensure student success in the classroom by appropriate assessment and placement. Since weíve been using Valpar, student success rates have risen dramatically. Iím happy. The students are happy. And the teachers are happy. So said Jill Rausch, the Assessment and Career Center Coordinator of the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) in Mesa, Arizona.
EVIT is one of 9 Joint Technical Education Districts (JTED) in the state. It serves students from 10 area high schools in the East Valley of the Phoenix area. JTEDs were established by the state legislature in 1991 to enhance technical job training opportunities for Arizona high school students. EVIT has been very successful, and now has about 50 teachers who teach approximately 40 different training programs, including culinary arts, auto mechanics, cosmetology, welding, machining, interior design, graphic arts, electronics, aviation, drafting, law enforcement, and air conditioning.
Although by far most of EVITís students are from area high schools, the program also serves adult Vocational Rehabilitation clients, young adults transitioning from school-to-work, and others. Upon EVIT graduation, students receive completion certificates that declare them ready for employment in their chosen field.
Jill came to Arizona in 1991 to teach orchestra in elementary school. She had recently finished her bachelorís in Education with a music specialty from the University of Iowa. She completed a masterís in Counseling and Human Relations from Northern Arizona University in 1999, and started at EVIT in 2000. She and an assistant are part of a team that includes 4 counselors. They assess about 600 students annually in a lab that can accommodate up to 20 students at a time, although it is rare for them to assess more than 10 per session. Students are referred to Jill for various reasons, such as being at risk of dropping out of school. Often students with low GPAs come in. We get kids who, for whatever reason, have not benefited from their educational experiences so far, said Jill. Pro3000 helps us prove that weíre helping students who arenít being helped elsewhere within the school system. It gives them whole new way to look at themselves. They discover that they actually have a great deal to offer. Instead of failure and the low expectations they come in with, they come out of the assessment with a success-oriented, positive outlook. They go into training with the knowledge, the solid evidence, that they have the necessary skills to succeed. Feedback we get from the teachers confirms that.
Jill begins the assessment with the hands-on exercises. Many of the students are kinesthetic people. Good with their hands. By starting with the work samples, they immediately see success. It reduces test anxiety and they go into the computer testing determined to do their best. We all have a lot of fun, and itís a good way to introduce them to EVIT.
Jill uses the Local Job Database of Pro3000 to maintain a list of the requirement profiles for all of EVITís training areas. Student scores on Pro3000ís COMPASS are compared to those requirements, and used in the counseling process to ensure a good match between student interests and skills and the demands of the training course. Itís a system that works very well, said Jill. They come in with this poor GPA, feeling lousy about the whole school thing. All of a sudden, they do well on Problem-Solving, Memory, and so on. Very different from their school grades. Weíre able to show them proof of their actual work-related abilities. It changes their lives.