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The International Rev iew of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 1 0, No 4 ( 00!

" [Print Version]

#epte$%er & 00! 'n (val)ative #t)d* of a Distance Teacher (d)cation +rogra$ in a ,niversit* in -hana
Kwasi Addo Sampong Central University College, Ghana

'%stract
The study used an adaptation of Provus discrepancy evaluation model to evaluate a distance teacher education program in the University of Cape Coast, the premier teacher education institution in Ghana. The study involved comparing performance data of the program as perceived y students and faculty!administrators to standards prepared from the programs design. Performance data "as o tained y administering t"o survey instruments to a random sample of students and faculty!administrators. #iscrepancies et"een performance and standards "ere reported. The study concluded that although there "ere some discrepancies et"een program standards and performance the program is fulfilling its purpose of upgrading the professional and academic performance of a large num er of teachers in the pu lic $%& schools in Ghana.

Distance Teacher (d)cation at the ,niversit* of .ape .oast, -hana


#istance education '#() as a complementary mode of delivery "as initiated as an effort to overcome the challenges of access, e*uity, cost%effectiveness, and *uality for higher education '+ssociation for the #evelopment of (ducation in +frica [+#(+], ,--,. Perraton, ,---). The suita ility of #( for teacher preparation in particular is a topic of interest in many countries 'Perraton, Creed, / 0o inson, ,--,. 1hachar / 2eumann, ,--3). Ghana, li4e other industriali5ed and developing countries, relies on #( to augment traditional face%to% face methods of teacher education 'Perraton, 0o inson, / Creed, ,--6). Teacher preparation is "ell esta lished in the country "ith 7- Colleges of (ducation that offer three%year postsecondary certificate 8+9 diplomas for teachers of asic education. Total annual matriculation of teachers from these institutions has een et"een :,:-- and ;,--- since <==: '+4yeampong, >urlong, / ?e"in, ,---). @o"ever, there is an acute shortage of trained teachers, created y an eApansion of pre% tertiary enrollments due to rapid population gro"th, the success of asic education reform, and the ina ility of Colleges of (ducation to produce the re*uired num er of teachers ecause of inade*uate infrastructure. This shortage is not limited to Ghana ut is prevalent in all countries of su %1aharan +frica '#eBaeghere, Chapman, / Cul4een, ,--7, ,--;). + study done in ,--- reported that to train all untrained teachers in Ghana y the year ,--: and to achieve a gross enrollment ratio of a hundred percent y the year ,-<-, the total num er of ne" teachers re*uired per annum "ould e from <3,--- to <;,---, and this output "ould have to e sustained up to the year ,-<-. Considering the current total annual output of trained teachers, meeting the demand for ne" teachers is a daunting tas4 '+4yeampong et al., ,---. +4yeampong, ,--<). To overcome the shortage of trained teachers, education policy ma4ers decided to employ the mass% production potential of distance education, identified y Peters '<=6<) nearly 7- years ago. #( is therefore used for in%service training of active ut untrained teachers and for professional upgrading of already trained teachers in $%& schools 'Perraton, <==3. ,---. Perraton et al., ,--,. 0o inson / ?atchem, ,--,. 1aint, <===). Dith the introduction of #(, the Cinistry of (ducation ',--,) intended to solve not only the shortage of teachers ut also the high attrition rates often associated "ith study leave. En addition, the Cinistry of (ducation "anted to ensure that teachers "ould not need to move from their duty stations to see4 further education. They could remain at post and learn y integrating college "or4 "ith their teaching "or4 '#arling%@ammond, <==&). #( has the potential to stem high attrition rates of teachers and reduce the migration of teachers from $%& classrooms to high school or college classrooms after they have received higher *ualifications and have gained additional eAperience. The Center for Continuing (ducation of the University of Cape Coast 'CC(UCC) introduced a three% year diploma in Fasic (ducation '#F() program in ,--< and y ,--; had &,33; students at <& study centers in all <- administrative regions. Et initiated post%diploma 'P%#F() programs in the ,--:%,--; academic year 'Fro"n, ,--7. Cinistry of (ducation, ,--,, ,--7. Gssei%+nto, ,--3).

Distance Education and Evaluation


1uccessful program development cannot occur "ithout evaluation '1anders, ,---). The value of evaluation, especially pertaining to #(, has een variously discussed. Calder '<==7) and Thorpe '<=&&) have suggested several important reasons for evaluation in #(. (valuation helps distance educators to gather information a out learners and their needs and desires. Et is needed ecause #( is still in its em ryonic innovative stage and pioneering activities are still ta4ing place "ithin the industry. Et assists distance educators in thin4ing a out "hat they are trying to do and "hat they hope to achieve as they implement programs and activities. (valuation can also provide information needed y eAternal odies, funding agencies, usinesses, colleges, students, and other clients "ho "ant to 4no" if #( accomplishes "hat it sets out to do. The literature on evaluation of #( mostly deals "ith comparison studies of one mode over the other, mostly correspondence over traditional, face%to%face instruction, or of one medium over the other.

Program evaluation is the systematic investigation of the "orth of an ongoing or continuing activity. There are as many different models of or approaches to evaluation as there are philosophical underpinnings of definitions of evaluation. The needs of each particular program determine the evaluation model suita le for use '1imonson, <==6). The literature suggests that professional evaluators usually prefer an eclectic use of parts of various models, as Cadaus and $ellaghan ',---) stateH (ach evaluation approach has its particular strengths that can help illuminate different aspects of a program. Dithin the limitations of the udget, pic4 and choose features from various models that can provide the est evidence to ans"er *uestions a out the proIect. >or eAample, consider com ining test data from a goals%oriented approach, resource allocation data from the decision%oriented approach, and o servational and intervie" data from the naturalistic approach. 'p. ,:)

The Nature of the Problem


Teacher preparation y the #( mode of delivery "as introduced in Ghana almost a decade ago to accelerate the production of trained teachers and to enhance the *uality of teaching in $%& schools. 2o standard has een articulated to measure the success of the program. (valuation is crucial to the development of any program 'Car4, @enry, / Bulnes, ,---), yet despite the 4ey role that evaluation plays in program development, no systematic formative program evaluation has so far een conducted in the country 'Cinistry of (ducation, ,--,. 0. +ggor, personal communication, Cay <:, ,--:). The purpose of this study "as to evaluate the distance teacher education program at the University of Cape Coast, Ghanas premier teacher preparation institution.

The Research Question


The research *uestion "as, 8ho" "ell is a large distance education program fulfilling its purposes for teacher education in GhanaJ9 1pecifically, are there discrepancies et"een the standards for the design of the distance teacher education program in Ghana and the actual performance in the fieldJ

Theoretical +erspective and Research /odel


The research *uestion "as ans"ered using an o Iectives%oriented, *uantitative evaluation study, ased on an adaptation of Provus discrepancy evaluation model '#(C) 'Provus, <=6<). Provus developed this model for use as ne" programs "ere designed and implemented in the Pitts urgh pu lic schools. @e used a systems approach to determine "hether program performance met accepted program standards. Provus conceptuali5ed a three%step process of program evaluationH 'a) defining program standards, ' ) determining "hether a discrepancy eAists et"een some aspect of the program performance and the standards governing that aspect of the program, and 'c) using discrepancy information either to change performance or to modify program standards. En Provus original model, the evaluator is involved in the design of the program as "ell as the standards for assessment, in consultation "ith sta4eholders. Dith the design and standards in hand, she evaluates each of the five stages of the program, namely design, installation, process, product, and cost, y comparing the standards "ith the performance. The comparison often sho"s differences et"een standard and performance 'i.e., eApected and actual). this difference is called discrepancy. #iscrepancy information is provided to the program staff, giving them a rational asis on "hich to ma4e adIustments in their program 'Provus, <=6<). The #(C has een used in a variety of educational conteAts. @ouseholder and Foser '<==<) included it in an assessment of the effectiveness of change in teacher technology education. Corgan '<===) used it to evaluate an educational technology program design and implementation in a community college in California. The Center for (valuation and 0esearch also used it to evaluate Ga4land Unified 1chool #istricts Ur an #reams Technology Challenge Grant ProIect 'C(0, ,--<). This study uses an adaptation of the #(C to evaluate an eAisting program at the University of Cape Coast, the largest such program in Ghana. En preparation for stage one of the evaluation, the plan of the program "as o tained from the University of Cape Coast. >ollo"ing 1teinmet5 ',---), a component analysis of the design "as performed. The program "as ro4en do"n into five maIor activities or components using 0um les ',--,) categori5ations, namely student%teacher achievement, course material production, tutoring, classroom supervision, and administration. This provided a conceptual model, or a program map, "hich sho"ed ho" the program loo4ed and facilitated component analysis. Et included 'a) the inputs for the "hole program 'resources provided y the Cinistry of (ducation, the University of Cape Coast, and the Common"ealth of ?earning). ' ) the process for the "hole program 'the development and implementation of distance teacher education). and 'c) the output 'i.e., to provide higher academic and professional training for asic school teachers, raise performance level of teachers, and e*uip teachers "ith s4ills for lifetime learning). Et also includes the five components mentioned a ove 'see >igure <).

>rom this program map a component analysis "as derived. Et consisted of input% process%output 'EPG) narratives for each component, along "ith "hat 1teinmet5 calls a 8program net"or4,9 sho"ing all components and su components and the maIor relationships among them 'see >igure ,). Dith this design in hand, an official of CCU(CC "as intervie"ed concerning the vie" of the administration on "hat the ideal program should loo4 li4e. The standards for the program "ere "ritten specifying the intent or eApectations of the program. The standards "ere ased on the ans"ers received from this intervie", the o Iectives of the program, and the +#(+ 0eport ',--7), "hich contains critical success factors for #( in +frica.

Program Narrative
The University of Cape Coast "as esta lished in <=;, and mandated to train graduate professional teachers for the countrys high schools and to assist "ith training of teachers for the $%& schools through its graduates, "ho teach in the Colleges of (ducation of Ghana. The university "as instrumental in the design and implementation of the (ducation 0eforms of <=&6. Challenges that emerged "ith the implementation of the education reforms included the need to increase the num er of *ualified teachers in the asic schools to 4eep up "ith a recent eApansion in enrollment in asic education and the need to improve academic and pedagogical competencies of the ul4 of teachers in the asic schools. The Centre for Continuing (ducation "as esta lished to mount t"o programs to train teachers through distance education. Fy providing a via le distance learning program, the Centre see4s to achieve the follo"ingH provide higher academic and professional training for teachers in the asic school, increase access to university education, raise the performance level of teachers in the asic schools and personnel of the Ghana (ducation 1ervice, and e*uip students "ith 4no"ledge and s4ills for lifelong learning. 'CC(UCC, n. d.)

Methods and Procedure


The study sought to eAamine the perceptions of the teacher trainees as "ell as faculty!administrators to ascertain gaps, if any, et"een standards and performance of the distance teacher education program of the University of Cape Coast. This "as done y administering t"o sets of *uestionnaires to t"o groups of peopleH students and faculty!administrators.

The Setting and Sampling


The research site, the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, has over &,--- distant teacher trainees in its program, scattered across the country. They are involved in t"o programsH a three%year diploma in Fasic (ducation '#F(), and a higher, t"o%year post%diploma degree in Fasic (ducation 'P%#F(). 1tudent teachers from oth programs "ere included in the study ecause the t"o programs together constitute the Universitys "or4 in distance teacher education. Gut of this total population, second and third year #F( students and all P%#F( students "ere used for this study, ma4ing a select population of ;,&=6. 0esponses from the student teachers from the t"o programs "ere not differentiated ecause the t"o programs are very similar and differ only in terms of the specific content of their courses, "ith the P%#F( follo"ing the #F(. + random sample of 3;: students and <&; 'out of 3:-) administrators and faculty mem ers "ere o tained. T"o sets of survey *uestionnaires "ere developed and pretested y the researcher and "ere administered to the students and faculty!administrators "ith the help of coordinators at the various study centers. Usa le returned *uestionnaires yielded a response rate of 7<K of students and 7,K of faculty!administrators.

'nal*sis of the Data


0eturned *uestionnaires "ere manually entered into a spreadsheet and analy5ed at t"o levels. >irst, descriptive statistics "ere calculated in the fre*uency count and percentage of responses for each item. These gave the num er of respondents and the fre*uency of respondents "ho mar4ed 1trongly +gree, +gree, 2o Gpinion, #isagree, and 1trongly #isagree. + second level of analysis of the data "as done y collapsing the categories of responses to present the composite counts and fre*uencies of those "ho had either agreed or disagreed.

Stage One Evaluation


The first stage of the evaluation included deriving the design of the program from the documents provided y the university. The standards of the program "ere derived from the program design, from intervie"ing an official of the university, and from a revie" of the literature. >inally, the curriculum "as assessed y t"o people, one "ith a Ph.#. in (ducation and the other "ith an (d.#., oth of "hom have done eAtensive "or4 in the area of curriculum. This phase of evaluation "as crucial for it ena led the researcher to formulate the statements on the survey *uestionnaires to elicit the perceptions of the student ody as "ell as the faculty!administrator group. Et "as determined that it "as possi le for CC(UCC to implement a via le program and that eApert revie"s found the curriculum appropriate for teacher education.

Stage Two Evaluation


The second stage of the evaluation measured installation of the program. +n analysis of responses indicated that some issues needed to e dealt "ith in order to close the gap et"een the design and the installation of the program. The students and faculty!administrators positive responses "ere ;3.67K and :&.<&K respectively, and their average percentage "as ;,.:=. This represented a relatively high rating of the installation of the program y oth groups. @o"ever the lo" positive scores from respondents regarding t"o maIor issues, raised in the open%ended comments, indicated some discrepancy. The first issue that needed to e addressed "as the lac4 of computers "ith Enternet connectivity at the study centers, "hich "ere meant to enhance research and easy communication among students and et"een students and course tutors. This "as a concern for oth students and faculty!administrator groups given that this item received the lo"est positive response from oth groups. The second issue "as the fre*uency and effectiveness of classroom supervision. this item received less than :-K positive response from student respondents. T"o students suggested in the open%

ended section that classroom supervision 8needs improvement.9 @o"ever they failed to indicate the 4ind of improvement in supervision that "as needed '"hich could e either the fre*uency of supervision, or the *uality of supervision, or oth). 2evertheless the students response "as confirmed y the faculty!administrator group "ho also gave a lo" rating ',&.<K agreement) to a similar item on "hether supervisors reports are analy5ed and used to improve the program. Three faculty!administrators suggested that there "as the need for provision of vehicles at the various learning centers to enhance effective supervision, especially of student%teachers stationed in remote and inaccessi le rural areas. This suggests that supervisors might e facing logistical pro lems and are therefore una le to perform their supervisory duties satisfactorily. Gne more issue of concern to oth student and faculty!administrator groups "as the financial urden of the payment of tuition and the purchase of study manuals y the student teachers. This concern came from <& student respondents and from t"o faculty!administrators on the open%ended section. Et is the opinion of the researcher that this complaint stems from the fact that the government has traditionally provided scholarships and stipends for student teachers in the various Colleges of (ducation. Therefore student teachers involved in the program do not understand "hy the same enefit is not eAtended to them. The frustration of the student teachers a out this "as summed up y a statement from one of the respondentsH 8+s a teacher in the classroom, E feel E should get support from the government.9 T"o students and one faculty!administrator eApressed a desire for the distance learning program to e separated from the main university administration. Their reason "as to enhance efficient management, indicating a lac4 of satisfaction "ith the "ay the program "as managed. >aculty!administrators did not rate positively the item a out "hether learner information is collected, stored, and used on a consistent asis, again sho"ing concern a out a lac4 of efficient management of information storage and retrieval systems. +lso there "as one comment each from a student and a faculty!administrator on the need to create more learning centers. T"o faculty!administrators suggested that course tutors must e involved in course "riting. and one faculty!administrator suggested that there should e more coordination et"een administrators and tutors.

Discussion of stage two evaluation


Tait ',---. ,--3) suggested that student support services perform cognitive, affective, and systemic functions. The cognitive learner support function develops learning through the course materials and resources for students. the affective student support function provides an environment that helps students, creates commitment to learning, and enhances students self%esteem. and the systemic learner support function esta lishes administrative procedures and information management systems characteri5ed y efficiency, transparency, and student%friendliness. Taits systemic learner support function seems to e lac4ing in the implementation of the program. 0espondents agreed that information gathering and an information storage system "ere needed. They agreed that supervisors and tutors did not collect information from students for transmission to head*uarters to e stored and retrieved for further planning. +ccording to an +#(+ 0eport ',--7), effective distance education re*uires the collection, maintenance, and use of learner information. The report further states that 8management of information is needed L monitoring information "ill ena le providers to identify and act to support inactive or at%ris4 learners9 'p.<3). >urthermore, there seemed to e no supervision of the supervisors, "ho "ere charged "ith o servation of the student%teachers in their classrooms to ensure that they "ere practicing "hat they "ere taught. Gn paper, supervisors "ere eApect ed to visit students and to o serve their teaching on a i"ee4ly asis then "rite a report. @o"ever oth student and faculty!administrator respondents agreed that this "as not eing done effectively. >aculty!administrators suggested that provision of vehicles at the study centers "ould enhance the "or4 of supervisors, especially those "ho have to travel to distant rural areas "here student teachers are stationed.

Stage Three Evaluation


The third stage of the evaluation measured the eAtent to "hich interim products compared "ith the standards. The interim products "ere identified as the course manuals, the materials distri ution processes, the course delivery systems, and the student support systems. +n analysis of the responses in this section of the *uestionnaire indicated that the students positive response "as 63.,,K. +mong faculty!administrators ;=.,;K responded positively. The average positive response rate for oth groups "as 6,.7-K. T"o statements received positive responses lo"er than :-K in this section. The first is the item that indicated that the students "ould have li4ed to have had more contact "ith their course tutors, "hich received &,.=K agreement from students. This implied that only <6.<-K "ere satisfied "ith the contact they had "ith their tutors. The second statement in*uired "hether the tutors returned graded assignments to them in a reasona le time, "hich yielded 7:.:K agreement. The percentages of faculty!administrators positive responses "ere lo"est on t"o statementsH there is a time loc4 earmar4ed for one%on%one interaction et"een instructors and students "ho need it, and course "riters actually visit study centers and try to get feed ac4 from students and course tutors on ho" their manuals are used. The former statement corresponds to the item on the student *uestionnaire that as4ed a out students satisfaction "ith the contact "ith their course tutors, "hich sho"ed only <6K agreement. 0esponses in the open%ended commentary section indicated that students felt that the courses "ere overloaded, and they had difficulty alancing their roles as adults, teachers, and students, a concern shared y one faculty!administrator. They also complained a out the *ui55es and eAaminations, saying that they "ere not given ade*uate time to complete them, and their complaints "ere not dealt "ith satisfactorily. This "as also supported y faculty!administrators, "ho suggested more emphasis on staff development to enhance student support. +nother critical comment from oth student and faculty!administrator groups "as that course

manuals "ere not properly edited, revised, and distri uted, and that sometimes students did not receive their materials at the eginning of the semester. En spite of these pro lems, the 6<.,7 percentage of positive responses in the *uestionnaires indicates a relatively small gap et"een perception of performance and standard. Thus oth student and faculty!administrator groups rate the performance of the program highly.

Discussion of stage three evaluation


Taits ',---. ,--3) affective learner support function seems to e lac4ing in this program. + maIority of student respondents agreed that they needed more contact "ith tutors 'faculty), and tutors agreed they did not have a time loc4 allocated to one%on%one contact "ith students during the i"ee4ly face%to%face seminars at the study centers. This indicates that learners need for more contact "ith course tutors seems to have een neglected in designing the program. En a situation "here contact "ith tutors y "ay of email and telephone is difficult due to the inade*uacy of information and communications technology facilities in the country 'Futcher, ,--3. 1aint, <===) and especially in rural conteAts, this is a serious dra" ac4. +ccording to Tait, learner support should e personali5ed in such a "ay that learners needs are responded to immediately. Mhao et al. ',--:) o serve that as a distance education program increases the opportunity for more interaction, it increases the chance of eing etter rated than its face%to%face counterpart. They again o serve that distance education ecomes more effective "hen there is a 8live9 instructor present, i.e., either occasional face%to%face contact or contact through an information technology medium. Thorpe ',--3) suggested that learners need support in t"o areasH institutional systems and course materials. Enstitutional systems support includes pu lishing "hich courses are availa le, ho" to apply, ho" to ma4e payments, etc., efore, during, and after the course of study. Course materials support includes ans"ering learners *uestions on ho" to ma4e sense of something in the course materials, ho" to complete a particular assignment, ho" to contact other students, and other related services. The program of the Center for Continuing (ducation of the University of Cape Coast needs to e strengthened in oth areas of learner support. The second area of support emphasi5es personal contact "ith tutors. +lthough provision has een made in the program for i"ee4ly face%to%face seminars, there has een no provision for one% on%one student%tutor advising. Gpen%ended responses indicated that there is no identified process of development and evaluation of course manuals. The implication is that only a fe" course "riters "ere contracted to "rite the course manuals, and there "as no mechanism for feed ac4 from the course tutors and students "ho used them. >eed ac4 a out course materials from students, tutors, and study center coordinators must ecome a part of the materials revision process. This "ould help to ma4e the course materials learner%centered, clear to the students, and self%eAplanatory. >urthermore, it is crucial to ensure efficient distri ution of materials to students at the eginning of the semester in order to avoid "asting time. 1tudents need to e encouraged to e independent learners. The more independent students learning ecomes, the more competent they "ill feel and operate. This "ould decrease their need for access to their tutors 'Gro", <==<. Dlod4o"s4i, <===). >aculty responses indicated that approAimately 6-K encouraged their students to consider comments on their graded assignments as dialogue and 3-K did not. This compares to student responses to a similar *uestion a out "hether they regarded comments on their graded assignments as dialogue, to "hich 6:K responded in the affirmative and ,:K responded in the negative. Frindley '<==:) suggested the end goal of learner support to e the enhancement of independent learners and empo"erment of students, "hich is all the more pertinent in this program since students are adult learners and practicing teachers. They need to e guided to move through the three intermediate stages identified y Gro" '<==<) as dependent, interested, and involved to"ards the ultimate goal of self%directed learning. This is the only "ay they can move from 1chons '<=&6) 4no"ing%in%action to reflection%in%action. Et is important to develop effective, reflective teacher practitioners '#arling%@ammond, <==&) and to achieve the programs o Iective of e*uipping student teachers "ith the s4ills of lifelong learning.

Stage !our Evaluation


The fourth stage of the evaluation measured terminal products, the academic and professional competence of students. +n analysis of student responses indicated that 6&.-:K of students responses "ere positive. +lmost all students '=7.3K) agreed that the program contri uted to their academic and professional development. The neAt highest percentage of positive responses "as to the statement a out "hether they "ould recommend CC(UCC correspondence courses to their friends, relatives, etc. "ho are in the teaching profession, to "hich &-.:K responded positively. The statement that they prefer #( to classroom instruction yielded a rather lo" positive response of 7<.:K. Positive responses y faculty sho"ed that =3.&K agreed "ith the statement that the distance teacher education program has had a positive impact on teacher education in Ghana, and =-.;K agreed that the students "ere utili5ing "hat they learned in the program in their classrooms. The percentage of positive responses for the stage four evaluation "as 6&.-:K for students and =,.,K for faculty!administrators, "ith an average percentage of &-.=6K, "hich sho"s that oth groups gave the highest rating to the stage four evaluation. The comments of oth student and faculty!administrator groups "ere very complimentary to the program. Foth groups agreed that the program "as helping to upgrade the professional and academic competence of the student teachers.

Discussion of stage four evaluation


1tudents agreed that the distance education program contri uted to their academic and professional development, and they "ould recommend the program to their friends and relations, yet, at the same time, they indicated their preference for a face%to%face program. This seems contradictory, ut it is consistent "ith the literature. +leAander et al. ',--3) reported that it too4 online students more time

than students in traditional classrooms to complete course o Iectives. +llen et al. ',--,) conducted a meta%analysis using ,3 studies and concluded that "hile the difference in levels of academic achievement et"een students involved in oth traditional and distance education is insignificant, oth groups tended to prefer traditional education over #(. Teaching has een considered to e a matter of s4ill rather than a matter of ac*uiring information. +ccording to 1hulman ',--7), teaching re*uires asic communication s4ills, content 4no"ledge, and pedagogical s4ills. Net oth the students and the faculty confirm that a #( program has enhanced the professional capa ility of teachers. Perraton et al. ',--,) affirm that teacher preparation mostly comprises a alance et"een four elementsH improving general educational ac4ground, increasing 4no"ledge and understanding of the content area, enhancing pedagogy and the understanding of children and their learning, and developing practical s4ills and competencies. Perraton et al. suggested that the underlying purpose of a particular teacher education program determines the proportion and miA of these elements, and "here the emphasis has een to raise teachers ac4ground education or "here the program is designed to help eAperienced teachers learn a out a ne" su Iect, classroom activities have not een given much emphasis. En the case of practical s4ills ac*uisition in a distance teacher education program, the component of practicum has een considered to e very important. Perraton et al. ',--,) have itemi5ed different eAamples of distance teacher education programs, "hich sho" different levels of practicum compositionsH '<) no practicum at all. ',) college% ased micro teaching. '3) classroom% ased practicum as a separate loc4 in a course, usually placed after academic loc4s. '7) classroom% ased practicum supervised y staff from college. and ':) classroom% ased practicum under the guidance of a mentor "ithin the school. CC(UCC has contracted supervisors 'trained teacher educators in regional and district offices of the Ghana (ducation 1ervice) and tutors of training colleges to visit the student teachers classrooms i"ee4ly to o serve the student teachers in action and to send reports to the Center. Teacher preparation at a distance has a potential advantage over traditional education ecause it is possi le to integrate theory and practice y ena ling practicing teachers to stay on the Io "hile raising their s4ills. This might e the reason for the high rating of the program y the student teachers and faculty. The students "ho participated in this study are already involved in teaching, and therefore it is easier to transfer the concepts they are learning to the classroom. The positive responses for the participants in this study indicate that pre%service teacher education at a distance may also "or4 as effectively if the practicum component is designed properly and is "ell supervised y eAperienced master%teachers. +dmittedly, the success of the program under revie" should e measured y principals, senior teachers, or outside evaluators, "ho "ould compare the teachers effectiveness in the classroom "ith a control group, eing their counterparts "ho did not enefit from the distance education. @o"ever, time and other constraints prevented this.

.oncl)sion
The distance teacher education program of the Center for Continuing (ducation of the University of Cape Coast 'CC(UCC) is fulfilling its purpose of upgrading the academic and professional competence of a large num er of teachers in the asic schools in Ghana, raising their performance level and e*uipping them "ith s4ills for lifelong learning. The gap et"een these o Iectives and the programs performance, as perceived y students in the program, faculty, and administrators, is not so ig that it cannot e closed. Constant revie" of performance is needed to completely close the gap. >urther, this program "ould e enhanced if students and tutors "ere a le to provide feed ac4 to the course "riters a out the manuals of instruction. 2evertheless, CC(UCC has proven that teacher preparation at a distance is effective. #istance education is feasi le over a road geographic area. Et ena les students to o tain the necessary education "ithout disrupting the life and "or4 of students. #istance education can provide an effective and efficient solution to the perennial shortage of trained teachers in oth developed and developing "orlds. This study adds to the ody of literature on the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of Provus discrepancy evaluation model as a "ell tested systemic approach to the evaluation of academic programs.

Reco$$endations
The conclusion of this study has several implications for the CC(UCC specifically. #istance learning is a lonesome endeavor and the policy ma4ers need to do "hatever they can to ensure the provision of ade*uate learner support services in order to reduce the transactional distance et"een the learner, the tutor, and the administrative personnel. 1ince CC(UCC is providing a distance learning program in a developing country, it needs to see4 to reach the optimum level of learner support in vie" of the limited availa ility of information and communication technology. 1uccessful program development cannot occur "ithout evaluation '1anders, ,---). CC(UCC therefore needs to add evaluation to the program, for "ithout evaluation there is no feed ac4 from the clients and other sta4eholders. Dithout evaluation, the program cannot e aligned to the needs of the clients and sta4eholders, and their satisfaction cannot e guaranteed. Endependent, self%directed, lifelong learning does not ta4e place automatically 'Frindley, <==:. Gro", <==<. $no"les et al., ,--:. Dlod4"os4i, <===). Dithout independence and self%direction, distance learners cannot successfully achieve their goal of learning. therefore, providers of distance education need to develop a deli erate policy to"ards developing these attri utes in their clients. C(UCC needs to include more learner%centered strategies into their teaching methodology. This "ill empo"er distance learners to o"n their learning and to assume more responsi ility for their o"n success. Core roadly, the conclusions of this study suggest that distance education can e very effective "ith sufficient investment in time and planning. The maIor areas of administration, course production, learner support, classroom supervision, choice of appropriate media, evaluation, and its end product

of student achievement re*uire ade*uate investment in resources and planning. (ducational systems facing a shortage of professionally trained teachers should strongly consider #(. Et has een proven to e very effective if it is "ell planned and implemented. The literature sho"s that it has "or4ed effectively in training teachers all over the "orld, developed and developing, including +frica, Fra5il, Fritain, China, Colum ia, Endia, Endonesia, and the 1outh Pacific. #( is suita le for oth initial teacher education and continuing professional development. Et has the added advantage of 4eeping teachers at post so they do not have to leave their Io s "hile receiving further professional development. #( has helped to ring education to the doorsteps of students "ho are una le to meet their educational needs in conventional institutions.

References
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Center for Continuing (ducation University of Cape Coast. 'n. d.). 6i+her education )or allPro+ra''e desi+n, diplo'a in ,asic education ( 7E) and post-diplo'a in ,asic education (P- 7E). Center for (valuation and 0esearch. ',--<). 8a3land Uni)ied School istrict Ur,an rea's Technolo+y Challen+e #rant project description and e"aluation plan. 0etrieved Buly 7, ,--:, from httpH!!californiaschools.net!ud!year,!dem,.htm #arling%@ammond, ?. '<==&, >e ruary). Teacher learning that supports student learning. Educational 2eadership, 99':), ;%<<. #eBaeghere, B. G., Chapman, #. D., / Cul4een, +. ',--7). Recruitin+, retrainin+ and retainin+ secondary school teachers and principals in su,-Saharan &)rica. Dashington, #CH Dorld Fan4 and +cademy for (ducational #evelopment. #eBaeghere, B. G., Chapman, #. D., / Cul4een, +. ',--;). Encreasing the supply of secondary teachers in su %1aharan +fricaH + sta4eholder assessment of policy options in siA countries. (ournal o) Education Policy, $1':), :<:%:33. >eig, C. +. '<=3,). The e))ecti"eness o) correspondence study. Unpu lished doctoral dissertation, The Pennsylvania 1tate University. Gro", G. G. '<==<). Teaching learners to e self%directed. &dult Education :uarterly, %1, <,:%<7=.

@ouseholder, #. ?., / Foser, 0. +. '<==<). +ssessing the effectiveness of the change to technology teacher education. (ournal o) Technolo+y Teacher Education $',). 0etrieved Cay ,:, ,--:, from httpH!!scholar.li .vt.edu!eIournals!BT(!v,n,!html!house.html $no"les, C. 1., @olton EEE, >. (., / 1"anson, 0. +. ',--:). The adult learner- The de)initi"e classic in adult education and hu'an resource de"elop'ent ';th ed.). 2e" Nor4H (lsevier Enc. ?arson, +. '<=,=). & study o) the relati"e a,ility and achie"e'ent o) class e4tension, correspondence, and resident students at the Uni"ersity o) ;entuc3y. Unpu lished masters thesis,

University of $entuc4y, ?eAington, U1+. Cadaus, G. >., / $ellaghan, T. ',---). Codels, metaphors, and definitions in evaluation. En #. ?. #tuffle eam, G. >. Cadaus, / T. $ellaghan '(ds.), E"aluation 'odels- <ie1points on educational and hu'an ser"ices e"aluation ',nd ed., pp. <=%3,). @ingham, C+H $lu"er +cademic Pu lishers. Car4, C. C., @enry, G. T., / Bulnes, G. ',---). E"aluation- &n inte+rated )ra'e1or3 )or understandin+, +uidin+, and i'pro"in+ policies and pro+ra's. 1an >ranciscoH Bossey%Fass. Cinistry of (ducation. ',--,). Ministry o) Education reportGhanaH Government of Ghana. istance education 1or3shop. +ccra,

Crgan, C. +. '<===). esi+nin+ the desi+n- & discrepancy e"aluation o) an educational technolo+y pro+ra' desi+n and i'ple'entation in a co''unity colle+e. Unpu lished doctoral dissertation, University of 1an >rancisco, California. Gssei%+nto, T. +. ',--3). #istance and open learning at the University of (ducation, Dinne a. En +. Gas4ell / +. Tait '(ds.), The 1=th Ca',rid+e 5nternational Con)erence on 8pen and istance 2earnin+ $==>. Collected con)erence papers. Cam ridge, U$. Perraton, @. '<==3). '(d.). istance education )or teacher trainin+. ?ondonH 0outledge.

Perraton, @. ',---). 8pen and distance learnin+ in the de"elopin+ 1orld. 2e" Nor4H 0utledge. Perraton, @., Creed, C., / 0o inson, F. ',--,). Teacher education +uideline- Usin+ open and distance learnin+. Technolo+y, curriculu', cost, e"aluation. Paris, U2(1CG, / Cam ridgeH #ivision of @igher (ducation and 0esearch, Enternational 0esearch >oundation for Gpen ?earning. Perraton, @., 0o inson, F., / Creed, C. '(ds.) ',--6). 5nternational case studies o) teacher education at a distance. Glden urgH Fis%Verlag der Carl von Gssiets4y UniversitQt. Peters, G. '<=&&). #istance teaching and industrial productionH + comparative interpretation in outline. En #. 1e"art, #. $eegan, / F. @olm erg '(ds.), istance education- 5nternational perspecti"es 'pp. =:%<<3). 2e" Nor4H 0outledge. Provus, C. '<=6<). iscrepancy e"aluation )or educational pro+ra' i'pro"e'ent and assess'ent. Fer4eley, C+H CcCutchan Pu lishing Corporation. 0o inson F., / ?atchem, C. 0. ',--,). Teacher education throu+h open and distance learnin+. ?ondonH 0outledge. 0um le, G. ',--,). The 'ana+e'ent o) distance learnin+ syste's. ParisH Enstitute for (ducational Planning. U2(1CG, Enternational

1aint, D. '<===). Tertiary distance education and technolo+y in su,-Saharan &)rica. Dashington, #CH Dor4ing Group on @igher (ducation, +ssociation for the #evelopment of (ducation in +frica '+#(+)!Dorld Fan4. 1chon, #. +. '<=&6). Educatin+ the re)lecti"e practitioner. 1an >ranciscoH Bossey%Fass. 1hachar, C., / 2eumann, N. ',--3). #ifferences et"een traditional and distance education academic performancesH + meta%analytic approach. The 5nternational Re"ie1 o) Research in 8pen and istance 2earnin+ %',). 0etrieved 1eptem er <3, ,--;, from httpH!!""".irrodl.org!indeA.php!irrodl!article!vie"!<:3!,37 1teinmet5, +. ',---). The discrepancy evaluation model. En #. ?. 1tuffle eam, G. >. Cadaus, / T. $ellaghan '(ds.), E"aluation 'odels- <ie1points on educational and hu'an ser"ices e"aluation ',nd ed., pp. <,6%<73). @ingham, C+H $lu"er +cademic Pu lishers. Tait, +. ',---). Planning student support for open and distance ?earning. 8pen 2earnin+, 19'3), ,&6% ,==. Tait, +. ',--3). 0eflections on student support in open and distance learning. 5nternational Re"ie1 o) Research in 8pen and istance 2earnin+, %'<), <%=. httpH!!""".irrodl.org!indeA.php!irrodl!article!vie"!<37!,<7 Thorpe, C. '<=&&). E"aluatin+ open and distance learnin+. ?ondonH ?ongmans. Thorpe, C. ',--3). 0ethin4ing learner support in distance educationH Change and continuity in an international conteAt. En +. Tait / 0. Cills. '(ds.), Routled+e?ar'er studies in distance education. ?ondonH 0outledge>armer. Dlod4o"s4i, 0. B. '<===). Enhancin+ adult 'oti"ation to learn- & co'prehensi"e +uide )or teachin+ all adults '0ev. ed.). 1an >ranciscoH Bossey%Fasss. Mhao, N., ?ei, B., ?ai, F. N. C., / Tan, @. 1., '+ugust, ,--:). Dhat ma4es the differenceJ + practical analysis of research in the effectiveness of distance education. Teachers Colle+e Record, 1=@'&), <&3;%<&&7.

'ppendi0 '
1tudents 1urvey Enstrument Please indicate your ans"er to the follo"ing items ased on your eAperience "ith the Center for Continuing (ducation of the University of Cape Coast #istance (ducation program "hich you are currently involved. Circle the position that est represents your opinion.
<. ,. The admission information " as easily understood. The admission forms " ere designed to e easy to 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly

complete. 3. 7. :. ;. 6. The admission personnel " ere helpful. The Continuing (ducation catalog presented information " hich " as easy to understand. The orientation seminar " as eneficial.

#isagree

+gree

1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree eginning 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

E received course materials in time at the of the semester

The course manuals contained course o Iectives so 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly E had a general idea of the structure and direction #isagree +gree at the eginning of the course The manuals " ere easy to read and understand The graphics in the manuals "ere clear and self% eAplanatory 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

&. =.

<-. The eAamples in the manuals " ere realistic to my classroom eAperience as a teacher <<. The course tutor returned graded assignments to me in a reasona le length of time. <,. The course tutor provided me " ith positive feed ac4 during the course <3. E felt comforta le communicating " ith the course tutor concerning my studies. <7. E felt comforta le communicating " ith course tutor concerning my personal pro lems.

<:. #uring monthly face to face tutorials course tutors 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly related to me more as facilitators of self%directed #isagree +gree learners rather than as transmitters of information. <;. The study center coordinator ans" ered all my *uestions ade*uately. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

<6. E regard comments on my returned assignments as 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly a dialogue rather than a directive from the course #isagree +gree tutor <&. Tutorials at the study center are student%centered instead of teacher%centered. <=. E " ould have li4ed to have had more personal contact " ith the instructor. ,-. The course manuals encourage colla orative " or4 among us students. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

,<. Cy classroom supervisor appointed y the 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly University visited my class room at least t" ice each #isagree +gree semester. ,,. Cy classroom supervisor " as a source of information at every visit. ,3. The supervisors visit al" ays made me nervous. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

,7. The supervisors visit to my classroom helped me to 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly connect my course " or4 to my classroom teaching #isagree +gree practice. ,:. E had access to a computer at the study center " ith 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly internet connectivity to do my research and send #isagree +gree emails to my course tutor. ,;. Test *uestions often consisted of a test of critical thin4ing s4ills ,6. Test *uestions often consisted of only a test of memori5ation a ilities. ,&. Course assignments often re*uired research " riting. ,=. E prefer correspondence study to classroom instruction. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

3-. E " ould recommend UCC correspondence course to 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly my friends, relatives, etc. " ho are in the teaching #isagree +gree profession. 3<. E found the educational eAperience personally re" arding. 3,. This course contri uted to my academic development. 33. This course contri uted to my professional development. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

37. The advisors motivated me to complete the course. 1trongly #isagree +gree 1trongly #isagree +gree

3:. Es this your first correspondence programJ a. yes. . no.


If no sp ec i f * w hi c h cor r esp ondenc e co)r se * o) hav e i nv ol v ed i n % ef or e i n space % el ow

3;. @o" many years "ere you teaching efore enrolling in the Center for Continuing (ducation programJ 36. Dhat "as your initial *ualification efore enrolling in this correspondence programJR 3&. @o" many hours per "ee4 do you devote to the courseJ 3=. >eel free to "rite elo" any other information you "ould li4e to add the enhance my understanding of your feeling to"ards the program

'ppendi0 1
>aculty!+dministrators 1urvey Enstrument $indly indicate your ans"er t the follo"ing items ased on your eAperience as a faculty mem er or administrator. Circle the position that est represents your opinion.
<.

E elieve the study centers are 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly ade*uately e*uipped "ith furniture for #isagree Gpinion +gree learning to ta4e place there
,.

The study center E am familiar "ith has 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly the necessary communication e*uipment #isagree Gpinion +gree i.e. telephone and computers "ith internet connectivity
3.

?earner information is collected, stored 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly and used on a consistent asis #isagree Gpinion +gree
7.

#ata collected a out the program are 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly analy5ed and used for the improvement #isagree Gpinion +gree of the program
:.

The turnaround time assignment is reasona le


;.

of

students 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly #isagree Gpinion +gree

?earning and assessment methods are 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly appropriate to the purpose and outcomes #isagree Gpinion +gree of the program
6.

The courses are coherently designed and 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly pac4aged #isagree Gpinion +gree
&.

The tutorials are student%centered 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly instead of teacher%centered #isagree Gpinion +gree
=.

The content of the courses and practice 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly of tutors encourage colla orative learning #isagree Gpinion +gree
<-.

The course presented


<<.

materials

are

accessi ly 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly #isagree Gpinion +gree

The course materials present information 1trongly 2o +gree 1trongly in a coherent "ay that engages the #isagree Gpinion +gree #isagree learners
<,.

There is an identified process of 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly development and evaluation of course #isagree Gpinion +gree materials
<3.

The course materials encourage learners 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly to eAercise their in*uiry a ilities through #isagree Gpinion +gree constructivist approaches
<7.

The course materials encourage reflection 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly and connection et"een theory and #isagree Gpinion +gree

practice
<:.

The course materials ta4e into 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly consideration different learning styles of #isagree Gpinion +gree students
<;.

+ssessment is done in a "ay that 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly minimi5es stress for learners y ma4ing #isagree Gpinion +gree the process transparent, supportive and affirming "hile not compromising on the standards re*uired
<6.

?earner support is an integral part of the 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly design of the program #isagree Gpinion +gree
<&.

There is time loc4 earmar4ed for one%on% 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly one interaction "ith tutor for those "ho #isagree Gpinion +gree need it.
<=.

E feel ade*uately prepared to offer 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly student support y means of counseling #isagree Gpinion +gree
,-.

Course tutors!supervisors!study center 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly coordinators often do counseling to #isagree Gpinion +gree students
,<.

Course tutors use different modes of 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly instruction, 'e.g. lectures, discussion, #isagree Gpinion +gree role%playing, overhead proIectors, etc.) during face to face seminars.
,,.

The program integrates encouragement of 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly peer support structures #isagree Gpinion +gree
,3.

Course tutors act as facilitators of self% 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly directed learning instead of didactic #isagree Gpinion +gree transmitters of information
,7.

The program integrate staff development 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly in such a "ay that all staff are #isagree Gpinion +gree continually learning as they contri ute to the functioning of the program
,:.

Course "riters actually visit study centers 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly and try to get feed ac4 from oth #isagree Gpinion +gree students and tutors on ho" their manuals are used
,;.

(fficient administrative systems support 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly the activities of the program #isagree Gpinion +gree
,6.

Tutors encourage student%teachers to 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly regard tutors comments on mar4ed #isagree Gpinion +gree scripts as a dialogue and not a directive
,&.

There is an integrated frame"or4 at a 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly policy and practice level that informs a #isagree Gpinion +gree clear cycle of planning, implementation, monitoring, reflection and action to ensure that learners and staff needs as "ell as the needs of other clients are met
,=.

Enformation a out scope, re*uirements 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly and enefits of the program is #isagree Gpinion +gree disseminated in such a "ay that every potential learner receives it.
3-.

1upervisors often visit student%teachers 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly classroom #isagree Gpinion +gree

3<. 1upervisors

i%"ee4ly reports are 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly analy5ed and used to improve program #isagree Gpinion +gree

3,.

There is a mechanism in place to ensure 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly that supervisors visit student%teachers #isagree Gpinion +gree classroom
33.

En my estimation, student%teachers are 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly utili5ing "hat they are learning through #isagree Gpinion +gree this program in their classroom
37.

En my estimation, the #istance Teacher 1trongly #isagree 2o +gree 1trongly (ducation program of CC(UCC has had a #isagree Gpinion +gree positive impact on teacher education in the country

3:. $indly circle your position elo"H a. Course Driter, . Course Tutor, c. Classroom 1upervisor d. 1tudy Center Coordinator 3;. @o" far a"ay from the study center! student%teachers classroom are you 36. Dhat means of transportation do you normally useJ 3&. >eel free to "rite elo" any other information you "ould li4e to add the enhance my understanding of your feeling to"ards the program