Better Evaluation Needed For Federal Civilian Employee Training

FPCD-75-120: Published: Aug 12, 1975. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1975.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the Civil Service Commission's (CSC) and federal agencies' civilian employees training evaluation methods.

GAO noted that: (1) about 960,000 civilian employees received a total of almost 45 million hours of training costing approximately $216 million; (2) GAO's questionnaire results show that the evaluation requirements of the Government Employees Training Act, the Executive Order supplementing the law, and the congressional subcommittee recommendations are not being met adequately; and (3) questionnaire results show that: (a) federal agencies found little use for the Civil Service Commission's Training Cost Model (TCM) for forecasting training costs; (b) although almost all respondents reported that they had written training course plans, the plans often lacked the specific features necessary for effective future course evaluation; (c) some performance measures were taken during the course, some on its completion, and some after the trainees return on the job; (d) in many cases the use of measures was so limited that effective evaluation was impossible; (e) while many respondents said that performance was assessed upon return to the job, the type, timing, and depth of this assessment often fell short of standards suggested by training authorities; (f) statistical and experimental evaluations were not widely conducted; those that were done were elementary; (g) however, over 60 percent of the respondents said that they were satisfied with the level of evaluations performed; (h) respondents' comments indicated that problems with training were widespread among departments; and (i) most respondents who were dissatisfied with the level of evaluations lacked resources, statistical and experimental know-how, or management support.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, CSC, should: (1) work with federal departments and agencies on the findings and problems identified in this report; (2) follow up to determine steps taken by the departments and agencies for improvement; (3) reemphasize that it is the departments' and agencies' primary responsibility to control and evaluate training for their employees; and (4) monitor the evaluation of training in the departments and agencies and promote successful methods of evaluation. Specific actions of CSC should include: (1) defining and achieving a consensus among the executive departments and agencies on elements that make up the total cost of training and then insuring that data on these elements is uniformly determined and collected; (2) determining why TCM has been little used, amending and refining it accordingly, and then increasing efforts to publicize TCM to training officials at all levels; and (3) helping the departments and agencies develop written course plans which include instructions for course delivery, measuring results, and modifying and updating the course.

    Agency Affected:

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 1, 2016

Aug 19, 2016

Jun 8, 2016

Mar 24, 2016

Jan 11, 2016

Jun 16, 2015

Apr 16, 2015

Mar 9, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

Jan 6, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here