Reconceptualizing agricultural education for New York State: Increasing emphasis on science, accountability, and accreditation CALS Impact Statement uri icon

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  • Abstract

    The ultimate goal of the project is to better prepare the youth of New York State for leadership roles in the state?s food and agriculture sector by providing them with a more rigorous secondary-level education in agricultural science; specifically, one that is more science-oriented and supports the New York State Learning Standards.

    Issue

    The curriculum needed for an effective system of agricultural science education has changed drastically in recent decades. Yet, no research model is available to establish the content of curriculum that will meet the needs of either the New York State agricultural industry or New York State Learning Standards. This study will provide the basis for programmatic and curriculum reform of agricultural science education in New York State. It will also evaluate the effects of those changes. National goal number one of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to produce an agricultural production system that is highly competitive in the global economy. Two factors are critical in meeting that goal: adequate science and technology tools, and an adequately prepared workforce in the agriculture sector. In reality, both of those factors are dependent on an adequate educational system. The proposed project meets the goals of the CSREES Program Council Orientation of Agriculture and Food Systems, with particular emphasis on youth development. This project is specifically designed to meet Objective 1.3: "to recruit and educate future scientists, professionals, and leaders in agricultural sciences." It will also contribute to other objectives by increasing the economic well-being and quality of life of individuals, families, and communities.

    Response

    Efforts at curriculum development and specification are currently underway. The interim measure was to develop, field-test, and implement a temporary assessment protocol. That temporary system was developed in spring 2004 and put in place during fall 2004.

    Impact

    State Education Department policy requires a technical assessment including a standardized test of occupationally relevant knowledge. A preliminary state assessment system has been put in place to fulfill the need for an immediately available knowledge test. So far, students in three school systems have taken the test, and students in two of those schools have completed courses in agricultural education. The longer-term assessment will be based on the more rigorous curriculum and specification system under development this year.

    Funding Sources

    • Federal Formula Funds - Research (e.g., Hatch, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health)

    Collaborators

    • Agricultural Education Outreach (AEO). Donna Moore, Director of New York State?s AEO program will assist with identifying teacher participants for the research; developing, validating, and field testing the assessment system; and developing, validating, and field testing the curriculum framework and learner outcomes.
    • NYS Ag Tech Prep Consortium, Terry Hughes, Director. Ag Tech Prep will help with parts of the data collection and dissemination of the results. NYS Ag Tech Prep will also provide funding for portions of the travel for panel participants and teacher inservice in the implementation and testing stage.
    • NYS Education Department (NYSED), Chike Nnabugwu, Agricultural Education Liaison with NYSED will review frameworks and curriculum structure.
    • NY Association of Agricultural Educators (NYAAE), Jeff Perry, agricultural education teacher and President of NYAAE will assist in identifying teachers and agriculture programs for data collection.
    • Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) will be involved at the local level in the formulation of curriculum standards for agricultural science education that meets the needs of local agriculture and at the state level in formulation of a program model that promotes an expanded science base for the statewide agricultural science education program.

    Key Personnel

    • Ms. Jennifer Rivera, Graduate Research Assistant, Kennedy Hall
    • Ms. Donna Moore, Director, Agricultural Education Outreach, Kennedy Hall