The relationships of agricultural literacy of superintendents, principals, and counselors in four western states to adherence to state guidelines and student enrollment
McBlair, Robert R.
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The purpose of this study was to establish the agricultural literacy levels of administrators and to examine the relationships between those levels and funding, adherence to state guidelines, and enrollment in high school agricultural education programs. Superintendents, principals, and counselors from the four western states of Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming were surveyed. Data for this study were gathered through a mail survey of the population of administrators employed in a school district that had an agricultural education program. In each school district, one of the three administrators received a survey. Of the 269 surveys sent, 169 were returned for a return rate of 63%. Data were gathered in four areas: (1) agricultural literacy levels and demographics, (2) perceptions of present offerings of agricultural education, (3) knowledge of community and state agricultural education, and (4) enrollment, funding, and service to agricultural education students. The test score means were subjected to a Kuder-Richardson20 test of reliability. The reliability tested to be .966. Analysis of the data revealed that the agricultural literacy level of all administrators was minimal with the mean test score being 69.4%. Administrators 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with statements about present guidelines that align the local agricultural education program and FFA with accepted state minimum standards. However, a minority of administrators 'disagreed' or 'strongly disagreed' with specific statements of minimum standards. Administrators had a strong knowledge of community and state agricultural education; however, some incorrectly answered specific questions that were very basic to agricultural education. Administrators agreed that programs in their high schools were meeting the needs of the students and were meeting state standards, but needed more funding from state and national sources. The data further indicated a moderate to strong correlation between administrators literacy test score and enrollment in agricultural education. The data gathered also indicated a need for a structured method to educate administrators more extensively in the attributes of agricultural education and FFA. Because the previous experience in agriculture is not present in today's administrators, college level classes in agricultural program awareness, while certification is sought, should be mandatory for the healthy existence of agricultural education.