- The purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of students, teachers, and principals toward skills taught in consumer and
homemaking education. The sample included 35 principals, 58
teachers, and 272 students in Oregon secondary schools. Respondents'
attitudes were assessed by analyzing the data on the basis of the
comprehensiveness of consumer and homemaking education, relationship
of five content areas, and specific skills taught in consumer and
homemaking education. A secondary purpose in the study was to determine the importance of factors that influence teachers' and
principals' curriculum decisions in home economics.
Construction and validation of the instrument Attitudes Toward
Consumer and Homemaking Education was accomplished through a review
of current literature, a review by a panel of home economics educators, and a pretest with a class of high school students. A reliability coefficient of .90 was determined. The respondents rated
each statement by means of a five point Likert-type scale ranging
from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree." There were 15 skill
statements on the instrument representing the five content areas
(three from each area). The content areas represented were: Human
Development and the Family, Home Management and Family Economics,
Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Clothing, and Housing.
Analysis of Variance, Student's "t", and Chi Square tests were
used to analyze the data. The .05 level of probability was selected
as the criteria for acceptance or rejection of the null hypotheses.
The Tukey HSD Procedure was used to identify where differences
occurred between means.
Results indicate that there was a significant difference in the
overall attitudes of students, teachers, and principals toward
consumer and homemaking education. Teachers had the most comprehensive perspective of skills taught in consumer and homemaking education. Principals had the second most comprehensive view; and
students had a less comprehensive perspective of skills taught.
Respondent means on the content areas taught in consumer and
homemaking education were also significantly different. Students'
means were significantly lower on three of the five content areas:
Human Development and the Family, Food and Nutrition, and Textiles
and Clothing. When an analysis was done on each content area based
on sex, results indicated that females' mean scores were significantly higher than males on those same content areas (Human Development and the Family, Food and Nutrition, and Textiles and Clothing). When content area mean scores were ranked, Food and Nutrition
continued to be seen as the most integral part of consumer and homemaking
education among all three groups. The content area Housing
represented the least integral area in consumer and homemaking programs for teachers and principals; whereas, students perceived Textiles and Clothing as the least integral area of home economics.
Analysis of specific skill statements revealed that the respondents had positive attitudes toward most of the statements. Students' mean scores were the lowest for statement L (use clothing as a
means of expressing yourself) indicating they did not perceive the
social and psychological aspect of textiles and clothing as being an
integral part of home economics.
With the exception of statement F (make wise decisions when purchasing goods and services), females indicated a more positive attitude toward all skill statements for consumer and homemaking education.
Teachers and principals in the study both indicated four factors
as most influential in their curriculum decisions: students' need,
students' interest, enrollment of students, and teachers' undergraduate/graduate preparation. Federal guidelines had least influence on
teachers' curriculum decisions and what is taught in other home economics programs had least influence on principals' curriculum
Based on the data, it was concluded that a need exists for home
economics teachers to broaden the textiles and clothing content to
emphasize social and psychological aspects of clothing. It was
recommended that in-service education for teachers encourage innovative teaching strategies, ways to stimulate student interest, and
creative curriculum development in Housing and Home Management and