Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Leadership, Mathematics, and Science Integration in Secondary Agricultural Education

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  • Research exploring methods to improve student learning of leadership, mathematics, and science in the United States is critically important. In this study, I sought to delve into the potential for student learning of leadership, mathematics, and science within the context of school-based agricultural education. Recognizing the teacher as a gatekeeper to the contextual learning within agricultural education, this study explored potential factors influencing the intentions of agriculture teachers to integrate leadership, mathematics, and science within their curriculum. In order to accomplish this research aim, relevant data were collected from a simple random sample of secondary agriculture teachers in the United States during the 2015-2016 school year. The potential predictors to the intentions of secondary agriculture teachers to integrate leadership, mathematics, and science were identified from the theory of planned behavior. Within the theory of planned behavior, an individual's attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are posited as predicting the intentions of an individual to perform an identified behavior. In addition to these predictors, I included teachers' self-reported leadership, mathematics, and science knowledge as a potential predictor of their intention to integrate each of the three respective content areas. Each of the three predictive models (i.e. predictive model of leadership integration, predictive model of mathematics integration, and predictive model of science integration) were analyzed using structural equation modeling. In total, secondary agriculture teachers indicated intentions to integrate leadership content into 28.49% of their agriculture curriculum, mathematics content into 24.51% of their curriculum, and science into 39.91% of their curriculum. Within leadership integration, attitudes toward leadership integration and subjective norms regarding leadership integration were identified as statistically significant, positive predictors of their intentions to integrate leadership content within their curriculum. Within mathematics integration, perceived behavioral control was identified as the only statistically significant, positive predictor of intended mathematics integration. And, within science integration, only self-reported knowledge of science was identified as a statistically significant, negative predictor of intended science integration within agriculture curriculum. This research expands the current understanding of leadership, mathematics, and science integration within school-based agricultural education. Additionally, this work pinpoints the need for additional research into the attitudes and subjective norms of secondary agriculture teachers regarding leadership integration, perceived behavioral control integrating mathematics, and the unexpected relationship between self-perceived knowledge of science and the level of science integration intended among secondary agriculture teachers. The need and nature of these potential explorations, along with specific recommendations for practice, are also discussed.
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