|Abstract or Summary
The purpose of this study was to identify the major contributive
factors affecting enrollment trends in secondary level agricultural
programs in Oregon and California, as perceived by Oregon and
California agricultural instructors and their respective principals.
Methods and Procedures:
A review of the literature revealed three areas that were viewed to
contribute to enrollment fluctuations in secondary agricultural
programs: 1. agricultural economic cycles; 2. an increasing number of
academic requirements for graduation from secondary schools; and 3.
overall quality of agricultural programs.
The instrumentation was a mailed questionnaire, developed using
a panel of experts, which addressed demographic data and program
quality factors. Subjects were randomly selected and the questionnaire
was mailed to teachers and principals from 50 schools in Oregon and
100 schools in California in Fall 1989. In Fall 1994, the study was
replicated and included those schools where both teacher and principal
responded to the 1989 survey. Pearson Correlations, Wilcoxon Matched
Pairs Signed-Ranks Test, Mann-Whitney U Test, One Way Analysis of
Variance, Fishers z-Transformation statistical tests were used to analyze
the data for interpretation.
Findings and Conclusions:
There was a high degree of agreement in 1989 and 1994 between
teachers and principals from both Oregon and California concerning
those factors which consistently ranked highly as positive factors
affecting an increase in agricultural enrollment. These were: 1)
Competent and qualified agricultural instructor; 2) Positive image of the
FFA; 3) Quality agricultural curriculum and course offerings; and 4) A
class schedule that limited conflicts. The 1994 data revealed an
additional factor, parents positive image of agriculture as a good career,
as contributing to enrollment increases.
During times of declining agricultural enrollment, enrollment
increases were slow to respond to program improvement efforts.
Inversely, during times of increasing school enrollment, agricultural
enrollment more readily respond to program improvement.
In general, California teachers and principals tended to agree more
on factors that contribute to quality programs than did Oregon teachers
Oregon and California teachers agreed on the factors that affect
increases and decreases in agricultural enrollment, and while not as
consistent, Oregon and California principals agreed also.