Secondary Agriculture Educators' Perceptions of the Importance and Capability of Teaching Agricultural Food Science
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Throughout the last decade, numerous research reports have highlighted the importance of food science and its critical role in maintaining the nation's food supply (Marsh & Bugusu, 2007). Though this is an important trend across the nation, Food and Meat Science is not mandated as a curriculum in secondary education. It is, however, discussed as a set of skills taught through certain classes in the state of Texas agricultural science courses. In 2016, the Texas Education Agency introduced a new certification domain known as "Food Science and Processing." The problem is that a pre-service teacher is not required to complete a food science course. The courses that are offered in meat and/or food science are voluntary. Therefore, students who are studying to obtain an agricultural teaching certification are not well trained in areas of food science. In this study the researchers sought to identify the importance and ability levels perceived by agriculture educators of selected skills associated with Food Science. The following research objectives were used to fulfill the purpose of this study: (1) to describe the demographic characteristics of participating agriculture educators, (2) to describe the importance of selected agriculture food science content areas as perceived by secondary educators, (3) to describe the perceived capability of secondary agricultural educators to teach agricultural food science content areas, and (4) to determine the discrepancy between the importance of agricultural food science content areas and the capability to teach agricultural food science areas as perceived by secondary agricultural educators. Results from the research indicated that a majority of the agricultural educators needed professional development in all six Food Science constructs. Most importantly, the research found that professional development was highly needed in the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) construct.