Supervisory practices in non-formal educational settings as perceived by agricultural education teachers: A national study

Paulsen, Thomas
Major Professor
Robert A. Martin
Committee Member
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Agricultural Education and Studies

Student achievement in the United States is receiving increased scrutiny, placing higher levels of accountability upon the classroom teacher. Instructional supervisors responsible for the supervision of teachers have also felt added pressure to maintain student achievement at levels consistent with state and national mandates. Instructional supervisors use formalized supervision of instruction in traditional classroom settings to guide teachers in increasing student achievement. High school agricultural education utilizes a three-pronged model for program implementation that includes SAE and FFA. Agricultural education teachers should initiate activities that encourage collaborative supervision in the non-formal components of the program to help improve student achievement.

This descriptive study determined the relative importance of ten general instructional supervision beliefs, the importance of 28 selected supervisory practices, and the frequency in which the 28 selected supervisory practices were experienced by teachers in the non-formal educational settings of the agricultural education program. A disproportionate stratified random sample of 700 agricultural education teachers was drawn from state groupings stratified by FFA membership. An electronic questionnaire was used to collect the data through Survey Monkey. Findings were obtained from the responses of 234 agricultural education teachers from 17 states. Independent samples t-tests and analysis of variance were used to determine differences in perceptions based upon demographic characteristics. The average respondent was male, 42 years of age, held a bachelor's degree and had taught nearly 15 years. Respondents believed that supervision is more art than science, should be collaborative, and used in all teachable moments for the improvement of student learning. They also believed that their high school principals should support and provide resources for their work in non-formal educational settings.

Of the 28 selected supervision practices, agricultural education teachers perceived experiencing 14 items as occurring sometimes, 13 rarely, and one item as never experienced. No items were perceived as being experienced often or always.

It was recommended that teachers initiate key activities that influence their principal to develop collaborative instructional supervision in non-formal educational settings. Based on the findings of this study, a framework to enhance instructional supervision in the non-formal educational settings of the agricultural education program was proposed.