Attitudes toward and utilization of cognitive skill development among agricultural education faculty in the United States

Jones, Rose
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The study's objectives were to determine the attitudes of agricultural education professors toward cognitive skill development and the frequency in which they use cognitive skill development techniques within their college classes. Sources of course goals were also prioritized and demographic data were collected;The study's population was 319 agricultural education faculty from which a random sample of 176 was drawn. There was a 78.9 percent response rate;A four-part questionnaire was used with validity established through the literature and a faculty review panel. The "Certainty Method of Response" was used to measure both attitude and utilization with reliabilities of 0.73 and 0.78, respectively. Five goal sources were prioritized. Demographic variables included: responsibility areas, level of teaching responsibility, percentage of budgeted time for teaching, research administration, and other, professional rank, courses taught, specialization areas, average class size, class homogeneity, years of college and high school teaching. A composite score was computed for both the attitude and utilization responses with item analysis also included. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analysis;Major findings were: (1) Agricultural education professors held a positive attitude toward cognitive skill development with those teaching primarily at the graduate level having a higher attitude score than those primarily teaching at the undergraduate level. (2) Agricultural education professors were also frequently using cognitive skill development techniques within their classes, with professors teaching mainly at the graduate level using the techniques more frequently than those mainly teaching at the undergraduate level. (3) Higher attitude and use scores existed among professors who specialized and/or taught in the following areas as opposed to those who did not: supervision and administration, teaching methods, guidance, program planning, and curriculum. (4) When setting course goals, professors gave prime consideration to technical competencies and skills. They were least concerned about societal needs.