Factors Identifying the Use of Agricultural Mechanics Projects as a SAE in Texas



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The purpose of this study was to determine why agricultural science teachers do not consider all agricultural mechanics projects to be a supervised agricultural experience (SAE). This descriptive study was conducted using survey and modified Delphi methods. Agricultural science teachers who had an agricultural mechanics project at one or more of four selected agricultural mechanics shows were used as the population. The sample was purposive in nature, so all teachers were surveyed (N=324). A response rate of 45.1% (n=146) was achieved on the first round of the study. The second and third rounds of the modified Delphi portion of the study had response rates of 63.0% (N=146, n=92) and 51.1% (N=92, n=47) respectively.

According to the findings of this study, teachers reported their programs constructed 3,567 agricultural mechanics projects. Of these, 1,691 projects were considered SAEs, whether they were group projects or built by a single student. The modified Delphi portion of this study was conducted to establish a consensus among the panel for reasons why agricultural mechanics projects are not considered SAEs. By the third round of the study, no response to this question reached the level of consensus set a priori. Reasons for this may have been because of the large panel size or broad range of responses for why agricultural mechanics projects are not considered SAEs. Some of the top reasons reported based on highest mean score were lack of student interest in awards and record keeping, project was built by a group of students, and project was funded by others.

Recommendations for practice included providing professional development for agricultural science teachers in the area of group projects and their use as a SAE. Further areas to address would be how to enter these projects in a record keeping system, how to classify the SAE, and how to handle different sources of funding when considering agricultural mechanics projects as SAEs. It is recommended that further research be conducted across the nation to see if or how other states include agricultural mechanics projects as SAEs.