Biology in the Agriculture Classroom: A Descriptive Comparative Study.
Agricultural education can take scientific topics to higher levels, emphasize scientific concepts, involve hands-on learning, and develop interrelationships with the other sciences, thus making the living and non-living world around them relevant for students, potentially supporting a STEM curriculum. As such, in 1996, Utah deemed agricultural biology an adequate substitute for general biology in preparing Utah high school students to meet state biology requirements. The appropriateness of that decision was not tested until this 2014 descriptive comparative post-test only analysis of 2008-2012 data from the Utah State Office of Education Data and Statistics. As seen in this study, not only did agricultural biology students tend to score lower than their general biology counterparts, in multiple cases this difference was significant (p ≤ .05), indicating a potential gap within the agricultural biology curriculum. Further, there were cases where Cohen’s d was ≥ .2, indicating at least a small effect size. This suggests that reevaluation is needed to ensure that biology standards taught in agricultural biology classes are better aligned with content tested by the biology portion of the Utah end-of-course core biology test standards.
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