Designing Vocational Education for a Changing World: Teaching Academic Standards Within a Vocational Context

Dr. Mark Balschweid
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This article examined one state's model for creating three new advanced science agricultural education courses. The standards for the three courses in animal science, plant science, and food science were developed by biology professors, chemistry professors, plant geneticists, animal scientists, business and industry representatives and high school agricultural science and business teachers. In addition, an external review was conducted by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology that benchmarked the standards that were developed to the best in the United States. Once completed, the standards were then placed on the Indiana Department of Education website for review and comment by the general public and others with an interest in agricultural education. Upon final synthesis of all recommendations, the three courses' standards were approved by the State Board of Education and the State's Commission for Higher Education. The courses are now accepted as advanced science credit for graduation from high school, including the honors diploma option, and will be accepted as advanced science credit at the state's public institutions for higher education. These courses are the first vocational education courses proposed and considered for such distinction.

Keywords: Integration of Academic and Vocational Curriculum, Learning in Context, Contextual Teaching and Learning
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Designing Vocational Education for a Changing World

Dr. Mark Balschweid

Associate Professor of Agricultural Education, Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education College of Agriculture , Purdue University

Professor Balschweid currently directs the Agricultural Standards Project involving several Indiana universities, major agri-businesses, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) and the Indiana Department of Education. The purpose of the project is the development of three advanced agricultural science courses that align with state Science standards allowing high school students to receive advanced science credit for high school graduation and university entrance. Balschweid's responsibilities as project director are to direct the development, review, assessment, and adoption of these courses and the corresponding teacher development. Professor Balschweid currently conducts research in the area of integrating science into the agriculture curriculum at the secondary school level, and examining the barriers that prevent collaboration between secondary agricultural science and business teachers and science teachers. This is important to the agricultural education profession as it addresses a fundamental, systemic approach to agricultural education. He is also pursuing scholarly projects in the area of agricultural literacy and youth development as support for his teaching efforts in the area of agricultural education for all students. Professor Balschweid also conducts research in coordination with his Ph. D. and Master's Thesis students. These projects are focused on improving the delivery of agricultural specific content to the general public through evaluation and assessment of existing content material or through the development and delivery of new knowledge. In addition, Balschweid is interested in determining the impact that applied science has upon student perceptions of science and agriculture and the impact of agricultural science and business coursework on student scores on state standardized tests of science proficiency. Balschweid is also engaged in a line of inquiry looking at how teachers collaborate with other teachers and why some teachers are able to overcome the barriers of collaboration effectively.

Ref: L05P0153