An Investigation of Soft Skill Development of California Agricultural Education Students Particpating in an FFA Career Development Event
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This research project is a descriptive study of Santa Barbara Section Future Farmers of America (FFA) members. The findings in this study determined: 1) soft skills are included in the Foundation Standards for the California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum. 2) FFA members obtained soft skills in agriculture courses in the Santa Barbara Section FFA. 3) FFA members who competed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Contest gained more soft skills than those who did not compete. 4) FFA members showed overall improved soft skill scores from freshman to senior years. The researcher used the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ-H) Soft Skills Assessment instrument to measure soft skill development by surveying FFA members before and after the Santa Barbara FFA Section Opening and Closing Ceremonies Contest. In total, 303 FFA members participated in the soft skills survey. Of these, 164 FFA members from five high schools within the Santa Barbara FFA Section completed pre- and post-surveys. The researcher identified two groups of students based on their participation in the CDE event, those who did not participate (Group one) and those who did participate (Group two). While completing the LEQ-H Survey, students ranked their soft skills on a scale of one to eight, with one being low and eight being high. The soft skills measured included social competence, time management, achievement motivation, active initiative, self-confidence, emotional control, intellectual flexibility, and task leadership. The descriptive analysis resulted in a mean increase in soft skills for students not competing in the contest, indicating that students enrolled in agriculture courses did acquire soft skills. The research analysis resulted in a mean increase in soft skills for students who competed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Contest, compared to those who did not compete, indicating that the career development events had a substantial impact in the overall gain in soft skills. Paired Sample t-Tests (p< .05) for Group One determined that significant changes occurred in three soft skills: time management, task leadership, and emotional control. Meanwhile, Group Two determined that significant changes occurred in six soft skills: time management, social competence, intellectual flexibility, emotional control, active initiative, and self-confidence.
Freeman, Sharon Marie (2017). An Investigation of Soft Skill Development of California Agricultural Education Students Particpating in an FFA Career Development Event. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from