McKim, A. J., Velez, J. J., & Sorensen, T. J. (2018). A national analysis of school-based agricultural education involvement, graduation, STEM achievement, and income. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 70-85.


The progression of research on school-based agricultural education (SBAE) has been limited, in part, due to a lack of nationwide, student data detailing the effectiveness of SBAE. Using an ecological systems perspective, the relationships between SBAE enrollment, graduation rates, postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievement, and income were explored using data from a nation-wide, longitudinal study conducted from 2002 to 2012. Results indicate SBAE students were more likely to be male, white, and have a lower socio-economic status than students not enrolled in SBAE. With regard to graduation rates, SBAE enrollment was a statistically significant, positive predictor of high school graduation. In fact, students enrolled in SBAE were 1.16 times more likely to graduate high school than students not enrolled in SBAE. In the analysis of STEM achievement, SBAE enrollment was a statistically significant, negative predictor of postsecondary science, math, and overall STEM GPA. With regard to income, each additional Carnegie unit of SBAE was related to $1,850.67 more annual income for high school graduates and $457.40 more annual income for postsecondary graduates. Findings are discussed in relation to the ecological systems theory, with an emphasis on recommendations for research and practice.

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