Norris, S. L., Murphrey, T. P., & Leggette, H. R. (2019). Do they believe they can communicate? Assessing college students' perceived ability to communicate about agricultural sciences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(4), 53-70. doi: 10.5032/jae.2019.04053

Meeting the demands of a proficient scientific workforce depends on students’ communication skill preparation. To describe students’ self-perceptions of their communication skills, we surveyed 315 students in Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Participants noted they were most proficient in their ability to listen effectively and least proficient in asking effective questions. Each communication skill characteristic showed a statistically significant difference before and after college engagement, but we found no statistically significant difference in the overall communication scores of students. Therefore, we recommend: 1) interviewing employers to understand their perceptions of entry-level employees; 2) investigating when students transition from false sense of confidence to actual confidence; 3) conducting a longitudinal study to investigate students’ perceptions of communication skills throughout their college experience; 4) evaluating faculty’s communication
teaching methods across disciplines; and 5) investigating the influence of self-reflection on students’ attained communication skills. Conducting such studies could lead to stronger connections between the academy and the industry, especially as faculty strive to align their teaching with needs of the industry.

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