Examining Differences in Noncognitive Skills for State-Level Career Development and Leadership Development Event Participants


  • Kasee L. Smith University of Idaho
  • Bishal Thapa University of Idaho




noncognitive skills, soft-skills, CDE, LDE, grit, optimism, career development events


Educators are increasingly pressured to include experiences for students which will help develop noncognitive skills. Noncognitive skills lie outside of the physiological ability to process information and encompass adjacent concepts including soft-skills, 21st century skills, or employability skills. Grit, optimism, and self-efficacy are three noncognitive skills which overlap substantially with the three-component model for agricultural education. In agricultural education, Career and Leadership Development Events (CDE/LDE) allow students to work persistently toward a task and develop expectations for ability to perform and outcomes of the competitive event along with other actions researchers have concluded can help build noncognitive skills in adolescents. This study was designed to describe the grit, optimism, and self-efficacy of CDE & LDE competitors in Idaho and determine if differences exist between students who performed at the gold-rank level, and those who did not receive a gold ranking in their respective events. This study was a census of all students (N = 413) who competed at a CDE or LDE at the 2018 Idaho Leadership Development Conference. Results of independent samples t-tests revealed differences between both grit and self-efficacy scores of participants based on ranking and differences in self-efficacy based on event type. The conclusions drawn from this study allow us to recommend areas for continued examination related to noncognitive skills in agricultural education, and practical solutions for agricultural educators to enhance noncognitive skills in their classrooms.


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How to Cite

Smith, K. L., & Thapa, B. (2022). Examining Differences in Noncognitive Skills for State-Level Career Development and Leadership Development Event Participants. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(2), 251–265. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2022.02251




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