Wells, T., Hainline, M., Smalley, S., Chumbley, S. (2021). School-based agricultural education teachers’ experiences during a year-long field test of the CASE mechanical systems in agriculture (MSA) curriculum. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(1), 312-330. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.01312

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) applications have become increasingly
more commonplace in school-based agricultural education (SBAE) settings in the past few decades.
In recent years, Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) programming has provided
a practical outlet for STEM-focused, inquiry-based teaching and learning activities. The CASE
Mechanical Systems in Agriculture (MSA) course was recently field-tested nationally with several
SBAE teachers. Framed within Rogers’ (2003) diffusion of innovations theory, we sought to study
six teachers’ experiences when implementing the CASE MSA curriculum throughout the 2018-2019
academic year. Using qualitative research methods, we conducted multiple one-on-one interviews
with each SBAE teacher at different parts of their respective academic years. Data were coded in
accordance with Merriam’s (2009) recommendations. Four dominant themes emerged: (1) the
journey toward innovation; (2) learning as you go; (3) logistical and implementation challenges;
and (4) students’ needs and preferences. Several prominent sub-themes emerged as well. Our
findings highlight that although challenges existed, the CASE MSA curriculum was suitable for
enhancing the rigor and relevance of these teachers’ agricultural mechanics curricula. We
recommend CASE MSA curriculum stakeholders collaborate to continuously improve its design
and flexibility.

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