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NOW REQUIRED: Legislation passed in Iowa in 2016 and signed into law by former Gov. Terry Branstad requires standards be set for high school ag education programs in the state.

New standards set for ag education

Iowa council wants to ensure quality content is taught in ag classes across the state.

Recent legislation H.F. 2392 that was passed in 2016 requires that career and technical education programs have approved standards in place for their program. This recommendation from the council will help solidify those standards of a quality agricultural education program.

The Iowa Council on Ag Education reviewed the standards and voted to adopt them as the baseline for agricultural programs in Iowa high schools.

The council is seeking to ensure quality agriculture content is being taught in ag education classes across Iowa. That’s according to a press release issued by the council on Feb. 12. The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource (AFNR) Career Cluster Content standards were developed by the National Council for Agricultural Education, also known as Team Ag Ed, in 2015.

The AFNR Career Cluster Content Standards were originally developed as part of the 2003 U.S. Department of Education Career Clusters Project. In 2009, The Iowa Council on Ag Education first reviewed and revised the content standards. The 2015 revision focused on ensuring that the content standards reflect essential and up-to-date knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for early-career success in a variety of AFNR disciplines.

Review process began in 2014
Reviewers ensured that the standards provide a sound basis upon which to design AFNR-related Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and develop end-of-course assessments to measure students’ attainment of essential disciplinary knowledge and skills.

The multistage review and revision process began in 2014 and was informed by input and guidance from more than 270 secondary and post-secondary educators, business, industry and state leaders in career and technical education.

The Iowa Council on Agricultural Education is a bipartisan effort that is charged to review, develop and recommend standards for secondary and postsecondary ag education in Iowa. Taking advantage of the work from the national organization, the Iowa Council on Agricultural Education reviewed the standards and voted to adopt them as the baseline for agricultural programs in Iowa high schools.

“Some Iowa teachers are already using these standards and piloting them,” says the council’s chairman, Will Fett. “They are cross-walked with other career and technical education content standards which makes them very versatile. They are detailed to provide teachers good direction, but still allow for teacher flexibility with their local program and curriculum offerings.”

The new standards can be viewed online.

Agriculture education is offered in 232 high schools across Iowa. Ag education employs a three-component model to deliver teaching through classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience programs, and leadership development through FFA. Students who take an ag education class are eligible to join FFA. There are more than 14,000 FFA members in Iowa.

Source: Iowa Council on Ag Education

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