Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type



Agricultural mechanics has become a primary subject area for school-based agricultural education (SBAE). However, despite a long history and high prevalence in SBAE, preservice and in-service SBAE teachers have frequently expressed concerns regarding teaching agricultural mechanics. Research from the early 21st century documented the characteristics of preservice SBAE teacher training in agricultural mechanics on a national level. However, more recent studies have suggested that the agricultural mechanics training requirements for preservice SBAE teachers have changed. The purpose of this study was to compare the level of agricultural mechanics preparation of preservice SBAE teachers between 2000 and 2021. To accomplish this, I modified an instrument used by Burris et collect descriptive data about preservice teacher preparation in agricultural mechanics that was compared to previously published studies. The instrument was distributed to a representative of every institution with an undergraduate SBAE teacher preparation program in the contiguous U.S. Eighty-five respondents provided usable data, constituting an 86.7% response rate. The resulting data was used to describe the participating institutions and the current approaches to SBAE preservice teacher preparation regarding agricultural mechanics. These results were compared to previously published studies from 2000 and 2005. Additionally, faculty’s perceptions of importance and preparation of preservice teachers in 59 agricultural mechanics competencies were used to generate Ranked Discrepancy Scores (RDS) to evaluate perceived areas for training for preservice teachers. A reduction in the average number of required agricultural mechanics credit hours was found. Additionally, faculty’s perceptions of importance and preservice teacher preparation have increased slightly; however, training deficits were found in all 59 competencies. The areas of greatest need focused on technology-based equipment and renewable energy. Further research is warranted to v determine the perceptions of preservice and in-service SBAE teachers regarding agricultural mechanics. I also recommended that teacher educators evaluate their current methods of preparation for preservice SBAE teachers in agricultural mechanics to determine if they have been meeting their students’ needs. Additionally, I recommended professional development in the areas in which the greatest training deficits were reported.

Committee Chair

Blackburn, J. Joey