2016 RFP for FFA Research
PRIORITY 1: MAKING FFA ACCESSIBLE, DIVERSE, AND INCLUSIVE
Membership in the National FFA Organization continues to grow across the country, despite economic trials, a shortage of agricultural educators, and reduced educational budgets. However, even with nearly 600,000 FFA members, it is estimated that more than 400,000 students enrolled in agricultural education are not members of FFA. As a result, these students are not receiving the benefits of a complete program that includes agricultural instruction, experiential learning, and leadership development. It is imperative that barriers be removed in order to engage all young people enrolled in agricultural education in the National FFA Organization's mission of developing premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. Aligned with this issue is the diversity and inclusiveness of FFA. It is a sincere desire that all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity or special needs, seek to participate in all facets of the organization. Our areas of scientific focus should:
- Identify demographic trends and gaps in student participation in FFA programs.
- Identify student interests and needs that FFA programs, products, and services fail to meet.
- Determine the degree of inclusiveness in current national FFA programs.
- Inclusiveness research must increase the understanding of various stakeholder needs.
- Design and test FFA programs that appeal to urban and underserved students.
- Examine vibrant, resilient FFA chapters that encourage membership among all demographic groups, regardless of location.
- Identify geographic "dead spots" where no agricultural education program/FFA chapter exists, but students express interest in enrolling and joining.
- Design and test marketing and communication instruments for the creation of agricultural education programs/FFA chapters in geographic "dead spots."
PRIORITY 2: SKILL ATTAINMENT THROUGH FFA ENGAGEMENT
The National FFA Organization is a product of and operates within the confines of instructional institutions. As a result, member performance is measured by a variety of educational instruments. It is imperative that those same instruments be used to demonstrate the impact of FFA engagement on academic and experiential learning outcomes, as well as career success. Utilizing existing educational instruments that measure performance will provide a common language, allowing advocates for agricultural education and FFA to use familiar terms when addressing parents, school administrators, and legislators. Our areas of scientific focus should:
- Examine how FFA programs and events capture and translate employability skills.
- Determine how engagement with FFA programs, products, and services impact academic performance, behavioral outcomes, school attendance, graduation rate, and other educational measurements.
- Examine the degree of academic rigor that exists in FFA programs and events.
- Validate skill attainment enhanced by FFA programs and events.
- Examine the experiential nature of FFA programs and events.
- Examine the degree of technical skill attainment by participants in FFA programs and events.
- Examine the degree of soft skill/21st Century Skill attainment by participants in FFA programs and events.
PRIORITY 3: IMPACT OF FFA ENGAGEMENT
In an era of data-driven decision making, FFA finds itself in need of statistical evidence to support its impact on student success. While the immediacy of skill attainment is addressed in Priority 2, there is a need to understand the long-term impact of student engagement in FFA. Our scientific focus should:
- Examine FFA participation impact on member career choices.
Determine the social and economic impact of membership on FFA members.
- Examine the career success continuum that exists as members move from secondary instruction through post-secondary training into careers and alumni affiliation
- Identify the social impact of local FFA chapters and alumni affiliates on their school and community.
- Deepen our understanding of the longitudinal impact of participation in FFA programs and events.
- Determine the economic impact of FFA members on their communities.
PRIORITY 4: DELIVERY OF FFA PROGRAMS, PRODUCTS, AND SERVICES
Staff at the National FFA Organization dedicate their daily work to delivering FFA programs, products, and services to stakeholders. Always looking for the best ways to do that, efforts are made to remain current with formal and informal delivery systems, tools, and resources. Our scientific focus should:
- Examine transfer of knowledge from national FFA programs and events from participants to non- participants.
- Examine vibrant, resilient FFA chapters operating in alternative educational settings (i.e., private, parochial, home school, virtual).
- Demonstrate the effective engagement of all students through the FFA chapter affiliation program.
- Examine vibrant, resilient FFA Alumni affiliates and state associations for replicable strategies.
- Create tools and resources that effectively recruit FFA members, engage all students, and tell the story of agricultural education and FFA opportunities.
- Evaluate the potential of electronic and digital media for delivery of FFA programs and events.
- Demonstrate the impact of the Agricultural Career Network on member engagement and achievement in FFA.
PRIORITY 5: EVALUATION OF FFA PROGRAMS, PRODUCTS, AND SERVICES
Staff at the National FFA Organization are committed and personally invested in ensuring that every program, product, and service meets the needs of stakeholders. The National FFA Organization values feedback from stakeholders, evidenced by the 68 questionnaires that are administered at all levels of involvement for every program, product, and service. With this volume comes a degree of inconsistency and difficulty in sharing results across the organization. Coupled with an increased demand that FFA address industry and academic standards, it is apparent that FFA must develop a system of program evaluation. Our areas of scientific focus should:
- Determine the degree to which all FFA programs, products, and services align with the FFA mission and vision statements.
- Determine the degree to which all FFA program objectives align with desired learning outcomes.
- Examine the role of appropriate business and industry standards in the creation and administration of FFA programs, products, and services.
- Examine the effectiveness of the "train the trainer," Delta and Omega models for implementation and sustaining FFA programs.
- Examine FFA programs for their impact on learning styles, emotional intelligences, and cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning outcomes.
- Deepen our understanding of the continuity and continuum of leadership development across FFA programs.