Evaluating the Beef Quality Assurance Certification Program as Part of the Virginia High School Agriculture Curriculum
Farley, Sarah L.
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This study explores the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification program in the Virginia secondary agriculture curriculum. The purpose of the evaluation was to gain insights from teachers about their awareness of the BQA program, use of the program in their agriculture curriculum, resource preferences to use with the program, and student BQA certification practices. The explanatory sequential mixed methods research design was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data in the form of an online survey and follow-up phone interviews. In a population of 227 agriculture education teachers, 31 participants completed the online survey and ten follow-up phone interviews were conducted. The results indicate that there is a high awareness of the BQA certification program among those who teach an animal science curriculum. Teachers are integrating the producer BQA program into their CTE course curriculum and making modifications to enhance student engagement and learning experience. Students are most engaged in hands-on learning activities like the chute-side component and injection practices. Virginia Cooperative Extension agent support is valued in the process for planning and implementation. The most challenging components of the program are scheduling time for the chute-side component, overcoming student learning curves in non-traditional programs, and adversity from school administration. In summary, the producer BQA certification program is an essential component to the Virginia secondary agriculture curriculum.