Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education is much more than just curriculum. In fact, CASE is a system of instructional support for the classroom teacher like no other resource in agricultural education today. The CASE model provides four major areas of support to promote solid classroom instruction using rigorous and relevant lessons to enhance student learning.
The four areas of teacher support include curriculum, professional development, assessment, and certification. Each area contributes to the validity of CASE instructional materials by ensuring that teachers are properly equipped and trained and student learning is clearly accountable. This document will explain the components that define the CASE model.
The call from Perkin’s reform stress that Career and Technology Education (CTE) subject matter should be integrated with science and mathematics while providing a structured sequence of courses. Educational research suggests that student-learning opportunities are enhanced when the instruction provided is rigorous to challenge student thinking and relevant to engage active participation. Considering these aspects of CTE reform, agricultural education is positioned very well to prosper in our current educational system and provide students valuable learning opportunities in agriculture subject matter.
The National Council for Agricultural Education (NCAE) established a long-range goal for Agricultural Education to increase growth and quality of programs. To facilitate the development of quality programs the NCAE identified eight initiatives. The third of eight initiatives calls for the creation of a curriculum model to establish a sequence of agricultural education courses that enhances the delivery of agricultural education.
The CASE project was established to provide a structured sequence of courses, but CASE also serves as a model for elevating the level of rigor and relevance expected for the new vision of agricultural education. Rigor of CASE is validated by the alignment of lessons with national standards for agriculture, science, math, and English language arts.
For connection of relevance with student learners, the CASE curriculum highlights the strengths of experiential learning, the heart and soul of agricultural education, by utilizing activity-, project-, and problem-based instructional strategies. To provide the technical guidance in curriculum development using this approach, the NCAE sought out a partnership with Project Lead the Way, Inc. (PLTW®). A nationally recognized curriculum development organization, PLTW® has successfully designed and implemented courses based on the rigor and relevance philosophy.
Of the many strengths of agricultural education, leadership, experiential learning, and character education are three pillars. CASE does not ignore the three-circle model of agricultural education that represents the efforts of over 80 years of practice. Classroom instruction is enhanced to meet the needs of today’s agriculture students without sacrifice to FFA and SAE instruction. Both FFA and SAE are integral components of CASE as well as E-Moment® connections.
CASE will develop 10 courses for secondary agricultural education programs to offer. The 10 courses are designed to create four Program of Study pathways (Figure1.). A Program of Study pathway prescribes a minimum of four courses to learn and understand the knowledge and skills related to the specific subject matter for pathways of Plant Science, Animal Science, Agricultural Engineering, and Natural Resources.
Figure 1. CASE Sequence of Courses
It is important to note that CASE is not designed to replace traditional agricultural education programs. The goals of CASE are to improve the retention of professional teachers in agriculture and generate interest in districts seeking an alternative model for agricultural education instruction. However, the developers of the CASE curriculum are confident that CASE can provide value to any program in almost any situation. The lessons are pedagogically sound and the teacher support system is truly powerful.