Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department



Kendra L. Vance

Date of this Version

Fall 8-1987


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College in the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science Major: Interdepartmental Area of Home Economics Under the Supervision of Julie M. Johnson


The purpose of this study was to determine what home economics teachers perceive they are teaching and compare their perceptions with what parents and social service agency representatives in economically depressed counties perceived students should be taught. In 1986, Johnson determined parents' and social service agency representatives' perceptions of the importance of home economics concepts for high school students. In March 1987, a questionnaire, adapted from Johnson's Nebraska Home Economics Needs Assessment questionnaire, was mailed to 50 high school home economics teachers from 41 economically depressed counties throughout Nebraska. Half of the teachers (project teachers) had assisted in data collection for Johnson's study. Non-project teachers had not been involved in Johnson's study. Forty-five usable questionnaires were returned for a 901. response rate. Respondents were asked, using a Likert-type scale, to indicate the extent to which 136 specific concepts in eight subject matter areas were included in curriculum. Data were analyzed using frequency distributions, means, and analysis of variance with Tukey-Honestly Significant Difference follow-up procedures. No significant differences were found between perceptions of project and non-project teachers at the R<.05 level. Overall conceptual means of subject matter areas indicated that Child Development and Parenting and Management and Other Processes received the greatest emphasis in the classroom. Consumer Education, Basic Employability Skills, and Housing and Home Furnishings were' least emphasized. These data were compared with data from Johnson's study of parents' and agency representatives' perceptions of what should be taught. Significant differences at the R<.05 level were found between teachers and parents for 93 concepts and six subject matter areas. Significant differences were found between teachers and all other groups for Basic Employability Skills and Clothing and Textiles. Teachers should evaluate curriculum content and consider making recommended revisions to better meet parents' and agency representatives' perceptions of the needs of students. Additional research should be done to determine the students' perceived needs relative to the home economics discipline.