Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department



Dixie J. Torres

Date of this Version

Spring 5-1989


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of 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 research was to identify subject matter areas and specific concepts in home economics which senior high school home economics students consider important. Comparisons were first made between students' perceptions and the perceptions of parents, both economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged. In addition, comparisons were made between students' perceptions of subject matter and specific concepts needed and what home economics teachers perceive is emphasized in their teaching. Questionnaires were mailed to home economics teachers in 22 schools from the six class sizes of schools in economically depressed Nebraska counties. The questionnaire was completed by 174 home economics students. Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which 136 concepts in eight subject matter areas were important for students. Data were analyzed using frequencies, means, analysis of variance, and £ tests, with Tukey-(HSD) follow-up procedures. Significant differences (~<.05) among students of various school sizes existed between Class A and Class C schools in the subject matter areas of Child Development/ Parenting and Basic Employability. Overall conceptual means of subject matter areas indicated that students perceived Child Development/Parenting, Basic Employability, and Family Relationships to be most important to students. Management and Other Processes, Housing/Home Furnishings, Consumer Education, Food and Nutrition, and Clothing and Textiles followed in order of importance for students. These data were compared with data from Johnson's (1986) study of parents' and data from Vance's (1987) study of home economics teachers. Significant differences at the ~<.05 level were found to exist between students and all other groups in the subject matter area of Management and other Processes. Six of the remaining subject matter areas showed significant differences between students and one or more of the other groups. Significant differences between students and one or both groups of parents were found in 89 (65%) of the 136 concepts. Differences between students and teachers occurred in 82 (60%) of the concepts. Teachers, educators and curriculum developers should evaluate curriculum content by considering the perceptions of all groups to better meet the needs of students.