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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1959. Department of Agricultural Education.


Copyright 1968, the author. Used by permission.


With the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, vocational education programs were established throughout the United States and the vocational movement has been experiencing steady growth ever since. The vocational agricultural program, whose primary aim was “to train present and prospective farmers for proficiency in farming,” has experienced the most growth.

Nonetheless, changes in the agricultural industry and their resulting effects on the rural population and the number of schools in Nebraska has raised many questions in the minds of the state’s agricultural educators as they develop and implement programs that will satisfy the occupational needs of rural farm youth.

Several studies have been conducted in Nebraska regarding the occupational status of former high school students. These studies were conducted, however, on a local school basis and did not involve a study of size of high school as it related to occupational status of former graduates.

The primary purpose of this investigation was to determine the relationships of size of high school to occupational factors of Nebraska male farm high school graduates who had graduated from nine to 13 years earlier.

Lists of all Nebraska high schools who had offered an approved program of vocational agriculture during at least one of the academic years 1954 through 1958 were developed according to size of high school. A proportionate sample of 50 percent (69) of these schools was randomly selected for the study.

Lists of all farm-reared male graduates (3192) by year of graduation were obtained from these randomly selected schools, and a 40 percent sample of graduates (1305) in each of the graduating classes was randomly selected to participate in the study. Graduates included in the study were those whose fathers were farming on the day their sons were graduated from high school or who had farmed during most of the time that their sons were in high school. Of the original 1305 graduates, 96 were deleted when they failed to meet the criteria for inclusion in the study. The final sample of respondents numbered 1120; the final response rate was 92.9 percent.

Findings of this study provide valuable information for those engaged in planning useful and meaningful educational programs designed to meet the occupational needs of farm youth. The findings should be of particular value to instructors, state supervisors, and teacher educators of vocational agriculture as well as school administrators and local boards of education.

Advisor: Alan A. Kahler