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Demographics of an Undergraduate Animal Sciences Course and the Influence of Gender and Major on Course Performance

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Abstract:

Over a period of three 10 week quarters, students enrolled in an introductory animal sciences course were evaluated with the objectives of identifying demographic variables of the student population and their relation to performance, factors associated with enrollment, and interest areas in animal sciences. The findings showed that the majority of participants were female and classified as animal sciences majors. Veterinary medicine was a career objective of 59% of the students, while less than 5% indicated an interest in pursuing a career engaged in food animal production. Companion animals (dogs and cats) represented the species interest of nearly 50% of the students, followed by equine at 24%. Food producing animals (cattle, goats, poultry, sheep, and swine) represented the primary interests of only 20% of students; however, 43% indicated that cattle was the most beneficial species learned and reported lack of prior knowledge (27%) as a primary reason for the selection. Students perceived nutrition as the most valuable discipline learned, followed by reproduction and behavior. There were no differences in overall course performance between male and female students or animal sciences and non-agriculture majors; however, the mean cumulative course grade was lower for agriculture majors excluding animal sciences (P<0.05).

 

Keywords:

demographic variables, student performance, enrollment, interest areas in animal science

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