The goals of this longitudinal study were to 1) identify the demographic profiles of students who attended the 2001 and 2003 Virginia Governor's School for Agriculture (VGSA); 2) identify students' knowledge and perceptions of agriculture before and after attending VGSA; and 3) identify students' perceptions toward current agricultural issues (i.e.biotechnology, animal rights/welfare, the environment, etc.) before and after completing VGSA. Results indicate an increase in the students' knowledge of agriculture after completing the VGSA each year data were collected (2001 and 2003). In addition to an increase in agricultural knowledge, students were more confident in their knowledge as indicated by a decrease in the number of "not sure" answers on the post-test. The class of 2003 differed from those in the 2001 class concerning their perceptions of biotechnology. Students in the 2003 class enrolled in a biotechnology course, unavailable in 2001, which may have altered their perceptions. Students in the class of 2001 also showed a stronger knowledge of general agricultural literacy in comparison to the 2003 class. This may be due to the fact that nearly 50% of the 2001 class had taken an agriculture course(s) versus only 20% of the 2003 class.



Governor's school, student knowledge, perceptions


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