A Survey Assessing Interpersonal, Academic, and Employability Skills Associated with Participation on an Agriculturally-Based Competitive Team


May 2023

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While several studies have assessed the skills produced by competing on agriculture-related judging teams, there are limited published reports assessing these same skills by students on other agriculture competitive teams (Rodeo, Equestrian, Ranch horse). The current study surveyed students across the United States using a 5-point Likert-Type scale to assess interpersonal, academic, and employability skills after participation on collegiate judging (Horse, Meat, Livestock), performance-type (Equestrian, Rodeo, Ranch/Stock), or both teams. The survey was sent to coaches of active teams at 4-yr universities and completed by students (n = 238) at the end of their team’s respective seasons. This study assessed 17 interpersonal, 14 academic, and 19 employability skills, which were previously identified by competitive team alumni in a Delphi Study. Participants were asked to self-assess interpersonal skills pre and post participation, and the means were compared using a paired t-test. Post-participation data from self-assessment of interpersonal, academic and employability skills by members of judging, performance-type, or both teams was analyzed using a one-way ANOVA. Significance was declared at P= 0.05. There was enhancement of interpersonal skills (P = 0.024), academic skills (P= <0.001) and employability skills (P= <0.001) between teams. A Chi-Square was performed for each skill or factor crossed with the type of team on which a student chose to participate. In the interpersonal category (P< 0.045) content knowledge, decision making, memory, networking, and public speaking were all deemed significant. In the academic category (P< 0.045), content knowledge, efficiency, motivation, structure, and test taking ability were deemed significant. Finally, in the employability category, communication skills, confidence, decision making, experience, learned skills/knowledge, multi-tasking, personal drive, and problem solving were all deemed significant (P< 0.043). Students who engaged in agriculturally-based competitive teams enhanced their skills regardless of their chosen team. However, some interpersonal, academic, and employability skills were significantly different between judging and performance competitors.



Agriculture, Education


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