Industry Certification of Agricultural Education Programs

Georgia Department of Education

State Superintendent of Schools




Industry Certification
of Agricultural Education Programs

Purpose


The purpose of the Agriculture Education Industry Certification Program is to promote high quality instruction by raising standards through business and industry review. Certified programs help assure that graduates meet their educational and occupational goals through a strong, comprehensive curriculum based on industry standards. The certification process is an opportunity to improve all aspects of the program with assistance from agricultural industry professionals. Certified programs should be better able to prepare students for employment in the agriculture industry and/or to encourage them to pursue degrees at post-secondary schools and colleges.


Standards


The standards for establishing a program as “industry certified” were developed and validated through a statewide committee of agribusiness leaders. The standards provide a framework for program evaluation and improvement.

  • Standards establish benchmarks for best teaching practices.
  • Standards identify what the teacher should know and be able to do. They address mastery of subject matter, theories of student development and learning, and knowledge of instructional delivery and assessment.
  • Standards emphasize the importance of preparing students for lifelong learning and facilitate their transition from school to careers or higher education.
  • Standards provide assurances that program graduates have achieved predetermined competencies and skills.
  • Standards provide a guide for continuous program improvement.
  • Standards assure adequate program facilities, equipment, and materials.
  • Standards promote the reinforcement of academic skills through application.
  • Standards assure that students have the benefit of a complete agricultural education program: classroom/laboratory instruction, leadership training through FFA, and Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs (SAEP).


Guidelines


  • Certification by Specialty Area: A school may apply for certification in one or more of the six agriculture specialty areas:

Agribusiness
Agriscience
Ag Mechanics
Animal Science
Forestry
Horticulture



  • Three Steps to Certification: The Industry Certification process consists of three phases: initial application and training, self-evaluation and on-site evaluation.

  • Evaluation Instrument: The evaluation instrument is divided into six areas for review: Performance Indicators, Instruction, Instructional Staff, Administration, Facilities and Equipment, and Requirements by Specialty Area.

  • Financial Assistance: Financial assistance, when available will be prorated among schools based on the number of Carnegie Units offered in programs. Contact the State Director of Agricultural Education for details.

  • Testing: A certification exam will be administrated to students in certified programs. The testing program will be a part of the certification and re-certification process.

  • Teacher Testing: Teachers applying for industry certification will demonstrate knowledge and skills needed to successfully conduct the program by passing a state administered examination in each area of certification.

  • Equipment: A suggested and required equipment list for each area of certification will be provided.

  • On-Site Evaluation: The schedule of the on-site evaluation should be designed to complete the process within two hours.


Procedures


1. Certification Inquiries
Inquiries concerning Industry certification should be made to the Regional Coordinator of Agricultural Education. The Agricultural Industry Certification Guide will be forwarded to the school along with information on the industry certification workshop.

2. Certification Workshop
A workshop will be conducted to assist teachers in preparation for the certification process. All teachers who plan to go through the evaluation process during the next year must attend.

3. Documentation
The teacher prepares documentation for each standard as outlined in the Agricultural Industry Certification Guide. Documentation should be organized so that it is easy to follow and review.

4. Self-Evaluation
Local school personnel should conduct a self-evaluation to determine and correct program deficiencies prior to the on-site evaluation. See the Agricultural Industry Certification Guide for a complete explanation. School personnel may want to invite the ETL to participate in the self-evaluation.

5. Application for Certification
If the self-evaluation team finds that the program meets the industry certification standards, an application for on-site evaluation should be submitted to the Regional Coordinator.

6. Testing
Effectiveness of the program will be measured, in part, by the performance of students in a statewide testing program. Teacher competence in the area of certification will be evaluated using an industry-validated examination administered by the Georgia Department of Education.

7. Coordination of the On-Site Evaluation Team
The Regional Coordinator will appoint an Evaluation Team Leader (ETL) from the Department of Education staff and an agribusiness person from the state level. The ETL and Regional Coordinator will work with the local school system to establish the industry on-site evaluation team and to plan an evaluation date and schedule.

8. Review and Recommendation
Using the industry certification guide, the on-site evaluation team will determine if the program meets each standard and quality factor. The evaluation team will make one of the following recommendations:

(1) The program is recommended for certification.
(2) The program is recommended for certification contingent upon correction of deficiencies as specified.
(3) The program is not recommended for certification.

9. Program Recognition
The Regional Coordinator will arrange for appropriate recognition of certified programs.

10. Maintaining Certification
All certified programs must be reviewed annually. Once a school is awarded certification, the school may remain certified for five years without another on-site visit provided that the teacher completes the re-certification checklist annually and sends the completed document to the Regional Coordinator and the program standards continue to be met.



Timeline for Industry Certification




Task/Activity

Date



Attend the Summer Industry Certification Workshop

July

Review the industry certification guide, remedy deficiencies, and compile documentation

August – October

Conduct a self-evaluation with a team of school administrators, faculty members and advisory committee members

October

Implement program improvements as identified by the self-evaluation

October- December

Work with the ETL. Host a pre-visit meeting to review documentation prior to the on-site evaluation

December-January

Submit an application for on-site evaluation to the Regional Coordinator

December-January

Work with the ETL to plan an on-site evaluation details

January

Host the on-site evaluation

February-March

Correct deficiencies and address concerns from the on-site evaluation team findings

March

Host follow-up meetings with the ETL as needed

March

Complete the re-certification form annually and send to the Regional Coordinator

July



Responsibilities


State Committee

  • Review and validate curriculum.
  • Review and make recommendations for industry certification guidelines.
  • Review and make recommendations for equipment and facilities.
  • Endorse the Agricultural Education Industry Certification Program.
  • Provide assistance in securing funding for the Industry Certification Program.
  • Provide assistance in securing industry personnel participation in on-site evaluations.


Evaluation Team Leader (ETL)
  • Work with the local school to assure proper preparation for the on-site evaluation.
  • Review all documentation prepared for the on-site review.
  • Set the on-site review dates in coordination with the agriculture teacher and Regional Coordinator.
  • Coordinate the on-site evaluation.
  • Assign each team member a section of the industry certification review on which to concentrate during the evaluation
  • Provide each team member with copies of the evaluation documents.
  • Ensure that the team report is completed in a detailed and accurate manner.
  • Conduct the exit conference and prepare the final report.


On-Site Evaluation Team

  • Use the Agricultural Industry Certification Guide to determine the program’s compliance with certification standards.
  • Review program documentation.
  • Review and make recommendations for program facilities, equipment, and curriculum resources.
  • Interview students, administrators, teachers, counselors, advisory committee members, etc.
  • Cooperate with team members to write an on-site evaluation report.


Agenda for On-Site Evaluation


During the on-site evaluation visit, the team will initially meet with the teacher and school administrators for orientation and a program overview. The team leader should be sure that time is allocated to each agenda item to assure that the evaluation process can be completed within two hours. Additional time may be needed for the exit review with school personnel. The suggested agenda includes:


  • Introduction of all team members and school personnel by the team leader and agriculture teacher.
  • Welcome by school administrators.
  • Orientation to the certification review process by the team leader (ETL).
  • Description of the agriculture curriculum and resources by the agriculture teacher.
  • Tour of the agriculture facilities by the agriculture teacher.
  • Review of program documentation (standards may be divided among team members).
  • Detailed review of curriculum, facilities and equipment.
  • Interviews with students, teacher and administrators as necessary.
  • Team members discuss findings and formulate a report.
  • Team conducts exit review with teacher and administrators.



Frequently Asked Questions


How can I learn more about Industry Certification?
The Agricultural Industry Certification Guide is included on the Agricultural Education Resource and Reference CD or you may obtain a copy from the region Agricultural Education office. The Regional Coordinator will be able to answer questions concerning industry certification.

Why is a competency test required for the teacher?
A competency exam will assure that the teacher in a certified program is technically competent and up-to-date.

Can my school be certified in more than one area?
Yes. It is expected that most schools will want to become certified in more than one area. However, resources must be provided and the course sequence appropriate for each area must be followed. More than three areas of certification with one teacher is not recommended.

Can my school become certified if it is a newly established program?
No. Certification is for established programs. Plans to fulfill requirements for certification do not meet standards.

Is there a minimum equipment and facility requirement?
Yes. The Regional Coordinator can provide a list of equipment and facilities required for certification. The lists are divided into two sections – required and recommended. To ensure quality instruction, schools are encouraged to provide more than the minimum equipment necessary for certification.

Who can assist my school in preparing for Industry Certification?
The Agriculture Education personnel in the region offices as well as state-level DOE employees will be glad to assist you with the industry certification program.

Does the agriculture teacher have to participate in the certification workshop to become certified?
Yes. It is advantageous to the teacher to participate. The workshop will prepare the teacher to evaluate and improve their program as well as to prepare for the certification process.

Does a school have to meet standards every year?
Yes. The agriculture teacher must file a re-certification report to determine if the standards met during initial certification are still being met.

Can a first year teacher in an established program become certified?
Yes, if the program meets criteria and the teacher meets requirements of a teacher in an industry certified program.

What if there is a teacher change in a certified program?
The school may maintain certification as long as all the criteria continue to be met. The new teacher must meet requirements of a teacher in the industry certified program.


Industry Certification Standards


Certification will be awarded based upon the following Industry Certification Standards and quality factors. See the Agricultural Industry Certification Guide for a detailed explanation and guidelines for application of the standards.

Standard 1 – Performance Indicators

1.1 Professional Development and Performance
1.2 Supervised Agricultural Experience Program
1.3 FFA Performance Indicators

Standard 2 – Administration

2.1 Program Description
2.2 Certificate
2.3 Administrative Support
2.4 Public Relations
2.5 Budget

Standard 3 – Instruction

3.1 Instructional Plan
3.2 Instructional Equipment and Materials
3.3 Teaching Load
3.4 Curriculum
3.5 Performance Standards
3.6 Safety
3.7 Personal Development
3.8 Testing
3.9 Evaluation of Instruction

Standard 4 – Facilities and Equipment

4.1 Safety
4.2 Tools and Equipment
4.3 Consumable Supplies
4.4 Maintenance
4.5 Classroom
4.6 Agriculture Laboratory
4.7 Office
4.8 Storage
4.9 Support Facilities
4.10 Maintenance and Operation

Standard 5 – Instructional Staff

1.1 Technical Competence
1.2 Technical Updating
1.3 First Aid Training

Standard 6 – Requirements of Specialty Area

6.1 Agribusiness
6.2 Agricultural Mechanics
6.3 Agriscience
6.4 Animal Science
6.5 Forestry
6.6 Horticulture