Teacher Beliefs About Sustainable Agriculture: A Self-made Measurement Scale

  •  Mathew Muma    
  •  Robert Martin    
  •  Mack Shelley    


The study’s purpose was to analyze the validity of the construct of a self-made Alternative-Conventional Agricultural Paradigm scale using the teacher population teaching high school agriculture in the North Central Region of the USA. A random sample of 844 teachers was drawn. Teachers were self-administered questionnaires with 5-point Likert-type scales. Instrument inter-item consistency and item coherence were determined. The relatively high coefficient alpha (.82), mean item total correlation (.40), and unrotated first factors with modest number of items loading on the factor means that the scale has mainly one underlying construct. The teacher population holds consistent views and attitudes about SA constituting an agricultural paradigm. The instrument items are coherent as components of a whole and are related. However, the teacher population did not hold stronger paradigmatic views on the scale as can be expected because of their relatively low mean score item-total correlation and coefficient alpha for the instrument compared to what was found for the scale in the Beus and Dunlap (1991) study. This should be expected because agriculture teachers are not strong adherents of the two agricultural paradigms who can be expected to make extreme and polar scores on the scale. The instrument can therefore be used to preliminarily gauge the paradigmatic orientation of agriculture teachers in the region. Further research with the instrument with known groups supporting the two paradigms is necessary to establish its validity.

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