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Essential competencies for delivering quality culinary arts programs in United States high schools

Paul J McVety, Johnson & Wales University


Educational standards and competencies are key features of the educational reform movement. The purpose of establishing standards and competencies is to provide focus for and understanding of what is being asked of students, teachers, and administrators in order to provide quality instructional programs (Lewis, 1999). The study looked at the culinary arts competencies high school instructors rated as highly important and their abilities to perform these competencies. Two types of high school culinary arts instructors exist: family and consumer sciences teachers (FCST) and career and technical educators (CTE). Because teacher preparation programs and experiences differ for the two types, a working hypothesis for the study was that the two do not hold the same importance or same range of abilities for culinary arts competencies. As a social inquire study, a concurrent mixed method triangulation approach was employed to develop better understanding of the phenomena being studied (Greene, 2008). Quantitative data were gathered using an electronic questionnaire that asked high school culinary instructors across the nation (N = 600) to rate importance and their abilities on 54 competencies. In all, 45% replied (n = 271). Descriptive statistics, t -tests, and one-way ANOVAs were used to analyze the data. Qualitative information was collected from two focus groups: FCSTs (N = 4) and CTEs (N = 5), and used to illuminate questionnaire results. Five major findings resulted from the study and recommendations for action were suggested. (1) FCSTs and CTEs, despite dissimilarities in backgrounds, exhibited no significant differences in perceptions of importance and in their estimated abilities to teach selected culinary arts competencies. (2) FCSTs relied more on standards from external groups for planning and delivering high school culinary arts programs than did CTEs. (3) FCSTs and CTEs rated the highest competencies, as to perceived importance and to estimated ability, to be reading recipes and measuring ingredients. (4) FCSTs and CTEs uniformly agreed that course development competencies were highly important for teaching high school culinary arts programs. (5) FCSTs and CTEs expressed concerns about the future of high school culinary arts programs in times of budget crises and cut backs.

Subject Area

Home economics education|Secondary education|Curriculum development|Vocational education

Recommended Citation

McVety, Paul J, "Essential competencies for delivering quality culinary arts programs in United States high schools" (2009). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3352494.