Accountability in FCS

Article excerpt

With today's realities of tight budgets and continuous reviews of programs that make a difference, it is more important than ever that as family and consumer sciences (FCS) professionals, we show the results of our efforts. We must be accountable in order to remain viable. Last year, many universities announced termination of majors and doctoral programs because of reduced funding (Glenn & Schmidt, 2010).

Accountability includes showing the results of your program efforts and demonstrating the quality of your programs.

We all know it is difficult to measure a smile on a child's face when he or she is eating an apple or drinking orange juice as a result of a 4 -H camp. It is no longer enough to show how many programs we presented or how many people we have contacted-we must be more outcomes focused. Instruments such as the Cooperative Extension Program Evaluation Survey (CEPES) measure results of family life programs (Fetsch & Gebeke, 1994). The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has led the way in showing improvement in dietary habits. In 2009, EFNEP reported reaching 147,043, but more importantly, 88% of participants improved their nutrition practices (National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 2009).

It is important for us to share and use measurement tools and present outcomes to keep our FCS programs strong. In all areas of FCS, programs are searching for good tools to use. AAFCS provides a multitude of tools that aid in accountability. Pre-Professional Assessments & Certifications (Pre-PAC) provide premiere assessment tools that can be used to show competence in 11 different areas in FCS. During 2009-2010, 5,229 secondary and post-secondary students took various AAFCS pre-professional level assessments. With the benefit of test preparation and teacher training provided by AAFCS, the percentage of examinees reaching the minimum score required for attaining pre-professional certification has grown from 26% during pilot testing to 68% with the formal launch of the exams. These tools can be used by secondary teachers to keep FCS programs strong through accountability. This assessment also can be used to show the competency of para-professionals.

Through AAFCS, FCS professionals can become certified in Family and Consumer Sciences (CFCS), Human Development and Family Studies (CFCS-HDFS), Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Science (CFCS-HNFS), and, coming soon, Personal and Family Finance. …