FCS National Standards: Do They Underpin Secondary Curriculum?

By Smith, Bettye P.; Hall, Helen C. et al. | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 2005 | Go to article overview

FCS National Standards: Do They Underpin Secondary Curriculum?


Smith, Bettye P., Hall, Helen C., Jones, Karen H., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


To what extent are national standards for FCS included in family and consumer sciences (FCS) teachers' curriculum? Participants in this study included 262 high school teachers. More than half of the teachers identified the content standards as major objectives in Parenting (61%), Nutrition and Wellness (55%), and Interpersonal relationships (51%). Content standards were identified as important objectives by 45% and 42% of teachers for Family and Community Services and Career, Community, and Family Connection, respectively.

In response to educational reforms, specifically A Nation at Risk, the National Association of State Administrators for Family and Consumer Sciences (NASAFCS) undertook a project to develop a set of discipline content standards for each subject matter area in family and consumer sciences (FCS). Kister (1997) described discipline content standards as the subjectspecific knowledge and skills that programs were expected to teach and students were expected to learn. Discipline content standards describe the goals for individual student achievement. According to Kister, adoption of national content standards was important in order for FCS to position itself in the education reform movement and in mainstream education. The National Standards committee identified 16 subject matter (discipline content) standard areas for FCS. Of the 16, the following seven content standards that are included in a comprehensive (family-oriented) FCS program were the focus of this study: Family; Nutrition and Wellness; Human Development; Interpersonal relationships; Career, Community, and Family Connections; Parenting; and Family and Community Services.

Since the inception of the national standards in family and consumer sciences (FCS) education, state departments of education have been interested in the implementation of these standards (National Association of State Administrators, 1998). According to Arendt, Boggs, and Glasscock (2000), taking the national standards from paper to practice requires vision, planning, resources, marketing, evaluation, and tenacity. However, very little published research regarding the national standards in FCS exists. A review of the literature revealed two studies concerning national standards.

Faircloth, Smith, and Hall (2001) used the Concern-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) to determine the stage of concerns of FCS teachers regarding the national standards. The Stages of Concern questionnaire required that an innovation be identified. An innovation is any process or product that is new to a potential user. The national standards were used as the innovation for this study. The study included 183 FCS teachers who attended an inservice workshop. Although teachers' concerns ranged from stage 2 (informational) to stage 6 (collaboration), most of the teachers in this study were in stage 3 (personal concern). The innovation was perceived as a personal threat.

The purpose of a separate study (Smith, Hall, & Jones, 2001) was to determine the perceptions of parents, professionals, and career and technical education administrators regarding the national standards for FCS curriculum. Participants in this study included parents of FCS students, members of the Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GAFCS) and career and technical education administrators for FCS education programs. Participants were asked to indicate, first, if they thought the standard should be taught in the FCS program and, second, if they believed the standards were being taught in FCS programs with which they were familiar.

The following seven curricular areas that are typically included in a comprehensive (family-oriented) FCS program were the focus of their study: Family; Nutrition and Wellness; Human Development; Interpersonal relationships; Career, Community, and Family Connections; Parenting; and Family and Community Services. All three groups generally supported the inclusion (i. …

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FCS National Standards: Do They Underpin Secondary Curriculum?
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