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Agricultural and horticultural science: What has changed?

Agricultural and horticultural science is an applied science that integrates concepts from a range of learning areas including science, technology, social sciences, and mathematics and statistics.

As part of the NCEA standards alignment process, the relationship between agricultural and horticultural science and the eight curriculum learning areas was explored in some depth. Various achievement objectives from the different learning areas – particularly science, technology, and economics – were identified as relevant and used to inform the development of learning outcomes for agricultural and horticultural science.

To better reflect the approach of industry, agricultural and horticultural science now has a much more market-driven focus. This can be seen in the key concepts, which bring to the fore management practices, life processes, environmental sustainability, and profitability.

This new emphasis now needs to flow into teaching and learning programmes that address the needs and interests of students and use the particular opportunities found in the school and the community, as intended by The New Zealand Curriculum.

In this environment, contexts for learning are chosen for their relevance and utility, and teaching focuses on long-term, valued outcomes, rather than the learning of discrete and possibly isolated pieces of content.

A further change to better reflect the applied nature of agricultural and horticultural science is that learning outcomes now allow for a broader range of assessment possibilities, drawn from achievement standards across several learning areas.

Agricultural and horticultural science is treated in these guidelines as a single subject, but programmes can focus on either agricultural or horticultural science. Schools can also develop programmes that connect learning across science, technology, mathematics and statistics, social sciences, business studies, economics, and geography.

Last updated September 12, 2011