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Advice for teachers -
Agricultural and Horticultural Studies

Developing a program

Teachers should use the study design and this Advice for teachers to develop a teaching and learning program that includes appropriate learning activities to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills identified in each unit.

VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies aims to have broad and practical appeal across rural, regional and urban schools. This study acknowledges the growing interest in the provenance, production and distribution of food and fibre, the dynamic expansion of these industries and the urgency of sustainable management. While schools will differ in the resources they are able to provide, students should be able to pursue an interest and possible future in agriculture/horticulture without disadvantage.

The VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies Study Design 2020–2025 introduces cross-study specifications. These are concepts that underpin all units of the study design and are implicit across the entire teaching program. These specifications are: animal welfare; applied practical learning; health and safety; innovation, technology and data; issues in food and fibre production; scientific methodology; and sustainability. These specifications are integral to all learning and practice in agriculture/horticulture, in both theoretical and experiential contexts. Further details and explanations of these cross-study specifications are included in the study design, pages 7–8.

Applied, experiential learning is integral to VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies. Assessment for all units mandates the inclusion of practical tasks that are linked to the outcome statements. School-assessed Coursework for Units 3 and 4 must include practical tasks for each outcome, with clear and specific links as set out in the ‘School-based assessment’ sections of the study design.

Practical programs will be contingent on school settings, resources and capabilities. They take into consideration student interest and preferences, and can be undertaken as collaborative or independent activities. Further details on the parameters of such tasks can be found in the cross-study specifications section of the study design (page 7). Practical tasks will focus on an aspect of food and fibre production relevant to the area of study being undertaken. This Advice for teachers provides examples of practical tasks suitable for each outcome.

Teachers should note that although practical tasks are to be set and assessed for the achievement of particular outcomes, practical tasks can also be part of broader teaching plans and goals set across a semester or even a year of study. For example, the establishment of a garden bed could meet the practical requirements of all four units, from testing the suitability of a site, through seasonal actions and problem-solving, to the management of a sustainable business.

Teachers should also note new parameters for teaching and learning about particular pests, diseases and weeds that are of concern to Victorian agricultural and horticultural industries. Whereas previously an annually updated list was made available to teachers through the VCAA, the study design (Unit 3 Area of Study 2, Risks and resilience, pages 16–17) now specifies in the key knowledge which pests, diseases and weeds are to be studied.