A longitudinal study of the opinions of University of lllinois College of Agriculture students showed that sophomores, as a class, held roughly the same beliefs about soil erosion seriousness and conservation policies as they did a year earlier. Sophomores also showed no indication that their value systems were particularly well-integrated. While the sophomores as a whole were more likely to offer opinions than freshmen, roughly 10 percent of the sophomore class offered no opinion on each of the various rneasures of erosion seriousness, erosion consequences, and policy. Sophomores from urban backgrounds were still more likely to abstain from offering an opinion than students from a rural background, but the differences between these groups had narrowed. Modest correlations between reported classroom presentation of issues and willingness to offer opinions suggests a positive influence of classroom work on value formation. The findings and discussion point out the need for more attention to opinion formation and values clarification in agricultural curricula.



freshman, sophomore, classroom influence, opinion formation

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