National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes and the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

The National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix is an innovative approach to grow agricultural literacy among K-12 students. Specifically, the Matrix, part of the National Agriculture in the Classroom website, is an online collection of educational resources that are relevant, engaging, and designed to meet the educational requirements and agricultural literacy outcomes for formal educators. The Matrix is essentially a three-dimensional curriculum map. A curriculum map includes standards and objectives, lesson plans, supportive or companion resources, and assessments that help teachers get students from point A to point B in terms of learning.

The Matrix is a Web 2.0 project, meaning the Matrix is a collaborative effort where agriculture literacy professionals submit resources for inclusion to the database. Those materials are reviewed and evaluated based on how well they connect with agriculture literacy outcomes, content standards, and Common Core standards. Teachers at all grade levels can access the Matrix materials through an easy-to-use search engine on the National AITC website. For example, a search of "dairy" reveals two lesson plans—grades K-2 and 3-5—as well as a companion activity (making butter in a baby food jar), three booklets (one downloadable), a companion resource (making cottage cheese in the classroom), and a companion resource website that features a cleverly-produced science fiction tale of an alien race finding much-needed calcium in Earthly cows.

One of the first steps in the project was to validate agricultural literacy outcomes or what we think (based on research and previous work in this area) an agriculturally literate person should be able to understand and communicate about agriculture by a specified age (grade). The National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes (NALOs) were reviewed and amended by members of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) Agricultural Literacy Matrix Special Committee: Debra Spielmaker - Project Director, Traci Curry - Chair (NM), Dana Bessinger (OK), Judy Culbertson (CA), Jessie Dafoe (WY), Lynda Danos (LA), Kevin Daugherty (IL), Willie Grenier (ME), Vonne Knight (SC), Monica Pastor (AZ), and Al Withers (MN).

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes (NALOs), include five themes. The NALOs have been correlated with grade level national education standards. The standards are linked on the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix website

NALO Research

Brandt, M. R. (2016). Exploring elementary students' agricultural and scientific knowledge using evidence centered design (Master's thesis). Retrieved from

View a short webinar about how to use the assessment tools developed in this research project

Wray, P. (2016). Evaluating the effectiveness of Utah farm field days (Master's thesis). Retrieved from (Major Professor, Debra Spielmaker, W2006.


Creative Commons License National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix (2014) developed by Debra Spielmaker is licensed under a Creative Commons