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Assessing the environmental literacy of intro environmental science students

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Assessing the environmental literacy of intro environmental science students
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Hogden, Randi Corrine
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Using an assessment tool, tailored to the Colorado academic science standards, a study was conducted to evaluate the environmental literacy of postsecondary, nonscience majors. Data were collected from 144 students taking an introductory environmental science class. A 16-item, multiple-choice question, environmental knowledge assessment instrument covered environmental content across three subdomains in the Colorado academic science standards: Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science. Population total mean scores were compared to sub-domain scores to assess students' overall environmental literacy as well as to identify the populations' weaknesses between the sub-domains. Results showed that the total mean score for the class was 52.18%, which indicates that the population as a whole does not have a strong foundation in environmental science nor high levels of environmental literacy and need further assistance in one or more of the three sub-domains. Statistical analysis revealed that on average the students scored a 67.8% in Physical Science, 53.4% in Life Science, and 37.8% in Earth Systems Science. Given that the findings were limited to environmental knowledge within the Colorado science standards, an assessment of environmental knowledge in social science standards, including measures of behavior, attitudes and dispositions toward the environment is warranted.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Randi Corrine Hogden.

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Full Text
ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY OF INTRO ENVIRONMENTAL
SCIENCE STUDENTS
By
Randi Corrine Hogden
B. S., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2010
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Science
Environmental Science
2012


This thesis for the Masters of Science
Degree by
Randi Corrine Hogden
has been approved by
Bryan Shao-Chang Wee
Robert Talbot
Casey Allen
April 9, 2012
Date


Hogden, Randi Corrine (M. S., Environmental Science)
Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Students
Thesis directed by Bryan Shao-Chang Wee
ABSTRACT
Using an assessment tool, tailored to the Colorado academic science standards, a study was
conducted to evaluate the environmental literacy of postsecondary, nonscience majors. Data were
collected from 144 students taking an introductory environmental science class. A 16-item,
multiple-choice question, environmental knowledge assessment instrument covered environmental
content across three subdomains in the Colorado academic science standards: Physical Science,
Life Science and Earth Systems Science. Population total mean scores were compared to sub-
domain scores to assess students overall environmental literacy as well as to identify the
populations weaknesses between the sub-domains. Results showed that the total mean score for
the class was 52.18%, which indicates that the population as a whole does not have a strong
foundation in environmental science nor high levels of environmental literacy and need further
assistance in one or more of the three sub-domains. Statistical analysis revealed that on average
the students scored a 67.8% in Physical Science, 53.4% in Life Science, and 37.8% in Earth
Systems Science. Given that the findings were limited to environmental knowledge within the
Colorado science standards, an assessment of environmental knowledge in social science
standards, including measures of behavior, attitudes and dispositions toward the environment is
warranted.
Keywords: assessment; environmental education; environmental literacy; environmental science;
environmental knowledge; Colorado State Science Standards


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Without the support and guidance of Dr. Bryan Wee, this research project would have never
materialized. You have shaped my mind, my awareness, my spirit and my path. Thank you for
choosing and believing in me. Thank you to James, my husband, for the comfort and hope youve
given me, laughter weve shared daily, and your willingness to endure unceasing hours of silence
whilst I studied, wrote and researched. To Yvette and Adam, I love you both and am indebted to
you countless home cooked meals and dish washings.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures..................................................................................iii
Tables...................................................................................iv
Chapter
1. Prologue...........................................................................5
2. Introduction to Literature Review..................................................6
2.1 Brief history:
Environmental Education...........................................................6
Environmental Literacy............................................................8
2.2 Definitions of literacy...........................................................10
2.3 Definitions of Science Literacy...................................................10
2.4 Definitions of Environmental Literacy............................................12
2.5 Current demand for EE and EL......................................................14
2.6 Measuring EL with State Standards.................................................17
3. Methods...........................................................................20
3.1 Introduction to assessment........................................................20
3.2 Creation of A ELIESS..............................................................21
3.3 Identification of measure...........................................,............22
General Information..............................................................22
Purpose(s) of measure
Specific sub-domains assessed
Intended test population.........................................................24
Age
Special groups
Administration...................................................................24
1


Time required.
24
Stimulus items....................................................................24
Administration Procedures.........................................................25
Scoring Procedures................................................................25
Interpretation procedures.........................................................26
3.4 Support for measure................................................................26
Item selection....................................................................26
Validity evidence.................................................................27
Reliability.......................................................................28
4. Results and Discussion.............................................................29
5. Implications and Conclusion........................................................45
5.1 Challenges for Education...........................................................45
5.2 Limitations of Assessment..........................................................46
5.3 Dispositions towards the environment...............................................49
5.4 Environmental values and beliefs...................................................50
6. Epilogue...........................................................................52
Appendix
A. Geographic Dispersion of survey respondents........................................53
B. Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus.....................................55
C. AELIESS assessment instrument and Answers..........................................58
D. AELIESS questions chosen using Colorado academic standard outline..................62
E. Studies assessing aspects of EL....................................................65
F. EL contexts and distributions......................................................68
G. IRB approval letter................................................................70
Bibliography...............................................................................72
ii


FIGURES
Figure
2.1 Geographic dispersion of survey respondents....................................54
3.2 ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus......................56
3.3 AELIESS assessment instrument..................................................59
4.1 Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions....................................29
4.2 Mean Scores for Age Groups.....................................................40
4.3 Sub-domain scores compared to total mean score.................................42
5.1 PISA Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy............................48
iii


TABLES
Table
2.1 AELIESS Questions chosen using the Colorado Academic Standards outline of critical
concepts and skills for K-12.....................................................63
3.1 A selection of studies that assess instructional effectiveness concerning aspects of EL...66
3.2 Contexts for environmental literacy................................................69
3.3 Distributions of contexts..........................................................69
4.1 Total Variance Explained...........................................................31
4.2 Principal Component Analysis.......................................................32
4.3 Cronbachs Alpha Case processing summary...........................................33
4.4 Cronbachs Alpha Reliability.......................................................33
4.5 Cronbachs Alpha Item-Total Statistics.............................................34
4.6 Demographic information including percents of represented ethnicities..............35
4.7 Independent t-test between men and womens scores..................................36
4.8 Group statistics for men and women.................................................36
4.9 Independent t-test between high school graduates and non-graduates.................37
4.10 Group statistics for high school graduates and non-graduates......................37
4.11 Independent t-test for K-12 Colorado and non-Colorado attendees....................38
4.12 Group statistics for K-12 Colorado and non-Colorado attendees......................38
4.13 Descriptives on a One-way ANOVA for Age and Average scores.........................39
4.14 One-way ANOVA for Age and Average scores...........................................40
4.15 Independent t-test between individuals 18 to 20 years old and those 21 to 39 years olds.41
4.16 Group statistics for ages 18 to 21 and 21-39.......................................42
IV


1. Prologue
Currently, there is not research being conducted on state content standards and how they
relate to environmental literacy. Although we have created exceptional environmental frameworks
and tools for measuring environmental literacy, the assessments are disconnected from the
academic standards. It is not rational to expect any educator to stray from the academic standards
they have been given by the state to follow a separate environmental literacy plan. Unfortunately,
the all too common attitude is that, if it will not be tested, it will not be taught. If we want to
measure environmental literacy of students, we must draw from what they are actually being
taught. Environmental knowledge, of natural and human systems, has been incorporated into the
Colorado Science Standards. Why not use these same standards as a baseline for the
environmental assessment? It only makes sense.
The proposed research examines Intro to Environmental Science students and their
understanding of environmental science knowledge and concepts. The research seeks to answer
the question: Do post-secondary students possess the environmental knowledge they were taught
in Kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12)? Having a clear understanding of the foundational
concepts, such as the interaction of natural and human systems, is an important aspect of
environmental literacy. Once the more quantitative foundational concepts are understood, this
enables the educator to instruct from a more qualitative angle. This approach is known as the T-
educational approach (Colley, 1998). The arms are broad and the stem deep. The ultimate goal of
Intro to Environmental Science is to grow individuals with operational environmental literacy. The
measured, foundational knowledge highlights normal and memorable patterns of environmental
relationships and organization of observations, interpretations and generalizations. The research
includes the use of an assessment tool, AELIESS, created using the new Colorado Department of
Education K-12 Academic Standards. The research supplies environmental educators with a
practical assessment tool.
5


2. Introduction to Literature Review
2.1 Brief history:
Environmental Education (EE)
It is acknowledged that the primary antecedents of Environmental Education (EE) were
Nature Study, Outdoor Education, and Conservation Education (Disinger, 1985). The term
Environmental Education has been so vaguely defined over the years that it has been used
synonymously with many different constructs: environmental-ecological education, ecological
education, conservation education, camping education, outdoor education and environmental
science education (Disinger, 1985). One of the most renowned experts on EE, Harold
Hungerford, has concluded that EE is not synonymous with the previous fields, but that it has been
defined and given substantive structure and boundaries (Hungerford, 1975). The definition that
Hungerford (2005) uses, because of its easy and clarity, is from the Federal Register and states
that:
Environmental education is a process that leads to responsible individual and
group actions... Environmental education should enhance critical thinking,
problem solving, and effective decision-making skills. Environmental education
should engage and motivate individuals as well as enable them to weigh various
sides of an environmental issue to make informed and responsible decisions
(US EPA, 1992, p.47516).
EE became a common phrase and topic of interest in the 1960s and 70s. This topic of
interest quickly turned into efforts to compose a conceptual framework for EE, built on shaping
attitudes, motivations and skills (Hart, 1981; Harvey, 1977a; Hungerford, Peyton, & Wilke, 1980;
Stapp et al., 1969; UNESCO, 1977). In 1978 the worlds first Intergovernmental Conference on
Environmental Education, organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) was convened in Tbilisi, Georgia (USSR). At the close of the
conference, the Tbilisi Declaration was adapted by acclamation. Within the document, among the
goals and guiding principles of EE, were the five categories of objectives. The Tbilisi EE
6


categories, which provided a solid EE framework for almost two decades, included Awareness,
Knowledge, Affect, Skills, and Participation (UNESCO, 1978).
Awareness: to help social groups and individuals acquire an awareness and sensitivity to
the total environment and its allied problems.
Knowledge: to help social groups and individuals gain a variety of experience in, and
acquire a basic understanding of, the environment and its associated problems.
Attitudes: to help social groups and individuals acquire a set of values and feelings of
concern for the environment and the motivation for actively participating in
environmental improvement and protection.
Skills: to help social groups and individuals acquire the skills for identifying and solving
environmental problems.
Participation: to provide social groups and individuals with an opportunity to be actively
involved at all levels in working toward resolution of environmental problems
(Hungerford, Bluhm, Volk & Ramsey, 2005 p. 15).
In his Ph.D. dissertation entitled Environmental Education: A Delineation of Substantive
Structure, Gary Harvey (1977) constructed the generally accepted definition of EE, which has
endured centuries of rigorous disassembling and evaluation. This is the definition most experts in
the field refer to (Disinger, 1985). Hungerford also refers to and accepts this mediating definition
as an alternate to the Federal Registers (Hungerford, Peyton & Wilke, 1983). After a thorough
review of the literature, Harvey defined EE as:
An interdisciplinary, integrated process concerned with resolution of
values conflicts related to the man-environment relationship, through
development of a citizenry with awareness and understanding of the
environment, both natural and man-altered. Futher, this citizenry will be able
and willing to apply enquiry skills, and implement decision-making, problem-
solving, and action strategies toward achieving/maintaining homeostasis
between quality of life and quality of environment (Harvey, 1977b, p. 158).
7


For the purpose of this research, Fiarveys definition brings in an important concept of
interdisciplinary processes, which is lacking in the U.S. EPA definition. This concept is
foundational to the research assessment tool and is covered under Implications and Conclusion,
section 5.
Environmental Literacy (EL)
The concept of Environmental Literacy (EL) has been evolving since it was developed, to
advance the field of EE, in 1969 (Roth, 1992). The term gained great attention when President
Richard Nixon began using it in his speeches for the National Environmental Education Act. In
1992 interpretive scientist Charles E. Roth, who first introduced EL to the world, presented the
three major levels of EL: nominal EL, functional EL, and operational EL (Roth, 1992). Roth gave
environmental literacy a purpose in society. For the first time, EL was seen as a continuum based
on knowledge, values, beliefs and actions. Hungerford and Tomara (1977), considered an
environmentally literate citizenry as both competent and willing to take action on critical issues.
Roth (1992) also emphasized the need for knowledgeable citizens, who took action, who worked
to solve human/environment issues such as population growth, nonrenewable resources,
consumption, pollution and social injustice. EL became a common term used in schools and
academic boards across the nation when the American Society for Testing and material (ASTM)
developed consensus standards on EE with a clear definition for EL.
EE and EL took another great leap when Dr. Deborah Simmons developed a new
framework for environmental literacy. This framework was based on seven common clusters of
elements:
(1) Affect- environmental sensitivity, attitudes, values, motivation and moral reasoning
(2) Ecological Knowledge
8


(3) Socio-Political Knowledge- the relationship of cultural, political, economic, religious and other
social factors influencing perceptions and activities
(4) Knowledge of Environmental Issues
(5) Skills- environmental problems/issues and action/service (analyze, investigate, evaluate)
(6) Determinants of Environmentally Responsible Behavior- locus of control/efficacy, and
assumption of personal responsibility
(7) Behavior- various forms of active participation in solving problems and resolving issues
(Simmons, 1995).
Since 1995, environmental literacy assessment instruments have been published (Wilke,
1995) as well as several national studies using assessments of environmental literacy (e.g.,
Erdogan, 2009; McBeth, 20010; Negev et al., 2008; Shin et al., 2005), however, many of these
studies have been conducted on middle school students. Simmons (1995) framework is still
influential today and has been used in proceeding research by Volk and McBeth, (1998), as well
as by the National Guidelines for Excellence Project to develop guidelines for state standards. On
December 1, 2011, NAAEE released Developing a Framework for Assessing Environmental
Literacy at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, which although still needs some work, is
the most promising national framework the country has seen in decades. In 1997 the Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) started the Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA) (Hollweg et al., 2011). Over 70 countries have participated in the
PISA surveys, which test reading, mathematical and scientific literacy in terms of general
competencies. The age group of tested students is between 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2
months, an age right before many students in European countries end compulsory education. On
August 28, 2011, PISA proposed a framework for assessing EL in 2015. This will be the largest
international research project ever conducted in EL.
9


2.2 Definitions of Literacy
Individuals are either illiterate or literate, the difference separated by a threshold of
reading and writing skills. Literacy has been further subdivided into four categories: conventional
literacy, functional literacy, cultural literacy, and critical literacy (Tozer, Violas & Senese, 2006).
Conventional literacy has been described as the absolute basics, the ability to read and write.
There is no connection, however, to greater comprehension. An example of this would be a childs
ability to recognize or write his or her own name, but decoding a single word is not necessarily the
same as reading comprehension. This is considered the lowest level of literacy. The highest level
of literacy is critical literacy, founded on critical though. This type of literacy is the ability to use a
greater source of experiences and knowledge to compare and critique writings. This requires, not
only knowledge of ones culture, but knowledge of many cultures values, beliefs, views and
opinions. The ability to give greater meaning to what is read holds great power in societies. Power
implies control and those who are illiterate have the ability to control economic and political
oppression. With critical literacy the readers are empowered and are able to escape these racial,
ethnic, gender or social discriminations. (Tozer et al. 2006).
Literacy, therefore, plays a key role in the balance of power, which is why it is so highly
valued in the United States, a nation built on democracy. Without first content and knowledge,
how can individuals participate in critical thought, reading and writing on topics such as global
climate change, ecosystem destruction or air quality? These are important issues we, as a society,
are facing today. More attention has slowly been drawn to this topic, which influenced the birth
and establishment of science literacy and environmental literacy.
2.3 Definitions of Science Literacy
In western culture there has been great emphasis placed on the importance of scientific
literacy. Science and its technology have given us national security, medicine, clean water and air,
10


the ability to explore the universe and so much more. It is no wonder that we aspire to raise up a
generation of scientifically literate individuals who understand a scientific method, can think
critically about evidence based research and who feel prepared, knowledgeable and confident
when facing scientific dilemmas.
Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to
questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a
person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena.
Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about
science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the
validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify
scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions
that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be
able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source
and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity
to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions
from such arguments appropriately. (National Research Council, 1996, p. 22)
The above definition can stand the tests of time, however, it is sometimes more
meaningful to use examples that individuals can put into present day context. For this reason,
Hazen and Trefics (1991) definition is also one of importance. They describe scientific literacy as
the following.
The knowledge you need to understand public issues. It is a mix of facts,
vocabulary, concepts, history and philosophy. It is not the specialized stuff of
the experts, but the more general, less precise knowledge used in political
discourse. If you can understand the news of the day as it relates to science, if
you can take articles with headlines about genetic engineering and the ozone
hole and put them in a meaningful context... you are scientifically literate.
James Trefil (2008) would agree that this should be the goal of science literacy, not to make every
person an expert scientist, but for an alternate goal, that every individual be able to read a
newspaper the day they graduate from high school. Unfortunately, the science educational system
does not have this as their aspiration and the number of citizens who are considered scientifically
literate in the United States is low. It has only increased from 10 percent in 1988 to 28 percent in
2010 (Miller, 1989; Miller, 2011).
11


Scientifically literate individuals continually ask questions and seek answers. It is
inevitable that one day they will ask questions about their environment and contemplate whether
their actions are affecting the global balance of life. Questions of sustainability, earth and
atmospheric systems, energy, natural resources, as well as human and environmental interactions
fall under a more specific category. Those who use science to answer environmental questions and
then alter their actions to echo the scientific demands for stability are considered not just
scientifically literate, but also environmentally literacy.
2.4 Definitions of Environmental Literacy
Stephen Schneider (1997), from Stanford University, stated that the objective for an
environmentally literate society is not the unattainable goal of detailed knowledge of content. He
thought it absurd to require citizens be knowledgeable in all environmentally relevant disciplines.
There is much truth in this statement. It is ridiculous to expect a layperson to obtain and utilize the
knowledge of an expert. This does not mean that an environmentally literate citizen lacks the core
concepts, methods and skills of environmental science. The values an individual holds and the
action he or she takes is an outward display of understanding these core concepts.
Defining environmental literacy has proven difficult over the past 50 years. It is not only
the ability to read and write about the environment, but an intimate connection with the
environment that influences our actions and affect our conscious and subconscious behaviors.
Disinger and Roth (1992) describe environmental literacy as the ability to perceive and
interpret the health of an environmental system and then to take actions to improve, restore or
maintain those systems. They believe environmental literacy is reflected in observable behaviors
and actions, not just the opinions of an individual.
An environmentally literate person knows that, as a consumer, they affect the
environment. They acknowledge that his or her choices as a consumer either help or harm the
12


environment and that what they do as an individual or with their community can inhibit or aid the
Earth in sustaining biological life (see, for example, Erickson 1997, Goleman 2009, McKibben
2007, Payne 2010). Richard Wilke and Harold Hungerford encouraged citizens to become
environmentally knowledgeable and above all, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to
work individually and collectively for achieving and/or maintaining a dynamic equilibrium
between quality of life and quality of the environment. (Wilke, 1996, p. 15) Those who are
considered environmentally literate will make decisions as a consumer and involved citizen to
keep ecosystems healthy. In return they will create a high quality of life for themselves and future
generations.
Just as literacy is divided into four categories, environmental literacy can also be
categorized along its continuum. Roth (1992) describes in his book, Environmental literacy: Its
roots, evolution and directions in the 1990s, three degrees of environmental literacy. The first is
Nominal environmental literacy, which is the lowest literacy of the three. It includes a rudimentary
sensitivity for environmental issues, an acknowledgement of human environment interactions and
a basic understanding of natural systems. The second is the Functional environmental literacy.
This goes beyond the basic knowledge of human-environment interactions into an understanding
of positive and negative affects. There is now a sense of concern for the environment based on the
knowledge of human harm and destruction to the environment. An individual may even begin to
develop new skills in which to analyze and assess information. They will begin to express desire
for personal, as well as local or global, change and action. Operational environmental literacy is
the highest environmental literacy. This is when a deep knowledge of ecological and
environmental concepts bring about, not only understanding, but also are valued enough to impact
their actions. This environmentally literate individual expresses a strong union between their
values, beliefs and actions. They are constantly reading, writing and critiquing environmental
literature and information. They have a strong connection with the environment and feel a
13


responsibility to ensure its protection and stability. Action is not only taken on a personal level,
but they encourage action in their community and on a global scale.
The most contemporary definition of environmental literacy was released in the 2011
NAAEE document, Developing a Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy, which stated,
Environmental literacy is knowledge of environmental concepts and issues; the
attitudinal dispositions, motivation, cognitive abilities, and skills, and the
confidence and appropriate behaviors to apply such knowledge in order to make
effective decisions in a range of environmental contexts. Individuals
demonstrating degrees of environmental literacy are willing to act on goals that
improve the well-being of other individuals, societies, and the global
environment, and are able to participate in civic life (Hollweg et al., 2011).
Using this clear definition of environmental literacy as well as the Colorado Academic Standards
outline of critical concepts and skills students are expected to master in K-12 (see Table 2.1 in
Appendix), environmental literacy can be measured and assessed. It is important to measure such
academic knowledge because of its significant implications. Environmental literacy must be
achieved to overcome current, and prevent future, environmental crises.
2.5 Current demand for EE and EL
Coyle (2005) has shown that only 1% or 2% of Americans are considered
environmentally literate. Working with National Environmental Education & Training Foundation
(NEETF) he created the Environmental Literacy in America assessment tool in 1997. The
NEETF/Roper Survey of Environmental Knowledge was a test, with only a dozen questions, used
to assess an average American adults knowledge on topics such as watersheds, recycling,
electricity and other environmentally relevant topics. The survey was given and results compiled
from 1997-2005. The results show that only one third of American adults can pass the survey with
a grade of A, B or C. However, 95% of American adults (96% of parents) think environmental
education should be taught in schools, which indicates that although they do not themselves have
the knowledge necessary to be environmentally literate they do see a need for it (Coyle 2005).
14


A total of 301 respondents completed a survey, the Colorado Alliance for Environmental
Education and Colorado Environmental Literacy Plan (CAEE CELP), in thirty-three Colorado
counties represented in Figure 2.1 (see Appendix). There were 60 respondents who identified as
either a parent or a guardian of a child in K-12. When the parents were asked which topics they
want teachers to cover in greater depth, the top responses, with 71.7% of the vote, were
environmental systems, environment and economy, current environmental issues and personal and
civic responsibility. When teachers were asked what the greatest barriers were to teaching EE in
the class the top answer, with 22.1% of the vote, was that there is not enough time to incorporate
EE. At the college level, over 22 staff, administrators and faculty from at least 7 universities or
colleges responded to the survey from departments including: science, education, natural
resources, environmental studies, museum studies, business and architecture. The survey showed
that 23.5% implement EE in their classrooms every day, compared to only 5.9% of teachers K-12
("Colorado environmental literacy," 2010).
Although many parents and teachers would like environmental education in the
classroom, they are finding it difficult to implement because of State and National restraints. The
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was an educational reform enacted to increase
academic accountability nationally. This new law placed great emphasis on state-defined
educational standards and benchmarks, with great importance placed on reading and math scores.
A school that does not meet its states adequate yearly progress, (AYP) two years in a row, is
considered in need of improvement (Tozer, 2006, p. 463). The AYPs have led to States firing
teachers and closing schools. This places teachers in a difficult predicament. They are now forced
to focus their instruction exclusively on topics covered in the state assessments. Many schools and
teachers are obligated to abandon environmental education programs to invest more time and
money in math and language arts. When time is spent on topics outside test-related instruction,
this is considered discordant and precarious.
15


This system has been built on coercive power, one that instills fear in the educators that
either something bad will happen to them or something good will be taken away from them if they
do not comply. As with all coercive power, commitment is superficial and energies have quickly
turned to sabotage and destruction (Covey, 1991). Educators are not satisfied with the current
system and are waiting for a bright new solution, one that values their skills as educators and
places less emphasis on standardized tests. In spite of the current situation, many states have
decided to pursue frameworks for environmental literacy.
There is no shortage of prospective environmental literacy plans in the United States.
Currently, 46 states are working on environmental literacy plans (ELP), four states have passed
legislation for the creation of ELPs (DC, NJ, OR, CO) and two states that have completed their
plans (MD, OR) (Navin, 2010). The No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act is a piece of federal
legislation that hopes to develop environmental education statewide. They aim at providing
specialized development opportunities in environmental education. The legislation cannot move
forward, however, unless there is an environmental literacy plan to access funds. In 2008 the
NCLI was passed in the House with significant support. It was re-introduced into both the House
and Senate in 2009 and is currently in committee ("NCLI," 2011). The environmental literacy plan
that the NCLI is focusing on has been created by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental
Education (CAEE). There are 6 major requirements for these environmental literacy plans that the
CAEE has outlined:
1. State content standards and how they relate to environmental literacy
2. Programs for the professional development of teachers
3. How the state will measure the environmental literacy of students
4. The relationship of the Plan to state graduation requirements
5. How the Plan will be implemented
16


6. Peer review of the Plan by major stakeholders, including State and federal agencies,
non-profits, and other groups (CAEE, 2011).
This research focuses primarily on the first of these six requirements, state content standards and
how they relate to environmental literacy. This research does, however, have implications for
numbers two and three as well.
Rather than restrict measurement to the standardized tests or assessments as NCLB did, a
combination of approaches can be used to measure students EL. Until Colorado has completed
their ELP, we must rely on existing content standards to implement EE into the curriculum. The
Department of Education has incorporated human environment interaction and ecological
knowledge into the content areas of science and social studies. This research merely assesses one
part of EL, basic environmental science knowledge acquisition, which is most accurately
measured using a multiple-choice survey. The full measure of EL includes more than just content
knowledge. It is not suggested that multiple-choice assessments be used to measure the other areas
under examination in environmental literacy, such as attitude. This latent construct must be
inferred from overt responses rather than measured directly (Milfont, 2010).
2.6 Measuring EL with State Standards
Academic standards were created to ensure that all school students would receive a high
quality and consistent public education. Although the government does have great influence,
education is not completely nationalized or global. In fact, each state in the US has its own process
for developing, adopting, and implementing standards. The standards based education measures
each individual student against a set of standards, as opposed to norm referenced education
measures that evaluate students against their peers. This system emphasizes the use of criterion-
referenced assessments. These educational assessments were created to make an official valuation
17


of academic attitudes, skills and knowledge in a specific content area. For this research, the
content area of interest is science.
State agencies do not currently measure the environmental literacy of students. Colorado
K-12 content standards for science include Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems
Science. The purpose of the science standards is to ensure the readiness of our students when
released into a world that embodies 21st century skills and technology. It is vital our K-12
educational system encourages skills in research and technology, as well as a sense of care for, not
only humans, but for the flora and fauna which surround them. The members of the Colorado
Department of Education (CDE), who compiled the standards, have emphasized that more than
anything their desire is to give Colorado students the ability to continually interpret evidence.
Especially in this day and age when, pseudo-scientific ideas and outright fraud are becoming
more common place. Developing the skepticism and critical thinking skills of science gives
students vital skills needed to make informed decisions about their health, the environment, and
other scientific issues facing society ("Colorado academic standards," 2009, p. 7). The CDE want
to provide students with the tools necessary to decipher true science from pseudoscience. Science
is often separated from value-laden politics, ethics and economics, however, in order to cease the
destruction of the planet, there must be an intersection to promote personal responsibility. This
intersection cannot affect the logic, methods, rationality or results of science, but rather affect the
actions we take in response to its enlightenment.
Some of the most pertinent issues our children will (unquestionably) face are those of the
environment. Climate, water and air pollution, ecology, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, toxic
waste management, limited natural resources, sustainable economic development, these are the
core issues that, not only our future scientists, but also future citizens will face. It is important that
individuals are able to articulate their environmental concerns, ideologies and critical rhetoric.
With these issues in mind, the Department of Education began their revision of the existing
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Colorado Standards, Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests, which have been in use
the past fourteen years. During the transition into the new standards, Colorado school districts will
be using what are called the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) though 2013
until the old standards are completely phased out. By 2014 school districts in Colorado should
have completed implementing the new tests ("CSAP / TCAP," 2011).
The new Science Standards were divided into three sections based on topical
organization. The three standards of science are:
1. Physical Science- Students know and understand common properties, forms, and changes in
matter and energy.
2. Life Science- Students know and understand the characteristics and structure of living things,
the processes of life, and how living things interact with each other and their environment.
3. Earth Systems Science- Students know and understand the processes and interactions of Earths
systems and the structure and dynamics of Earth and other objects in space ("Colorado academic
standards," 2009).
Each standard is broken down by high school and grade level expectations, and these are
further broken down into concepts and skills students should master. There has recently been a
push to either add a fourth standard, an environmental science standard, or to encourage more
environmental education within traditional subjects, such as science and social studies. Adding a
fourth standard is not necessarily the best option for Colorado because of K-12 time restraints in
the classroom. The department of Education has found that it is a better option to integrate EE into
current classroom instruction. Using these new standards, imbedded with environmental concepts,
students environmental knowledge can be evaluated using an instrument that combines
assessment from the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as contexts
from PISAs globally accepted environmental literacy framework (Project 2061, 1993; Hollweg et
al., 2011).
19


3. Methods
3.1 Introduction to assessment
When students graduate from high school and continue along their path into adulthood, it
is important that they have been given every tool necessary to move forward into college or career.
It is also vital that they become a knowledgeable, positive and participating member of society. It
is the responsibility of the Department of Education, teachers, parents and society to grow
environmentally literate individuals. Currently, there are not any state assessments testing
environmental literacy that are directly related to state academic science standards (see Table 3.1
in Appendix). At the college and university level of education it is difficult to quantify each
students understanding of the concepts learned under the Colorado science standards.
The Introduction to Environmental Science Course at the University of Colorado Denver
(UCD) is filled with students from diverse backgrounds. Each semester there are roughly 200 non-
science majors who sit through the course. They do not necessarily enter the course because they
are interested in Environmental Science. UCD requires that all graduating students take at least
one course with a lab. Many students pick Intro to Environmental Science because it fulfills this
requirement, (see Figure 3.2 in Appendix)
What this means to the professor teaching the course is that there are students from many
different disciplines signing up for the class. Since it is an introductory course, the only
prerequisite is the completion of the Science Standards in K-12. It is important that key concepts
learned in High School, Middle School and even Grade School are carried through to the
undergraduate level. Although students come from all across the state, country and even world to
attend UCD, 70% of students who sign up for this introductory course have attended K-12 in
Colorado. These students should, theoretically, understand key concepts in Environmental
Science (ES) and be able to pass an assessment of their environmental knowledge. Although ES
20


has only recently been incorporated into the standards, this does not imply that older students are
any less environmentally literate than their younger peers. Environmental knowledge can come
from sources outside of education, such as family, media, peers and personal experience. The
purpose of this assessment instrument, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro
Environmental Science Students (AELIESS), is to gather information about a diverse group of
students environmental knowledge (see Figure 3.3 in Appendix). A quality learning experience is
designed with the students in mind. Student-centered course design takes into account the
students knowledge, learning styles and needs. Instead of simply transmitting a body of
environmental knowledge to the students, the educator uses active learning such as critical
thinking and problem solving. With the use of AELIESS, the educator limits the assumptions he or
she makes about the students environmental knowledge and literacy. AELIESS gives educators
some baseline data, a starting point from which the course curriculum can be built. It also gives
freedom from repetition of concepts if students are already knowledgeable in certain areas. Most
importantly, it aids in the ultimate goal of the course: moving students from a nominal to an
operational environmental literacy.
3.2 Creation of AELIESS
When creating the new science standards, the Colorado Department of Education
committee used a variety of resources, including: Science for all Americans (Rutherford, 1990),
Benchmarks for Science Literacy (Project 2061, 1993), and The Atlas for Science Literacy
(AAAS, 2001a). By relying on the Colorado Department of Education as a resource to create the
AELIESS instrument there is less subjectivity and higher validity concerning the content of items.
Eight of the 16 multiple-choice questions were taken directly from the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website. Each of the AAAS questions was chosen from key
ideas within the science standards concepts. The AAAS Science Assessment was established
21


under Project 2061 and a website was created for public access. For each science topic, including
Physical Science, Earth Science, Life Science and the Nature of Science, the website has a list of
sub-ideas, a list of items, results from field testing, and a list of student misconceptions for each
individual question. The other eight, non-AAAS, questions on the instrument were created using
the new Science Standards as guidance, as well as the PISA Framework for Environmental
Literacy (Hollweg et al., 2011). Although the questions were chosen from three different topics,
or subdomains, the questions for the instrument all had an overarching environmental theme
unifying them. Each question further identified with one or more specific contexts in
environmental science. These contexts included biodiversity, natural resources, environmental
quality and health, natural hazards and extreme weather, and land use (see Table 3.4 in Appendix).
The PISA Environmental Literacy Framework provided examples of each context, all of which
(except population growth) were used in the development of test items on AELIESS (Hollweg et
al., 2011, p.20). Population growth is considered a topic in the social studies standards; therefore
the context was excluded from the assessment. Over 37% of AELIESS items included
biodiversity, nearly 44% included natural resources, 25% included environmental quality and
health, nearly 19% included natural hazards and extreme health and 12.5% included land use (see
Table 3.3 in Appendix).
3.3 Identification of measure
A. General Information
The instrument is titled, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental
Science Students (AELIESS). It has the ability to highlight topics and concepts a majority of the
students may be struggling with. Areas the students have mastered can also be identified. By
highlighting these problem areas the instructor can make the most of their time with the students
and can focus on their actual needs, as apposed to their theoretical needs. This assessment
22


instrument could potentially be used by any introductory course in environmental science,
however, the questions are based on Colorado Standards, thus this assessment is most effective
when given to students who have attended, at least, grades 9-12 in Colorado.
1. Purpose(s) of measure
Assess environmental literacy among students in Intro to Environmental Science. The
assessment could potentially be given to K-12 students, post-secondary students, pre- and in-
service teachers, or the general public. The purpose of the assessment is not to be used as an exit
exam for high school graduates, although it could accurately measure their knowledge in
environmental science. It is not my intention to create yet another obstacle standing between high
school students and their future goals. Standardized exams are many times the unscrupulous
gatekeeper of occupational and educational opportunity. The instrument, for this research purpose,
is to be used by instructors or professors in higher education to assess the environmental literacy
of their students. With this information they may quickly discover which topics h/she should
spend the most time reviewing or building upon throughout the semester. The instrument is an
excellent indicator of the students knowledge, however, more research needs to be done to make
the connection between what students know, how they feel, and how they act. It is important to
keep in mind that a student could score a 100% on the assessment and still make poor
environmental decisions in their every day life. Qualitative research is encouraged to bridge the
gap for complete environmental literacy assessment.
2. Specific sub-domains assessed
The instrument has an over arching theme examining the students understanding of core
concepts in environmental science. The more questions an individual is able to answer correctly
positively correlates to the individuals environmental literacy. Questions were chosen from
content covered under sixth grade, eighth grade and high school standards, as lower grades
concepts were simplified versions of the higher grade levels. There are three different content
23


areas under the standards: Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science. Each
content area is further divided into concepts and skills the students should master, (see Table 2.1
in Appendix) The following represents the content areas and their concepts, which were used to
create the AELIESS. Questions were selected based on their correlation to environmental
concepts. Sixteen questions were created for the instrument for quantitative analysis.
B. Intended test population
1. Age
The Instrument can be given to anyone age 19 or older, unless the individual graduated early from
high school and is enrolled in a college level course, this is the exception.
2. Special groups
The instrument was not created for nor tested using individuals with disabilities or
behavioral problems.
C. Administration
The instrument can be administered in individual or group settings. It is suggested that it
is administered in a quiet room without distractions to maximize reliability. It is also suggested
that the assessment is given the first day of class if given in a classroom setting.
D. Time required
The actual testing time is approximately 20 minutes. Total administration time is
approximately 30 minutes, 5-10 of which is spent establishing rapport and giving oral instructions
to the students. Any questions the students might have are answered before passing out the
instrument.
E. Stimulus items
The respondent is given a form on which they fill out the demographic information,
including their gender, age and ethnicity. The respondent is then asked if he or she graduated High
School and must circle either yes or no. They are also asked how many years of K-12 they
24


attended in Colorado. Then the instructions ask them to read and complete 16 multiple-choice
answers by circling one answer. Only one question, under the life science questions, has pictorial
representation (a flow chart) to aid in completing the question. The 16 questions are used to
quantify the respondents understanding of basic environmental systems and concepts. This
portion is all that is necessary to assess the students knowledge of environmental literacy.
The assessment could be given with a scantron so that the hard copies could be reused,
saving time and resources.
F. Administration Procedures
After obtaining approval for human subjects research by the International Review Board,
the instrument can be administered and scored by individuals without formal training in
assessment. The instrument was created for Colorado educators in the Environmental Sciences,
specifically at the College and University level. There are not multiple tests or sections thus there
is not a specific sequence of actions for administering the measure. The first official
administration of AEILESS was conducted in the Spring 2012, before classes had begun. In the
future, a second assessment could be created assessing the respondents actions, values and
behaviors, in which case, the two instruments should be taken simultaneously and then scored to
assess overall disposition towards the environment, as well as gaps between attitude and behavior.
G. Scoring Procedures
Interpretation of the instruments scores requires graduate training in environmental
science or related fields. To score the assessment, the numbers of correct answers are tallied,
giving a raw score for each individual student, which are then compiled and averaged. This gives
an idea of the overall performance of the class. The second step in scoring the assessment is to
sum up the individuals correct answers for each sub-domain (Physical Science, Life Science and
Earth Systems Science), and then these are compiled and averaged. This gives an idea of the
overall performance of the class within each sub-domain. By looking at the averages, medians and
25


modes within each domain, areas of difficulty can be identified. For this type of continuous scale,
zero to 16, the measure of central tendency that is the most meaningful is the mean. Scoring of the
multiple-choice section of the instrument could be done quickly and easily using scantrons. This is
the most efficient way to score large groups of students efficiently and with as little human error
as possible.
H. Interpretation procedures
Demographic information should be analyzed for trends and changes in the student population
over time (for example, the average age of a population may increase or decrease from one
semester to another, which could correlate to overall performance). Trends should also be
analyzed for ethnicity. Total mean score for the population as well as for each of the sub domains
(Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Systems Science) should be calculated and analyzed to
reveal an overall level of understanding environmental concepts as well as reveal which, if any, of
the three sub domains the students are struggling with.
3.4 Support for measure
A. Item selection
Each item on the assessment was put through a pilot test before the final instrument was
completed. This 16-item MC question form was collected from students in two Environmental
Science sections at UCD in the fall semester of 2011. There were not any individuals who
identified themselves as having any special education needs. First, the statistical properties of
individual items were examined in the combined sample. Items for which responses were
frequently missing (i.e. Suggesting that such items were poorly worded, or frequently
misunderstood) were eliminated. Using SPSS, each item score was correlated with the total score
within each scale, and then items with the lowest item-total correlations were modified. Principal
Component analysis was used as a second approach for clarifying scale structure and determining
26


the strength of scale membership for each item. Each of the analyses identified three predominant
factors and one or two secondary factors that accounted for the majority of variance within a scale.
These latter factors contained only a few items and accounted for minimal variance.
B. Validity evidence
Validity was based on the content of its items (content validity) and the internal structure
of the instrument (discriminant validity) and whether the operationalizations of the construct
actually measure Environmental Science and literacy (construct validity). Using excel, item
analysis was conducted to determine internal consistency. This included assessing the difficultly
of each AELIESS item, as well as the relationship between how well students did on the item and
their total score. The item difficulty index ranges from 0 to 1, the higher the value the easier the
question. If the item difficulty is 0.79, this means that 79% of the students answered the question
correctly. The ideal difficulty for a four-response multiple-choice question is a moderate score of
62%. Difficulty is measured on a scale classifying 85% or above as easy, 51 to 84% as moderate
and 50% or below as hard. Comparing students item responses to their total test scores assesses
the quality of individual items. This test should discriminate between students who are
environmentally knowledgeable and those who are not. The item has low discrimination if it is too
difficult or too easy. Item discrimination, also called Point-Biserial correlation (PBS), is
considered good if it is above 0.30, fair if it is between 0.10 and 0.30 and poor if below 0.10.
Construct validity was examined using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Loadings
in excess of .71 (50% overlapping variance) are considered excellent, 0.63 (40%) is very good,
0.55 (30%) good and 0.45 (20%) fair, and 0.32 (10%) is considered poor. The items are expected
to load primarily on one overarching component, Environmental Science, or on three components,
Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science. The eigenvalues over one should
account for most of the variance.
27


C. Reliability
Internal consistency estimates the reliability of test scores using Cronbachs alpha. The
scale, from 0 to 1, indicates the degree to which the set of items measure a single unidimensional
latent construct. The construct for this research, unifying the items is Environmental Science.
Higher values of alpha indicate higher intercorrelations among test items and thus increased
reliability. A Cronbachs a > .9 is considered to have excellent internal consistency. Good internal
consistency is .9 > a > .8, acceptable is .8 > a > .7, questionable is .7 > a > .6, poor is .6 > a > .5,
and unacceptable is .5 > a. Running Cronbachs alpha on SPSS gives the Item-Total Statistics,
which includes Cronbachs Alpha if an item is deleted. This gives the option of removing an item
to significantly raise the internal consistency.
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4 Results and Discussion
Figure 4.1 Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions, illustrates the correlation of each AELIESS
multiple-choice item to the total score (0=no correlation, l=perfect correlation) as well as the
difficulty of the items (0= most difficult, 1= least difficult).
Difficulty and Discrimination
Distributions
Difficulty
Discriminant
Difficulty and Discrimination
29


Figure 4.1, Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions, illustrates the difficulty of each
item as well as its correlation to the overall score. All of the items, except numbers 14 (Earth
Systems Science) and 11 (Life Science), were above 0.30 for difficulty. In order of decreasing
difficultly, the items are: 14, 8, 11, 15, 4, 12, 5, 16, 13, 2,3, 6, 7, 9, 1 and 10. Item number 14 was
the most difficult with only eleven individuals out of 144 (8%) answering correctly. This item was
the most difficult for students in the pilot test as well. After changing the wording, the difficultly
was expected to decrease, but did not. The PBS for number 14 is 0.27, which is at the higher end
of fair, indicating the eleven students who did answer this item correctly scored highly overall.
There were only nine Environmental Science majors in the class and of these, four answered
number 14 correctly. The fact that students did poorly on this question does indicate that students
are either not familiar with balances between energy production and environmental impact, or they
are not familiar with the newest forms of renewable energy. Many students are familiar with solar
energy, which is why it was the number one incorrect response from all participants. It is
important to identify common misconceptions so that they can be addressed. This is why the item
was not removed from the test after the pilot study.
The PBS also revealed that all of the correlations were above 0.20, which indicates high
discriminant validity. Students who showed the highest comprehension of the concepts scored the
highest overall, and got the most difficult items correct, whereas students who had lower test
scores got the difficult items incorrect. Correlations of 0.40 or higher, showing the highest validity
on the exam, were numbers 12, 10, 7, 13, 3, 5 and 6, which were primarily from the Life Science
sub-domain.
30


Table 4.1 Total Variance Explained: displays eigenvalue loading on three items explaining
33.73% variance as well as the seven components, loading higher than one, explaining 61%
variance.
Component Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings
Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative %
1 2.388 14.925 14.925 2.388 14.925 14.925
2 1.563 9.771 24.696 1.563 9.771 24.696
3 1.445 9.032 33.728 1.445 9.032 33.728
4 1.240 7.752 41.480
5 1.058 6.612 48.092
6 1.038 6.486 54.578
7 1.007 6.293 60.871
8 .945 5.908 66.779
9 .895 5.595 72.374
10 .827 5.166 77.540
11 .731 4.569 82.109
12 .694 4.337 86.446
13 .644 4.024 90.470
14 .551 3.447 93.917
15 .508 3.173 97.090
16 .466 2.910 100.000
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
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Table 4.2 Principal Component Analysis: displays loading on three primary components. Loading
occurred primarily on the first component.
Component Matrix3
Component
1 2 3
1 .387 -.434 .175
2 .315 .018 .255
3 .505 .050 -.396
4 .249 .139 -.558
5 .390 .235 -.325
6 .482 .174 .028
7 .478 -.027 .056
8 .188 .515 .160
9 .396 -.326 -.146
10 .582 -.372 -.086
11 .093 -.182 .531
12 .450 .422 .311
13 .607 -.129 -.014
14 .008 .596 -.129
15 .160 .408 .182
16 .272 .085 .538
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
a. 3 components extracted.
Primary loading
Secondary loading
Using Principle Component Analysis (PCA) on the results, seven eigenvalues were
identified larger than 1, accounting for 61% of the variance. The items could have loaded
according to their contexts (see Table 3.3), however, the greatest loading were on three principle
32


components Identified as Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science (see Tables
4.1 and 4.2). There were meaningful correlations, of .32 or larger, between the items and the
components they loaded on. The greater the loading, the more that variable is a pure measure of
the factor.
There was not loading greater than 0.61 on any one component. A majority of the
questions loaded on component one. High loading on only one component was expected, with a
unifying theme of Environmental Science. If the questions had loaded atypically, this would
suggest that the questions selected for the study were not environmentally founded. Factor
analysis was also used to identify the difficultly of each item on the instrument, and also to
compare how well the students performance on an item correlated to their overall score. This
provided greater clarity when attempting to interpret the factors and understand the underlying
dimension that unified the groups of variables loading on it.
Cronbachs Alpha (Tables 4.3-4.5)
Table 4.3 Case processing summary: presents sample size and the percent valid and excluded
cases.
N %
Cases Valid 144 88.3
Excluded3 19 11.7
Total 163 100.0
a. Listwise deletion based on all variables in the
procedure.____________________________________
Table 4.4 Reliability: which is a measure of the assessments precision in scoring environmental
science.
Cronbach's Alpha N of Items
.602 16
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Table 4.5 Item-Total Statistics: includes descriptives for each item, including which items should
be deleted to increase internal consistency.
Scale Mean if Item Deleted Scale Variance if Item Deleted Corrected Item- Total Correlation Squared Multiple Correlation Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted
1 7.566434 7.029 .253 .196 .582
2 7.727273 6.968 .215 .154 .588
3 7.720280 6.803 .284 .227 .576
4 7.916084 7.182 .122 .175 .604
5 7.825175 6.788 .275 .216 .577
6 7.720280 6.817 .278 .201 .577
7 7.678322 6.778 .308 .188 .572
8 8.139860 7.225 .165 .105 .595
9 7.629371 7.114 .182 .086 .593
10 7.559441 6.806 .367 .282 .565
11 8.034965 7.432 .041 .117 .615
12 7.839161 6.583 .358 .238 .562
13 7.790210 6.711 .309 .197 .571
14 8.272727 7.429 .173 .116 .594
15 8.000000 7.133 .154 .125 .598
16 7.825175 7.109 .148 .142 .600
The tables above (Tables 4.3-4.5) include the Case Processing Summary, Reliability and
Item-Total Statistics for Cronbachs alpha. The alpha value for the AELIESS assessment, using all
16 multiple-choice items, was .602 (Table 4.4). Higher internal consistency could be achieved if
additional items were added to the sub-domains, Physical Science and Earth Systems Science,
which only contained three questions each. Table 4.5 reveals how Cronbachs alpha would be
affected if an item were deleted. As you can see, deleting any of the 16 items would not greatly
improve the reliability.
34


Table 4.6 Demographic information including percents of represented ethnicities.
Caucation Hispanic Asian African American Middle Eastern Other Non-response
50% 12.5% 4.86% 4.17% 3.47% 11.11% 13.89%
The sample size included 70 males, 59 females and 15 without a response resulting in a
total sample size of 144, a mode age of 19 and a mean age of 22. Half of the population identified
as having Caucasian ethnicity, whilst half of the population identified as either Hispanic, Asian,
African American, African, Middle Eastern, Italian, German, Australian, Korean, Native
American, Other or did not respond to the question at all. This was considered an ethnically
diverse sample, with many different ethnicities, however, because sample sizes were small for
ethnicities other than Caucasian, this inhibited examining the students scores with a t-test or
ANOVA (as many ethnic groups had less than 3 members). Several t-tests and an ANOVA were
run to detennine if other demographic data (gender, age, K-12 attendance, high school graduate)
affected how well individuals performed on the environmental assessment.
35


Table 4.7 Independent t-test between men and womens scores
Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Differen ce Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Upper
Equal variances assumed 1.123 0.291 1.167 0.245 0.56 0.48 -0.389 1.509
Equal variances not assumed 1.177 0.241 0.56 0.476 -0.382 1.502
Table 4.8 Group statistics for men and women.
Male=l N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
Sum 1 70 8.81 2.83 0.338
0 59 8.26 2.57 0.335
A t-test was run to see if there was a difference in scores between men and women. A p-
value of 0.245 > 0.05 indicates that there is not a significant difference in scores (see Table 4.7).
Sample sizes were very close for the two populations, as well as the mean scores, which for men
was 8.81 and for women 8.257 (Table 4.8). This indicates that individuals environmental literacy
is low, regardless of gender. If there had been more than two groups (men and women) for the
factor (gender) an ANOVA could have revealed differences in scores within and between the sub-
domains.
36


Table 4.9 Independent t-test between high school graduates and non-graduates.
Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Upper
Equal variances assumed 0.588 0.445 0.476 0.635 -0.9 1.892 -4.647 2.847
Equal variances not assumed 0.592 0.656 -0.9 1.519 -18.055 16.255
Table 4.10 Group statistics for high school graduates and non-graduates.
Graduate=l N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
sum 1 120 8.6 2.658 0.243
0 2 9.5 2.121 1.5
Another question was whether those who graduated from high school had a better grasp
of environmental concepts. Table 4.9 shows a p-value of 0.635 > 0.05, which indicates that there
is not a significant difference in scores. Both groups of students have similar environmental
knowledge, although Table 4.10 shows that the mean score for those who did not graduate high
school was 9.5 and for graduates was only 8.6. The sample size for the non-graduates was only
two individuals, vs. 120 in the graduates population. These two students could have received their
GEDs or could have been home schooled. Given a larger sample size with a larger population of
non-graduates, this statistic could significantly change.
37


Table 4.11 Independent t-test for K-12 Colorado between those who attended Kindergarten
through 12th grade in Colorado and those who did not.
Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Upper
Equal variances assumed 0.125 0.724 0.203 0.839 -0.104 0.513 -1.118 0.91
Equal variances not assumed 0.207 0.836 -0.104 0.503 -1.105 0.897
Table 4.12 Group statistics for K-12 Colorado and non-Colorado attendees
K-12 yes=l N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
sum 1 90 8.51 2.712 .286
0 39 8.62 2.581 .413
The most surprising of the independent t-tests was between those who attended
Kindergarten through 12th grade in Colorado and those who did not. The AELIESS assessment
was specific to Colorado environmental knowledge in terms of the Colorado content standards that
were used to construct the questions as well as the nature/specificity of the questions themselves.
For example, item 13 specifically addresses available, renewable energy in Colorado. One could
assume that those who attended school in Colorado would perform better on the question. Table
4.11 reveals a p-value of 0.839> 0.05, indicating that there is not a significant difference in scores
between those who attended Kindergarten through 12th grade in Colorado and those who did not.
The sample size was 90 for Colorado attendees and 39 for non-Colorado K-12 attendees, and the
mean scores were 8.51 compared to 8.62 (see Table 4.12). Had the assessment contained more
Colorado specific questions, the statistical difference could have been significant. Question 13 was
considered one of the best questions on the assessment, with high internal validity (see Figure
38


4.1). An important aspect of environmental literacy is that students are aware of, not just global,
but local means for solving environmental problems and achieving change.
Table 4.13 Descriptives on a One-factor ANOVA for Age and Average scores.
N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Min. Max.
Lower Bound Upper Bound
18 11 6.82 1.601 .483 5.74 7.89 4 10
19 27 8.37 2.817 .542 7.26 9.48 4 15
20 23 7.91 2.539 .529 6.82 9.01 3 12
21 20 7.70 3.729 .834 5.95 9.45 0 14
22 16 8.81 2.228 .557 7.63 10.00 5 13
23 11 7.91 2.256 .680 6.39 9.42 4 11
24 6 8.83 2.927 1.195 5.76 11.90 4 12
25 3 8.33 2.082 1.202 3.16 13.50 6 10
26 4 9.25 1.258 .629 7.25 11.25 8 11
27 3 11.67 2.517 1.453 5.42 17.92 9 14
28 6 9.33 1.966 .803 7.27 11.40 6 11
29 2 13.00 .000 .000 13.00 13.00 13 13
30 2 8.50 4.950 3.500 -35.97 52.97 5 12
31 1 10.00 10 10
32 1 6.00 6 6
33 1 10.00 10 10
34 1 13.00 13 13
39 2 11.00 2.828 2.000 -14.41 36.41 9 13
Total 140 8.39 2.763 .234 7.93 8.85 0 15
39


Table 4.14 One-way ANOVA for Age and Average scores.
Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Between Groups 177.338 17 10.432 1.440 .130
Within Groups 884.055 122 7.246
Total 1061.393 139
Mean Scores for Age Groups
34
32
30
m
on
< 28
"l/5
oi 26
a
3
^ 24
22
20
18
-I 6
4 11
10
10
8.5
15
8.33
- 8.83
7.91
6.82
8.81
[7.7
7.91
- 8.37
33
13
13
11.67
10
12
14
16
Mean Score out of 16
Figure 4.2 Graphical representations of mean scores for multiple-choice questions (1-16) for each
age group (18-34 and 39).
Table 4.13 provides descriptives on a one-factor ANOVA for Age. The ages range from
18 to 39. The mean and range of scores for each age group are given, as well as the sample size of
40


each group. It is interesting to note that the age group 21 had the highest score of 14, as well as
the lowest score of zero. Table 4.14 gives a p-value of 0.130 > 0.05, indicating that there is not a
significant difference between age groups and average score. Significance within groups could not
be tested because some age groups had less than 2 individuals representing that group. For graphic
representation of mean scores for age groups, see Figure 4.2. Visually, it appears that older
students tend to have higher mean scores. This pattern is supported by data analysis in Table 4.15.
Although every group from 18-25 contained at least one individual who scored < 6, you can see
that the individual 32 years of age scored a 6, graphically making that age group appear the most
environmentally illiterate group. Figure 4.2 could be misleading, which is why it must be
examined alongside Table 4.13.
Table 4.15 Independent t-test between individuals 18 to 20 years old and those 21 to 39 years olds,
reveals a significant difference, p-value 0.006 < 0.05.
Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval
F Sig. t Lower Upper
Equal var. assumed 1.645 0.202 2.766 0.006 -6.937 0.459 -2.176 -3.62
Equal var. not assumed 2.834 0.005 -1.269 0.448 -2.155 -0.383
Table 4.15 and Figure 4.2 both seemed to indicate a slight increase in score with age. To
test this trend, the sample size was split, with one group representing 18 to 20 years of age and the
other group 21 to 39 years of age. Table 4.15 Independent t-test between individuals 18 to 20
years old and those 21 to 39 years old, shows a p-value 0.006 < 0.05, indicating a significant
difference in scores between the two groups.
41


Table 4.16 Group statistics for ages 18 to 21 and 21-39.
Under 21=1 N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
Sum 1 81 7.86 2.867 0.319
0 60 9.13 2.439 0.315
The mean score for those under 21 was 7.86 and for those 21 and older 9.13 (see Table
4.16). It is not clear why individuals in the older group would perform significantly better than
their younger peers. One plausible explanation is that these students have taken more college level
courses, any of which could have been related to environmental science. It could also be that they
are academically-savvy and likely to look outside of academia for environmental knowledge and
education, an idea discussed further on in the reading.
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Sub-domain scores compared to total
mean score
Score (%)
Figure 4.3 A comparison of the participants mean scores in the three sub-domains to the total
mean score.
Figure 4.3 illustrates an overall performance of the population by comparing the sub-
domain scores to the total mean score. The total mean score for the class was 52.18%, which
42


shows that the class as a whole does not have a strong foundation in environmental science nor
high levels of environmental literacy and need further assistance in one or more of the three sub
domains. Statistical analysis showed that on average the students scored a 67.8% in Physical
Science, 53.4% in Life Science, and 37.8% in Earth Systems Science. The obvious area of concern
for this population of Intro Environmental Science students is in Earth Systems Science. If we
view figure 4.3 alongside Figure 4.1 and Table 3.3 (in Appendix), a few observations can be
made. The most difficult questions for the students came from Life Science, items 8 and 11, as
well as from Earth Systems Science, items 14 and 15 (see Figure 4.1). In Table 3.3, Distributions
of contexts, these items fall most heavily under biodiversity and environmental quality and health.
These are topics the instructor should allocate greater time for review.
The assessment could show that the students have a firm grasp on the foundational
concepts learned in high school. In this case, the structure of Intro to Envs course could
incorporate a more qualitative structure, increasing the students connection with the environment
through reading and research on topics of interest, weekly field exercises and research papers in
oral and written form. The poor results illustrated in Figure 4.3 were not surprising. There has
been an obvious lack of emphasis placed on environmental knowledge in the world of academia.
Until recently, educators and policy makers have not seen the need for developing an
environmentally literate youth. Transitioning environmental science into K-12 standards will be
difficult for many educators. There is global concern as to whether teachers have the necessary
basic knowledge of environmental concepts to teach students (Loubser, 2001). This could be why
students in this sample have performed so poorly on AELIESS. The use of AELIESS could,
therefore, be extended to K-12 teachers, to highlight gaps in their knowledge. It should not be used
to reprimand or punish teachers. After all, it is not the educators fault they were not required to
take an environmental science course before receiving licensure. The main use of the assessment
is to provide post-secondary educators and teacher development programs with a tool to assess
43


their students environmental knowledge to work more proficiently towards environmental
literacy.
44


5. Implications and Conclusion
5.1 Challenges for Education
Once gaps in content have been identified using this assessment (AEILESS), the
instructor is then left to address any basic knowledge acquisition insufficiencies. There are many
different academic resources and materials available covering environmental topics in life science,
physical science and earth systems science for K-12, but there are fewer available for higher
education. In other words, changes to curriculum and instruction in higher education will require
time to adapt K-12 resources and materials. Very little research has been done examining the
quality of environmental texts and curriculum in the United States. Erdogan (2009) has shown that
the curricula in Bulgaria and Turkey are lacking in the behavior (action) component of EL, but are
strong in knowledge. This may also be the case in American textbooks and curricula. It is up to the
instructor to decide whether he or she wants to focus on broad environmental concepts the
students are struggling with or whether it would be better to focus on an individual topic within
the sub-domain, and then decided what pedagogical approach should be taken to emphasize a
particular concept or domain.
Using the Science Standards, each item on the instrument can be traced back to a specific
skill the students should master. For example, if only 9% of students answer item one correctly,
this question falls under the high school physical science standard. More specifically, the concept
and skill the student should master with this question is, Energy exists in many forms such as
mechanical, chemical, electrical, radiant, thermal and nuclear, that can be quantified and
experimentally determined ("Colorado academic standards," 2009). This topic can be referenced
in, for example, the text, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. More specifically, in
chapter 4: From Chemistry to Energy to Life (Withgott, 2009). Each question has a specific topic
the instructor can focus on by reviewing the Science Standards. Another source is the AAAS
website, which provides a plethora of concepts and ideas to cover under each content area.
45


However, this means that a) educators need to be familiar with the K-12 content science standards,
and b) have the luxury of time to make these connections and change their teaching as well as
assessment.
5.2 Limitations of Assessment
Environmental knowledge can come from sources outside of education, such as family,
media, peers and personal experience. With the multitude of factors impacting an individuals
environmental literacy, it is nearly impossible to claim that literacy is a direct result of education.
There is no question, however, that literacy is greatly impacted by the quality of education.
No qualitative questions were included in the assessment as a means of testing whether
students could answer open-ended questions using a combination of sciences knowledge and
thought. Qualitative questions require appropriate response mechanisms, giving insight to the
respondents attitude and possibly their individual actions and behaviors. In reality the
environment is a holistic system, therefore the physical sciences and the social sciences should not
be considered in isolation from one another. Students should be given opportunities to integrate,
synthesize, and apply knowledge from the different content areas. In higher education, however,
students are typically assessed by separating science from social studies, reading, writing, math,
communicating and health. Future adaptations to the AEILESS tool should include, at the very
least, social studies.
Rather than add an environmental content section to the standards, the CDE have
incorporated environmental topics into the biology standards. This integration has been openly
accepted because the topics are profoundly interconnected. Biology and environmental science
should be integrated in education, as should chemistry and earth sciences. Combined in education,
they create a very strong candidate for the science field. A student who is able to make
interdisciplinary connections between the sciences is more likely to solve complex biological
46


problems (Roth 1976; Stapp, 1976; Brogdon & Rowsey, 1977; Schneider 1997; Feig 2004). They
have an advantage when using science tools from multiple fields. Specialization is not lost, but a
new perspective, is gained. Unfortunately, the Cartesian-Newtonian concept of scientific
modernism, with its fragmentation of the sciences, has only been reinforced throughout the
decades. Environmental science integration and assessment is most likely an anomaly within the
dominant educational paradigm. Hopefully the importance of interdisciplinary teaching and
learning in the sciences finds a way into assessment practices in higher education.
The Colorado Environmental Literacy plan includes competencies from, not just the
Science content area, but also from Social Studies, including standards in History, Geography,
Economics and Civics. Social studies are equally as important as the sciences when assessing
environmental literacy. It is important that students, not only have knowledge about ecological
processes and human impacts, but that they become active citizens interested in progressing their
communities and government. Students need a sense of civic and personal responsibility to the
environment. They must understand the social, economic and environmental conditions and
injustices of humanity. It is a combination of ecological and social knowledge and experiences
that contour students attitudes, values and behavior. A second assessment should be created to
cover the environmental social studies content such as population growth, environmental equity,
environmental history, migration, urbanization and development.
47


The greatest limitation of the assessment is that it only assesses knowledge and skills of
individuals. Environmental literacy is influenced by more than these two components, as you can
see below, in Figure 5.1.
Contexts Competencies Environmental
Knowledge
Figure 5.1 PISA Framework for Assessing Enviromnental Fiteracy. The PISA 2015 framework
emphasizes that competencies are influenced by both enviromnental knowledge as well as ones
disposition toward the environment.
A vital element in achieving environmental literacy is that an individual not only has the
knowledge of ecological and social systems, issues and strategies, but that they have a positive
disposition towards the enviromnent. Future assessments of scientific knowledge or environmental
literacy might be combined with measures of behavior, attitudes and dispositions toward the
enviromnent.
48


5.3 Dispositions towards the environment
Many individuals believe that they are environmentally literate yet when asked to
describe nature they portray places absent from any human interference (Vining 2008). Others do
not believe they are a part of nature at all. Humans have made an effort to control nature since the
beginning of their existence. Some examples are the Agricultural Revolution the Industrial
Revolution and the Technological Revolution. Although we have entered what is known as the
Green Revolution, a continuation of technological advancements, humans seem to have lost their
connection with their natural world. In nations that at are less developed and less industrialized,
we can see symbiotic relationships with nature, reflecting an image of early Americans, pre-
technological advancement. (Campbell 1983; Eliade 1964).
The fact that many Americans do not acknowledge they are a part of nature may
influence their environmental values and thus their actions towards the Earth (Dutcher 2007).
Instead of respecting and seeing the value in indigenous ways, western cultures are continually
pushing economic development and, indirectly, environmental destruction on less industrialized
countries (Apffel-Marglin 1990, Mander 2006). The Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) reinforces
the view that western civilization has the most superior knowledge and culture. It also emphasizes
that other nations resistance to conform and develop stems from ignorance. However, Apffel-
Marglin (1990) has shown that it is not actually superior cognitive power that enables modem
knowledge to tramp traditional knowledge, but economic and social prestige associated with
western cultural history over the past 500 years. For many western societies, it is a difficult
concept to grasp, that poor, indigenous people could be more environmentally literate.
Those with environmental concerns are challenging the existing paradigm. Kilboume
(2002) has shown that the greater one believes in and values the DSP, their expressed concern for
the environment decreases, showing an inverse relationship. Thanks to authors such as Thomas S.
Kuhn, whose writings in the 1960s covered topics such as paradigm anomalies, crisis and shifts,
49


scientists began to exhibit different attitudes toward existing paradigms and started questioning
their nature. Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) developed the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP)
Scale to measure an individuals proenvironmental orientation. Its revision, the new ecological
paradigm scale (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000), was created to measure
environmental attitudes, influenced by fundamental values and beliefs. Many assessments have
since been created to assess the same issue (including Milfont 2009). As stated in Figure 5.1, it is
my hope that learners demonstrate not only an increase in knowledge but also a shift in disposition
from DSP to NEP.
5.4 Environmental values and beliefs
According to Sean Esbjom-Hargens (2009) western societies have six basic, heavily
weighted values. In decreasing value they are: security, power, principle, profit, people and planet.
It is ironic to me that people and planet would be at the bottom end of the scale. Farrior (2005)
categorized environmental values into three broad categories: egoistic concerns, social alturuistic
concerns and biospheric concerns. Egoistic concerns focus on ones own health, quality of life,
prosperity and convenience. The social-alturuistic concerns focus on other people, such as
children, family, community and humanity. Lastly, the biospheric concerns focus on the well
being of non-human, living organisms such as flora and fauna. Centuries of efforts have been
made to transform societys view of human dominion and the conquest of nature, falling under
egoistic concerns. Although there have been a few environmentalist throughout history, it was not
until the 21st century that respect for the environment was brought about through a deep-seated
realization of the fact that we and all other entities are aspects of a single unfolding reality (Fox,
1990).
Many writers and experts in the field of EE believe that environmental behavior is the
ultimate goal of EE (eg. Childress and Wert 1978; Harvey 1977; Hungerford and Peyton 1976;
50


Hungerford, Peyton, and Wilke 1980; Rubba and Wiesenmayer 1985; Stapp 1978). After all, an
individuals behaviors reveal whether they are considered operational in their environmental
literacy. Environmental literacy should be defined ... in terms of observable behaviors. That is,
people should be able to demonstrate in some observable form what they have learned their
knowledge of key concepts, skills acquired, disposition toward issues, and the like (Daudi, 1997).
Western culture has, however, shown that an individuals behavior is often disconnected from the
attitudes or beliefs they hold. This term has been coined the attitude-behavior gap, that is, people
show concern for cars and factories releasing toxins and pollutants into the environment, yet they
continue to drive their cars and buy products that are not made sustainably (Campbell 1963).
Allport (1935) defined an attitude as a mental and neural state of readiness, organized
through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual's response to all
objects and situations with which it is related". Behavior, on the other hand is the manner of
conducting ones self. Although attitudes were once considered a direct precedent to behavior, this
is no longer an accepted idea among social psychologists (Greve, 2001).
Simply because an individual answers every question on the assessment correctly does
not mean that s/he consistently engages in environmental behaviors. Individual and societal
environmental behavior belies the assumption that behavioral change follows directly from
development of necessary knowledge and skills (Iozzi, 1989). Ultimately, there are many factors
that have been found to influence pro-environmental behavior including: demographic factors,
external factors (e.g. institutional, economic, social and cultural), and internal factors (e.g.
motivation, pro-environmental knowledge, awareness, values, attitudes, emotion, locus of control,
responsibilities and priorities) (Kollmuss, 2002). Imagine environmental knowledge as the tip of
an enormous iceberg. The iceberg itself is environmental literacy, which necessitates the creation
of multiple assessments corresponding to each of its under water components, and not
exclusively the visible environmental knowledge.
51


6. Epilogue
Personally, I have found my place in Environmental Education. I will undoubtedly spend
the rest of my life teaching courses on systems thinking, multicultural environmental
communication, atmospheric science, ecology, green technology and sustainability. It is my hope
that our future generations will have a powerful connection to their living and nonliving
surroundings, have a strong sense of community, leadership and advocacy, and that they are able
to use their environmentally literate minds to protect and restore the Earths balance. My hope is
that the instrument I have created, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental
Science Students, will point educators in the right direction and give students a more focused and
personal curriculum and in the end, a meaningful educational experience for all.
52


APPENDIX A.
Geographic Dispersion of survey respondents
53



I
J
I
I



O
*<

/,
! URN

tM A* ON
Pc*
Figure 2.1 Geographic dispersion of survey respondents. The map illustrates the geographic
dispersion of respondents who completed the survey in Colorado. Yellow represents 1-2
respondents, Light Green represents 3-5 respondents, Dark Green represents 6-15 respondents and
Blue represents 15+ respondents (Navin, 2010).
54


APPENDIX B.
Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus
55


ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science
Monday and Wednesday 12:30 to 1:45 and 2:00 3:15
Tentative Syllabus
Instructor: Dr. Jon Barbour
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Office: North Classroom 3622.
Phone: 303-556-4520
Email: jon.barbour@cudenver.edu
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 8:00 9:00 a.m. or by appointment.
Course Information Website: http://clasfacultv.ucdenver.edu/ibarbour/
TEXT Withgott and Brennan. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories 3rd Edition,
Pearson Education Inc. San Francisco
PREREQUISITES: There are no formal prerequisites. Some basic math and science skills,
as well as familiarity with the use of library resources will required.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The major objective of this course is to provide students with the
tools and background information required to reasonably understand and discuss environmental
issues facing current and future generations. The course also serves as an introductory course
for the Earth & Environmental Sciences (EES) degree option within Geography. This course
will cover basic biology, chemistry, physics, and ecological science that determine the Earths
environment in which we live today.
MEASURABLE STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
Understanding of:
1. The basic science disciplines that are involved in Environmental Science.
2. Functioning of the major systems and processes that are active in the Earths
environment.
3. What is sustainability and what are the factors involved in achieving it.
4. How we as human society may achieve and maintain both energy and environmental
sustainability.
Technical and analytical skills:
1. Basic research skills in researching, compiling and organizing information from
libraries, the world wide web, scientific journals and databases.
2. Synthesize and analyze information from different sources and points of view.
TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE:
Wednesday 1/19 Class introduction
Monday l/24An Introduction to Environmental Science (Chap 1)
Wednesday 1/26 Environmental Ethics and Economics (Chap 2)
Monday 1/31 Environmental Policy (Chap 3)
Wednesday 2/2_______From Chemistry to Energy to Life (Chap 4)____________________
Figure 3.2 ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus
56


Monday 2/7 Evolution, Biodiversity, and Population Ecology (Chap5)
Wednesday 2/9 Species Interactions and Community Ecology (Chap 6)
Monday 2/14Environmental Systems and Ecosystem Ecology (Chap 7)
Wednesday 2/16 Eluman Population (Chap 8)
Monday 2/21 Soil and Agriculture (Chap 9)
Wednesday 2/23 Agriculture, Biotechnology, and the Future of Food (Chap 10)
Monday 2/28Sustaining Biodiversity (Chap 11)
Wednesday 3/2 Review for Mid Term Exam
Monday 3/7 Mid Term Exam
Wednesday 3/10 Return and Review Exam
Monday 3/14Resource Management (Chap 12)
Wednesday 3/16 Urbanization and Creating Livable Cities (Chap 13)
Monday 3/21 NO CLASS SPRING BREAK
Wednesday 3/23 NO CLASS SPRING BREAK
Monday 3/28Environmental Health and Toxicology (Chap 14)
Wednesday 3/30 Freshwater Resources (Chap 15)
Monday 4/4 Marine and Costal Systems (Chap 16)
Wednesday 4/6 Atmospheric Science and Air Pollution (Chap 17)
Monday 4/11 Global Climate Change (Chap 18)
Wednesday 4/13 Fossil Fuels, Their Impacts, and Energy Conservation (Chap 19)
Monday 4/18Conventional Energy Alternatives (Chap 20)
Wednesday 4/20 New Renewable Energy Alternatives (Chap 21)
Monday 4/25Waste Management (Chap 22)
Wednesday 4/27 Sustainable Cities (Chap 23)
Monday 5/2 Make up day for snow etc.
Wednesday 5/4 Review for Final Exam
FINAL EXAM (Comprehensive) According to Finals Schedule
PLEASE NOTE: You must pass both lab and lecture sections to pass the course, i.e. you
must obtain at least 60% of the points in lab (180) and lecture (240) to pass. Also, you
must pick up your mid-term exam when handed back or 10 points will be deducted from
your exam.
Total points: 700 points distributed as follows:
Exams:
Mid Term Exam 100
Comprehensive Final Exam 200
Quizzes:
There will be 5 unannounced quizzes during the term.
Each will be 20 points for a total of 100 points.
Total points from labs
300
You must register for a lab section as part of this course. The lab points are entirely
determined by the lab instructor.
Figure 3.2 (Continued)
57


APPENDIX C.
AELIESS assessment instrument
58


Title: Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Students
Date: 1/18/2012
Student Information: Gender: male female Ethnicity:_________________________
Age:___________
Did you graduate High School? Yes/No Are you an ENVS major? Yes/No
How many years of K-12 was attended in Colorado?__________________
DIRECTIONS: Multiple-Choice: please circle one answer for each question.
1. Consider the following situations:
Situation 1: A battery is used to power a cell phone.
Situation 2: The sun shines on a plant.
Is energy being transferred in either of these situations?
A. Energy is transferred in both situations.
B. Energy is NOT transferred in either situation.
C. Energy is transferred when a battery is used to power a cell phone, but energy is NOT
transferred when the sun shines on a plant.
D. Energy is transferred when the sun shines on a plant, but energy is NOT transferred when a
battery is used to power a cell phone.
2. The thermal energy of an object depends on which of the following?
A. Both the temperature of the object and the material it is made of
B. The temperature of the object but not the material it is made of
C. The material the object is made of but not the temperature of the object
D. Neither the temperature of the object nor the material it is made of
3. Which of these is a renewable resource?
A. Wood, because trees grow again
B. Gold, because more can be made very easily
C. Petroleum, because it can be refined into gasoline
D. Coal, because more can be made in about 100 years
4. Which energy transformation occurs first in a coal-burning power plant?
A Chemical energy to thermal energy
B Thermal energy to mechanical energy
C Thermal energy to electrical energy
D Mechanical energy to electrical energy
5. Coal, petroleum, and natural gas found underground in certain parts of Earth are primarily
formed from which process?
A. Decay of radioactive elements
B. Collision of tectonic plates in earthquakes
C. Transformation of dead plants and animals under heat and pressure
D. Intrusion of water into the soil that breaks up rocks and minerals
Figure 3.3 AELIESS assessment instrument6. Which of the following is TRUE about the
extinction of species?
59


A. Very few species have ever become extinct. Most continue to exist.
B. There have been extinction events in which many species became extinct at about the same
time. Aside
from these, extinction is very rare.
C. Up until recently, species rarely became extinct. Humans have caused the majority of
extinctions.
D. Many species have become extinct throughout the history of life on earth.
7. Which of the following is TRUE about how changes can happen to the physical environment of
earth?
A. Changes can happen suddenly or gradually.
B. Changes can happen suddenly but not gradually.
C. Changes can happen gradually but not suddenly.
D. Changes can happen neither gradually nor suddenly because the environment does not change.
8. Which of the following is food for a plant?
A. Sugars that a plant makes
B. Minerals that a plant takes in from the soil
C. Water that a plant takes in through its roots
D. Carbon dioxide that a plant takes in through its leaves
9. Because they are rapidly being cut down, the rain forests today are endangered ecosystems.
How might widespread destruction of the rain forests affect other ecosystems in the world?
A. by increasing the amount of available soil
B. by reducing the amount of available oxygen
C. by increasing the diversity of plant and animal life
D. by reducing the amount of available carbon dioxide
10. When the environment changes more quickly than a species can adapt, the species may
become
A. extinct
B. diverse
C. dominant
D. overpopulated
11. The diagram below shows the feeding relationships between populations of plants and animals
in an area. The arrows point from the organisms being eaten to the organisms that eat them.
MICE
[caterpillars |
I GRASS | | TREES |
Figure 3.3 (Continued)
60


A new species that eats only mice becomes part of this food web, greatly reducing the number of
mice in this area. Using only the relationships between the plants and animals shown in the
diagram, what effect would the new species have on the caterpillar population if the number of
foxes stays the same?
A. The number of caterpillars would increase.
B. The number of caterpillars would decrease.
C. The number of caterpillars would stay the same.
D. There is not enough information to tell what would happen to the number of caterpillars.
12. Which of the following statements about competition between animals is TRUE?
A. Competition may involve two lions fighting over prey but not two cows eating grass in the
same field.
B. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site but not one bird placing its eggs
in the nest of another.
C. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site, two lions fighting over prey, or
one bird placing its eggs in the nest of another but not two cows eating grass in the same field.
D. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site, two lions fighting over prey,
one bird placing its eggs in the nest of another, or two cows eating grass in the same field.
13. As the energy needs for Colorado increase, new sources of energy are required to replace or
supplement the nonrenewable sources of energy now in use.
Two sources of energy that are renewable and available in Colorado are
A. natural gas and wind power
B. coal and hydropower
C. petroleum and solar power
D. wind power and solar power
14. Which form of energy strikes the best balance between energy production and environmental
impact?
A) solar
B) tidal
C) nuclear
D) algae biofuel
15. The greenhouse effect presents some concern to humans but it is also an important part of
Earth's ecosystem. Why is this?
A. It makes Earth habitable by cooling its atmosphere.
B. It makes Earth habitable by warming its atmosphere.
C. It helps screen out harmful radiation from the sun.
D. It prevents carbon dioxide from escaping Earth's atmosphere.
16. Which of these has the LEAST influence on an area's climate?
A. latitude
B. elevation
C. soil conditions
D. adjacent large bodies of water
Figure 3.3 (Continued)
61


Item 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Answers A A A A C D A A B A A D D D B C
Figure 3.3 (Continued)
62


APPENDIX D.
AELIESS questions chosen using Colorado academic standard outline
63


Table 2.1 AELIESS Questions chosen using the Colorado Academic Standards outline of critical
concepts and skills for K-12 ("Colorado academic standards," 2009).
Questions 1-3: Physical Science. Were created using:
Content Area: ScienceGrade Level Expectations: High SchoolStandard: 1. Physical Science
Concepts and skills students master:
1. Energy exists in many forms such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, radiant, thermal,
and nuclear, that can be quantified and experimentally determined
Questions 4-13: Life Science. Were created using:
Content Area: ScienceGrade Level Expectations: High SchoolStandard: 2. Life Science;
Content Area: ScienceGrade Level Expectations: Sixth GradeStandard: 2. Life Science
Concepts and skills students master:
2. Matter tends to be cycled within an ecosystem, while energy is transformed and
eventually exits an ecosystem
3. The size and persistence of populations depend on their interactions with each
other and on the abiotic factors in an ecosystem
4. The energy for life primarily derives from the interrelated processes of photosynthesis
and cellular respiration. Photosynthesis transforms the sun's light energy into the
chemical energy of molecular bonds. Cellular respiration allows cells to utilize chemical
energy when these bonds are broken.
5. Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms,
populations, and entire species
6. Organisms interact with each other and their environment in various ways that create a
flow of energy and cycling of matter in an ecosystem
64


Table 2.1 (Continued)
Questions 14-16: Earth Systems Science. Were created using:
Content Area: ScienceGrade Level Expectations: High SchoolStandard: 3. Earth Systems Science;
Content Area: ScienceGrade Level Expectations: Eighth GradeStandard: 3. Earth Systems Science
Concepts and skills students master:
1. Climate is the result of energy transfer among interactions of the atmosphere,
hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere
2. There are costs, benefits, and consequences of exploration, development, and
consumption of renewable and nonrenewable resources
3. Earth has a variety of climates defined by average temperature, precipitation,
humidity, air pressure, and wind that have changed over time in a particular location
65


APPENDIX E.
Studies assessing aspects of EL
66


Table 3.1 A selection of studies that assess instructional effectiveness concerning aspects of EL.
(Hungerford, 2005, p.76-77)
A Selection of Studies Which Assessed Instructional Effectiveness
Concerning Aspects of Environmental Literacy
Study Validity/ independent Subject Dependent Significant
Reliability Variable Grade/Age Variable Effect
Adams et aJ., 1987 No/No Biology course High School Attitude +
Armstrong & Impara, Yes/Yes Supplemental 5,7 Attitude, .
1991 instruction Ecological Knowledge Mixed
Bennet, 1982 Yes/Yes Social studies Junior high Socio-Political Knowledge +
program school
Benton, 1993 No/Yes Environmental College Attitude, +
management Environmental Issue Knowledge, +
course Additional Determinants, +
Responsible Behavior +
Birch & Schwaab, Yes/Yes Instructional unit 7 Attitude. +
1983 Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Brothers et al., 1991 Yes/No Television Adults Attitude +
documentary Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Burrus-Bammel & Yes/Yes Residential camp 16-20 Attitude +
Bammel, 1986 years Ecological Knowledge +
Collins et al., 1978 No/Yes Field trip with activities 4.5,6 Attitude +
Crater & Mears, 1981 No/No Instructional unit 8 Attitude, +
Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Dresner, 1989/90 No/No Simulation game College Attitude, Additional Determinants *
Dunlop, 1979 Yes/Yes Simulator Teachers Attitude -
Fortner & Lahm, 1990 Yes/Yes Instruction 4,5 Attitude, .
(in-classroom information Ecological Knowledge +
and site visit)
Fortner & Lyon. 1985 Yes/No Television Adults Attitude, +
documentary Ecological Knowledge +
Geller, 1981 No/No Workshop Adults Attitude, +
Additional Determinants, Responsible Behavior +

Glass. 1981 No/Yes Workshop Teachers Attitude, +
Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Jaus, 1982 No/Yes Instruction 5 Attitude +
Jaus, 1984 Yes/Yes Instruction 3 Attitude +
Jordan, et al., 1986 Yes/No Residential camp High Socio-Political Knowledge, +
School Responsible Behavior +
Kidd et al.. 1978 No/No Forest camp 16-20 years Attitude, +
Ecological Knowledge +
Kinsey & Wheatley, No/No Environmental College Attitude Mixed
1984 studies course
La wren z, 1985 No/Yes Workshop Teachers Attitude -
Marshdoyle et al., 1982 No/No Field trip 4.5.6 Ecological Knowledge +
Mills et al., 1985 Yes/Yes Computer Teachers Attitude. .
simulation Environmental Issue Knowledge +
67


Table 3.1 (Continued)
Table continued: A Selection of Studies Which Assessed Instructional
Effectiveness Concerning Aspects of Environmental Literacy
Study Validity/ Independent Subject Dependent Significant
Reliability Variable Grade/Age Variable Effect
Milton et al, 1995 No/Yes Park/school 5 Attitude.
program Ecological Knowledge +
Pomerantz, 1986 Yes/No Children's nature magazine 5 Ecological Knowledge +
Ramsey & Hungerford, Yes/Yes Instruction 7 Attitude, .
1989 (investigation Socio-Political Knowledge, +
and action) Cognitive Skills, +
Additional Determinants, Responsible Behavior +
Ramsey, 1993 Yes/Yes Instruction 8 Attitude, .
(investigation Socio-Political Knowledge, +
and action) Cognitive Skills. +
Additional Determinants, Mixed
Responsible Behavior +
Ramsey et al., 1981 No/No Instruction 8 Socio-Political Knowledge, +
(investigation and action) Responsible Behavior +

Ross & Driver, 1986 No/No Youth 15 -18 years Attitude, +
Conservation Environmental Issue Knowledge, +
Corps program Responsible Behavior +
Shepard & Speelman, No/No Outdoor education 9-14 years Attitude .
1985/86 program
Simmons, 1984 No/No Presentation Adults Attitude, +
methods (on-site vs. simulated visit) Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Smith-Sebasto, 1995 Yes/Yes Environmental College Socio-Political Knowledge, +
studies course Cognitive Skills, +
Additional Determinants, +
Responsible Behavior +
Stapp et al., 1983 No/No Middle school 6.7 Attitude, +
curriculum Environmental Issue Knowledge. +
Cognitive Skills +
Additional Determinants +
Strickland et al. 1983/84 Yes/Yes Instruction 3-5 years Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Trent, 1978 No/Yes Workshop Teachers Attitude, _
Environmental Issue Knowledge +
Volk & Hungerford, No/Yes Instruction 8 Environmental Issue Knowledge. +
1981 Cognitive Skills +
Westphal & Halverson, No/No Workshop Adults Environmental Issue Knowledge, +
1985/86 Responsible Behavior +
Wilson St Toraera, Yes/Yes Supplemental High school Attitude .
1980 case study
68


APPENDIX F.
EL contexts and distributions
69


Table 3.2 Contexts for environmental literacy. The following table was taken from the PISA
environmental literacy framework and used to develop items on AELIESS (Hollweg et al., 2011).
Local Regional Global
Biodiversity Flora and fauna Endangered species, habitat loss, exotic invasive species Ecological sustainability, sustamable use of species
Population Growth Growth, birth.'death. emigration. immigration Maintenance of human population, population distribution, over population Population growth and its social, economic, and environmental consequences
Natural Resources Personal consumption of materials Production and distributions of food, water, energy Sustainable use of renewable and non- renewable resources
Environmental Quality and Health Impact of use and disposal of materials on air and wrater quality Disposal of sewrage and solid waste, environmental impact Sustainability of ecosystem services
Natural Hazards and Extreme Weather Decisions about housmg m areas vulnerable to flooding, tidal and wmd damage Rapid changes (e g. earthquakes), slow' changes (coastal erosion), risks and benefits Climate change, extreme w'eather events
Land Use Conservation of agricultural lands and natural areas Impact of development and diversion of W'ater, watersheds, and flood plains Production and loss of topsoil, loss of arable land
Table 3.3 Distributions of contexts: The items that include this context, as well as the percentage
of each context represented in the assessment AELIESS.
Context Biodiversity Natural Resources Environmental Quality and Health Natural Hazards and Extreme Health Land Use
Items including context 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 1,2, 3,4, 5, 13, 14 7, 13, 14, 15 7, 10, 15 9, 16
% Items containing context 37.5 43.75 25 18.75 12.5
70


APPENDIX G.
IRB approval letter
71


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Certificate of Exemption
CW-Dcc-2011
Investigator:
Sponsor's):
Subject:
Effective Date:
Anticipated Completion Date:
Exempt Category:
Title:
Randi Hogdcn
COMIRB Protocol 11-1474 Initial Application
06- Dec-2011
06- Dec-2014
1
Assessing The Environmental Literacy Oi Intro Environmental Science Students
This protocol qualifies for exempt status. Periodic continuing review is not required. For the dmution oi' your protocol, any
change in the experimental dcsign/conlcnt of this study must be approved by the COMIRB before implementation of the changes.
The anticipated completion date oi this protocol is 06-Dcc-2014. COMIRB will administratively close this project on this date
unless otherwise instructed cither by correspondence, telephone or e-mail to COMIRB Or ucdcnvcr.edu. If the project is closed
prior to this date, please notify the COMIRB office in writing or by e-mail once the project has been closed.
You will be contacted every 3 years for a status report on this project.
Any qucsti UCHSC Box F-490.
Review Comments:
This Exempt Approvul Includes This submission was submitted us Expedited but was determined to qualify us Exempt fall
attachments arc n>'s with the Exempt approval. Attachment O is also hVA) v. 12,''!/20II:-
Application
Information Sheet
Affiliated Site Downtown Denver Campus
Sincerely.
UCD Panel S
72


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Full Text

PAGE 1

ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY OF INTRO ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE STUDENTS By Randi Corrine Hogden B. S., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2010 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science Environmental Science 2012

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This thesis for the Masters of Science Degree by Randi Corrine Hogden has been approved by Bryan Shao Chang Wee Robert Talbot Casey Allen April 9, 2012 Date

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Hogden, Randi Corrine (M. S., Environmental Science) Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Sc ience Students Thesis directed by Bryan Shao Chang Wee ABSTRACT Using an assessment tool, tailored to the Colorado academic science standards, a study was conducted to evaluate the environmental literacy of postsecondary, nonscience majors. Data were collected from 144 students taking an introductory environmental science class. A 16 item, multiple choice question, environmental knowledge assessment instrument covered environmental content across three subdomains in the Colorado acad emic science standards: Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science. Population total mean scores were compared to sub domain scores to assess students' overall environmental literacy as well as to identify the populations' weaknesses between the sub domains. Results showed that the total mean score for the class was 52.18%, which indicates that the population as a whole does not have a strong foundation in environmental science nor high levels of environmental literacy and need further assista nce in one or more of the three sub domains. Statistical analysis revealed that on average the students scored a 67.8% in Physical Science, 53.4% in Life Science, and 37.8% in Earth Systems Science. Given that the findings were limited to environmental kno wledge within the Colorado science standards, an assessment of environmental knowledge in social science standards, including measures of behavior, attitudes and dispositions toward the environment is warranted. Keywords : assessment; environmental education; environmental literacy; environmental science; environmental knowledge; Colorado State Science Standards

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT Without the support and guidance of Dr. Bryan Wee, this research project would have never material ized. You h ave shaped my mind, my awareness my spirit and my path. Thank you for choo sing and believing in me. Thank you to James, my husband, for the comfo rt and hope you've given me, laughter we've shared daily, and your willingness to endure unceasing hours of silence whilst I studied, wrote and researched To Yvette and Adam, I love you both and am indebted to you countless home cooked meals and dish washings.

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i TABLE OF CONTENTS Figures .. i ii Tables ... . ....iv Chapter 1. Prologue ... .... 5 2. Introduction to Literature Review .. ..6 2.1 Brief history: Environmental Education .........6 Environmental Literacy ... 8 2.2 Definitions of literacy ... .10 2.3 Definitions of Science Literacy ... ..10 2.4 Definitions of Environmental Literacy .. ....12 2.5 Current demand for EE and EL ... ..14 2.6 Measuring EL with State Standards ...17 3. Methods .. ....20 3.1 Introduction to assessment . . ...20 3.2 Creation of AELIESS .... .21 3.3 Identification of measure .... ..22 General Information ... ...22 Purpose(s) of measure Specific sub domains as sessed Intended test population .....24 Age Special groups Administration .......24

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ii Time required ... .24 Stimulus items ...24 Administration Procedures ....25 Scoring Procedures ....25 Interpretation procedures ...26 3.4 Support for measure .......26 Item selection ........ .26 Validity evidence .......27 Reliability .... ...28 4. Results and Discussion ..29 5. Implications and Concl usion..45 5.1 Challenges for Education .......45 5.2 Limitations of Assessme nt.....46 5.3 Dispositions towards the environm ent........ ..49 5.4 Environmental values and beliefs ......50 6. Epilogue .. ..52 Appendix A. Geographic Dispersion of survey respondents.. 53 B. Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus...55 C. AELIESS assessment instrument and Answers .. ... 5 8 D. AELIES S questions chosen us ing Colorado academic standard outline ... 62 E. Studies assessing aspects of EL 65 F. EL contexts and d istributions.. .. .. .. 6 8 G. IRB approval letter .. ...70 Bibliography ... ..72

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iii FIGURES Figure 2.1 Geographic dispersion of survey respondents . .. 5 4 3.2 ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus .5 6 3.3 AELIESS assessment instrument . 59 4.1 Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions .29 4.2 Mean Scores for Age Groups . 40 4.3 Sub domain scores compared to total mean score . 42 5.1 PISA Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy .. 48

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iv TABLES Table 2.1 AELIESS Questions chosen using the Colorado Academic Standard's outline of critical concepts and skills for K 12 .. 63 3.1 A selection of studies that assess instructional effective ness concerning aspects of EL. .. 66 3.2 Contexts for environmental literacy . . 69 3.3 Distributions of contexts 69 4.1 Total Variance Explained . 31 4.2 Principal Component Analysi s .. . 3 2 4.3 Cronbach's Alpha Case processing summary . .. 3 3 4.4 Cronbach's Alpha Reliability ... .. 33 4.5 Cronbach's Alpha Item Total Statistics . 34 4.6 Demographic information including percents of represented ethnicities . .35 4.7 Independent t test between men and women's scores 36 4 .8 Group statistics for men and women 36 4 .9 Independent t test between high school graduates and non graduates .. 37 4.10 Group statistics for high school graduates and non graduates .. 37 4.11 Independent t test for K 12 Colorado and non Colorado attendees ..38 4. 1 2 Group statistics for K 12 Colorado and non Colorado attendees ..38 4.13 Descriptive s on a One way ANOVA for Age and Average scores ...39 4 14 One way ANOVA for Age and Average scores ........40 4.15 Independent t test between individuals 18 to 20 years old and thos e 21 to 39 years old s .41 4.16 Group statistics for ages 18 to 21 and 21 39 ..4 2

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5 1. Prologue C urrently there is not research being conducted on state content standards and how they relate to environmental literacy. Although we have created exceptional environmental frameworks and tools for measuring environmental literacy, the assessments are disconnected from the academic standard s. It is not rational to expect any educator to stray from the academic standards they have bee n given by the state to follow a separate environmental lit eracy plan. Unfortunately, the all too common attitude is that if it will not be tested, it will not be taught. If we want to measure environmental literacy of students we must draw from what they are actually being taught. Environmental knowledge of natural and human systems, h as been incorporated into the Colorado Science Standards. Why not use the se same standard s as a baseline f or the environmental assessment? I t only makes sense. The proposed research examines Intro to Environmental Science students and their understanding of environmental science knowledge and concepts. The research seeks to answer t he question: Do post secondary students possess the environmental knowledge they were taught in K indergarten through twelfth grade (K 12 ) ? Having a clear understandi ng of the foundational concepts, such as the interaction of natural and human systems, is an important aspect of environmental literacy. Once the more quantitative foundational concepts are understood, this enables the educator to instruct from a more qualitative angle. This approach is known as the T educational appr o ach ( Golley 1998 ). The ar ms are broad and the stem dee p. The ultimate goal of Intro to Environmental Science is to grow individuals with operational environmental literacy. The measured, foundati onal knowledge highlights normal and memorable pattern s of environmental relation ships and organization of observations, interpre tations and generalizations The research includes the use of an assessment t ool, AELIESS, created using the new Colorado Department of Education K 12 Academic Standards. The research supplies e nvironmental educa tors with a practical assessment tool.

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6 2. Introduction to Literature Review 2.1 Brief history: Environmental Education (EE) It is acknowledged t hat the primary antecedents of Environmental E ducation (EE) were Nature Study, Outdoor Education, and Conservation Educa t ion ( Disinger, 1985 ). The term Environme ntal Education has been so vague ly defined over the years that it has been used synonymously with many different constructs: environmental ecological education, ecological education, conservation e ducation, camping education, outdoor education and environmental science educa t ion ( Disinger, 1985 ) One of the most renowned experts on EE, Harold Hungerford, has concluded that EE is not synonymous with the previous fields, but that it has bee n defined and given substantive st ructure and boundaries (Hungerford 1975). The de finition that Hungerford (2005) uses becau s e of it s easy and clarity is from the Federal Register and states that : Environmental education is a process that leads to responsible individual and group actions Environmental education should enhance critical thinking, problem solving, and effective decision making skills. Environmental education should engage and motivate individuals as wel l as enable them to weigh various sides of an environmental issue to make informed and responsible decisions (US EPA, 1992, p.47516) EE became a common phrase and topic of interest in the 1960's an d 70's This topic of interest quickly turned into efforts to compose a conceptual framework for EE, built on shaping attitudes, motivations and skills ( Hart, 1981; Harvey, 1977 a ; Hungerford, Peyt o n, & Wilke, 1980; Stapp et al., 1969; UNESCO, 1977 ) In 1978 the world's first Intergovernmental Confere nce on Environmental Education, organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the United Nations Enviro n ment Programme (UNEP) was convened in Tbilisi, Georgia (USSR). At the close of the conference, the Tbilisi Declaration was adapted by acclamation. Within the docu ment, among the goals and guiding principles of EE were the five categories of objectives The Tbil isi EE

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7 categories, which provided a solid EE framework for almost two decades, include d Aware n ess, Knowledge, Affect, Skills, and Participation ( UNESCO, 1978) Awareness: to help social groups and individuals acquire an awareness and sensitivity to the total environmen t and its allied problems. Knowledge: to help social groups and indi viduals gain a variety of experience in, and acquire a basic understand ing of, the environmen t and its associated problems. Attitudes: to help social groups and individuals acquire a set of values and feelings of concern for the environment and the motivation for actively participating in environmental improvement and protect ion. Skills: to help social groups and individuals acquire the skills for identifying and solv ing environmental problems. Participation: to provide social groups and individuals with an opportunity to be actively involved at all levels in working toward resolution of environmental problems ( Hunger f ord, Bluhm, Volk & Ramsey, 2005 p. 15 ). In his Ph.D. dissertation entitled Environmental Education: A Delineation of Substantive Structure, Gary Harvey (1977) constructed the generally accepted definition of EE which has endured centuries of rigorous disassembling an d evaluation This is the definition most experts in the field refe r to ( Disinger 1985) Hungerford also refers to and accepts this mediating definition as an alternate to the Federal Register's (H ungerford, Pey t on & Wilke, 1983). A fter a thorough review of the literature Harvey defined EE as : An interdisciplinary, integrated process concerned with resolution of values conflicts related to the man environment relationship, through development of a citizenry with awareness and understanding of the environment both natural and man alt e red. Futher, this citizenry will be able and willing to apply enquiry skills, and implement decision making, problem solving, an d action strategies toward achieving/maintaining homeostasis between quality of life and quality of environment (Harvey 1977 b p. 158 ).

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8 For the purpose of this re search, Harvey's definition brings in an important concept of interdisciplinary proce sses w hich is lacking in the U.S. EPA definition This concept is foundational to the research asses sment tool and is covered under Implications and Conclusion, section 5 Environmental Literacy (EL) The concept of Environmental L iteracy (EL) has been evolving since it was developed to adva n ce the field of EE in 1969 (Roth 1992). The term gained great attention when President Rich ard Nixon began using it in his speeches for the National Environmental Education Act. In 1992 interpretive scientist Charles E. Roth who first introduced EL to the world, presented t he three major levels of EL: nominal EL, fu nctional EL, and operational EL (Roth 1992) Roth gave environmental literacy a purpose in society. For the first time, EL was seen as a continuum based on knowledge, values, beliefs and actions. Hungerfor d and Tomara (1977), considered an environmentally literate citizenry as both competent and willing to take action on critical issues. Roth (1992) also emphasized the need for knowledgeable citizen s who took action, who work ed to solve human/environment issues such as population growth, nonrenewable resources, consumption, pollution and social in justice EL became a common term used in schools and academic boards across the nation when the American Society for Testing and material (ASTM) developed consensus standards on EE with a clear definition for EL. EE and EL took another great lea p when Dr. Deborah Simmons developed a new framework for environmental literacy. This framework was based on sev en common clusters of elements: (1) Affect environmental sensitivity, attitudes, values, motivation and moral reasoning (2) Ecological Knowledge

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9 (3) Socio Political Knowledge the relationship of cultural, political, economic, religious and other social f act ors influencing perceptions and activities (4) Kn owledge of Environmental Issues (5) Skills environmental pro blems/issues and action/service (analyze, investigate, evaluate) (6) Determinants of Environment ally Responsible Behavior locus of control/efficacy, and assumption of personal responsib ility (7) Behavior various forms of active participation in solving problems and resolving i s su es (Simmons, 1995 ) Since 1995, environmental literacy assessment instruments have been publi s h ed ( Wilke, 1995) as well as several national studies using assessments of environmental literacy ( e g., Erdogan, 2009; McBeth, 20010 ; Negev et al., 2008; Shin et al., 2005) however, many of these studies have been conducted on middle school students Simm on s (1995) framework is still influential today and has been used in pro ceeding research by Vol k and McBeth, ( 1998 ) as well as by the N ational Guidelines for Excellence Proj ect to develop guidelines for state standards. On De cember 1, 2 011, NAAEE released Developing a Framework for As sessing Environmental Literacy at the National Press Club in Washington, DC which although still needs some work, is the most promising national framework the country has seen in decades. In 1997 the Organization for Economic Co operation and Development ( OECD ) starte d the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ( Hollweg et al 2011) Over 70 countries have participated in the PISA survey s, which test reading, mathematical and scientific literacy i n terms of general competencies. The age group of tested students is between 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months, an age right before many students in European countries end compulsory education. On August 28, 2011, PISA proposed a framework for ass essi ng EL in 2015 This will be the largest international research project ever conducted in E L

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10 2.2 Definition s of L iteracy Individuals are either illiterate or literate, the difference separated by a threshold of reading and writing skills. Literacy has been further subdivided into four categories: conventional literacy, functional literacy, cultural literacy, and critical lite r acy ( Tozer, Violas & Senese 20 06) Conventional literacy has been described as the absolute basics, the ability to read and write. There is no connection, however, to greater comprehension. An example of this would be a child's ability to recognize or write his or her own name, but dec oding a single word is not necessaril y the same as reading comprehension. This is considered the lowest level of literacy. The highest level of literacy is c ritical literacy founded on critical though This type of literacy is the ability to use a greater source of experiences a nd knowledge to compare and critique w ritings. This requires, not only knowledge of one's cul t ure, but knowledge of many cultures' values, beliefs, views and opinions. The ability to give greater meaning to what is read holds great power in societ ies. Power implies control and those who are illiterate have the ability to control economic and political oppression. With critical literacy the re aders are empowered and are able to escape these racial, ethnic, gender or social discriminat i o ns. ( Tozer et al. 2006). Literacy, therefore, plays a key role in the balance of power, which is why it is so highly valued in the United States, a nation built on democracy. Without first content and knowledge, how can individuals participate in criti cal thought, reading and writing on topics such as global climate change, ecosystem destruction or air quality? These are important issues we, as a society, are facing today. More attention has slowly been drawn to this to pic, which influenced the birth a nd establishment of science literacy and environmental liter a cy. 2.3 Definition s of Science Literacy In western culture there has been great emphasis placed on the importance of scientific literacy. Science and its technology have given us national secu rity, medicine, clean water and air,

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11 the ability to explor e the universe and so much more. It is no wonder that we aspire to raise up a generation of scientifically literate individuals who understand a scientific method, can think critically about evidenc e based research and who feel prepared, knowledgeable and confident when facing scientific dilemmas. Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the concl usions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality o f scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately. (National Re search Council, 1996 p. 22 ) The above definition can stand the tests of time, however, it is sometimes more meaningful to use examples that individuals c an put into present day context. For this reason, Haze n and Trefic's (1991) definition is also one o f importance. They describe scientific literacy as the following. The knowledge you need to understand public issues. It is a mix of facts, vocabulary, concepts, history and philosophy. It is not the specialized stuff of the experts, but the more general, less precise knowledge used in political discourse. If you can understand the news of the day as it relates to science, if you can take articles with headlines about genetic engineering and the ozone hole and put them in a meaningful context you are scie ntifically literate. J ames Trefil (2008) would agree that this should be the goal of science literacy, not to make every person an expert scientist, but for an alternate goal, that every individual be able to read a newspaper the day they graduate from h igh school. Unfortunately, the science educational system does not have this as their aspiration and the number of citizens who are considered scientifically literate in the United States is low It has only increased from 10 percent in 1988 to 28 percent in 2010 (Miller, 1989 ; Miller, 2011 )

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12 Scientifically literate individuals continually ask questions and seek answers. It is inevitable that one day they will ask questions about their environment and contemplate whether their actions are affecting the gl obal balance of life. Questions of sustainability, earth and atmospheric systems, energy, natural resources, as well as human and environmental interactions fall under a more specific category. Those who use science to answer environmental questions and th en alter their actions to echo the scientific demands for s tability are considered not just scientifically literate, but also environmentally literacy. 2.4 Definition s of Environmental Literacy Stephen Schneider (1997), from Stanford University, st ated that the objective for an envi ronmentally literate society is not the unattainable goal of detailed knowledge of content. He thought it absurd to require citizens be knowledgeable in all environmentally relevant disciplines. There is much truth in thi s statement. It is r idiculous to expect a layperson to obtain and utilize the knowledge of an expert. This does not mean that an environmentally literate citizen lacks the core concepts methods and skills of environmental science. The values an individual holds and the action he or she takes is an outward display of understanding these core concepts. Defining environmental literacy has proven difficult over the past 50 years. It is not only the ability t o read and write about the environment, but an intimate connection with the environment that influences our actions and affect our conscious and subconscious behavio r s. Disinger and Roth (1992) describe environmental literacy as the ability to perceive and interpret the health of an environmental system and then to take actions to improve, resto re or maintain those systems. They believe environmental literacy is reflected in obse rvable behaviors and actions, not just the opinions of an individual. An environmentally literate person know s that, as a consumer, they affect the environment. They acknowledge that his or her choices as a consumer either help or harm the

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13 environment an d that what they do as an individual or with their co mmunity can inhibit or aid the E arth in sustaining biological life (see, for example, Erickson 1 997, Goleman 2009, McKibben 2007, Payne 2010). Richard Wilke and Harold Hungerford encouraged citizens to b ecome environmentally knowledgeable and "above all, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to work individually and collectively for achieving and/or maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between quality of life and quality of the environme n t." ( Wilke, 1996 p. 15 ) Those who are considered environmentally literate will make decisions as a consumer and involved citizen to keep ecosystems healthy. In return they will create a high quality of life for themselves and future generations. Just as literacy i s divided into four categories, environmental literacy can also be categorized along its continuum. Roth (1992) describes in his book, Environmental literacy: Its roots, evolution and directions in the 1990s, three degrees of environmental literacy. The fi rst is Nominal environmental literacy, which is the lowest literacy of the three. It includes a rudimentary sensitivity for environmental issues, an acknowledgement of human environment interactions and a basic understanding of natural systems. The second is the Functional environmental literacy. This goes beyond the basic knowledge of human environment interactions into an understanding of positive and negative affects. There is now a sense of concern for the environment based on the knowledge of human har m and destruction to the environment. An individual may even begin to develop new skills in which to analyze and assess information. They will begin to express desire for personal, as well as local or global, change and action. Operational environmental li teracy is the highest environmental literacy. This is when a deep knowledge of ecological and environmental concepts bring about, not only understanding, but also are valued enough to impact their actions. This environmentally literate individual expresses a strong union between their values, beliefs and actions. They are constantly reading, writing and critiquing environmen tal literature and information. They have a strong connection with the environment and feel a

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14 responsibility to ensure its protection a nd stability. Action is not only taken on a personal level, but they encourage action in their community and on a global scale. The most contemporary definition of environmental literacy was released in the 2011 NAAEE document, Developing a Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy, which stated, Environmental literacy is knowledge of envir onmental concepts and i ssues ; the attitudinal dispositions, motivation, cognitive abilities, and skills, and the confidence and appropriate behaviors to apply such knowledge in order to make effective decisions in a range of environmental contexts. Individuals demonstrating degrees of environmental literacy are willing to act on goals that improve the well being of other individuals, societies, and the global enviro nment, and are able to participate in civic l ife ( Hollweg et al., 2011). Using this clear definition of environmental literacy as well as the Colorado Academic Standard's outline of critical concepts and skills studen ts are expected to master in K 12 (see Table 2.1 in Appendix), environmental literacy can be measured and assessed. It is important to measure such academic knowledge because of its significant implications. Environmental literacy must be achieved to overcome current, and prevent future, envir onmental crises. 2.5 Current demand for EE and EL Coyle (2005) has shown that only 1% or 2% of Americans are considered environmentally literate. Working with National Environmental Education & Training Founda t ion ( NEETF) he created the Environmental Literacy in America assessment tool in 1997 The NEETF/Roper Survey of Environmental Knowledge was a test, with only a dozen questions used to assess an average American adult 's knowledge on topics such as waters heds, recycling, electricity and other environmentally relevant topics The survey was given and results compiled from 1997 2005 The results show that only one third of A merican adults can pass the survey with a grade of A, B or C. However, 95% of American adults (96% of parents) thi nk environmental education should be taught in schools, which indicates that a lthough they do not themselves have the knowledge necessary to be environmentally literate they do see a need for it (Coyle 2005)

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15 A total of 301 respondents completed a survey, the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and Colorado Environmental Literacy P lan ( CAEE CELP), in thirty three Colorado counties represented in Figure 2. 1 (see A ppendix) There were 60 respondents who identified as either a parent or a guardian of a child in K 12 When the parents were asked which topics they want teachers to cover in greater depth the top responses, with 71.7% of the vote, were environmental systems, environment and economy, current environmental issues and personal and civic responsibility. When teachers were asked what the greatest barriers were to teaching EE in the class the top answer, with 22.1% of the vote, was that there is not enough time to incorporate EE. At the college lev el, over 22 staff, administrators and faculty from at least 7 universities or colleges responded to the survey from departments including: science, education, natural resources, environmental studies, museum studies, business and architecture. The survey s howed that 23.5% implement EE in their classrooms every day, compared to only 5.9% of teachers K 12 ("Colorado environmental literacy," 2010). Although many parents and teachers would like environmental education in the classroom, they are finding it diff icult to implement because of State and National restraints. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2 001 ( NCLB) was an educational reform enacted to increase academic accountability nationally. This new law placed great emphasis on state defined educational stand ards and benchmarks, with great importance placed on reading and math scores A school t hat does not meet its state's "adequate yearly progre s s," ( AYP) two years in a row, is consi dered "in need of improvem e nt" ( Tozer, 2006, p. 463). The AYP's have led to States firing teachers and closing schools This places teachers in a difficult predicament T hey are now forced to focus their instruction exclusively on topics covered in the state assessments M any schools and teachers are obligated to abandon e nvironmental education programs to invest more time and money in math and language arts. When time is spent on topics outside test related i nstruction this is considered discordant and precarious

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16 Th is system has been built on coercive power, one that instills fear in the educators that either something bad will happen to them or something good will be taken away from them if they do not comply. As with all coercive power, commitment is superficial an d energies have quickly turned to sabotage and destruction (Covey, 1991) Educators are not satisfied with the current system and are waiting for a bright new solution, one that values th eir skills as educators and places less emphasis on standardized test s. In spite of the current situation, many states have decided to pursue frameworks for environmental literacy. There is no shortage of prospective environmental literacy plans in the United States. Currently, 46 states are working on environmental lit eracy p l ans ( ELP), four states have passed legislation for the creation of ELPs (DC, NJ, OR, CO) and two states that have completed their plans (MD, OR ) ( Navin 2010 ). The No Child Left Inside (NCLI ) Act is a piece of federal legislation that hopes to develop environmental education statewide. They aim at providing specialized development opportunities in environmental education. The legislation cannot move forward, however, unless there is an enviro nmental literacy plan to access funds. In 200 8 the NCLI was passed in the House with significant support It was re introduced into both the House and Senate in 2009 and is currently in commit t ee (" NCLI ," 2011). The environmental literacy plan that the NCL I is focusing on has been created by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE). There are 6 major requirements for these environmental literacy plans that the CAEE has outlined : 1 State content standards and how they r elate to environment al literacy 2 Programs for the profe ssional development of teachers 3 How the state will measure the env ironmental literacy of students 4 The relationship of the Pl an t o state graduation requirements 5 How t he Plan will be implemented

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17 6 Peer review of the Plan by major stakeholders, including State and federal agencies non profits, and other gr o ups ( CAEE, 2011) This research fo cuses primarily on the fi rst of these six requirements, s tate content standards and how they re late to environmental literacy. This research does, however, have implications for numbers two and three as well. Rather than restrict measurement to the standardized tests or assessmen t s as NCLB did a combination of approaches can be used to measure st udents EL Until Colorado has completed t heir ELP, we must rely on existing content s tandards to implement EE into the curriculum. The Department of Education has incorporated human environment interaction and ecological knowledge into the content areas of science and social studies. T his research merely assesses one part of EL basic environmental science knowledge acquisition which is most accurately measured using a multiple choice survey The full measure of EL includes more t han just content knowledge It is not s uggested that multiple choice assessments be used to measure the other a reas under examin ation in environmental literacy, such as attitude. This laten t construct must be inferred from overt responses rather than measu red dire c tly ( Milfont, 2010 ). 2.6 Measurin g EL with State Standards Academic standards were created to ensure that all school students would receive a high quality and consistent public educat ion. Although the government does have great influence, education is not completely nationalized or global In fact, each state in the US has its own process for developing, adopting, and implementing standards The standards based education measures each individual student against a set of standards, as oppose d to norm referenced education measures that evaluate students against their peers. This system emphasizes the use of criterion referenced assessments. These e ducational assessment s were created to make an official valuation

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18 of academic a ttitudes, skills and knowledge in a specific content area. For this research, the content area of interest is s cience. State agen cies do not currently measure the environmental literacy of students. Colorado K 12 content s tandards for science include Phy sical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science. The purpose of the science standards is to ensure the readiness of our students when released into a world that embodies 21 st century skills and technology. It is vital our K 12 educational system enco urages skills in research and technology, as well as a sense of care for, not only humans, but for the flora and fauna which surround them. T he members of the Colorado D epartment of Educa t ion ( CDE) who compiled the standards, have emphasized that more than anything their desire is to give Colorado students the ability to continually interpret evidence. Especia l l y in this day and age when, "pseudo scientific ideas and outright fraud are becoming more common place. D eveloping the skepticism and critical t hinking skills of science gives students vital skills needed to make informed decisions about their health, the environment, and other s cientific issues facing society ("Colorado academic standards," 2009 p. 7 ) The CDE want to provide students with the tools necessary to decipher t rue science from pseudoscience. Science is often separated from value laden politics, ethics and econom ics, however, in order to cease the destruction of the planet, there must be an intersection to promote personal responsibil ity This intersection cannot affect the logic, methods rationality or results of science but rather affect the actions we take in response to its enlightenment. Some of the most pertinent issues our children will ( unquestionably ) face are those of the environment. Climate, water and air pollution, ecology biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, toxic waste management, limited natural resources, sustainable economic development, these are the core issues that, not only our future s cientists, but also future citizens will face. It is important that individuals are able to articulate their environmental concerns, ideologies and critical rhetoric. Wit h these issues in mind, the Department of Education began their revision of the existi ng

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19 Colorado Standards Colorado Student Assessment Pro g ram ( CSAP) tests, which have been in use the past fourteen years During the transition into the new standards, Colorado school districts will be using what are called the Transitional Colorado Assess m ent Pro g ram ( TCAP) though 20 13 until the old standards are completely phased out. By 2014 school districts in Colorado sho uld have completed implementing the new te s ts (" CSAP / TCAP," 2011) The new Science Standards were divided into three sections based on topical organization. The three standards of science are: 1. Physical Science Students know and understand common properties, forms, and changes in matter and energy. 2. Life Science Students know and understand the characteristics and structu re of living things, the processes of life, and how living things interact with each other and their environment. 3. Earth Systems Science Students know and understand the processes and interactions of Earth's systems and the structure a nd dynamics of Ea rth and other objects in space ("Colorado academic standards, 2009). Each standard is broken down by high school and grade level expectations, and thes e are further broken down into concepts an d skills students should master There has recently been a push to e ither add a fourth standard, an environmental science standard, or to encourage more environmental education within traditional subjects, such as science and social studies. Adding a fourth standard is not necessarily the best option for Co lorado because of K 12 tim e restraints in the classroom. The depar tment of Education has found that it is a better option to integrate EE into current classroom instruction. Using these new standards, imbedded with environmental concepts, students' environ mental knowledge can be evaluated using an instrument that combines assessment from the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as contexts from PISA's globally accepted environmental literacy framework (Project 2061, 1 993; Hollweg et al., 2011 )

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20 3. Met h ods 3.1 Introductio n to assessment When students graduate from high school and continue along their path into adulthood, it is important that they have been given every tool necessary to move forward into college or career. It is also vital that they become a knowledgeable, positive and participating member of societ y It is the responsibility of the Department of Education, teachers, parents and society to grow environmentally literate individuals. Currently there are not any state assessments test ing environmental literacy that are directly related to state academic science standards (see Table 3.1 in A ppendix) At the college and university level of education it is difficult to quantify each student's understanding of the concepts learned under the Colorado science standards. The Introduction to Environmental Science Course at the University of Colorado De n ver ( UCD) is filled with students from diverse backgrounds. Each semeste r there are roughly 200 non science majors who sit through the course. They do not necessarily enter the course because they are interested in Environmental Sci e nce. UCD requires that all graduating students take at least one course wi th a lab. Many students pick Intro to Environmental Science because it fulfills this requirem e nt. ( see Figure 3.2 in A ppendix ) What this means to the professor teaching the course is that there are student s from many different discipline s signing up for the class. Since it is an introductory course, the only prerequisite is the completion of the Science Standards in K 12. It is important that key concepts learned in High School, Middle School and even Grade S chool are carried through to the undergraduate level Although s tudents c ome from all across the state, country and even w o rld to a t tend UCD 70% of students who sign up for this introductory course have attended K 12 in Colorado. T hese students should, t heoretically, understand key conc epts in Environmental Science (ES) and be able to pass an assessment of their environmental knowledge. Although ES

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21 has only recently been incorporated into the standa rds, this does not imply that older students are any less environmentally literate than their younger peers E nvironmental knowledge can come from sources outside of educ ation, such as family, media, peers and personal experience The purpose of this assessment instrument, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Stud e nts ( AELIESS) is to gather information about a diverse group of students' environ mental knowledge (see Figure 3.3 in Appendix ) A quality learning experience is des igned with the stu dents in mind St udent centered course design t akes into account the student s' knowledge, learning styles and needs Instead of simply trans mitting a body of environmental knowledge to the students, the educator uses active learning such as critical thinki ng and problem solving. With the u s e of AELIESS, the educator limits the assumptions he or she makes about the stud ents' environmental knowledge and lit e r acy. AELIESS give s educators some baseline data, a starting point from whi ch the course curriculum can be built. It also gives freedom from repetition of concepts if students are already knowledgeable in certain areas Most importantly, it aids in the ultim ate goal of the course: moving students from a nominal to an operational environmental litera c y. 3.2 Creati o n of AELIESS When creating the new science s tandards, the Colorado Department of Education committee used a variety of resources, including: Science for all Americans (Rutherford 1990), Benchm arks for Science Literacy (Project 2061, 1993) and The Atlas for Science Literacy (AAAS, 2001a) By relying on the C olorado Department of Education as a resource t o creat e the AELIESS instrument there is less subjectivity and high er validity concerning the content of items. Eight of the 16 multiple cho ice questions were taken directly from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website Each of the AAAS questions was chosen from key ideas within the science standards concepts. The AAA S Science Assessment was established

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22 under Pro ject 2061 and a website was created for public access. For eac h science topic, includ ing Physical Science, Earth Science, Life Science and the Nature of Science, the website has a list of sub ideas, a list of items, results from field testing, and a list o f student misconceptions for each individual question. The other eight, non AAAS, questions on the instrument were created usin g the new Science Standards as guidance, as well as the PISA Framew ork for Environmental Lite r acy ( Hollweg et al., 2011). Althou gh the questions were chosen from three different topic s or subdomains, the que stions for the instrument all had an overarching environmental theme unifying them. Each question further identified with one or more specific context s in environmental scien ce. These contexts included biodiversity, natural resources, environmental quality and health, natural hazards and extreme weather, and la nd use (see Table 3.4 in A ppendix). T he PISA Environmental Literacy F ramework provided examples of each context, all of which (except population growth) were used in the development of test ite m s on AELIESS (Hollweg et al., 2011 p.20 ). Population growth is considered a topic in the social studies standards; therefore the context w as excluded from the assessment Over 3 7 % of AELIESS items included biodiversity, nearly 44% included natural resources, 25% included environmental quality and health, nearly 19% incl uded natural hazards and extreme health and 12.5% included land use (see Table 3.3 in A ppendi x ). 3.3 Identificatio n of measure A. General Information The instrument is ti t led, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Stud e nts ( AELIESS) It has the ability to highlight topics and concepts a majority of the students may be struggling with. Areas the students have mastered can also be identified. By highlighting these problem areas the instructor can make the most of their time with the studen ts and can focus on their actual needs, as apposed to their theoretical needs. This assessment

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23 instrument could potentially be used by any introductory course in environmental science, however, the questions are based on Colorado Standards thus this asses sment is most e ffective when given to students who have attended, at least, grades 9 12 in Colorado. 1. Purpose(s) of measure Assess environmental literacy among students in Intro t o Environmental Science The assessment could potentially be given to K 12 students, post secondary students, p re and in service teachers, or the general public The purpose of the assessment is not to be used as an exit exam for high school graduat es, although it c ould accurately measure their knowledge in environmental sc ience. It is not my intention to create yet anoth er obstacle standing between high school students and their future goals. Standardized exams are many times the unscrupulous gatekeeper of occupational and educational opportunity. The instrument for this research purpose, is to be used by instructors or professors in higher education to assess the environmental literacy o f their students With this information they may quickly discover which topics h/ she should spend the most time reviewing or bui lding upon throughout the semester The instrument is an excellent indicator of the students knowledge, however, more research needs to be done to make the connection b etween w hat students know how they feel, and how they act. It is important to keep in m ind that a student could score a 100% on the assessment and still make poor environmental decisions in their every day life. Qualitative research is encouraged to bridge the gap for complete environmental literacy assessment. 2. Specific sub domains asses sed The instrument has an over arching theme examining the students understanding of core concepts in environmental science. The more questions an individual is able to answer correctly positively correlates to the individual's environmental literacy. Qu estions were chosen from content covered under sixth grade, eighth grade and high school standards as lower grades' concepts were simplified versions of the higher grade levels There are three different content

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24 areas under the standards : Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems S cience. Each content area is further divided into concepts and sk i lls the students should mas t er. ( see Table 2.1 in A pp endix ) The following represents the content areas and their concepts, which were used to creat e the AELI ESS. Questions were selected based on their corre lation to environmental concepts Sixteen questions were created for the instru ment for quantitative analysis. B. Intended test popul ation 1. Age The Instrument can be given to anyone age 19 or older, unless the individual graduated early from high school and is enrolled in a college level course, this is the exception. 2. Specia1 groups The instrument was not created for nor tested using individuals with disabilities or behavioral problems. C. Administration The instrument can be administered in individual or group settings. It is suggested that it is administered in a quiet room withou t distractions to maximize reliability. It is also suggested that the assessment is given the first day of class if given in a classroom setting. D. Time required The actual testing time is approximately 20 minutes. Total administration time is approxima tely 30 minutes 5 10 of which is spent establish ing rapport and giving oral instructions to the student s Any questions the students might have are answered before passing out the instrument. E. Stimulus items The respondent is given a form on which they fill out the demographic information, including their gender, age and ethnicity. The respondent is then asked if he or she graduated High School and must circle either yes or no. They are also asked how many years of K 12 they

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25 attended in Colorado. Th en the instructions as k them to read and complete 16 multiple choice answers by circlin g one answer. Only one question, under the life science questions, has pictorial representation (a flow chart) to aid in completing the question. The 16 questions are u sed to quantify the respondent's understanding of basic environmental systems and concepts. This portion is all that is necessary to assess the students knowledge of environmental literacy. The assessment could be given w i th a scantron so that the hard copies could be reused saving time and resources F. Administration Procedures After obtaining approval for human subjects research by the International Review B oard, t he instrument can be administered and scored by individuals without formal training in assessment. The instrument was created for Colorado educators in the Environmental Sciences, specifically at the College and University level. There are not multiple tests or section s thus there is not a specific sequence of actions for administering the measure. The first official adminis trati o n of AEILESS was conducted in the Spring 2012, before classes had begun. In the future, a second assessment could be created assessing the res pondent's actions, values and behaviors, in which case, the two instruments should be taken simultaneously a nd then scored to assess overall disposition towards the environment, as well as gaps between attitude and behavior. G. Scoring Procedures Interpr etation of the instrument's scores requires graduate training in environmental science or related fields. To score the assessment, the numbers of correct answers are tallied, giving a raw score for each individual student, which are then compiled a nd avera ged. This gives an idea of the overall performance of the class. The second step in scoring the assessment is to sum up the individual s correct answers for each sub domain (Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science), and then these are compiled and averaged This gives an idea of the overall performance of the class within each sub domain. By looking at the averages, medians and

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26 modes within each domain, areas of difficulty can be identified For this type of continuous scale zero to 16 the measure of central tendency that is the most meaningful is the mean Scoring of the multiple choice section of the instrument could be done quickly and easily u sing scantrons. This is the most efficient way to score large groups of students efficient ly and with as little human error as possible. H. Interpretation procedures Demographic information should be analy zed for trends and changes in the student population over time (for example, the average age of a population ma y increase or decrease from one semester to another, which could correlate to overall performance ) Trends should also be analyzed for ethnicity. Total mean score for the population as well as for each of the sub domains (Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Systems Science) should be calculated and analyzed to reveal an overall level of understanding environmental concep ts as well as reveal which, if any, of the three sub domain s the students are struggling with 3.4 Suppor t for measure A. Item selection Each item on the assess ment was put through a pilot test before the final instrument was completed. This 16 item MC question form was collected from students in two Environmental Science sectio n s at UCD in the fall semester of 2011 There were not any individuals who ident ified themselves as hav ing any special education needs First the statistical properties of individual items were examined in the combined sample. Items for which responses were frequently missing (i.e. Suggesting that such items were poorly worded, or fr equently misun derstood) were eliminated. U sing SPSS, each item score was correlated with the total score within each scale, and then items with the lowest item total correlations were modified Principal Component analysis was used as a second approach for clarifying scale structure and determining

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27 the strength of scale membership for each item. Eac h of the analyses identified three predominant factor s and one or two secondary factors that accounted for the majority of variance within a scale. These latter factors contained only a few items and accounted for minimal variance. B. Validity evidence Validity was based on the content of its items (content validity) and the internal structure of the instru m ent ( discriminant validity) and whether the o perationalizations of the construct actually measure Environmental Science and literacy (construct validity) Using excel, item analysis was conducted to determ ine internal consistency. This included assessing the difficultly of each AELIESS item, as well as the relationship between how well students did on the item and their total score The item diffi cul ty index ranges from 0 to 1, t he higher the value the easi er the question. If the item difficulty is 0.79, this means that 79% of the students answered the question correctly. The ideal difficul ty for a four response multiple choice question is a moderate score of 62%. Difficulty is measured on a scale classifyin g 85% or above as easy, 51 to 84% as moderate and 50% or below as hard. Comparing students' item responses to their total test scores assesses the quality of individual items. This test should discriminate between students who are environmentally knowledg eable and those who are not. The item has low discrimination if it is too difficult or too easy. Item discrimination, also called P oint Biserial correlation (PBS) is considered good if it is above 0.30, fair if it is between 0.10 and 0.30 and poor if belo w 0.10. Constru ct validity was examined using Principal Component A nal y sis ( PCA) Loadings in excess of .71 (50% overlapping variance) are considered excellent 0 .63 (40%) is very good, 0 .55 (30%) good and 0 .45 (20%) fair and 0 .32 (10%) is considered poor The items are expected to load primarily on one overarching component, Environmental Science, or on three components, Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Systems Science The eigenvalues over one should account for most of the variance.

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28 C. R eliability Internal consistency estimates the reliability of test scores u sing Cronbach's alpha. The scale, from 0 to 1, indicates the degree to which the set of items measure a s i ngle unidimensional latent construct The construct for this research, unif ying the items is Environmental Science. Higher values of alpha indicate h i gher intercorrelations among test items and thus increased reliability. A Cronbach's .9 is considered to have excellent internal consistency. Good internal consistency is .9 > .8 acceptable is .8 > .7 questionable is .7 > .6 poor is .6 > .5 and unacceptable is .5 > Ru n ning Cronbach's alpha on SPSS gives the Item Total Statistics, which includes Cronbach's Alpha if an item is delet ed. This gives the option of removing an item to significantly raise the internal consistency

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29 4 Results and Discussion Figure 4.1 Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions illustrates the correlation of each AELIESS multiple choice i tem to the total score (0=no correlation, 1=perfect correlation) as well as the difficulty of the items (0= most difficult, 1= least difficult). 0.39 # 0.37 # 0.44 # 0.30 # 0.44 # 0.43 # 0.46 # 0.30 # 0.33 # 0.49 # 0.21 # 0.46 # 0.27 # 0.33 # 0.32 # 0.78 # 0.62 # 0.63 # 0.43 # 0.52 # 0.63 # 0.67 # 0.21 # 0.72 # 0.79 # 0.31 # 0.51 # 0.56 # 0.08 # 0.35 # 0.52 # !"!!# !"$!# !"%!# !"&!# !"'!# ("!!# (# $# )# %# *# &# +# '# ,# (!# ((# ($# ()# (%# (*# (&# Difculty and Discrimination Multiple Choice Items Difculty and Discrimination Distributions Difculty # Discriminant #

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30 Figure 4.1, Difficulty and Discrimination Distributions, illustrates the difficulty of each item as well as its correlation to the overall score. All of the items, except numbers 14 (Earth Systems Science) and 11 (Life Science), were above 0.30 for difficulty. In order of decreasing dif ficultly, the items are: 14, 8 11, 15, 4, 12, 5, 16, 13, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 1 an d 10. Item number 14 was the most difficult with only eleven individuals out of 144 (8%) answering correctly. This item was the most difficult for students in the pilot test as well. After changing the wording, the difficultly was expected to decrease, but did not. The PBS for number 14 is 0.27, which is at the higher end of fair, indicating the eleven students who did answer this item correctly scored highly overall. There were only nine Environmental Science majors in the class and of these, four answered number 14 correctly. The fact that students did poorly on this question does indicate that students are either not familiar with balances between energy production and environmental impact, or they are not familiar with the newest forms of renewable energ y. Many students are familiar with solar energy, which is why it was the number one incorrect response from all participants. It is important to identify common misconceptions so that they can be addressed. This is why the item was not removed from the tes t after the pilot study The PBS also revealed that all of the correlations were above 0.20, which indicates high discriminant validity. Students who showed the highest comprehension of the concepts scored the highest overall, and got the most diffic ult items correct, whereas students who had low er test scores got the difficult item s incorrect. Correlations of 0.40 or higher, showing the highest validity on the exam, were numbers 12, 10, 7, 13, 3, 5 and 6, which were primarily from the Life Science su b domain.

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31 Table 4.1 Total Variance Explained: dis p lays eigenvalue loading on three items explaining 33.73% variance as well as the seven components, loading higher than one, explaining 61% variance. In i tial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings Component To t al % of Variance Cumulative % To t al % of Variance Cumulative % 1 2.388 14.925 14.925 2.388 14.925 14.925 2 1.563 9.771 24.696 1.563 9.771 24.696 3 1.445 9.032 33.728 1.445 9.032 33.728 4 1.240 7.752 41.480 5 1.058 6.612 48.092 6 1.038 6.486 54.578 7 1.007 6.293 60.871 8 .945 5.908 66.779 9 .895 5.595 72.374 10 .827 5.166 77.540 11 .731 4.569 82.109 12 .694 4.337 86.446 13 .644 4.024 90.470 14 .551 3.447 93.917 15 .508 3.173 97.090 16 .466 2.910 100.000 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

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32 Table 4.2 Principal Component Analysis : displays loading on three primary components. Loading occurred primarily on the first component. Comp o nent Matrix a Component 1 2 3 1 .387 .434 .175 2 .315 .018 .255 3 .505 .050 .396 4 .249 .139 .558 5 .390 .235 .325 6 .482 .174 .028 7 .478 .027 .056 8 .188 .515 .160 9 .396 .326 .146 10 .582 .372 .086 11 .093 .182 .531 12 .450 .422 .311 13 .607 .129 .014 14 .008 .596 .129 15 .160 .408 .182 16 .272 .085 .538 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. a. 3 components extracted. Primary loading Secondary loading Using Principle Component Anal y sis ( PCA) on the results, seven eigenvalues were identified larger than 1, accounting for 61% of the variance The items could have loaded according to their contexts (see Table 3.3) however, the greatest loading were on three principle

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33 components Identified as Physical Science, Life Sc ience and Earth Systems Science (see Tables 4.1 and 4.2). There were meaningful correlations, of .32 or larger, between the items and the components they loaded on. The greater the loading, the more that variable is a pure measure of the factor. There was not loading greater than 0.61 on any one component. A majority of the questions loaded on c omponent one. High loading on only one component was expe cted, with a unifying theme of Environmental S cience. If the questions had loaded atypically, this would suggest that the questions selected for the study were not environmentally founded. Factor analysis was also used to identify the difficultly of each item on the instrument, and also to compare how well the students' performance on an item correlated to t heir overall score. This provided greater clarity when attempting to interpret the factors and understand the underlying dimension that unified the groups of variables loading on i t Cronbach's Alpha (Tables 4.3 4.5) Table 4.3 Case processing summary: presents sample size and the percent valid and excluded cases. N % Valid 144 8 8 .3 Excluded a 19 11.7 Cases Total 163 100. 0 a. Listwise deletion based on all variables in the procedure. Table 4.4 Reliability: which is a measure of the assessment s precision in scoring environmental scien c e. Cronbach's Alpha N of Items .602 16

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34 Table 4.5 Item Total Statistics: inc l udes descriptives for each item, including which items should be deleted to increase internal consistency. Scale Mean if Item Deleted Scale Variance if Item Deleted Corrected Item Total Correlation Squared Multiple Correl a tion Cronbach's Alpha if Item Deleted 1 7.566434 7.029 .253 .196 .582 2 7.727273 6.968 .215 .154 .588 3 7.720280 6.803 .284 .227 .576 4 7.916084 7.182 .122 .175 .604 5 7.825175 6.788 .275 .216 .577 6 7.720280 6.817 .278 .201 .577 7 7.678322 6.778 .308 .188 .572 8 8.139860 7.225 .165 .105 .595 9 7.629371 7.114 .182 .086 .593 10 7.559441 6.806 .367 .282 .565 11 8.034965 7.432 .041 .117 .615 12 7.839161 6.583 .358 .238 .562 13 7.790210 6.711 .309 .197 .571 14 8.272727 7.429 .173 .116 .594 15 8.000000 7.133 .154 .125 .598 16 7.825175 7.109 .148 .142 .600 The tables above (Tables 4.3 4.5) include the Case Processing Summary, Reliability and Item Total Statistic s for Cronbach's alpha. The alpha value for the AELIESS assessment, using all 16 multiple choice items, was .602 (Table 4.4). Higher internal consistency could be achieved if additional items were added to the sub domains, Physical Science and Earth Systems Science, which only contained three questions each. Table 4.5 reveal s how Cronbach's alpha would be affected if an item were delet ed. As you can see, deleting any of the 16 items would not greatly improve the reliability.

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35 Table 4.6 Demographic information including percents of represented ethniciti e s. Caucation Hispanic Asian African American Middle Eastern Other Non response 50 % 12.5 % 4.86 % 4.17 % 3.47 % 11.11 % 13.89 % The sample size included 70 males, 59 females and 15 without a response resulting in a total sample size of 144, a mode age of 19 and a mean age of 22. Half of the population identified as having Caucasian ethnicity, whilst half of the population identified as either Hispanic, Asian, African American, African, Middle Eastern, Italian, German, Austra lian, Korean, Native American, O ther or did not respond to the question at all. This was considered an ethnically diverse sample with many different ethnicities, however, because sample sizes were small for ethnicities other than Caucasian, this inhibited examin ing the students scores with a t test or ANOVA (as many ethnic groups had less than 3 members). Several t tests and an ANOVA were run to determine if other dem ographic data (gender, age, K 1 2 attendance hi gh school graduate) a ffected how well individuals performed on the environmental assessment.

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36 Tab le 4.7 Independent t test between men and women's sco r es Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t test for Equality of Means 95% Confidence Interval F Sig. t Sig. (2 tailed) Mean Differen ce Std. Error Difference Lower Upper Equal variances assumed 1.123 0.291 1.167 0.245 0.56 0.48 0.389 1.509 Equal variances not assumed 1.177 0.241 0.56 0.476 0.382 1.502 Table 4.8 Group statistics for men and women. Male=1 N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 1 70 8.81 2.83 0.338 Sum 0 59 8.26 2.57 0.335 A t test was run to see if there was a difference in scores between men and women. A p value of 0.245 > 0.05 indicates that there is not a significant dif ference in scores (see Table 4.7 ). Sample sizes were very close for the two populations, as we ll as the mean scores, which for men was 8.81 and for wo men 8.257 ( Table 4.8 ). T his indicates that individuals environmental literacy is low, regardless of gender If there had been more than two groups (men and women) for the factor (gender) an ANOVA could have revealed differences in scores within and between the sub domains.

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37 Table 4 .9 Independent t test between high school graduates and non graduat e s Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t test for Equality of Means 95% Confidence Interval F Sig. t Sig. (2 tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference Lower Upper Equal variances assumed 0.588 0.445 0.476 0.635 0.9 1.892 4.647 2.847 Equal variances not assumed 0.592 0.656 0.9 1.519 18.055 16.255 Table 4.10 Group statistics for high school graduates and non graduates. Graduate=1 N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error M ean 1 120 8.6 2.658 0.243 sum 0 2 9.5 2.121 1.5 Another question was whether those who graduated from high school had a better grasp of e nvironmental concepts. Table 4.9 shows a p value of 0.635 > 0.05, which indicates that there is not a significant difference in scores. Both groups of students have similar environment al knowledge, although Table 4 .10 shows that the mean score for those wh o did not graduate high school was 9.5 and for grad u ates was only 8.6. The sample size for the non graduates was only two individuals, vs. 120 in the graduates' population. These two students could have received t heir GED's or could have been home schooled Given a larger sample size with a larger population of non graduates, this statistic could significantly change.

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38 Table 4 .11 Independent t test for K 12 Colorado between those who attended Kindergarten through 12 th grade in Colorado and those who did not Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t test for Equality of Means 95% Confidence Interval F Sig. t Sig. (2 tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference Lower Upper Equal variances assumed 0.125 0.724 0.203 0.839 0.104 0.513 1.118 0.91 Equal variances not assumed 0.207 0.836 0.104 0.503 1.105 0.897 Table 4 1 2 Group statistic s for K 12 Colorado and non Colorado attendees K 12 yes=1 N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error M ean 1 90 8.51 2.712 .286 sum 0 39 8.62 2.581 .413 The most surprising of the independent t tests was between those who attended Kindergarten through 12 th grade in Colorado and those who did not The AELIESS assessment was specific to Colorado environmental knowledge in terms of the Colorado content standards that were used to construct the questions as well as the nature/specificity of the questions themselves For example, item 13 specifically addresses ava ilable, renewable energy in Colorado. One could assume that those who attended school in Colorado would perform better on the question. Table 4.11 reveals a p value of 0.839> 0.05, indicating that there is not a significant difference in scores between tho se who attended Kindergarten through 12 th grade in Colorado and those who did not. The sample size was 90 for Colorado attendees and 39 for non Colorado K 12 attendees, and the mean scores were 8.51 compared to 8.62 ( see Table 4.12) Had the assessment con tained more Colorado specific questions, the statistical difference could have been significant. Question 13 was considered one of the best questions on the assessment, with high internal validity (see Figure

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39 4.1). An important aspect of environmental lite ra cy is that students are aware of not just global, but local means for solving environmental problems and achieving change. Table 4.13 Descriptives on a One factor ANOVA for Age and Average scores. 95% Confidence Interval for Mean N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Lower Bound Upper Bound Min. Max. 18 11 6.82 1.601 .483 5.74 7.89 4 10 19 27 8.37 2.817 .542 7.26 9.48 4 15 20 23 7.91 2.539 .529 6.82 9.01 3 12 21 20 7.70 3.729 .834 5.95 9.45 0 14 22 16 8.81 2.228 .557 7.63 10.00 5 13 23 11 7.91 2.256 .680 6.39 9.42 4 11 24 6 8.83 2.927 1.195 5.76 11.90 4 12 25 3 8.33 2.082 1.202 3.16 13.50 6 10 26 4 9.25 1.258 .629 7.25 11.25 8 11 27 3 11.67 2.517 1.453 5.42 17.92 9 14 28 6 9.33 1.966 .803 7.27 11.40 6 11 29 2 13.00 .000 .000 13.00 13.00 13 13 30 2 8.50 4.950 3.500 35.97 52.97 5 12 31 1 10.00 . . 10 10 32 1 6.00 . . 6 6 33 1 10.00 . . 10 10 34 1 13.00 . . 13 13 39 2 11.00 2.828 2.000 14.41 36.41 9 13 Total 140 8.39 2.763 .234 7.93 8.85 0 15

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40 Table 4 1 4 One way ANOVA for Age and Average scores Sum of Sq u ares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups 177.338 17 10.432 1.440 .130 Within Groups 884.055 122 7.246 Total 1061.393 139 Figure 4.2 Graphical representations of mean scores for multiple choice questions (1 16) for each age group (18 34 and 39). Table 4. 1 3 pro v ides descriptives on a one factor ANOVA for Age. The ages range from 18 to 39. The mean and range of scores for each age gro up are given, as well as the sample size of &"'$# '")+# +",(# +"+# '"'(# +",(# '"')# '"))# ,"$*# (("&+# ,"))# ()# '"*# (!# &# (!# ()# ((# !# $# %# &# '# (!# ($# (%# (&# ('# $!# $$# $%# $&# $'# )!# )$# )%# !"#$%&'()"%(*+%(,%-.% &+*/"$+01%23"% !"#$%&'()"0%,()%23"%4)(*50%%%%

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41 each group. It is interesting to note that the age group 21 had the highest score of 14, as well as the lowest score of zero. Table 4. 1 4 gives a p value of 0.130 > 0.05, indicating that there is not a significant difference between age groups and average score. Significance within groups could not be tested because some age groups had less than 2 individuals representing that group For graphic representation of mea n scores for age groups, see Figure 4.2. Visually, it appears that older students tend to have higher mean scores. This pattern is supported by data analysis in Table 4. 1 5 Although every group from 18 25 contained at least one individual who scored $ 6, y ou can see that the individual 32 years of age scored a 6, graphically making that age group appear the most environmentally illiterate group. Figure 4.2 could be misleading, which is why it must be examined alongside Table 4.13 Table 4.15 Independent t test between individuals 18 to 20 years old and those 21 to 39 years old s reveals a significant di fference, p value 0.006 < 0.0 5 Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t test for Equality of Means 95% Confidence Interval F Sig. t Sig. (2 tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference Lower Upper Equal var. assumed 1.645 0.202 2.766 0.006 6.937 0.459 2.176 3.62 Equal var. not assumed 2.834 0.005 1.269 0.448 2.155 0.383 Table 4.15 and Figure 4.2 both seemed to indicate a slight increase in score with age. To test this trend, the sample size was split, with one group representing 18 to 20 years of age and the other group 21 to 39 years of age. Table 4.15 Independent t test between i ndividuals 18 to 20 years old and those 21 to 39 years old, shows a p value 0.006 < 0.05, indicating a significant difference in scores between the two groups.

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42 Table 4.16 Group statistics for ages 18 to 21 and 21 39 Under 21=1 N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 1 81 7.86 2.867 0.319 Sum 0 60 9.13 2.439 0.315 The mean score for those under 21 was 7.86 and for those 21 and older 9.13 (see Table 4.16 ). It is not clear why individuals in the older group would perform significantly better than their younger peers. One plausible explanation is that these students have taken more college level courses, any of which could have been related to environmental science. It could also be that they are "academically savvy" and likely to look outside of academia for e nvironmental knowledge and education, an idea discussed further on in the reading. Figur e 4.3 A comparison of the participants mean scores in the three sub domains to the total mean score. Figure 4.3 illustrates an overall performance of the population by comparing the sub domain scores to the total mean score. T he total me an score for the class was 52.18 %, which *$"('#-# &+"')#./012345# *)")'#6278# )+"+^:;/#<01"# !# (!# $!# )!# %!# *!# &!# +!# '!# (# $# )# Score (%) Sub-Domain vs Mean Score (%) Sub-domain scores compared to total mean score! sub-domain # total mean score #

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43 shows that the class as a whole does not have a strong foundation in environmental science nor high levels of environmental literacy and need further assistance in one or more of the three sub domains. Statistical analysis showed that on average the students scored a 67.8% in Physical Science, 53.4% in Life Science, and 37.8% in Earth Systems Science. The obvious area of concern for this population of Intro Environmental Science students is in Earth Systems Science. If we view figure 4.3 a longside Figure 4.1 and Table 3.3 (in Appendix), a few observations can be made. The most difficult questions for the s tudents came from Life Science, items 8 and 11, as well as from Earth Systems Science, items 14 and 15 (see Figure 4.1). In Table 3.3, Di stributions of contexts, these items fall most heavily under biodiversity and environmental quality and health. These are topics the instructor should allocate greater time for review. The assessment could show that the students have a firm grasp on the foundational concepts learned in high school. In this case, the st ructure of Int r o to Envs course could incorporate a more qualitative structure, increasing the students' connection with the environment through reading and research on topics of interest, weekly field exercises and research papers in oral and written form. The poor results illus trated in Figure 4.3 were not surprising There has been an obvious lack of emphasis placed on environmental knowledge in the world of academia. Until recently, educators and policy makers have not see n the need for develop ing an environmentally literate youth. Transitioning environmental science in to K 12 standards will be difficult for many educators. There is global concern as to whether teachers have the necessary basic knowledge of environmental concepts to teach stud e nts ( Loubser 2001) This could be why students in this sample have performed so poor l y on AELIESS. T he use of AELIESS could therefore, be extended to K 12 teachers to highlight gaps in their knowledge It should not be used to reprimand or punish teacher s After all, it is not the educators' fault they were not required to take an environmental science course before receiving licensure. The main use of the assessment is to provide post secondary educators and teacher development programs with a tool to assess

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44 their students' environmental kno wledge to work more proficiently towards environmental literacy.

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45 5. Implications and Concl u sion 5.1 Challenge s for Education Once gaps in content have been identified using this assess m ent ( AEILESS) the instructor is then left to address any basic knowledge acq uisition insufficiencies There are many different academic resources and materials available covering environmental topics in life science, physical science and earth systems s cience for K 12, but there are fewer ava ilable for higher education. In other words, changes to curriculum and instruction in higher education will require time to adapt K 12 resources and materials. Very little research has been done examining the quality of environmental texts and curriculum i n the United St a tes. Erdogan (2009) has shown that the curricula in Bulgaria and Turkey are lacking in the behavior (action) component of EL, but are strong in knowledge. This may also be the case in American textbooks and curricula. It is up to the instru ctor to decide whether he or she wants to focus on broad environmental concepts th e students are struggling with or whether it would be better to focus on an individual topic within the sub domain and then decided what pedagogical approach should be taken to emphasize a particular concept or domain. Using the Science Standards, each item on the instrument can be traced back to a specific skill the students should master. For example, if only 9% of student s answer item one correctly, this question falls under the high school physical science standard. More specifically, the concept and skill the student should master with this question is, Energy exists in many forms such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, radiant, thermal and nuclear, that can be quant ified and experimentally determined ("Colorado academic standards 2009) This topic can be referenced in, for example, the text, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories More specifically, in chapter 4: From Chemistry to Energy to L ife ( Withgott, 200 9). Each question has a specific topic the instructor can focus on by reviewing the Science Standards. Another source is the AAAS website, which provides a plethora of concepts and ideas to cover under each content area.

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46 However, this means that a) educato rs need to be familiar with the K 12 content science standards, and b) ha ve the luxury of time to make these connections and change their teaching as well as assessme n t. 5.2 Limitation s of Assessment Environmental knowledge can come from sources outside of education, such as family, media, peers and personal experience. With the multitude of factors impacting an individual's environmental literacy, it is nearly impossible to claim that literacy is a di rect result of education. There is no question, however, that literacy is greatly impacted by the quality of education. No qualitative questions were included in the assessment as a means of testing whether students could answer open ended questions usin g a combination of sciences' knowledge and thought Qualitative questions require appropriate response mechanisms, giving insight to the respondent's attitude and possibly their individual actions and behaviors. In reality the environment is a holistic sys tem, therefore the physical sciences and the social sciences should not be considered in isolation from one another. Students should be give n opportunities to integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge from the different content areas. In higher education however, students are typically assessed by separating science from social studies, reading, writing, math, communicating and health. Future adaptations t o the AEILESS tool should include, at the very least social studies. R ather than add an environme ntal content section to the standards the CDE have incorporated environmental topics into the biology standards. This integration has been openly accepted because the topics are profoundly interconnected. Biology and environmental science should be integr ated in education, as should chemistry and earth sciences. Combined in education, they create a very strong candidate for the science field. A student who is able to make interdisciplinary connections between the sciences is more likely to solve complex bi ological

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47 problems (Roth 1 976; Stapp, 1976; Brogdon & Rowsey, 1977; Schneider 1997; Feig 2004). They have an advantage when using science tools from multiple fields. Specialization is not lost, but a new perspective, is gained. Unfortunately, the Cartesian Newtonian concept of scientific modernism, with its fragmentation of the sciences, has only been reinforced throughout the decades. Environmental science integration and assessment is most likely an anomaly within the dominant educational paradigm. Hopeful ly the importance of interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the sciences finds a way into assessment practices in higher education. The Colorado Environmental Literacy plan includes competencies from, not just the Science content area, but also from Social Studies, including standards in History, Geography, Economics and Civics. Social studies are equally as important as the sciences when assessing environmental literacy. It is important that students, not only have knowledge about ecological processe s and human impacts, but that they become active citizens interested in progressing their communities and government. Students need a sense of civic and personal responsibility to the environment. They must understand the social, economic and environmenta l conditions and injustices of humanity. It is a combination of ecological and social knowledge and experiences that contour students' attitudes, values and behavior A second assessment should be created to cover the environmental social studies content s uch as population growth, environmental equity, environmental history, migration, urbanization and development.

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48 The g reatest limitation of the assessment is that it only assesses knowledge and skills of individ u als. Env ironmental literacy is influe nced by more than these two component s, as you can see below, in Figure 5.1. Figure 5.1 PISA Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy. The PISA 2015 framework emphasizes that competencies are influenced by both environmental knowledge as well as one's disposition toward the environment. A vital element in achieving environmental literacy is that an individual n ot only has the knowledge of ecological and social systems, issues and strategies, but that they have a positive disposition towards the environment. Future assessments of scientific knowledge or environmental literacy might be combined with m easures of be havior, attitudes and dispositions toward the environme n t.

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49 5.3 Dispositions towards the environment Many individuals believe that they are environmentally literate yet when asked to describe nature they portray places absent from any human interfer e nce ( Vining 2008). Others do not believe they are a part of nature at all. Humans have m ade an effort to control nature since the beginning of their existence. Some examples are the Agricultural Revolution the Industrial Revolution and the Technol ogical Revolution. Although we have entered what is known as the Green Revolution, a continuation of technological advancements, humans seem to have lost their connection with their natural world. In nations that at are less developed and less industrializ ed, we can see symbiotic relationships with nature, reflecting an image of early Americans, pre technological advance m en t. (Campbell 1 983; Eliade 1964 ). The fact that many Americans do not acknowledge they are a part of nature may influence their environ mental values and thus their actions towards the E a rth ( Dutcher 2007). Instead of respecting and seeing the value in indigenous ways, western cultures are continually pushing economic development and, indirectly, environmental destruction on less industri alized count r ies ( Apffel Marglin 1990, Mander 2006). The Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) reinforces the view that western civilization has the most superior knowledge and culture. It also emphasizes that other nations' resistance to conform and develop stem s from ignorance. How e ver, Apffel Marglin (1990) has shown that it is not actually superior cognitive power that enables modern knowledge to trump traditional knowledge, but economic and social prestige associated with western cultural history over the p ast 500 year s. For many western societies it is a difficult concept to grasp, that poor, indigenous people could b e more environmentally literate Those with environmental concerns are challenging the existing parad i gm. Kilbourne (2002) has shown that the greater one believes in and value s the DSP, their expressed concern for the environment decreases, showing an inverse relationship. Thanks to authors such as Thomas S. Kuhn, whose writings in the 1960's covered topics such as paradigm anomalies, crisi s and shifts,

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50 scientists began to exhibit different attitudes toward existing paradigms and started questioning their nature. Dunlap an d Van Liere (1978) developed the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale to measure an individual's proenvironmental orien tation. It's revision, the new ecological paradigm scale (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000), was created to measure environmental attitudes, influenced by fundamental values and beliefs. Many assessments have since been created to assess the same i s sue (incl u ding Milfont 2009). As stated in Figure 5.1, it is my hope that learners demonstrate not only an increase in knowledge but also a shift in disposition from DSP to NEP. 5.4 Environmenta l values and beliefs Accord ing to Sean Esbjšrn Hargens (2 009) western societies have six basic, heavily weighted values. In decreasing value they are: security, power, principle, profit, people and planet. It is ironic to me that people and planet would be at the bottom end of the scale. Farrior (2005) categoriz ed environmental values into three broad categories: egoistic concerns, social alturuistic concerns and biospheric concerns. Egoistic concerns focus on one's own health, quality of life, prosperity and convenience. The social alturuistic concerns focus on other people, such as children, family, community and humanity. Lastly the biospheric concerns focus on the well being of non human, living organisms such as flora and fauna. Centuries of efforts have been made to transform society's view of human dominio n and the conquest of nature, falling under egoistic concerns. Although there have been a few environmentalist throughout history, it was not until the 21 st century that respect for the environment was brought about through a "deep seated realization of the fact that we and all other entities are aspects of a single unfolding reality" (Fox, 1990). Many writers and experts in the field of EE believe that env ironmental behavior is the ultimate goal o f EE ( eg. Childress and Wert 1978 ; Harvey 1977; Hungerford and Peyton 19 7 6 ;

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51 Hungerford, Peyton and Wilke 1980; Rubba and Wiesenmayer 1985; Stapp 1978). After all, an individual's behaviors reveal whether they are considered operational in their environmental literacy. "Environmental literacy should be defined . in terms of observable behaviors. That is, people should be able to demonstrate in some observable form what they have learned their knowledge of key concepts, skills acquired, disposition toward issues, and the l i ke" ( Daudi, 1997). Western culture has, however, shown that an individuals' behavior is often disconnected from the attitudes or beliefs they hold. This term has been coined the attitude beha vior gap, that is, people show concern for cars and factories releasing toxins and pollutants into the environment, yet they continue to drive their cars and buy products that are not made sustainably (Campbell 19 6 3). Allport (1935) defined an attitude as "a mental and neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual's response to all objects and situations with which it is related". Behavior, on the other hand is the manner of conductin g ones self. Although attitudes were once considered a direct precedent to behavior, this is no longer an accepted idea among social psycholog i sts ( Greve, 2001). Simply because an individual answers every question on the assessment correctly doe s not mean that s/ he consistently engages in environmental behaviors "Individual and societal environmental behavior belies the assumption that behavioral change follows directly from development of necess ary knowledge and ski l ls" ( Iozzi, 1989). Ultimatel y, there are many factors that have been found to infl u ence pro environmental behavior including: demographic factors, external factors (e.g. institutional, economic, social and cultural), and internal factors (e.g. motivation, pro environmental knowledge, awareness, values, attitudes, emotion, locus of control, responsibilities and priorit i es) ( Kollmuss 2002). Imagine environmental knowledge as the tip of an enormous iceberg. The iceberg it self is environmental literacy which necessitates the creation of multiple assessments corresponding to each of its under water' components, and not exclusively the visible' environmental knowledge.

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52 6. Epilogue Personally, I have found my place in Environmental Education. I will undoubtedly spend the rest of my life teaching courses on systems thinking, multicultural environmental communication, atmospheric science, ecology, green technology and sustainability. It is my hope that our future generations will have a powerful connection to their living an d nonliving surroundings, have a strong sense of community, leadership and advocacy, and that they are able to use their environmentally literate mi nds to protect and restore the E arth's balance. My hope is that the instrument I have created, Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Students, will point educators in the right direction and give students a more focused and personal curriculum and in the end, a meaningful educational experience for all.

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53 APPENDIX A. Geograp hic Dispersion of survey respondents

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54 F i gure 2.1 Geographic dispersion of survey responde nt s The map illustrates the geographic dispersion of respondents who completed the survey in Colorado. Yellow represents 1 2 respondents, Light Green represents 3 5 respondents, Dark Green represents 6 15 respondents and Bl ue represents 15+ respond e nts ( Navin, 2010)

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55 APPENDIX B. Introduction to Environmental Science Syll a bus

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56 ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science Monday and Wednesday 12:30 to 1:45 and 2:00 3:15 Tentative Syllabus Instructor: Dr. Jon Barbour Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences Office: North Classroom 3622. Phone: 303 556 4520 Email: jon.barbour@cudenver.edu Office hours: Mo nday and Wednesday 8:00 9:00 a.m. or by appointment. Course Information Website : http://clasfaculty.ucdenver.edu/jbarbour/ TEXT Withgott and Brennan. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories 3 rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc. San Francisco PREREQUISITES : There are no formal prerequisites. Some basic math and science skills, as well as familiarity with the use of library resources will required. COURSE DESCRIPTION: The major objective of th is course is to provide students with the tools and background information required to reasonably understand and discuss environmental issues facing current and future generations. The course also serves as an introductory course for the Earth & Environmen tal Scie n ces ( EES) degree option within Geography. This course will cover basic biology, chemistry, physics, and ecological science that determine the Earth's environment in which we live today. MEASURABLE STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Understanding of: 1. The basic science disciplines that are involved in Environmental Science. 2. Functioning of the major systems and processes that are active in the Earth's environment. 3. What is sustainability and what are the factors involved in achieving it. 4. How we as human soc iety may achieve and maintain both energy and environmental sustainability. Technical and analytical skills: 1. Basic research skills in researching, compiling and organizing information from libraries, the world wide web, scientific journals and databases 2. Synthesize and analyze information from different sources and points of view. TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE: Wednesday 1/19 Class introduction Monday 1/24 An Introduction to Environmental Science (Chap 1) Wednesday 1/26 Environmental Ethics and Economics (Chap 2) Monday 1/31 Environmental Policy (Chap 3) Wednesday 2/2 From Chemistry to Energy to Life (Chap 4) Figur e 3.2 ENVS 1042: Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus

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57 Figure 3.2 (Continued) Monday 2/7 Evolution, Biodiversity, and Population Ecology (Chap5) Wednesday 2/9 Species Interactions and Community Ecology (Chap 6) Monday 2/14 Environmental Systems and Ecosystem Ecology (Chap 7) Wednesday 2/16 Human Population (Chap 8) Monday 2/21 Soil and Agriculture (Chap 9) Wednesday 2/23 Agriculture, Biotechnology and the Future of Food (Chap 10) Monday 2/28 Sustaining Biodiversity (Chap 11) Wednesday 3/2 Review for Mid Term Exam Monday 3/7 Mid Term Exam Wednesday 3/10 Return and Review Exam Monday 3/14 Resource Management (Chap 12) Wednesday 3/16 Urbanization and Creating Livable Cities (Chap 13) Monday 3/21 NO CLASS SPRING BREAK Wednesday 3/23 NO CLASS SPRING BREAK Monday 3/28 Environmental Health and Toxicology (Chap 14) Wednesday 3/30 Freshwater Resources (Chap 15) Monday 4/4 Marine and Costal Systems (Chap 16) Wednesday 4/6 Atmospheric Science and Air Pollution (Chap 17) Monday 4/11 Global Climate Change (Chap 18) Wednesday 4/13 Fossil Fuels, Their Impacts, and Energy Conservation (Chap 19) Monday 4/18 Conventional Energy Alternatives (Chap 20) Wedne sday 4/20 New Renewable Energy Alternatives (Chap 21) Monday 4/25 Waste Management (Chap 22) Wednesday 4/27 Sustainable Cities (Chap 23) Monday 5/2 Make up day for snow etc. Wednesday 5/4 Review for Final Exam FINAL EXAM (Comprehensive) According to Finals Schedule PLEASE NOTE: You must pass both lab and lecture sections to pass the course, i.e. you must obtain at least 60% of the points in lab (180) and lecture (240) to pass. Also, you must pick up your mid term exam when handed back or 10 points will be deducted from your exam. Total points: 700 points distributed as follows: Exams: Mid Term Exam 100 Comprehensive Final Exam 200 Quizzes: There will be 5 unannounced quizzes during the term. Each will be 20 points for a total of 100 points Total points from labs 300 You must register for a lab section as part of this course. The lab points are entirely determined by the lab instructor.

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58 APPEND I X C AELIESS assessment instrument

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59 Title: Assessing the Environmental Literacy of Intro Environmental Science Students Date: 1/18/2012 Student Information: Gender: male female E thnicity: _________________ Age: ________ Did you graduate High School? Yes/No Are y o u an ENVS major? Yes/No How many years of K 12 was attended in Colorado? _____________ DIRECTIONS: Multiple Choice : please circle one answer for each question. 1. Consider t he following situations: Situation 1: A battery is used to power a cell phone. Situation 2 : The sun s hine s on a plant. Is energy being transferred in either of these situations? A. Energy is transferred in both situations. B. Energy is NOT transferred in either situation. C. Energy is transferred when a battery is used to power a cell phone, but energy is NOT transferred when the sun shines on a plant. D. Energy is transferred when the sun shines on a plant, but energy is NOT transferred when a battery is used to power a cell phone. 2. The thermal energy of an object depends on which of the following? A. Both the temperature of the object and the material it is made of B. The temperature of the object but not the material it is made of C. The material the object is made of but not the temperature of the object D. Neither the temp erature of the object nor the material it is made of 3 Which of these is a renewable resource? A. Wood, because trees grow again B. Gold, because more can be made very easily C. Petroleum, because it can be refined into gasoline D. Coal, because more can be made in about 100 years 4 Which energy transformation occurs first in a coal burning power plant? A Chemical energy to thermal energy B Thermal energy to mechanical energy C Thermal energy to electrical energy D Mechanical energy to electrical energy 5 Coal, petroleum, and natural gas found underground in certain parts of Earth are primarily formed from which process? A. Decay of radioactive elements B. Collision of tectonic plates in earthquakes C. Transformation of dead plants and animals under he at and pressure D. Intrusion of water into the soil that breaks up rocks and minerals Figur e 3.3 AELIESS assessment instrument 6 Which of the following is TRUE about the extinction of species?

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60 A. Very few species have ever become extinct. Most continue to exist. B. The re have been extinction events in which many species became extinct at about the same time. A side from these, extinction is very rare. C. Up until recently, species rarely became extinct. Humans have cause d the maj ority of extinctions. D. Many species have become extinct throughout the history of life on earth. 7 Which of the following is TRUE about how changes can happen to the physical environment of earth? A. Changes can happen suddenly or gradually. B. Changes can happen suddenly but not gradually. C. Changes can happen gradually but not suddenly. D. Changes can happen neither gradually nor suddenly because the environment does not change. 8. Which of the following is food for a plant? A. Sugars that a plant makes B. Minerals that a plant takes in from the soil C. Water that a plant takes in through its roots D. Carbon dioxide that a plant takes in through its leaves 9 Because they are rapidly being cut down, the rain forests today are endangered ecos yst ems. How might widespread destruction of the rain forests affect other ecosystems in the worl d ? A. by increasing the amount of available soil B. by reducing the amount of available oxygen C. by increasing the diversity of plant and animal life D. by red ucing the amount of available carbon dioxide 10 When the environment changes more quickly than a species can adapt, the species may beco m e A. extinct B. diverse C. dominant D. overpopulated 11 The diagram below shows the feeding relationships between populations of plants and animals in an area. The arrows point from the organisms being eaten to the orga n isms that eat them. Figure 3.3 (Continued)

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61 A new species that eats only mice becomes part of this food web, greatly reducing the number of mice in this area. Using only the relationships between the plants and animals shown in the diagram, what effect would the new species have on the caterpillar population if the number of foxes stays the same? A. The number of caterpillars would increase. B. The number of caterpillars would decrease. C. The number of caterpillars would stay the same. D. There is not enough information to tell what would happen to the number of caterpillars. 12 Which of the following statements about competition between animals is TRUE? A. Competition may involve two lions fighting over prey but not two cows eating grass in the same field. B. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site but not one bird placing its eggs in the nest of another. C. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site, two lions fighting over prey, or one bird placing its eggs in the nest of another but not two cows eating grass in the same field. D. Competition may involve two birds fighting over a nesting site, two lions fighting over prey, one bird placing its eggs in the nest of another, or two cows eating grass in the same field. 13 As the energy needs for Colorado increase, new sources of energy are requir ed to replace or supplement the nonrenewable sources of energy now in use. Two sources of energy that are renewable and available in Colorado are A. natural gas and wind power B. coal and hydropower C. petroleum and solar power D. wind power and solar po wer 14 Whi ch form of energy strikes the best balance between energy production and environmental impact ? A) solar B) tidal C) nuclear D) a lgae biofuel 15 The greenhouse effect presents some concern to humans but it is also an important part of Earth's ecosystem. Why is this? A. It makes Earth habitable by cooling its atmosphere. B. It makes Earth habitable by warming its atmosphere. C. It helps screen out harmful radiation from the sun. D. It prevents carbon dioxide from escaping Earth's atmosph ere. 16 Which of these has the LEAST influence on an area's climat e ? A. latitude B. elevation C. soil conditions D. adjacent large bodies of water Figure 3.3 (Continued)

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62 Item 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Answers A A A A C D A A B A A D D D B C Figure 3.3 (Continued)

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63 APPEND I X D. AELIESS questions chosen using Colorado academic standard outline

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64 Tabl e 2.1 AELIESS Questions chosen using the Colorado Academic Standard's outline of critical concepts and skills for K 12 ("Colorado academic standards," 2009) Questions 1 3: Physical Science W ere created using: Content A rea: Science% Grade Level Expectations: High School% Standard: 1. Physical Science Concepts and skills students master: 1. Energy exists in many forms such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, radiant, thermal, and nuclear, that can be quantified and experimentally determined Q uestions 4 13: Life Science W ere created using: Content A rea: Science% Grade Level Expectations: High School% Standard: 2. Life Science; Content A rea: Science% Grade Level Expectations: Sixth Grade% Standard: 2. Life Science Concepts and skills students master: 2. Matter tends to be cycled within an ecosystem, while energy is transformed and eventually exits an ecosystem 3. The size and persistence of populations depend on their interactions with e a ch other and o n the abiotic factors in an ecosystem 4. The energy for life primarily derives from the interrelated p rocesses of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Photosynthe sis transforms the sun's light ener gy into the chemical energy of molecular bonds. Cellular respiration allows cells to utilize chem ic al energy when these bonds are broken. 5. Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms, populations, and entire species 6. Organisms interact with each other and their environment in various ways that create a flow of energy and cycling of matter in an ecosystem

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65 Table 2.1 (Continued) Questions 14 16: Earth Systems Science W ere created using: Content A rea: Science% Grade Level Expectations: High School% Standard: 3. Earth Systems Science; Content Area: Science% Grade Level Expectations: Eighth Grade% Standard: 3. Earth Systems Science Concepts and skills students master: 1. Climate is the result of energy tran sfer among interactions of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere 2. There are costs, benefits, and consequences of exploration, de velopment, and consumption of renewable and nonrenewable resources 3. Earth has a variety of climates de fined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind that have cha nged over time in a particular location

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66 APPENDIX E. Studies assessing aspects of EL

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67 Tabl e 3.1 A selection of studies that assess instructional ef fectiveness c oncerni ng a spects of EL (Hungerford, 2005, p.76 77)

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68 Table 3.1 (Continued)

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69 APPENDIX F. EL contexts and distributions

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70 Table 3.2 Contexts for environmental literacy. The following table was taken from the PISA environmental literacy framework and used to develop ite m s on AELIESS (Hollweg et al., 2011). Table 3.3 Distributions of contexts: The items that include this context, as well as the percentage of each context represented in the asses s ment AELIESS. Context Biodiversity Natural Resources Environmental Quality and Health Natural Hazards and Extreme Health Land Use Items including contex t 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 14 7, 13, 14, 15 7, 10, 15 9, 16 % Items conta i ning context 37.5 43.75 25 18.75 12.5

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71 APPEND I X G. IRB approval letter

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72

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73 BIBLIOGRAPHY American Association for the Advancement of Science (20 0 1a). Atlas of Science Literacy. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Scie n ce. Arcury, T. A. (January 01, 1990). Environmental attitude and environmental knowledge. Human Orga nizat i on. Allport, G. W. (1935). A handbook of social psycholog y (c. murchison, ed.) Worcester, MA: Clark University Press. Apffel Marglin, F., & Marglin, S. A. (1990). Dominating knowledge: Development, culture, and resistance. Oxford: Clarendon Pr e ss. Brogdon. R., & Rowsey, R. (1977). Some effects of an interdisciplinary environmental education effort. Journal of Environmental Education 8, 3, 26 31. Campbell, D. T. (1963). Social attitudes and other acquired behavioral dispositions. In s. Koc h (ed.). Psychology: A study of a science (6), 94 172. New York: McGraw Hill. Campbell, J. (1 9 83). The Way of Animal Powers. New York: A van der Marck. Childress, R. B., & Wert, J. (1978). Challenges for environmental education planners. The Journal o f Environmental Education 7, 4 2 6 Colorado Alliance fo r Environmental Educa t ion ( CAEE), (2011 ). Colorado environmental literacy plan draft 21 Retrieved from website: http://www.caee.org/colorado environmental education plan Colorado Department of Education, Office of Standards and Assessment. (2009). Colorado academic standards: science Retrieved from website: http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_stnd access. h tm Colorado Department of Education, (2 0 11). Csap / tcap: Assessment window Retrieved from website: http://www.cde.s tate.co.us/asse ssment/CoAssess AssessmentWindow.asp Colorado environmental literacy plan: task force meeti n g 3 (10, 12 2010). Retrieved from http://eeforeveryone.wetpaint.com/page/Task Force Meeting #3 10 12 10 Coyle, K., & National Environmental Educa tion & Training Found ation (2005). Environmental literacy in America: What ten yea r s of NEETF/Roper research and related studies say about environmental literacy in the U.S. Washington, D.C: NEETF. Covey, S. R. (1991). Principle centered leadership. New York: Summit Bo o ks. Daudi S. S., Heimlich, J. E. (1997). Advancing education & environmental lite r acy. EETAP Resource Library.

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74 Disinger, J. F. (January 01, 1985). What Research Says: Environmental Education's Definiti onal Problem. School Science and Mathematics, 85, 1, 59 68. Disinger, J., & Roth, C. (1992). Environmental literacy. Columbus, OH: ERIC Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education Clearinghouse. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 35120) Du n lap, R.E., Van Liere, K.D. (1978). The "new environmental paradigm": a proposed measuring instrument and preliminary results. Journal of Environmental Education 9, 4, 10 19. Dunlap, R. E., Van, L. K D., Mertig, A. G., & Jones, R. E. (January 01, 200 0). New Trends in Measuring En vironmental Attitudes: Measuring Endorsement of the New Ecological Paradigm: A Re v ised NEP Scale. Journal of Social Issues 56, 3, 42 5 4 42. Dutcher, D., Finley, J., Luloff, A. E., & Johnson, J. (January 01, 2007). Connectiv ity With Nature as a Measure of Environmental V alues Environment and Behavior 39, 4, 47 4 4 93. Eliade, M. (1964). Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Erdogan, M., Kostova, Z., & Marcinkowski, T. (Februa ry 01, 2009). Components of environmental literacy in elementary science education curriculum in Bulgaria and Turkey. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 5, 1, 15 26. Erickson, R. J. (1997). Pap e r or plastic?: Energy, envir onment, and consumerism in Sweden and America. Westport Ct: Praeger. Farrior, M. (2005). Breakthrough strategies for engaging the public: Emerging trends in communications and social science. Chicago: Biodiversity Project. Published on the Inte r net. A vailable at http://www.biodiversityproject.org/docs/publicationsandtipsheets/breakthroughstrate g iesf orengagingthepublic.pdf [accessed 20 June 2010]. Feig A. L. (2004). Challenge your teaching. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Nature Publishing Group. 11, 1, 16 19. Fox, W. (1 9 90). Toward a transpersonal ecology Boston: New Science Libr a ry. Goleman D. (2009). Ecological intelligence: How knowing the hidden impacts of what we buy can change everything. New York: Broadway Books. Golley, F. B. (1998). A primer for environmental literacy. New Haven: Yale University Press. Greve, W. (2001). Traps and gaps in action explanation: Theoretical problems of a psychology of human ac t ion Psychological Review, 108, 43 5 451 Hart, E. P. (December 07, 1 9 81). Identification of Key Characteristics of Environmental Education. Journal of Environmental Education 13, 1, 12 16

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75 Harvey, G. D. (19 7 7a). A conceptualization of environmental education. In J. Aldrich, A. Blackburn, and G. Abel (Eds.), A Report on the North American Regional Seminar on Environmental Education (pp. 66 72). Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearingho use for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental E ducation. Harvey, G. D. (1977b). Environmental Education: A delineation of substantive struc t ure. (Doctoral dissertation, Southern Illinois University, 1976). Dissertation Abstracts International, 38(2), 6 1 1A. ( UMI No. 77 16622) Hazen, R. & Trefic, J. (1991). Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy. Anchor Books. Hollweg, K. S., Taylor, J. R., Bybee, R. W., Marcinkowski, T. J., McBeth, W. C., & Zoido, P. (2011). Developing a framework for asses sin g environmental literacy. Washington, DC: North American Association for Environmental Educa t ion. Available at http://www.naaee.net Hungerford, H. R. (January 01, 1 9 75). Myths of Environmental Education. Journal of Environmental Education 7, 2, 21 26 Hungerford, H. R., & Center for Instruction, Staff Development and Evaluation. (2005). Essential readings in environmental education. Champaign IL: Stipes Pub. Hungerford, H. R., & Peyton, R. B. (1976). Teaching environmental education. Portland, Me: J. W e ston Walch. Hungerford, H.R., Peyton, R.B., & Wilke, R.J. (1980). Goals for curriculum development in environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education, 11(3), 42 47 Hunger f ord, H.R., R. B. Peyton, & R.J. Wilke. (1983). Yes, Environmental Education Does Have Definition and Structure. Journal of Environmental Education 14, 3 1 2 Hungerford, H. R ., & Tomera, A. N. (1977). Science in the elementary school: A worktext. Champaign, Ill: Stipes. Hungerford, H. R., Bluhm, W. J., Volk, T. L., & Ramsey, J. M. (EDS.). (2005). Essential readings in environmental education. Champaign, IL: Stipes. Iozzi, L. A. (June 06, 1989). What Research Says to the Educator. Part One: Env ironmental Education and the Affective Do m ain Journal of Environmental Education 20, 3 3 9. Kilbourne, W. E., Beckmann, S. C., & Thelen, E. (2002). The role of the dominant social paradigm in environmental attitudes: A multinational examination Kol lmuss, A., & Agyeman, J. (August 01, 2002). Mind the Gap: why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro environmental behavior?. Environmental Education Research 8, 3, 23 9 2 60. Loubser, C. P., Swanepoel, C. H., & Chacko, C. P. C. ( January 01, 2001) Concept formulation for environmental lit eracy South African Journal of Education, 21, 31 7 3 2 3.

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