ASSESSMENT OF ATTITUDE AND KNOWLEDGE CHANGES OF SECONDARY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN A MULTIDISCIPLINARY, ACTIVITY-BASED, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CURRICULUM

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  • 1 Departments of Horticultural Sciences and Agricultural Education, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

A study was developed to compare secondary high school students' knowledge and attitude changes toward environmental issues after the completion of an interdisciplinary instructional unit in environmental science. The population for the study was high school horticulture and environmental science students. The study consisted of four student groups, including two control groups and two experimental groups, one each from an environmental science class and a horticulture class. The control groups did not participate in the treatment, which consisted of an environmental mini-unit and plant propagation experiment that the experimental groups completed. Both student groups responded to a pre- and posttest questionnaire. There were no significant differences in overall attitude scores between treatment and control groups. Significant differences were noted in knowledge gains between the horticulture control group and treatment group, with students participating in the mini-unit scoring significantly higher in knowledge gain. There was also a positive correlation between attitude scores of students who had success with their propagation experiments. The results of this study indicate that it is important to test students' attitudes and knowledge when determining the effectiveness of new environmental curriculum. The high correlation between success in the propagation experiment included in the miniunit and attitude supports findings that an activity-based curriculum has the potential to raise the awareness of students on environmental issues.

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