Keyword: comparison group
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Importance of a Comparison Group and a Long-Term Follow-Up Test in Evaluating Environmental Education Experiences
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2277, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/11987
ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the impacts on environmental literacy after a non-formal science-based program and compared the impacts to a non-formal non-science-based program. Both programs included children in grades six to eleven (ages 11 to 17) from the Syracuse, New York, USA area. Environmental literacy was assessed by administering environmental attitude and environmental knowledge pre-, post-, and follow-up tests to both programs’ participants. Initially, environmental attitude scores were higher for the participants in the science-based program. However, this was not a lasting impact. According to the follow-up test, attitude scores were not elevated for the science-based program. Without the follow-up tests given weeks after the program end, we could have inferred environmental attitudes were increased by the science-based program. Environmental knowledge was higher at the end of the science-based program but also increased in the comparison group. The gains in environmental knowledge were sustained for several weeks, but differences between the two programs did not persist. Without the comparison group we could have inferred that environmental knowledge increased solely due to the science-based program. These results show incorporating both a comparison group and a follow-up assessment are necessary to properly evaluate the effectiveness of increasing environmental literacy from science-based programs.