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Direct Measures in Environmental Education Evaluation: Behavioral Intentions versus Observable Actions.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
Applied Environmental Education & Communication
3 - 4
Seite (von-bis):
The objective of many environmental education programs is to promote pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors in students. However, evaluation of these programs has focused on asking participants what they think (attitudes) and what they do (behaviors) regarding the environment problems through self-report questionnaires and interviews. These methods of collecting information provide data on the participants' perspective based on their reported behavior, which in many cases is not the same as their actual behavior. Unfortunately, few evaluations use direct measures of behavior instead of self-reports. This article reviews existing research on evaluation of environmental education programs, and proposes alternatives that incorporate direct measures of observable behavior as an additional evaluation tool. Examples of situations where direct measures are adaptable include assessment of students' learning after a stream ecology activity through a performance assessment, observations of students' behaviors related with litter reduction and water pollution, and observtions of students' disposal of liquids into storm drains. Direct measures provide first-hand information about the impact of environmental education programs and specific feedback on how these programs are or are not accomplishing their goals.