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An investigation of environmental knowledge and attitudes involving the design of a test instrument and its use with grade eleven students in Brisbane

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Jeays, DR (1978) An investigation of environmental knowledge and attitudes involving the design of a test instrument and its use with grade eleven students in Brisbane. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The study details the environmental education opportunities in
Brisbane at pre-school, primary and secondary levels and provides
information about supporting agencies.
Literature relating to tests of environmental knowledge and
attitudes is surveyed.
A full account is given of the steps taken in constructing
preliminary tests using the findings of earlier researchers, but
also approaching the task from first principles. Test validation
was based on the assessments of a panel of experts who were provided
with generally accepted definitions of environmental education. The
preliminary tests were trialled, followed by item analysis. Items
were retained, rejected or revised, some being used in the construction
of a 60 item knowledge test. After further trials 30 knowledge items
were selected for the final test. They relate to eight major categories
of environmental concern and are evenly distributed between specific and
applied knowledge. Ten attitude items were also included to assess
optimism - pessimism regarding the future and willingness to surrender
freedoms.
The test was administered to samples of approximately 100 Grade
Eleven students from each of six schools, chosen to be representative
of Brisbane high schools. Data was analysed using the computer
program EVAL and the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
(SPSS) sub-programs REGRESSION, CROSS-TABS and ONEWAY.
For the total sample of 663 students the highest inter-correlations
obtained were for knowledge and willingness to surrender freedoms
(positive) and for optimism and willingness to surrender freedoms
(negative). Students who knew more tended to be less optimistic.
Males, in general, knew more, were more optimistic and less willing
to surrender freedoms than females. Analysis of variance showed these
sex differences to be significant. Significant differences were also
found between schools on the three test variables and, for socioeconomic
level of school, on the variable knowledge. Students from
the one school with a stated environmental philosophy scored
significantly higher than the rest of students in knowledge and
willingness to surrender freedoms, and lower in optimism. One
school with an overt religious philosophy obtained a very low
score on willingness to surrender freedoms, the difference from
the rest being highly significant.
The investigation reports with a degree of optimism on the state
of environmental education in Brisbane, but reveals some serious
knowledge deficiencies. Among these were failure to appreciate that the earth's resources are limited and to understand evolutionary
processes and the inter-relatedness of living things. The study points
to the need for further quantitative evaluation.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Ecology, Students
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1978 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Env.St.)--University of Tasmania, 1979. Includes bibliographical references. Bibliography: p. 97-103

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:24
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2017 01:15
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