Title: Enhancing high school student writing skills with Florida biodiversity education
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 Material Information
Title: Enhancing high school student writing skills with Florida biodiversity education
Alternate Title: Enhancing high school student achievement with Florida biodiversity education
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Randall, Jeanette M., 1974-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
 Subjects
Subject: Forest Resources and Conservation thesis, M.S   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Forest Resources and Conservation -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Summary: ABSTRACT: With the evolution and implementation of education reform across the United States, teachers are compelled to address the state curriculum standards and prepare students for state assessment tests. These pressures lead educators to teach-to-the-test and to spend less time on experiential education; consequently the use of environmental education (EE) has declined. In Florida, teachers comment that they have no time or energy to focus on anything other than addressing standards and helping students practice for the assessment tests. The first part of this thesis explains how scientific experts can develop educational materials successfully by overcoming technology and standards-based education reform barriers. To do this, it explores the following questions: 1) how can reasonable access to scientific data for non-experts be created? and 2) what process of curriculum development enables ideal collaboration among all stakeholders? The second part of this thesis is an evaluation of a curriculum guide that overcomes these technology and education barriers through use of a database interface that utilizes a web query agent to disseminate information and through lessons designed to address education reform goals in Florida. This study evaluates classroom curriculum designed to meet the specific standards of ninth and tenth grade high school biological science in Florida. Curriculum developers designed the curriculum around an Internet database interface that uses collection records from the Florida Museum of Natural History and documents from other Florida environmental agencies.
Summary: ABSTRACT (cont.): It contains five lessons: four refer to biodiversity, and one focuses on writing skills. These lessons reinforce five science and five language arts Sunshine State Standards (SSS) and enable students to practice for the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) while learning about their environment. This design helps educators meet reform goals, provides students with interesting lessons, and disseminates the data and information of scientific experts. Paired t-tests and descriptive statistics were used to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and writing skills. One hundred and thirty-two high school students from the classes of two teachers in Gainesville, Florida completed the study. The data reveal that students increased their knowledge significantly in one of four knowledge components and demonstrated a significant score increase for fifty percent of the attitude items. Scores assigned using the FCAT Writing Rubric are significantly higher on the last writing assignment than on the first writing assignment. This evaluation indicates that supplemental environmental education curriculum can be designed to support state standards and its use can improve skills measured by the state assessment test.
Summary: KEYWORDS: environmental education, education reform, biodiversity education, FCAT, SSS, writing rubric, environment, computer education, web query agents, curriculum evaluation, museum education, museum collection databases
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2001.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 69-72).
System Details: System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
System Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jeanette M. Randall.
General Note: Title from first page of PDF file.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains x, 73 p.; also contains graphics.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100797
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 49877734
alephbibnum - 002729361
notis - ANK7125

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ENHANCING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WRITING SKILLS
WITH FLORIDA BIODIVERSITY EDUCATION


















By

JEANETTE M. RANDALL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2001




























Copyright 2001

by

Jeanette M. Randall
































Dedicated to Don and Sally Randall, Michelle Clark, Sarah Hall, and Anthony Wilson.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

In the acknowledgements for her dissertation, my adviser, Martha Monroe,

said she hoped she could pass along to others the wealth of knowledge and skills she

learned from her committee. She did it well, and did it as a friend. I cannot express

how much my experience at UF has meant to me. The support she has given me with

my project and thesis, from beginning to end, has been over and above what I could

have expected or hoped for, on a personal as well as professional level.

I would also like to than my graduate committee, Dr. Taylor Stein and Dr. Lee

Mullally for their input and instruction. They offered insightful advice and valuable

information throughout the project.

Thanks go to the teachers in Florida whose enormous sacrifices made this

study possible: Scott Flamand, Leigh Larsen, Marcia Bisnett, and Norma Wilson. I

owe a great deal to their students who were gracious about working out the kinks in

the curriculum and the Linking Interface.

I offer thanks to Elise Cassie, Vicki Crisp, and Cindy Cranford for their help

with anything and everything relating to environmental education in Florida. I also

appreciate the help of the teachers and scientists who gave me feedback in my

curriculum design: Stephanie Hass, Wayne King, Pat Burkett, Nancy Griffin, C.J.

Miles, Sandi Schlichting, Susan Glynn, and Olga Cicco.

I want to thank Gabriella Scollo for her priceless help with my statistical

analysis and Alison Bowers for her endless hours of grading essays and evaluating









curriculum. Thanks go to the EE building crew, Chris, Janice, Holly, Alison, Jen and

Tammie, for making the stressful moments humorous. Thanks to the friendship of

Paula Posas, I still saw the simplicity in life.

Thanks go to my family for their lifelong support and encouragement. I

would never have made it to this point without my parents, Don and Sally, and my

sisters, Michelle and Sarah. Most of all I am grateful to my best friend and soul mate,

my fiance Anthony.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .................... .................... ....... ......... viii

A B ST R A C T ............................................................................... . ....................................... ix

CHAPTERS

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ....................... ........................... .. ........ ..............

Defining Environmental Education .............. ........................................ ........ ...... 1
Global Concern for the Environment ...................... ........................................ 3
Environmental Education in the United States ........................................ .............. 4
Bringing Environmental Education to Students....................................... .... 5

2 WRITING AND MUSEUMS, BIODIVERSITY AND COMPUTERS: MEETING
SCIENTIFIC AND EDUCATIONAL GOALS WITH NOVEL CURRICULUM .............7

B barriers and Solutions ......................................................... .. .......... .. 8
C om puter T technology ......................................... .............................................. 8
E d u c atio n ........................................................................ ................................. . . 9
A n E x am p le .................... .. ... ... ......... .......................................... ..... .. 10
Linking Florida's Natural Heritage: A Database Interface.................................. 10
L library collections: ............................... .............. ........ 11
M useum collections: ............................... .............. ...... 12
Interface Benefits .............................................................................. 12
The Linking Interface Biodiversity Curriculum Guide........................................ 13
N eeds assessm ent............... ..... .... .... ............ ........................ ................ .. 13
Curriculum plan and design ........................................................ ......... ..... 14
C urriculum evaluation..................................................... ............ .............. 15
Curriculum implem entation....................................................... 17
C o n c lu sio n .............................................................................. 1 7
D database: ..................................................................................... 17
E d u c atio n : .......................................................................................... 1 8











3 IMPROVING STUDENT WRITING SKILLS THROUGH FLORIDA
B IO D IV E R SIT Y L E SSO N S .................................................................... ....................19

L iteratu re R ev iew .............................................................................................. 2 0
E education R eform in Florida................................................................ ................. 21
How EE Can Help Teachers and Students Meet Education Reform Goals............ 22
Education Reform and Environmental Education at Different Levels ..................... 23
Research Question and Hypotheses ............................... ................... 26
The Curriculum ............. ..... ......... .......... .............. 26
M ethods.............................. ............. ...... 28
T teacher Selection ............................. ...................... .. .. ...... ..... . ............ 29
T teacher W workshops ........... ... ...... ........ .... .................... ........ ............. 29
A ssessm ent D design ......... ............................ .............. ........ 30
Sampling .............. ................................ .............. 31
P ro c e d u re s ............................................................................................... .............. ..... 3 2
R results ........... ........ ...... ....... ........ ....................... .............. 33
K n o w le d g e ................................................................................................................ 3 3
D database ........... .... ........ .... ...................... .............. 34
A ttitu d es ......... ...... ............ .................................... ........................... 3 5
W ritin g .............. .... ............. ................. .................................................... 3 5
D iscu ssio n .............. ..... ............ ................. ........................... .............. 3 6
L im itatio n s .............................................................................. 3 9
Future Research....................... ......... .............................. ............. 40
C o n c lu sio n ............................................................................. 4 1

4 C O N C L U S IO N .............. ..... ............ ................. .............................................4 2

APPENDICES

A CONTENT PRE-TEST ........................ ......... ......... 45

B C O N T E N T P O ST -T E ST .......................................................................................... 50

C FC A T W R ITIN G R U B RIC ...................................................................................... 55

D INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FORMS ................. ................. ..........59

E STUDENT WRITING SAMPLES ............................................................. ......63

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S .............................................................................................. 69

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................. ........................... ........73
















LIST OF TABLES



Table Page

2.1: Linking Interface Curriculum Summary........................... ..................... ...............16

3.1: Pre- and Post- FCAT-like W writing Prompts........................................ ............... 29

3.2: Scoring Key for Multiple-Choice Questions on the Content Pre- and Post-test............33

3.3: K now ledge Scores, n=132 ......................... ........ ......................................... 34

3.4: Students D database Scores, n=132 ............................................................................ 34

3.5: Student A attitude R anks, n=132 ............................................. ............................. 35

3.6: Student W writing Scores, n=99 .............................................. .............................. 36

3.7: Teacher A students' knowledge scores, n=62.................................... ............... 36

3.8: Teacher B students' knowledge scores, n=70..................................... .................37
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

ENHANCING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
WITH FLORIDA BIODIVERSITY EDUCATION

By

Jeanette Marie Randall

May 2001
Chair: Martha C. Monroe
Major Department: School of Forest Resources and Conservation

With the evolution and implementation of education reform across the United

States, teachers are compelled to address the state curriculum standards and prepare

students for state assessment tests. These pressures lead educators to teach-to-the-test

and to spend less time on experiential education; consequently the use of environmental

education (EE) has declined. In Florida, teachers comment that they have no time or

energy to focus on anything other than addressing standards and helping students practice

for the assessment tests.

The first part of this thesis explains how scientific experts can develop

educational materials successfully by overcoming technology and standards-based

education reform barriers. To do this, it explores the following questions: 1) how can

reasonable access to scientific data for non-experts be created? and 2) what process of

curriculum development enables ideal collaboration among all stakeholders? The second

part of this thesis is an evaluation of a curriculum guide that overcomes these technology









and education barriers through use of a database interface that utilizes a web query agent

to disseminate information and through lessons designed to address education reform

goals in Florida.

This study evaluates classroom curriculum designed to meet the specific standards

of ninth and tenth grade high school biological science in Florida. Curriculum developers

designed the curriculum around an Internet database interface that uses collection records

from the Florida Museum of Natural History and documents from other Florida

environmental agencies. It contains five lessons: four refer to biodiversity, and one

focuses on writing skills. These lessons reinforce five science and five language arts

Sunshine State Standards (SSS) and enable students to practice for the writing portion of

the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) while learning about their

environment. This design helps educators meet reform goals, provides students with

interesting lessons, and disseminates the data and information of scientific experts.

Paired t-tests and descriptive statistics were used to evaluate knowledge, attitudes,

and writing skills. One hundred and thirty-two high school students from the classes of

two teachers in Gainesville, Florida completed the study. The data reveal that students

increased their knowledge significantly in one of four knowledge components and

demonstrated a significant score increase for fifty percent of the attitude items. Scores

assigned using the FCAT Writing Rubric are significantly higher on the last writing

assignment than on the first writing assignment. This evaluation indicates that

supplemental environmental education curriculum can be designed to support state

standards and its use can improve skills measured by the state assessment test.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

In 1970, in response to alarming public and government concern for the state of

the environment, the United States Congress passed, along with the Clean Air Act and the

National Environmental Policy Act, the first Environmental Education Act. Public

pressures were strong during this time of environmental controversies, and

Environmental education (EE) was seen as one tool to improve public participation in

decision-making. Concern for the environment continued throughout the decade

prompting the implementation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Clean Water

Act of 1977, and the Superfund Act of 1980.


Defining Environmental Education

Environmental calamities around the world helped create new awareness about

our "spaceship earth" and prompted educators and conservationists to work on a novel

approach to education-environmental education. The first article in the Journal of

Environmental Education by William Stapp (1969) and the reports from the United

Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meetings on

environmental education, such as the 1976 Belgrade Charter and the 1978 Tbilisi

Intergovernmental Conference, defined environmental education (EE) as

a process of developing a world population that is aware of and concerned about
the total environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge,
skills, attitudes, motivation and commitment to work individually and collectively
toward solutions of current problems and the prevention of new ones. (UNESCO,
1978, p. 23)









Unlike science education or nature study, EE is a learning process that leads people along

a continuum from awareness to action; the steps in its progression include awareness,

knowledge, attitudes, skills, and participation (UNESCO, 1978). Ideally, this awareness

to action goal increases the possibility that students will be able to take informed action,

and that they will carry their intentions through to completion.

Over the years, leaders in the field elaborated on the goals of EE. Hungerford,

Peyton, and Wilke (1980) developed a curriculum framework that would help educators

enable their students to become environmentally responsible citizens. The framework

included the following four levels of environmental literacy: 1) Ecological Foundations

Level; 2) Conceptual Awareness Level-Issues and Values; 3) Investigation and

Evaluation Level; and 4) Environmental Action Skills Level-Training and Application.

Each of these goals fits neatly into at least one level of UNESCO's awareness to action

continuum. Experts agree that all four of these levels are useful for environmental

literacy to be achieved (Disinger and Monroe, 1994; National Environmental Education

Advisory Council, 1996).

In a broad view, EE can appeal to conservation agencies as well as to educators.

Disinger and Monroe (1994) suggest ways that programs can be developed or improved:

1) include all environments from economic to aesthetic; 2) involve learners throughout

their lives; 3) be interdisciplinary; 4) look at all issues, from local to international; 5) look

at present and future issues while keeping the past in perspective; 6) emphasize effective

communication between groups from local to international; 7) allow students to have an

active part in the learning experience; 8) give students the opportunity to identify and

attempt to solve environmental issues on their own; 9) show students that environmental









issues are not black and white; and 10) utilize a variety of teaching methods. These

principles help a great variety of educators to deliver more effective environmental

education.


Global Concern for the Environment

Concern for the environment was not limited to the United States. The charge

made at the 1972 United Nations conference in Stockholm on Human Environment: "to

defend and improve the environment for present and future generations has become an

imperative goal for mankind" provided the impetus for their environmental

recommendations (quoted from UNESCO, 1978). Participants at the 1978 UN

convention on the environment agreed that environmental education (EE) was an integral

part of healing and protecting the global environment (UNESCO, 1978).

In the 1980's the World Conservation Strategy advocated the importance of world

conservation and deemed both public participation and education as vital in improving

environmental conditions (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and

Natural Resources (IUCN), 1980). The United Nations called on the World Commission

on the Environment and Development to create "A Global Agenda for Change." Led by

Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, the commission defined sustainability and devised an

avenue for achieving it. One key element of their plan is the inclusion of education about

the environment and sustainability (The World Commission on Environment and

Development, 1987). This need for education about the environment was reaffirmed in

1992 at the United Nations Earth Rio Summit in Agenda 21 for Planet Sustainability. In

1995, the U.S. President's Council on Sustainable Development presented a report at the

National Forum on Partnerships Supporting Education about the Environment entitled









"Education for Sustainability: An Agenda for Action" (National Forum, 1996). It asserts

the need to educate citizens about environmental sustainability using environmental

education tools. These strategies and agendas are an appropriate foundation for

educating citizens about the environment, but there must be extensive planning and

programming at the regional and local levels for any of them to make a difference.


Environmental Education in the United States

President George H. Bush signed the second Environmental Education Act in

1990, renewing the Federal government's commitment to environmental education in

The National Environmental Education Advisory Council stated:

Environmental education is critical and relevant to the daily lives of all
Americans. Environmental education is critical because complex environmental
challenges require a well-trained environmental workforce and an educated public
who have the knowledge and skills to fully and actively participate in solving
these problems. Environmental education is relevant because it can help to ensure
the health and welfare of the nation by protecting human health, advancing
quality education, expanding employment opportunities, promoting sustainable
development, and protecting our natural heritage. (National Environmental
Education Advisory Council, 1996, p. i)

The Council must ensure that educators in all fifty states implement EE in classrooms,

curricula, and schools. The Act includes funding for training programs, EE grants,

internship and fellowship programs for students and teachers, an EE awards program, a

federal task force, and the national advisory council (National EE Advisory Council,

1996).

There is broad support for EE among the general public. Many studies have

shown that students have deep concerns about the environment. Gambro and Switzky

(1996) assessed high school students' environmental knowledge. They found the

majority of the students had positive feelings toward protecting the environment and a









low level of environmental knowledge. Adults demonstrate this same trend. In 1991, the

Wall Street Journal reported the results of a poll that showed that even though 80% of

Americans consider themselves environmentalists, nearly 55% could not remember

buying one product over another for its environmental value in the last six months

(National EE Advisory Council, 1996, p. 3). The Federal Coordinating Council for

Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) (1993) concluded:

Environmental education and training can help bridge the gap between the
public's heightened awareness of and interest in protecting the environment and
their need to become more knowledgeable about the scientific concepts that will
enable them to more effectively respond to their concerns. (as quoted in National
EE Advisory Council, 1996, p. 4)

Some politicians and academics also support greater attention toward

environmental education. Senator John H. Chafee (1995) stated, "We cannot hope to

implement solutions to our environmental threats without the involvement of an educated

and scientifically literate public. Only then will the political debate and direction of

environmental policy focus on real risks and not anecdotes that make catchy news copy.

Education is the key." Similarly, Northern Illinois University professor, Bora Simmons,

testifies, "the state of the environment affects our quality of life ... for that reason,

environmental education is an essential part of the curriculum" (Rasmussen, 2000). Until

people are given the knowledge and skill to make intelligent choices about the

environment we cannot expect responsible behavior from the general public.


Bringing Environmental Education to Students

Despite the fact that all Americans are in great need of environmental education,

the political support for EE today is for youth education. Because youth are involved in

organized activities like school, clubs, scouts, and other programs, they are easier to









reach and to educate than adults. These existing organizations offer a mode of delivering

environmental messages.

Even when educators have the interest and good intention to address EE in their

programs, they may not have the requisite knowledge to carry that conviction to reality.

Thus, conservation agencies, scientific experts, and environmental organizations play an

important role in providing current information and curricula to educators. There are two

challenges that must be overcome to create good EE curricula: 1) materials must be

interesting, geared to appropriate content and reading levels, and relevant to the learner's

world; and 2) materials must meet the specific educational goals and objectives of their

audience by addressing state and local curriculum objectives and student assessment

goals. This thesis will explore both of these challenges. Chapter 2 provides an example

of how scientific experts and educators overcame technology and standards-based

education reform barriers to meet both challenges and create curriculum that teachers

were able to use. Chapter 3 measures the quantitative success of the curriculum by

answering the research question, "Does an environmental curriculum designed to meet

the needs of educators and scientists increase writing skills as measured by the state

assessment rubric?"














CHAPTER 2
WRITING AND MUSEUMS, BIODIVERSITY AND COMPUTERS: MEETING
SCIENTIFIC AND EDUCATIONAL GOALS WITH NOVEL CURRICULUM

Science is a process of discovering and understanding the world around us.

Teaching science involves exposing students to not only the information that is already

known or assumed about the world but also to the scientific process of discovering new

things. As the amount of new information generated by science grows, it becomes more

difficult for most educators to achieve much more than help youngsters know how to

retrieve the information they need and sparking in them the interest to look for it.

Science educators have worked hard to design laboratory exercises that teach

students to use the process of inquiry. Every year, however, the amount of information

accessible to scientists grows exponentially, increasing the gap between the experts and

the citizenry. If students are to become scientifically literate, if youth are to be compelled

to have a career as a scientist, if teachers are to be privy to scientific data, a process of

converting scientific knowledge into teacher-friendly and student-interesting curriculum

resources is needed.

This challenge can be restructured into two questions: 1) how can reasonable

access to scientific data for non-experts be created? and 2) how can supporting

curriculum be developed that can be used by teachers? The first question can be

answered by technology; the second requires an understanding of educational goals and

curriculum development. Both can be illustrated by a recent project in Florida. This









chapter will explain how scientists can overcome both database and curriculum barriers

to reach students successfully.


Barriers and Solutions

Computer Technology

With the advent of new information technologies, the opportunities to provide

students access to information and data are becoming limitless. Scientists now have the

ability to share their research results through the Internet and the World Wide Web by

digitizing and storing their information on a server (McCain 2000). But before scientists

can begin to think about designing curricula that will help students use their data, they

must make their databases user-friendly. Once information is on the web, many scientists

feel they have done enough to make it accessible, but they forget that a novice will only

be capable of using the database if it is simple and straightforward. The user must be

able to enter simple terms and get back simple results. For example, if a user wants to

find out more about a certain lizard in her yard, she should be able to enter the common

or the scientific name of the lizard. It should be the job of the database to translate the

query into the scientific name. Search outputs must be in a format that is clear and useful

to a layperson.

Another way that scientists can make their data more accessible and useful is to

coordinate with others in related fields to make their databases parallel and consistent so

that someone searching in all of them will get compatible outputs. If possible, it is even

more helpful if databases are joined with a web query response agent. Hanisch (2000)

suggests that, "To bridge the differences between the various information services and

databases, we require a common language for expressing queries that can at some stage









be translated into the specific languages used by each of the databases" (p. 180). Using

this type of feature will simplify and enhance students' use of all the databases.

Education

Educators looking for curricula that center on current scientific topics sometimes

have trouble finding lessons or units that meet all of their needs. Even if there are

scientists willing to create curriculum that focuses on their research, they are often too far

removed from students and teachers to be able to present what they know in a simple and

effective format. Without understanding learner needs, writing curriculum for kids is

very difficult. The advent of education reform has made this challenge even greater.

When schools are held to tight state and national standards and are almost completely

focused on preparing for assessment tests, there is no time to spend on curriculum that

does not relate to the tests. For this reason, supplemental curricula must not only be

educationally appropriate but must also meet accountability standards and provide

students with preparation for assessment tests.

In Florida, curriculum developers found these accountability requirements

particularly important. As of 2001, the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test

(FCAT) only covers the reading, writing, and math benchmarks of the Sunshine State

Standards (SSS). Teachers at low-scoring schools are pressured to spend more and

sometimes all of their time teaching reading, writing, and math skills. At low-scoring

elementary schools, focus on preparing for the FCAT leaves teachers no time to teach

any science at all. Science and social studies teachers at low-scoring secondary schools

are expected not only to give writing assignments, but also to teach writing skills even

though they have not been formally trained to do so (C. Cranford, personal









communication, Crown RSP, 1999). Therefore, supplemental curricular materials may

only be used if they help teachers address reading, writing, or math standards.

Some of the more popular supplemental environmental education curricula, like

Project Learning Tree (PLT), have declined in use because of these educational reform

activities. In interviews and focus groups for a statewide study of the use of PLT,

teachers expressed significant barriers to using PLT that resulted directly from the

standards and tests. Teachers in several schools are so busy making sure that they cover

the SSS and prepare their students for the FCAT that they have little planning or

classroom time for other exercises (Monroe et al., 1999). The Florida PLT Steering

Committee has recently responded by restructuring their workshops and creating a guide

to show teachers how PLT can help them meet the SSS.

Clearly, supplemental curricula must meet the needs of both scientists and

educators. A good curriculum must address the educational constraints and opportunities

of the school system as well as the scientific community to assemble a product that is

scientifically accurate, conveys the information that scientists want to share, is age

appropriate, utilizes sound teaching methods, is interesting and relevant to students, and

addresses state standards. Good curriculum developers should be able to work with these

multiple requirements to make all of the components come together in a cohesive and

effective way.


An Example

Linking Florida's Natural Heritage: A Database Interface

A grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) enabled the

Florida Museum of Natural History, the University System of Florida Libraries, and other









scientific agencies to connect their databases with a common web query agent, known as

Z3950, to develop the "Linking Florida's Natural Heritage" interface. The databases

differ in many ways, but all contain information on Florida's natural history and

biodiversity. Each database contains specimen records, references, electronic books or

articles, or links to web sites about Florida species and habitats. The Linking Interface

allows users to query all databases from one web site with a single search.

The Linking Interface may be expanded, but currently it includes the following

databases:

Library collections:

Everglades Online: Historical documents, letters, citations, and other electronic

resources

Florida Environments Online (FEOL): Eight merged research bibliographies

augmented with records contributed by scientists and state agencies throughout

Florida

FORMIS Ant Bibliography: Citations of publications and research on ants

Linking Florida's Natural Heritage (LFNH) Core Collection: Key publications

about the ecology and environment of Florida (digital full-text format)

Sea Turtle Bibliography: References on all aspects of sea turtle biology,

conservation, and management

State University System of Florida (SUS) Library Catalogs: Print and electronic

holdings of libraries at Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University,

Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida State

University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the









University of North Florida, the University of South Florida, and the University of

West Florida

Museum collections:

Ichthyology Collection, Florida Museum of Natural History: Records of the more

than 325 taxa of freshwater and marine fishes held at the museum

Herpetology Collection, Florida Museum of Natural History: Records of

approximately 149,000 specimens of reptiles and amphibians held at the museum

Bird Specimen Collection, Tall Timbers Research Station: Records of

approximately 3900 bird specimens held at the research station

Bryophytes and Lichens Collection, Camp Blanding: Records ofbryophyte and

lichen specimens found in Clay County, Florida.

Interface Benefits

The Linking interface helps the project overcome the barriers of providing citizen

assess to independently developed scientific databases. The interface allows people to

search one or more of the databases at one web site; users do not have to jump to each

database for information. Through one search query, users receive an output containing

records from multiple databases. This feature gives users the ability to work on a project

more quickly and efficiently. Because each database uses different fields and names for

the same kind of data, another important benefit of the interface is its ability to translate

the language of each database to the user. The interface can translate the user's query to

each database, and then translate the results back into the language of the user. For

example, if a user searches for "turtle," the interface translates this query into scientific

names for turtles, searches all of the databases for both the common and the scientific









names, and then sends the user an output that contains any collection records, citations, or

full-text documents that include these names. See http://susdl.fcla.edu/lfnh for the

Linking Interface.

The Linking Interface Biodiversity Curriculum Guide

To enable youth to access the museum and library data in the Linking Interface, a

curriculum guide that covers the natural history and biodiversity of Florida was created.

The curriculum development process followed the commonly accepted procedures for

creating educational materials: 1) conduct a needs and goals assessment, 2) plan and

design, 3) evaluate and revise, and 4) implement (Monroe and Day, 2000; Bennett,

1988/1989).

Needs assessment

The overarching goal of the curriculum is to enable students to utilize the

interface not only to complete the curriculum, but also to further their own investigations

and research projects. To make sense out of the complexities of the databases, the

curriculum also provides students with an understanding of scientific research, taxonomy,

and the purpose of a museum of natural history. To make the information relevant and

interesting to youth, several lessons also explore Florida's natural history and the

relationships between species and their habitats.

Because of the complexity of the information in the database interface, the

curriculum is targeted to high school students, who are best able to utilize as much of the

database interface as possible. Since the content of the database focuses on natural

history and biodiversity, it lends itself to lessons appropriate for biological science

classes usually taught in ninth and tenth grades.









To increase interest level among students, the components written for students

were produced for the computer screen with graphics, photographs, and links to

additional information. The curriculum addresses different learning and teaching styles

by including in each lesson: 1) written background, 2) an exercise using the interface, 3)

a writing assignment, and 4) editing and revising practice.

Since developers selected high school biological science classes as the group most

appropriate for use of the database, they gauged the needs of the teachers of those classes.

Conversations with teachers and educational experts revealed that teachers wanted

something that would fit as many of their existing curriculum objectives as possible and

would help them teaching writing skills. This combination of characteristics helps

teachers continue to meet their subject-oriented goals while still giving their students

practice for the FCAT writing test.

Curriculum plan and design

The various stakeholder needs were combined in a rough design of the

curriculum. Meetings with the Linking Interface team helped to ensure that the final

interface used would contain information needed by curriculum activities. Conversations

with resource staff confirmed the importance of addressing FCAT skills.

The curriculum developers brainstormed ideas for activities based on the Linking

Interface databases that might meet teacher objectives. Out of these, they selected the

four most meaningful and cohesive activities to include in the curriculum. Supporting

student text that matched the Linking project goals was written to go with each activity.

A writing assignment similar to those on the FCAT was developed for each text and

activity (Table 2.1). These three components are educationally sound because they give

students the opportunity to read about a topic, to do an activity that gives them experience









applying what they read, and then to reflect on what they have learned through the

writing assignment. This type of design aids students in learning and remembering

(Gagne and Briggs, 1979). Giving students the opportunity to have different experiences

with a subject reinforces what they have learned. A fifth lesson on writing was

developed to help the students learn about and practice effective writing. Students use

the editing form from this lesson to edit and revise the essay from each content lesson.

Repeating these writing skills with each lesson gives the students practice for the FCAT.

Curriculum evaluation

At several stages in the curriculum design process, the developers had teachers,

scientists, and students from around Florida review the lessons to make sure that the

curriculum was educationally appropriate and scientifically accurate. Activities were

tested with teachers at a conference and students at a youth camp. A number of

recommendations and edits were incorporated into the material: teachers made

suggestions about readability, content appropriateness, and format; scientists added

additional content, made scientific concepts more accurate, and gave format suggestions,

students gave suggestions about format, interestingness, and readability. Six teachers

agreed to pilot test the curriculum with their students. Each teacher attended one of two

workshops to introduce them to the material.

All of the teachers who completed the pilot test report they plan to use the

curriculum again. Two said they felt that their students were more on task than usual

when using the lessons. One teacher mentioned the database activities are "very cool!"

The teachers felt the curriculum challenged their students and helped prepare them for the

state writing assessment test. Also, students enjoyed using the Linking Interface.

Another teacher reported that a colleague in her school's English department asked to use










the writing lesson. Feedback from the Florida Regional Service Projects (RSPs) the EE

consultants for teachers has also been positive. They feel that this curriculum is exactly

the type that their teachers need.





Table 2.1: Linking Interface Curriculum Summary
Lesson 1: The Collection Connection: Museums of Natural History and Libraries
Theme: Museums collect a variety of artifacts and specimens for research. Collections have been used
over the years to catalog species and change. Museums have similarities to libraries in that they both
collect and store information for others to use, and often libraries have articles on museum data.
Activity: The students complete a worksheet on museums and databases by linking to several web sites
and by searching in the Linking Interface.
FCAT-like Writing Prompt: Students imagine they are the head curator of the museum and write a letter
to the state legislature explaining why they should continue to fully fund the museum of natural history.

Lesson 2: Writing for Science
Theme: Good writing contains strong organization, transitions, support, conventions, sentence structure,
focus, and word choice.
Activity: Students use a modified version of the FCAT rubric to fill out a worksheet analyzing and editing
their partner's essay from Lesson 1.
Writing: Students edit their own essay based on their partner's evaluation.

Lesson 3: Taxonomy: What's in A Name?
Theme: The history of taxonomy begins with the story of Linnaeus and continues by explaining the
benefits of the binomial naming system.
Activity: Students use the Ichthyology database to identify the common names for several fish and
organize them in a classification matrix based on taxonomic relationships.
FCAT-like Writing Prompt: Students imagine they have discovered a new species, make up an
appropriate, yet creative, scientific name, and write a description of their discovery to share with other
scientists. Students edit a partner's essay and then revise their own.

Lesson 4: Introduced Species: Harmless Immigrants or Armed Invaders?
Theme: Introduced species can be beneficial or can wreak havoc in an ecosystem. Students are introduced
to the methods of species introduction, their benefits and the problems they can cause.
Activity: Students use the museum herpetology database to access records of the brown anole in Florida.
They track the northern invasion of the species over time.
FCAT-like Writing Prompt: Students choose a federal policy on exotic species introduction and write an
essay to persuade the reader of their views. Students edit a partner's essay and then revise their own.

Lesson 5: The Biodiversity Dilemma
Theme: Biodiversity is important at several levels and has extensive benefits for humans. Some scientists
suggest that saving a keystone species in its natural habitat will benefit the ecosystem and all the species
living in it.
Activity: Students use the FLNH core collection database to find full-text records on scrub. They read an
article about the Florida scrub jay and create a field guide entry about the bird.
FCAT-like Writing Prompt: Students write an essay to persuade the reader why Florida should change
the state bird from the mocking bird to the Florida Scrub Jay because its new status will help protect the
scrub jay and its habitat. Students edit and revise their own essay.









All of the teachers who completed the pilot test report they plan to use the

curriculum again. Two said they felt that their students were more on task than usual

when using the lessons. One teacher mentioned the database activities are "very cool!"

The teachers felt the curriculum challenged their students and helped prepare them for the

state writing assessment test. Also, students enjoyed using the Linking Interface.

Another teacher reported that a colleague in her school's English department asked to use

the writing lesson. Feedback from the Florida Regional Service Projects (RSPs) the EE

consultants for teachers has also been positive. They feel that this curriculum is exactly

the type that their teachers need.

Curriculum implementation

The Linking Interface curriculum is currently available for use on the Interface

web site. Teachers can begin using it and the databases at any time.


Conclusion

Scientists have a great deal of knowledge and data that can enhance school

lessons. This information must be conveyed to teachers in a format that enables them to

address state curriculum standards and assist students. The Linking Project is a good

example of the process that can be used to generate such a curriculum. The following

questions can help guide others in determining the nature and direction of their

curriculum development.

Database:

Is your database simple and straightforward?

Do people need prior knowledge to use it?

Is it compatible with related databases?









Can you link with other databases and generate an interface that serves to enhance

all of them?

Education:

What do you want students to learn about your data?

How can they use these data in their world?

How old should they be to understand the information?

Within that grade level, what subject areas best fit your information?

Are you targeting one school, a school system, state, or nation?

What are their educational goals?

What curriculum standards can your information address?

What skills can students gain by conducting activities that use your data?

What activities would enhance learning?

How can you reinforce learning?

These questions will help guide scientists, database designers, and educators as they

create a curriculum to meet a variety of needs. They cover the basics of how reasonable

access to scientific data for non-experts can be created through the use of web query

agents and other technological features, and how supplemental science curriculum can be

developed that meets general teaching goals and standards-based education reform goals

of teachers.














CHAPTER 3
IMPROVING STUDENT WRITING SKILLS
THROUGH FLORIDA BIODIVERSITY LESSONS

Supplemental educational resources are important tools that enrich the classroom

experiences of students. In this fast-moving and technologically advanced culture,

teachers cannot be expected to know the latest research and developments in every field

they cover and need supplemental resources to ensure their students' success in learning.

Particularly as scientific research becomes more specific, the translation of this new

knowledge to citizens becomes the domain of those with scientific, rather than

educational, expertise.

To translate this new knowledge to students successfully, it is essential for

scientists to support teachers in fulfilling the educational needs of the students.

Consulting with curriculum specialists or even hiring someone to write curricula will help

scientists transform their knowledge into a format that utilizes proven educational

practices. Expert help in developing curricula is particularly important now that

education reform has expanded education goals. Supplemental curriculum resources

must also now help teachers meet state education standards and prepare their students to

take assessment tests. If curriculum does not implement sound educational practices and

meet state education standards, teachers will not use it, no matter how interesting its

subject matter or activities might be.

This study evaluates an environmental education (EE) curriculum guide designed

to help high school science teachers in Florida meet the Sunshine State Standards (SSS)









for science and language arts and provide students with practice for taking the Florida

Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The evaluation will measure change in

knowledge, attitudes, and writing skills from pre- to post-curriculum. The more

effectively a supplemental educational resource can meet these goals, the more likely

teachers will be to use these materials in the classroom.


Literature Review

In 1983, when A Nation at Risk: The Imperativefor Educational Reform was

published by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, it lit a fuse that

sparked education reform throughout the United States (Hunt and Staton, 1996).

Administrators responded to the public and political demand for accountability by

placing more restrictions on their teachers. Across the country, states began to

implement their own statewide curricular guidelines to standardize teaching. States also

developed performance tests as accountability tools to measure how well teachers convey

the standardized curricula. Some schools even required teachers to record all of the

standards they met in every one of their lessons to justify what they taught. As teachers

responded to the pressures of these standards and tests, many felt they had little time to

explore projects and activities that took the students beyond the standard requirements.

Although there are advantages to increased accountability, standards-based

education reform may not lead to improved teaching. As Bentley (2000) points out, "In

many schools standards-based reform has resulted in a renewed interest in academics, but

the down side of standards-based reform includes a re-emphasis on direct teaching

methods, more teaching-to-the-test, less attention to the non-cognitive domains, and a

retreat from experiential education and field studies" (p. 1). Unfortunately, the field of









environmental education, which traditionally includes teaching methods that are almost

the opposite of the re-emphasis to which Bentley refers, could potentially lose its

foothold in the classroom because of education reform. Disinger and Monroe (1994)

describe the essence of EE as including:

... a human component in the exploration of environmental problems and
solutions[,]... a foundation of knowledge about social and ecological
systems[,]...the affective domain: the attitudes, values, and commitments
necessary to build a sustainable society[, and]... opportunities to build skills that
-solving abilities. (p.3)

The pressure to demonstrate student achievement, which in many states means covering

key concepts and improving test-taking skills, makes it challenging and unrewarding for

educators to use EE materials.

Prior to the widespread implementation of reform initiatives, Ham and Sewing

(1988) found that the two biggest barriers teachers have to conducting EE were a lack of

preparation time and lack of time during the day to use EE. As states have stepped up

accountability restrictions on teachers, they have even less time to prepare for and

actually use EE than they did at the time of Ham and Sewing's study.

Education Reform in Florida

In Florida, environmental education has suffered under recent school reform

efforts. In a focus group for a state-wide study of teachers' use of Project Learning Tree

(PLT), a commonly used supplemental EE resource, teachers expressed significant

barriers to its use that were the direct result of the Sunshine State Standards. One teacher

expressed, "FCAT and SSS are all we can deal with right now, and they definitely keep

me from using PLT or any programs like it" (Monroe, et al. 1999).

As of 2001, the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) only evaluates

students on the reading, writing, and math benchmarks of the Sunshine State Standards









(SSS). This means that teachers at low-scoring schools are spending almost all of their

time teaching reading, writing, and math skills. This focus on preparing for the FCAT

leaves teachers no time to teach any science, let alone environmental education. Science

and social studies teachers at some low-scoring secondary schools are pressured not only

to give writing assignments, but also to teach writing skills even though they have not

been formally trained to do so (C. Cranford, personal communication, Crown RSP,

1999). IfEE is to survive in the present educational climate, it must accommodate a

system that revolves primarily around skills not traditionally taught in environmental or

science curricula.

How EE Can Help Teachers and Students Meet Education Reform Goals

Lieberman (1995) states that reform and environmental education each have

something to offer the other, but that EE leaders should take the first step and help

teachers meet classroom and education reform goals through specially designed EE

materials. Braus (1999), Carlson (1988), and Kaspar (1999) agree that environmental

education can help teachers meet curricular and reform goals, in part because education

reform and environmental education have similar aims such as providing students with

the knowledge and skills needed to be effective citizens (Sussman, 1999). Good EE

includes many disciplines and can build basic skills in problem solving and citizenship,

both basic education goals. Further, environmental subject matter can be easily adapted

to fit into basic skill-oriented training. Students have to read and write about something;

they can read and write about the environment. Similarly, math problems can incorporate

environmental components such as water conservation or population change. Ramsey,

Hungerford, and Volk (1992) demonstrate how EE can be infused into the existing

curricula in the areas of science, health, social studies, math, language arts, home









economics, and agriculture. The process of infusion makes environmental education an

integral part of the curricula rather than a self-contained addition to the curricula (Monroe

and Cappaert, 1994). Infusing environmental education into the already existing

curricula is an effective method to enable teachers to use EE materials (Braus and Wood,

1993; Cantrell, 1994; Engleson, 1985; Monroe and Cappaert, 1994; Ruskey and Wilke,

1994). Such materials assist teachers in two ways: they spend less time planning how

they meet state standards and they accomplish multiple objectives when they teach each

lesson in the classroom. Braus (1999), Carlson (1988), and Lieberman (1995) agree that

infusing environmental education into existing curriculum is a meaningful and practical

strategy to achieve both curricular and reform goals. Infusion enhances basic education

rather than taking time away from it.

Education Reform and Environmental Education at Different Levels

Environmental education can support education reform effectively at two levels:

the school level and the classroom level. The State Education and Environment

Roundtable (SEER) recently completed two leading studies that examine the use of the

environment as an integrating context for learning (EIC) across the school. The first

study identified forty schools across the country using EIC in very different ways. All

showed improvement in standardized test scores (Lieberman and Hoody, 1998). The

second study, The California Student Assessment Project: The Effects of Environment-

based Education on Student Achievement, compared eight EIC schools to eight non-EIC

schools and found that the students at the EIC schools scored higher on standardized tests

than did the control group (State Education and Environment Roundtable, 2000). Over

the last decade, eight schools in Washington State have participated in a program called

"Model Links-Linking Environmental Education and School Improvement." This









program's basic principles follow the recommendations of the National Curriculum

Reform. After monitoring the schools for several years, they found that using

environmental education was effective in facilitating school improvement (Model Links,

1999). The results of the EIC and Model Links studies show that environmental

education can work very effectively to improve schools as they work to meet education

reform goals.

In addition to the large-scale infusion described above, environmental education

can also be infused at the classroom level to fulfill education reform goals. Since

teachers need to be able to connect their daily lessons with curriculum standards and

enable their students to gain the performance skills measured by the state assessment

tests, they often need assistance in connecting curriculum materials with standards and

skills. Many national programs have correlated their curriculum with national standards,

but this does little to help teachers who must justify the curricula with state standards to

appease their administration. An expert in every state must adapt national programs to

meet their state goals. The Florida Proj ect Learning Tree Steering Committee has

developed a guide demonstrating how teachers in Florida can use PLT to meet the

Sunshine State Standards and are restructuring workshops to demonstrate how PLT

activities can help students prepare for assessment tests.

The Florida Department of Education sponsored a project to help Florida teachers

meet the state achievement standards (the Sunshine State Standards) through

environmental education. The Office of Environmental Education (OEE) developed

Teaching Naturally: Using the Environment to Improve Teaching and Learning, "an

interdisciplinary guide to the Standards with environment as an integrating concept"









(Ballas and Abrams, 1997). Teaching Naturally is both a how-to resource guide and an

inspiration for teachers. A Florida principal who supports the use of EE in education

reform claims:

An important element of making education work is making it interesting and
relevant to our students. Becoming an EE Model School has helped us bring the
real world into the classroom. We found our students tested better, making
significant improvement in their writing and language arts skills because they
were choosing to write about what interested them, which was the environment.
In writing about the environment, their writing had meaning to them. (Ballas and
Abrams, 1997, p. 3)

The guide gives teachers and principals help implementing EE to meet reform goals at all

levels, from individual teachers who want to do one activity with their students, to whole

schools that want to take an EIC type approach.

One other way to help teachers meet reform goals through infusing EE is to

provide them with state or even regionally specific curriculum designed with their state

standards in mind. Unfortunately, probably because this type of reform is new at the

curriculum level, research to show that the union of EE and reform in this specific way

has not been located. When such curriculum becomes available, it must be evaluated to

measure its ability to improve students' performance on standardized tests.

There is a need in Florida to show that environmental curricula can provide

teachers with ways to include environmental education while still helping them show

student achievement on the FCAT. This study used a short supplemental curriculum on

biodiversity that was written to meet both science and writing standards at the high

school level. The study was designed to measure change in knowledge and attitude about

environmental science and improvement in writing skills as a result of exposure to the

curriculum.









Research Question and Hypotheses

This study sought the answer to the research question, "Does an environmental

curriculum designed to meet the needs of educators and scientists increase writing skills

as measured by the state assessment rubric?" To accomplish this, the researcher designed

the study to measure the effect of a curriculum guide that infuses writing and

environmental concepts into ninth and tenth grade biological science courses in Florida

on students' environmental knowledge, attitude, and writing skills. The null hypotheses

were that students who take part in the curriculum would: 1) not show a significant

improvement in their writing skills; 2) not show a significant increase in environmental

knowledge; and 3) not show a significant change in the direction of environmentally

desirable attitudes.


The Curriculum

A specific curriculum addressing Florida biodiversity was selected for the basis of

this study. It is particularly appropriate because it was designed to enable teachers to

meet the SSS for science and language arts and to practice FCAT writing skills. Ninth

and tenth grades are significant because tenth grade is the last year that students in

Florida take the FCAT. Teachers at this level, especially science teachers are pressured

to teach writing skills, may be seeking curricula to help their students prepare for the test.

The curriculum guide is designed around an Internet database that utilizes

collection records from the Florida Museum of Natural History and documents from

other Florida environmental agencies. The curriculum contains five lessons: four refer to

museum-related content, and one focuses on writing skills. Through reading text on the

computer, the students learn about the history and role of museums, the study of









taxonomy and how it affects scientific research, introduced species and how they affect

an ecosystem, and the importance of biodiversity and how it affects their community.

The activity assignments in each lesson provide students with the opportunity to

work with real scientific data and documents in the database interface. Students are able

to use the collection records of the Florida Museum of Natural History and important

scientific documents to discover what types of species live in their county, trends in

species invasion, how taxonomy explains the relationships of similar species, and how

protecting the Florida Scrub Jay affects the future of an important ecosystem in the state

through searches in the Linking Interface.

Each of the four content lessons includes a writing assignment that helps students

to focus on real-world environmental situations. In these essays, the students try to

convince the state legislature to continue funding the Museum of Natural History, write a

mock journal article describing a newly discovered species, explain their position on

bringing a new species into the US, or convince someone why the Florida state bird

should be changed from the mockingbird to the Florida scrub jay, depending on the

lesson.

At the end of each lesson, the students complete an additional short lesson on

writing to reinforce their understanding of effective writing and to give them practice

editing and revising their papers. The lesson is structured around the FCAT writing

rubric so that students gain a clear understanding of what graders for the writing portion

of the FCAT will look for and how they generate a score for each student. The students

read an explanation of what good writing is, examples of good and bad transitions, and

examples of good and bad focus. Then, after completing the writing assignment for each









content lesson, they fill out a form based on either a partners essay or their own. This

form helps the students evaluate the essay based on focus, support, organization,

transitions, and conventions (see Appendix E for examples of scored writing samples).

Even though the students write about science concepts in the lessons, they do not include

content accuracy in the score because the rubric includes a skill analysis, rather than a

content analysis. The skill analysis is based on presence and quality of writing attributes

such as grammar, sentence structure, word choice, focus, transitional devices, and

organization. (Lessons can be found at http://susdl.fcla.edu).


Methods

The following assessment tools were developed to measure change in attitudes,

knowledge, and writing skills.

1. A pre-test (Appendix A) measures students' attitudes about and knowledge of the

environmental concepts covered in the guide. It includes ten multiple choice and

four true/false questions to measure knowledge and six Likert scale questions to

measure attitude. Several of the multiple-choice questions had multiple answers.

2. A post-test (Appendix B) measures students' understanding of the database and

their attitudes about and knowledge of the environmental concepts covered in the

guide. The post-test contains the same questions as the pretest, and includes five

additional questions about the use and contents of the database interface. These

include two multiple choice and three true/false.

3. Improvement in writing was measured by using the FCAT rubric (Appendix C).

The researcher applied the rubric to the first and last writing samples to determine

pre- and post-curriculum score.










4. Teacher journals documented their progress and gave candid reactions of the

curriculum, the study, and student involvement.




Table 3.1: Pre- and Post- FCAT-like Writing Prompts
The Collection Connection: Museums of Natural History and Libraries
Writing Situation: Museums of natural history have many important roles and serve a variety of audiences.
Directions for TTi mig Before you begin writing, think about the benefits and importance of natural
history museums. Imagine that you are the head curator of the museum. You are about to lose a portion of
your state funding. Write a letter to the state legislature explaining why they should continue to fully fund
the museum.

The Biodiversity Dilemma
Writing Situation: The mockingbird is Florida's current state bird. It receives special attention due to this
status. The endangered Florida scrub jay is an important part of the biodiversity of the Florida sand pine
scrub ecosystem.
Directions for WTi mig Before you begin writing, think about the importance of saving the Florida scrub
jay and how it might help conserve more acres of important sand pine scrub in Florida. Now persuade the
reader that changing the Florida state bird from the mockingbird to the scrub jay might help protect the
scrub jay and the sand pine scrub.


Teacher Selection

Teachers were encouraged to volunteer for the study through several means. The

researcher presented the curriculum at the annual conference of the League of

Environmental Educators of Florida (LEEF), published an announcement in the LEEF

newsletter, sent information to science teachers in Alachua county, and asked a Regional

Service Project (RSP) representative to hand out fliers to potential participants. Six ninth

and tenth grade biological science teachers in Florida volunteered to participate in the

study three from Miami and three from Gainesville. The teachers were offered a

stipend of $150 for completing the study, a training manual, and ongoing support from

the researcher.

Teacher Workshops

Two training sessions were held for participating teachers, one in Miami and one

in Gainesville. These sessions were designed to facilitate the teachers use of the









computer database, to familiarize them with the curriculum guide, to make sure they

understood the order of the activities, and to build their skills in teaching for the FCAT

writing rubric. The teachers went through all of the lessons and discussed how to help

students. Details of the data collection procedure were explained, as were the

requirements of voluntary consent for student participation. The teachers were given an

instruction manual to guide them through the study steps so that they would use the

material consistently. Personal contact with the teachers was important to prepare them

to use the guide with their students and increase their commitment to proper data

collection procedures.


Assessment Design

Since there was no reasonable control available, the pre-test/post-test design was

chosen to measure the curriculum' s effect on students' abilities. A control class would

necessitate that the teachers lead two different units simultaneously. The sample for the

pre- and post-tests included all of the students in each class who gave verbal consent,

whose parents consented to their participation, and who completed all components of the

project. A smaller sample was randomly chosen from this population of students for the

writing portion of the study due to the time-consuming task of grading two writing

samples for each student.

To insure that any changes in the students' writing skills and environmental

knowledge and attitudes was the result of the Linking curriculum guide and not of other

materials, the teachers were asked to complete the curriculum in four weeks. While this

gives the teachers some flexibility, it lowers the chances that the results of this study will

be skewed by other learning activities. Unfortunately, due to computer lab schedules and









database technical problems, all the teachers took much longer that four weeks; one

teacher took four months. Possible effects of this are included in the discussion.

Sampling

Before the study began, the researcher gained approval from the University of

Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB checks to make sure that a study will not

cause any harm to participants and that the researcher is prepared to provide potential

participants sufficient information before they agree to participate. Teachers signed a

consent form, students agreed to a verbal consent statement, and parents provided a

signed permission form. Only students who agreed to the verbal consent and provided

the permission form were included in the study (Appendix D). Permission from the

Alachua County Board of Education was also obtained to use Gainesville students in the

study.

The study concluded with only two of the six original teachers. Two teachers

from Miami were forced to drop out of the study due to a delay in the opening of a new

computer lab. Two other teachers were eliminated from the study because they each

provided complete data for fewer than ten students. The remaining two teachers were

from Gainesville. All of their students were enrolled in the lowest level of mainstream

ninth or tenth grade science. The ninth graders were in Integrated Science and the tenth

grade students were in Biotech (a hands-on version of Biology One). All of the students

who completed every part of the study were included in the content analysis (n=132).

The sample is 61% Caucasian, 33% African American, 3% Hispanic, and 3% other, 48%

male and 52% female, and closely resembles the entire population of their classes.

Because of limited time to score the written essays, only ten students from each class

(when available) were randomly selected for inclusion in the writing analysis (n=99).









Procedures

The teachers administered the pre-test (Appendix A), assisted the students as they

completed all of the lessons, and then administered the post-test (Appendix B). The

teachers submitted the parent permission forms, pre-tests, post-tests, the museum essay,

and the biodiversity essay to the researcher. Once all of the data were collected, each

student was assigned a code based on the teacher and the class period.

The researcher trained a consultant to use the FCAT rubric to score the writing

essays. Both the researcher and the consultant scored all 198 essays for the 99 students

selected for this part of the study. Possible scores range from 0 to 6 and are based on

grammar, word choice, sentence structure, organization, transitional devices, support, and

focus. The scores for each category were combined to come up with an average for each

essay. For 73% of the essays, the researcher and consultant scored the essays the same.

When the graders' scores were different, they discussed all of the components and then

negotiated a final score for the essay. (See Appendix E for examples of writing samples).

The researcher scored the knowledge questions by assigning a percentage to each

combination of answers on a continuum from completely right to completely wrong.

This method enabled a record of partial improvement. The figure below explains the way

each type of question was scored (Table 3.2). The questions were divided into four

themes that matched the four content lessons: museums, taxonomy, introduced species,

and biodiversity. The scores for the questions in each theme were averaged to compute

an overall theme score.










Table 3.2: Scoring Key for Multiple-Choice Questions on the Content Pre- and Post-test
If One Right Answer
100% Right answer selected
75% Right answer and 1 wrong answer selected
50% Right answer and 2 wrong answers selected
25% Right answer and 3 wrong answers selected
0% 1-3 wrong answers selected
If Two Right Answers
100% Both right answers selected
83.35% Both right and 1 wrong answer selected
66.7% Both right and 2 wrong answers selected
50% One right answer selected
33.3% One right and 1 wrong answer selected
16.65% One right and 2 wrong answers selected
0% 1-2 wrong answers selected
If Three Right Answers
100% Three right answers selected
83.35% Three right and 1 wrong answer selected
66.7% Two right and 1 wrong answer selected
50% Two right and 1 wrong answer selected
33.3% One right answer selected
16.65% One right and 1 wrong answer selected
0% 1 wrong answer selected
If Four Right Answers
100% Four right answers selected
75% Three right answers selected
50% Two right answers selected
25% One right answer selected


The data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and then converted into SPSS

version 10.0 (SPSS, 1999). Paired t-tests were used to detect significant change from

pre- to post-test in writing skills, knowledge, and attitudes at the p < 0.05 level.

Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the database questions.


Results


Knowledge


Results of the paired t-test show significant increase in knowledge for only the


biodiversity theme (p<.000) (Table 3.3).









Table 3.3: Knowledge Scores, n=132
Theme Pre Mean (%)** Post Mean (%) ** t df p
(SD-%) (SD-%)
Museums 71.42(18.70) 73.69 (15.60) -1.31 131 n.s.
Taxonomy 67.26 (27.47) 72.60 (24.31) -170 131 n.s.
Introduced Species 40.55 (24.17) 43.64 (23.80) -1.20 131 n.s.
Biodiversity 54.69 (28.34) 73.32 (28.18) -7.02 131 .000*
*Significant at the p<0.05 level
**Percentage correct out of 100%


Database

The post-test contains five questions that relate to the database, but the students

only showed competence answering the question about searching for "turtle" in the

Linking Interface (Table 3.4).




Table 3.4: Students Database Scores, n=132
Question Mean Score (%)* Type of Question
If you wanted to find out how many largemouth 50.48 Multiple choice
bass were collected in Florida during a certain
year, which database would you use?

Which of the following is information you will 22.35 Multiple choice
not find when you search the museum collection
records in the Linking Database?

You can search only one of the Linking 50.85 True/False
databases at a time.

You must search by scientific name to get 59.85 True/False
information from the full text records.

If you searched on "turtle" in the museum 88.64 True/False
database, you would get just one species of turtle
back in your results?
*Percentage correct out of 100%









Attitudes

Three of the six questions show a significant change from pre- to post-test (Table

3.5). All changed in the direction of more environmentally desirable attitudes.




Table 3.5: Student Attitude Ranks, n=132
Attitude Questions Pre Mean** Post Mean** t df p
(SD) (SD)
It is OK for me to release a pet .25 (.98) .54 (.93) -3.395 123 .001*
turtle into a pond even if this turtle
is native to another part of the
world.
It is OK to plant an exotic species -.008 (.98) .024 (.97) -.334 123 n.s.
that you know will bring certain
benefits as long as you keep it
confined.
It would not be interesting to have -.57 (1.10) -.32 (1.16) -2.268 123 .025*
a career as a scientist.
It takes years and years of training -.19(1.09) -.065 (1.17) -1.11 123 n.s.
to make contributions to science.
Scientific names are really -.52 (1.16) -.65 (1.09) 1.37 123 n.s.
confusing.
There are many things I can do to .56 (.76) .75 (.72) -2.870 123 .005*
protect biodiversity.
*Significant at the p<0.05 level
**Score scale: +2=most ideal to -2=least ideal


Writing

The paired t-test revealed a significant difference between the pre- and post-test

writing scores (p< 0.00) (Table 3.6). The students averaged an increase of .61 on a six-

point scale that measures presence and quality of writing attributes such as grammar,

sentence structure, word choice, focus, transitional devices, and organization.









Table 3.6: Student Writing Scores, n=99
Pre Mean** (SD) Post Mean** (SD) t df p
2.28 (.87) 2.89 (1.01) -6.957 98 0.00*
*Significant at the p<0.05 level
**Possible scores range from 0 to 6


Discussion

Because teacher journals revealed that there were inconsistencies in the

curriculum implementation, the researcher conducted an independent t-test to detect any

difference between students taught by two teachers for all of the measures. There was a

significant difference between the two teachers in two of the four knowledge pre-test

themes and two of the four post-test themes (p < 0.00). This was judged to be a

important difference, and therefore, the knowledge results for each teacher were analyzed

individually for the sake of discussion.

Teacher A's students show a significant gain in knowledge from pre- to post-test

in the museum, taxonomy, and biodiversity themes, but no significant difference was

found for the introduced species theme (Table 3.7).




Table 3.7: Teacher A students' knowledge scores, n=62
Pre Mean (%) Post Mean (%) t df p
(SD-%) (SD-%)
Museums 66.13 (18.06) 71.69 (14.92) -2.37 61 .021*
Taxonomy 59.33 (29.33) 79.17 (21.90) -4.48 61 .000*
Introduced Species 41.35 (26.18) 47.31 (23.63) -1.50 61 n.s.
Biodiversity 56.67 (29.39) 86.43 (23.80) -8.61 61 .000*
*Significant at the p<0.05 level


Teacher B's students show a significant gain in knowledge from pre- to post-test

only in the biodiversity theme (Table 3.8).













Table 3.8: Teacher B students' knowledge scores, n=70
Pre Mean (%) Post Mean (%) T df p
(SD-%) (SD-%)
Museums 76.11 (18.11) 75.46 (16.08) 0.26 69 n.s.
Taxonomy 74.29 (23.77) 66.79 (25.08) 1.88 69 n.s.
Introduced Species 39.84 (22.40) 40.40 (23.64) -0.16 69 n.s.
Biodiversity 52.93 (27.56) 61.70 (26.76) -2.44 69 .017*
*Significant at the p<0.05 level


The variation in the way the two teachers' classes completed the lessons no doubt

accounts for variation in the students' learning and therefore test scores. Teacher A's

classes had fewer technical problems with the database and therefore were exposed to the

content and database activities more consistently and with fewer complications. She

warned her students that they would have to take a test and let them review the reading

materials to prepare for it. Teacher B's experience was different. He started earlier in the

year and was forced to stop the process while the database was improved; a period of four

months elapsed between content lessons two and three. He did not intervene in the

learning process, let the curriculum provide all the instruction, and did not return to the

earlier lessons after the database was improved.

Because Teacher A's student knowledge scores increased for the museum,

taxonomy, and biodiversity themes and Teacher B's scores increased for only the

biodiversity theme, one can presume that classroom instruction played a role in student

learning. The Biodiversity lesson was also the last lesson covered before the post-test.

All of this implies that reading the computer screen for information may not be sufficient;

teachers of the future will always be needed to instruct students and manage classrooms

directly, and that lessons should be competed in a timely manner.









The low post-test scores on the database questions may be a reflection several

factors: 1) the challenges students faced using the Interface, 2) the lack of time using the

Interface, 3) not enough emphasis in the curriculum on the Interface, or 4) the difficulty

of the questions. Because the database was not finished when the questions were

designed, the researcher was not able to pilot test them with students. Pilot testing the

questions with students having used the curriculum might have reduced this problem.

Results of the six attitude questions indicate that significant change occurred with

three items. These items relied on individual, subjective reaction to the statements and

described fairly simple concepts. The items that did not have a significant change pre- to

post- were more abstract and complex. For example, the first two questions deal with

similar ideas, non-native species, but the one in which the students show more of an

increase includes a reference to "me," while the other refers to "you." Also, for the more

complex questions, it is possible that the more a student learns the more he or she realizes

he or she does not know. For example, the student who is learning about scientific names

for the first time may move toward a more negative response for the item "scientific

names are confusing" because the he or she learns that a species has seven names rather

than just one.

Providing students with interesting topics to write about, straightforward

information about good writing, and practice editing and revising their papers helped

these students improve their writing skills and may help them do better on the FCAT

writing test. In the journals and in conversations with the researcher, the teachers

expressed that they liked the writing assignments because they were interesting and

applied directly to the lessons. Educators have long assumed that when students read









about relevant and interesting things, their attention and thoughtfulness increases

(Anderson, Shirey, Wilson, and Fielding, 1987; Hidi and Baird, 1988; Hidi, Baird, and

Hildyard, 1982). This is probably true with writing as well. Baer (1988) found that when

students write about interesting topics, they had a better attitude toward writing.

Interestingness, straightforward information, and practice all could have helped increase

writing test scores in this study.


Limitations

This study has several limitations relating to teachers, students, the database

interface, assessment tools, and general study design. Because teachers are so busy, it

was difficult to find teachers who were willing or able to participate in the study. This

limits the design of the study because those who volunteered were not randomly chosen;

they all showed an interest in the curriculum. Difficulties in computer availability and

student consent further reduced the sample, as did student absences and transfers.

Because the teachers were also pilot-testing the Linking Interface, they faced

many technical difficulties that might have affected the results of the study. One teacher

reported several system crashes when more than five students were using the Interface

on-line. He gave up and waited for the system controllers to install new software that

allows up to 100 users. His students did not return to the missed curricular material.

Although the pre- and post-tests were reviewed by ten students, there was no

opportunity to pilot test the questions for readability, vocabulary, age appropriateness,

and difficulty. Some of the questions may have been too difficult for the experience and

the age group or may not have been covered sufficiently in the curriculum. According to

an independent reviewer, five out of nineteen items were covered less thoroughly in the









curriculum than the others. This suggests that the subject matter covered by some

questions may be relatively unfamiliar to students, reducing the likelihood of a significant

improvement in knowledge scores.

It is difficult to write questions that accurately measure attitudes, and when this is

possible, it is difficult to see a change in such a short time period. Since the researcher

did not use qualitative measures, the evaluation for attitudes was limited.

The FCAT rubric was developed for scoring writing skills in the absence of

meaningful content. The FCAT-like assignments in the curriculum required the students

to include scientific information. As a result there is no way to score incorrect

information. This made grading more difficult and subjective than scoring the FCAT

would be with non-scientific prompts.


Future Research

It important that other curricula around the country are located that have been

designed to meet education reform goals in a way similar to the biodiversity curriculum

because of the needs it can fill. Someone should conduct other evaluations of the

curricula that is located to develop a composite sketch indicating that curricula designed

to meet localized standards does improve student achievement on assessment tests.

In this age of computers, we do not know enough about the imp act they have or

could have on learning. Based on the feedback from the teachers in the study, students

enjoy the activities on computers, but did not enjoy reading the informational web pages.

Studies that compared knowledge gained from reading text on a computer screen with

knowledge gained from reading text in a book with equal teacher intervention would help

improve the understanding of computers as a teaching tool.









Conclusion

As education reform alters the challenges teachers face, curriculum developers

must provide curriculum materials that first and foremost help teachers accomplish their

educational goals. This study provided a positive answer to the research question "Does

an environmental curriculum designed to meet the needs of educators and scientists

increase writing skills as measured by the state assessment rubric?" This biodiversity

curriculum guide also provided a positive answer to the questions: 1) does combining

writing and environmental content improve writing skills among ninth and tenth grade

students? 2) will students increase their environmental knowledge? and 3) will students

move toward the more environmentally desirable attitude?

Instead of requiring teachers to modify existing materials, the curriculum is

designed to provide teachers with a series of lessons that accomplish both education

reform and environmental education goals. Because the study found that this curriculum

does improve writing skills while showing some increase in environmental knowledge

and change in environmental attitudes, Florida teachers may be willing to use this

curriculum guide. Since the study offers promise to EE in light of education reform,

curriculum developers across the United States may be encouraged to use this guide as a

model for other curriculum development efforts. This can lead to more curricula that

meets standards-based education reform goals, and increase in environmental education,

and thus, a more literate citizenry.














CHAPTER 4
CONCLUSION

All over the country, in the classrooms of teachers struggling to improve teaching

to meet new reform goals, environmental education (EE) is being pushed aside.

Curriculum developers can design environmental curriculum, however, to help teachers

achieve reform goals. Previous studies show that environmental curriculum can meet

reform goals at the school level (Lieberman and Hoody, 1998; Model Links, 1999). This

study shows that it is possible to meet education reform goals at the classroom level.

Standards and assessment tests vary from state to state. States with standards and

assessment tests hold teachers accountable for quality education by checking lesson plans

and student test scores. Therefore, considering the unique, state-imposed instructional

needs of teachers is essential when designing and implementing supplemental

environmental education curriculum materials.

Many supplemental curricula are designed around the research data of scientists.

Scientists and other experts have a great deal to share with educators, but must be able to

translate their information into curricula that help teachers meet their education reform

goals. To put this type of information into a form that will successfully reach kids,

scientists need to be part of a team with educators and curriculum developers. This

collaboration of curriculum designers, educators, and scientists will increase the

likelihood that reform goals, basic education goals, and scientific goals are met.

The development of the Linking biodiversity curriculum guide and the "Linking

Florida's Natural Heritage" Interface is a good example of scientists, educators, and









curriculum developers fulfilling the goals of all stakeholders to create effective

supplemental curriculum. The curriculum contains five lessons: four that cover

biodiversity content and one that emphasizes writing. Teachers felt the curriculum

challenged their students and helped prepare them for the state writing assessment test,

students enjoyed using the Linking Interface, and the agencies participating in the project

were able to disseminate current and historical data.

Through a pre-/post-test design, students made significant gains in writing skills

after using the curriculum. The researcher recommends that other curriculum developers

follow a similar format when designing supplemental curriculum by: 1) designing

lessons based on grade level standards, 2) including practice for skills assessed in state

tests, 3) using a design team of all stakeholders, and 4) evaluating the curriculum to

ensure that it addresses state reform goals. Since writing is a basic skill, any curriculum

that helps improve writing should attract teachers' interest. In the case of the Linking

Interface, students not only improved writing, but also improved environmental

knowledge and attitudes.

The first part of this thesis explains that scientific experts can reach students

successfully by overcoming technology and curriculum barriers. To overcome these

barriers they must use a web query agent and other technology features, and work with

curriculum specialists and teachers to meets general teaching goals and standards-based

education reform goals of teachers. The second part of this thesis shows that curriculum

can be developed that improves writing skills while showing some increase in

environmental knowledge and change in environmental attitudes through an evaluation of






44


a curriculum that uses a database interface that utilizes a web query agent to disseminate

information and lessons designed to address education reform goals in Florida.















APPENDIX A


CONTENT PRE-TEST








Linking Florida's Natural Heritage
Biodiversity Survey

Multiple Choice (Circle the letter of the best answerss)

1) Which of the following is not a role of a museum of natural history?
a) Taming animals
b) Conducting research
c) Collecting specimens
d) Educating people

2) Which scenario aids the invasion of an introduced species? (circle all
that apply)
a) Few predators
b) Able to reproduce in its new habitat
c) The presence of lots of other species to push out
d) An empty place to live

3) Once they return to the museum, how do scientists keep track of plants
and animals they find in the field? (circle all that apply)
a) In hand written journals
b) In a computer database
c) In jars on shelves
d) In their memory

4) What is an indigenous species? (circle all that apply)
a) A species from India
b) An introduced species
c) A naturalized species
d) A native species








5) Linnaeus' is important because: (circle all that apply)
a) He and his students gave scientific names to all plants and animals in
the world.
b) He came up with a binomial naming system for naming species of plants
and animals.
c) He invented the Latin language to name plant and animal specimens.
d) He came up with the system for describing new plant and animal
specimens.

6) Which of the following groups does the Florida Museum of Natural
History serve? (circle all that apply)
a) The general public
b) Scientists
c) Historians
d) Students

7) Which of the following is the best definition of biodiversity?
a) The variety of living organisms in an ecosystem
b) The amount of organisms living in an ecosystem (even if they are the
same species)
c) The diversity of biomes in the world
d) All the animals in a food web

8) A keystone species is one that:
a) Lives in the center of an ecosystem
b) Was the first species discovered in that ecosystem
c) Lives under rocks
d) Many other species are dependent upon

9) Which of the following are ways that scientists take a record of species
found in the field back to the museum? (circle all that apply)
a) Take a DNA sample
b) Take a picture
c) Take the actual plant or animal specimen
d) Draw a picture








10)Circle the two most important causes of loss of biodiversity
a) Road kill
b) Habitat loss
c) Disease
d) Invasive species

True/False Section
Circle "T" if you feel the statement is Correct and "F" if you feel the
statement is incorrect.

11) T/F The connecting link between the museum specimen and the library
literature is the name of the specimen.

12) T/F We use Spanish as the official language for scientific names.


13) T/F The Florida panther is a distinct subspecies of the mountain lion
even though they can interbreed.

14) T/F A species that takes over a new area through range extension is
considered invasive by means of accidental introduction.

Attitude Assessment
There are NO right or wrong answers on this part of the survey. Read
each question carefully. Circle the description that best matches how
YOU FEEL about each statement.

15)It is OK for me to release a pet turtle into a pond even if this turtle is
native to another part of the world.
Strongly Disagree Neutral/ Agree Strongly
Disagree Not Sure Agree

16) It is OK to plant an exotic species that you know will bring certain
benefits as long as you keep it confined.
Strongly Disagree Neutral/ Agree Strongly
Disagree Not Sure Agree









17)It would not be interesting to
Strongly Disagree
Disagree


have a career as
Neutral/
Not Sure


a scientist.
Agree


18)It takes years and years of
Strongly Disagree
Disagree

19)Scientific names are really
Strongly Disagree
Disagree


training to make contributions to science.
Neutral/ Agree Strongly
Not Sure Agree


confusing.
Neutral/
Not Sure


Agree


20) There are many things I can do to protect biodiversity.
Strongly Disagree Neutral/ Agree
Disagree Not Sure


Strongly
Agree


Strongly
Agree


Strongly
Agree















APPENDIX B

















CONTENT POST-TEST








Linking Florida's Natural Heritage
Biodiversity Survey

Multiple Choice (Circle the letter of the best answerss)

1) Which of the following is not a role of a museum of natural history?
a) Taming animals
b) Conducting research
c) Collecting specimens
d) Educating people

2) Which scenario aids the invasion of an introduced species? (circle all
that apply)
a) Few predators
b) Able to reproduce in its new habitat
c) The presence of lots of other species to push out
d) An empty place to live

3) If you wanted to find out how many largemouth bass were collected in
Florida during a certain year, which database would you use?
a) Full texts
b) Library
c) Ichthyology
d) Herpetology

4) Once they return to the museum, how do scientists keep track of plants
and animals they find in the field? (circle all that apply)
a) In hand written journals
b) In a computer database
c) In jars on shelves
d) In their memory








5) What is an indigenous species? (circle all that apply)
a) A species from India
b) An introduced species
c) A naturalized species
d) A native species

6) Linnaeus' is important because: (circle all that apply)
a) He and his students gave scientific names to all plants and animals in
the world.
b) He came up with a binomial naming system for naming species of plants
and animals.
c) He invented the Latin language to name plant and animal specimens.
d) He came up with the system for describing new plant and animal
specimens.

7) Which of the following groups does the Florida Museum of Natural
History serve? (circle all that apply)
a) The general public
b) Scientists
c) Historians
d) Students

8) Which of the following is the best definition of biodiversity?
a) The variety of living organisms in an ecosystem
b) The amount of organisms living in an ecosystem (even if they are the
same species)
c) The diversity of biomes in the world
d) All the animals in a food web

9) A keystone species is one that:
a) Lives in the center of an ecosystem
b) Was the first species discovered in that ecosystem
c) Lives under rocks
d) Many other species are dependent upon








10) Which of the following are ways that scientists take a record of species
found in the field back to the museum? (circle all that apply)
a) Take a DNA sample
b) Take a picture
c) Take the actual plant or animal specimen
d) Draw a picture

11) Circle the two most important causes of loss of biodiversity
a) Road kill
b) Habitat loss
c) Disease
d) Invasive species

12)Which of the following is information you will not find when you search
the museum collection records in the Linking Database?
a) The person who collected the specimen
b) The state in which the specimen was found
c) The city in which the specimen was found
d) The common name of the specimen

True/False Section
Circle "T" if you feel the statement is Correct and "F" if you feel the
statement is incorrect.

13) T/F The connecting link between the museum specimen and the library
literature is the name of the specimen.

14) T/F You can search only one of the linking databases at a time.

15) T/F We use Spanish as the official language for scientific names.

16) T/F You must search by scientific name to get information from the
full text records.

17) T/F The Florida panther is a distinct subspecies of the mountain lion
even though they can interbreed.









18) T/F If you searched on "turtle" in the museum database, you would
get just one species of turtle back in your results?


19) T/F A species that takes over a new area through range extension is
considered invasive by means of accidental introduction.

Attitude Assessment
There are NO right or wrong answers on this part of the survey. Read
each question carefully. Circle the description that best matches how
YOU FEEL about each statement.


20) It is OK for me to release a pet turtle
is native to another part of the world.
Strongly Disagree Neutral/
Disagree Not Sure


into a pond even if this turtle


Agree


Strongly
Agree


21) It is OK to plant an exotic species that you know will bring certain


benefits as
Strongly
Disagree


long as you keep it
Disagree


confined.
Neutral/
Not Sure


22) It would
Strongly
Disagree

23) It takes
Strongly
Disagree

24) Scientifi
Strongly
Disagree


not be interesting to have a career
Disagree Neutral/
Not Sure


years and years
Disagree


c names are really
Disagree


as a scientist.
Agree Strongly
Agree


of training to make contributions to science.
Neutral/ Agree Strongly
Not Sure Agree


confusing.
Neutral/
Not Sure


Agree


25) There are many things I can do to protect biodiversity.
Strongly Disagree Neutral/ Agree
Disagree Not Sure


Strongly
Agree


Strongly
Agree


Agree


Strongly
Agree


ly















APPENDIX C















FCAT WRITING RUBRIC












SCORING METHOD AND RUBRIC USED IN 1999


DEFINTION OF Holistic ksoring is a metliho by which criuned readmen c0aluic a piece
HOLlSICSCORING of writing or his overall qutlliy The hclilnl method used in Florida
require readers to evaluae Ihe work u a whole, while considering
four elmenIe focus. hrg knilzion. support, and conventions. This
method is sometimes called focused holliic scoring. In this type of
scoring, readers make a judgment about the entire response rather
than focusing exclusively on may on aspect,

FVocu Fzcu refers to how clearly the paper presents and maintains a main
idea, theme, or unifying point.

Papers receiving lower and middle scores may contain
Information that is loosely re la ed extraneous, or both.

Papers receiving higher scors demonstrate a consistent
awamrneM of the topic and avoid loosely related or extraneous
infonnation.

Orslnimalln Organiracion refers to Ihe structure or plan of development
btCgirirLng. middle, and end) and the relationship of one point to
Saoher. Orgaui/ririn refers Io the us of trinaitional devices (terms
phrases, and variations in sentence structure) to signal (1) he
relationship of the ipporting ideas to the main idea, theme, or
unify ing point anrd .2i qhe onnnections between and rang setlecces

Papern recei'in.g lower scores may lack transllonal devices and
summary or including statements.

Papers receiving higher swors use transitional devices (signals
of the tet plan or slru cure) and developed conclusions.

Suppari Support refe s to the quality of details used to explain, clarify, or
define The qualuc of the suppon depends on wnrd choice, specifiJiv,
depth, redibUlty, Fand thoroughness.

Paprs receiving lower aM nddire scores may contain support
that is i. bIre list of events or reasons, uppon ihat is extended by
a detlaii or both,

Papern recei irLj higher scores provide elaborated elaniples and
fully JcdlelIpeid ilLu ~dI(ont, and the relationship between the
-iLppornirJg Idie and the topic s clear












Comuetieon Co4nvetih rfer to the punctuation, capla)lizaUn, spllLag,. and
senelncestrcture. Thesee aonveilns area basis wnlim~ 'ljli LrMli.ded
in Florida S Sunshine Stae Slandars.

a Papers receiving lower and middle sores may contain some or
many errors in punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and
scalenc structure, and may have little vacation in sentence
situctur.

Papers receiving higher scores foTkio with few eccptions the
conentions of punctuation, capitalzation, and spelling, and use
a variety of sentence structures to gpesnt ideas.

SCORE POINTS N The rubric fu'nte interpiels the four maior areas of colns derstion into
WIRIC leaves of achieveemnt The rubric used to sore papers in springg 1999
is shown below.

6 Mbt The writing i focused anrl purposeful, and it reflects insight into the
writing tuation. The organizational patrrn provides for a logical
prgreciiKon ofideas. Eiffctive se of transitional devices contriteus
to a ense of cofmpleteness The development of the support is
,ubasrilial, specific, relevant, and concrete. Te writer shows
cOmm ijlr nil o wd involvemrict 'Wil the tubjecl and may ue crewrtive
writing suategies Th writing demonstrates a mature command of
Ianga~ge with freshness of expression Sentence structure i's ricd,
and few, if any, convention enrors ocCUr in m ctnics, usage,
punctuation and spelling.

aPoints The writing is focused on the topic. and its orEanizationrl panem
provides for a logical progression of ideas. Effective use of
transitia~al devices contributes to a sense of .omplleness The
support is deveklped through ample use vf specific details and
examples. The writing demonstrates a mature command of language,
and here s variation in sentence structue, The response generally
roll~id ihe conventions of mechanic, usage, punctuation, and
spelling

4PWetl The writing is focused on the topic and includes few, if any, loosely
related ideas, An organization pattern is apparent, and it is
strengthened by the use of transitonal devices The support is
consistently developed, but it may lack specificity Word choice is
adequate, and variati in sentence stcture is demonstrated. The
rtsponC generally follo s the conventions of mechanics, usage,
punntuano, and spelling.












3 FI"il The writing is focused but may contain ideas that are loosely
connected to the topic. An organizational pattern is demonstrated, but
the response may lack a logical progression of ideas. Development of
support is uneven. Word choice is adequate, and some variation in
sentence stMcur is demonstrated. The response generlJly follows
the conventions of mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

2 Fonits The writing addresses the topic but may lose focus by including
extraneous or lo.osel related ideas The organizational pattern usually
includes a beginning, middle, and ending, but these elements may be
brief. The development of he .uppon may be erratic and nonspecific,
and ideas may be repeated. Word choice may be limited, predictable,
or vague, Errors may occur in the basic conventions of sentence
structure, rmchanics, usage, and punctuation, but commonly used
words are usually spelled correcly.

I pMct The writing addresses the topic but may lose focus by including
extraneous or loosely related ideas. The response may have an
organizational pattern, but it may lack a sense of completeness or
closure There is little, if any, development of the supporting ideas,
and the support may consist of gine.reliza.i~n, or fragmentary lists.
Limited or inappropriate word choice may obscure meaning. Frequent
and blatant errors may occur in the basic conventions of sentence
structure, mechanics, usage, and punctuation, and commonly used
words may he misspelled.

UMnoable The paper is unscorable because

a the response is not related to what the prompt requested the
student to do,

the response is simply a rewordng or the prompt,

a the response is a copy of a published work,

the student refused to write

the re;panse is illegiblc,

a the response is written in a foreign language,

the response is in comprehensible (words are arranged in such a
way that no meaning is conveyed).

the response contains an insufficient amount of writing to
determine if the student vwa aaempting ol address the prompt, or

the writing folder is blank.















APPENDIX D

















INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FORMS














UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA

School of Foret Resource and Conservation 347 Newns-Ziegler Hall
Insiriale t Food and Agricultura Srences Gainesvlle FIL 32011-0410
Phone (352) 367.3787
Fax (352) 64.1277
Dear Educator:
I am a graduate tudami in Iie SnOol of Forest Resources and Crctnsrvallon al the University of FIorda,
Mco=Kifng refarh on Improving the writng sklls of high school students through environmental
ea cason under te supervision of Dr MafthS Monrce. The urlpose of this study Is to asset whelhr
or rot using the anvrornewl as an mlspiing topie alang nwin a writing lesa iari trriprov he writing skits
of participants The resuih of the study snuama ei e&ducaLto better inderalarn wo the cjculur~ m gurde
can help educators irmprv wrong skis
Along wti subrniitting the IAl atnd late diing samples and Ihe pie- and posl-tesi ol eadi stuaerd, rn
reluasdirg pnl vou iubrlt a log or i n6ra ot yoour xertpw1scs urnag tie curriculum This ahoukl Include
a mcord of whirLh aci mril yro used, youL Ybaervlnors ofr Uie slutOernt proiblens and sucmeses they
might ham. your own challenges and suaasses, and suggestiors ftor irpcovern rni of tle database and
the curriculum.

This "o athould also Include, If applicable. row you changed the activiles. (You won't be penalized f
changing bul we uill roeed to knor what you do ID keep accurate records) You wl riot hre to omplaet
any part of tre lug you co not wlsn to complete. The irrplm!entwtion of the cumcurriu shoPla take you
approdrnally ten class periods.
Only I wil rave maoe~e t the jourtas. Your idenrliy wil be kept e rlerntial to tre extenr p'Aired by law.
if any qu1ole are used In the report your ideas wll be identfled by a code.

There are rno anticipated rttks to you as a paricipant in ti-s Astud. 'lo will receive a compornatior of
$200 for completing ue study. You are trea to Wrhdraw yoL consent to participate andi may Olsoontrnue
your perCipaton al ry tirne writhoul coiasequance

i you have any ciueshlon aboul tits msearcl promoc. please Corlact me at 352-36 7.3787 or my fulty
suerisor, Dr Manra Mo nre, al 356248M-78. Questions or concr~ s aboAu your rigtls as a reearewn
particll rights rnm be dacwted to Ire UFlRB ofllc. UrNlnelty of Flord, Box 1122.0, GalInsvlle, FL
3861 and phone 362.392-04 33,

iI you w ~ to volunteer far tlis research. ppleae eign this copy of e n eater. A second copy Is provided for
your records, By iganirng lh letter, you glke fe pemnrisaio to report your responses arnaMKliuscL in my
thesis and other papDes.

Jeanatt Randall


I nave rea o e procedure descaled above for Ie study o wrlrig skie and ihe envilronmenL I vollunarly
agree to partlopale 4n the sildy and I have received a copy of ths desertplJon.

Signature of parcipant Date

0 I would Ilke to reoe a summary of the final report wtw f is avalable.

APPROVED BY
insitl u IS l
An rBWt OtppmhittynAllflktelt AaiM h A ittai. PIiooc Dofi '
FPr tm..iAl g








Assent Script

Teachers-Please read this to your class as you distribute
the Parent Consent form.

"We will be testing a new unit on biodiversity that is part of
Jeanctte Randall's graduate thesis at the University of
Florida. Because all the assignments are part of class, you
don't have any choice in doing them, but you do have a
choice about whether or not you allow me to submit your
work lo the researchers. There are no known risks or
immediate benefits to you for participating in the study, and
neither participating nor not participating will affect your
grade in any way.

Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent
provided by law. Your information will be assigned a code
number. The list connecting your natmc to this number %ill
be kept in a secure place. When the study is completed
and the data have been analyzed, the lisr will be destroyed.
Your name will not be used in any report.

I would like each one of you to come up and tell me
whether or not you would like to participate in this study.
If you say yes now, you have the right to withdraw from
the study at any time. If you say no, there is no penalty.

Please take this form home and ask a parent to read and
sign it."











UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA

School of Forent Resourae and Coremrvailon 347 Nrmwin -Ziegolr Hall
instlculel of Food e Agi lcullural Scernces Galres..lle FL 32011-0410
Phone (352) 367-3717
Fak 13625 a4,-127
Dear ParantbGuardgah,

I am a graduate sludent In (he School oI Forest Resources and Corsrvatilon at ite nimversily
of Florida, conducng research on Irnrovirng ile waillig akill ot' hi-h arhool eludlenrt through
erM mental education under the supervision of Dr. Marina Monroe. The purpose of this study
is to easse if d ing ng tivities abut blDdiversity along with a willing le0ron Cran Improve Ihe
wrliing ~Kills of paritfpants. The reult~ of lhe study mnay help educators beier understand how
to maka currlcllUm materale esffecl.e in improving writing skills. Theme result may not directly
help your teenager today, bul may rarefil flurura studenia, Vitch your permiaaior, I would like
to ask y3ou studel to volunleer for fors research.
Your leIenageB'a teacher as chosen lo Irmiemenl a lea-day unll on blodivarslty As part of this
unt, students will accem tlh Florida Mkusum of Natural History databme arnd e Ii to explore
florida's blgdlverslly. Mty siLdy aill aralyie a pro-est, post-est, Md two w4rlig exercises that
reaele to Ih;i unit. As an aJddluorna part of the study, the atesdi will submit two samples or Ut
students willing from eercises on tlooivier.lty These will be evaluated to measure change
in wrttibg ekllls. ParticlpaJing In tha study will no require your sluarnt to do any addlilonal wat,
It just mGnansi thai he or she will pokw the racer to submit work lrandy completed.

Although the students will be asked to writ their names on the willing sample and pre- and
post-lesis for matching purposes, their dlentliy 111 be kepi oonde tlal to the extent provided by
law. We wil replace their names wih a code. Resulia will only be reported In the form of group
data. Parlcipallon o non- participation n this study will not affect your aludlerins grade or
placemenl In any pi0grarrn.

You and your tenager hvh tih right to withdraw con entfor hi nr her parliepalton at eny tfi
wlllHou aonrequernce Threm are no known rilks or immendlate benr llw to the partilpanta. No
comrpensaltn is otfreda for parllclpaton, Group results of this sluryvill be available in January
upon request,
If you hiave aay question aboul this research protcool, please conlsct mes a 352-367-3787 or
fm raculCy supervisor. Dr. Monroe, al 352-46-0578 Questions or concmwr abolu your
student's rilghi an research panticipel may be directed to he UFIRS office Univrsty of
Fldide, Box 112250, Gainesvlle, FL 3211, 352 392-aS33
Thank you,
Jeanette Randall


I have read the procedure described above. I uoluriarily give my content lor my chud,
______. to parlicipite in Jeanette Rarinallt sludy on writing skills arid Uie
envlrormnen I haw recalved a copy ol chis description for me to atudy,
Paiarl / Guadlan Ople
AIPui sVEI BY
kasorl leS'l ab.17
A&l.pdCppumltiAMmhulu~tha~wfit 71-s iM a















APPENDIX E















STUDENT WRITING SAMPLES








Student A


Pre-test, Score: 1

Deoc. SiLt Lgists





C w1. (yk gC-C3, 'V & r w moVstA xS A

31L.wxoR% kcad vnx5Qjm s- ^
-XV-SOS TS14AC.S U^A W\wMV4\6 W 5 Cj-oA

Vw^ Sm^ \ ho' V <.W\LL & IN1 kjNk
Uok w Ks 5.K oa "O, iS R4 O4 9As





,.,. ,- , ...-- - ..- ..- ..- -.- ,.....--- ... - ...-~~^
o kka\ Wkisu sI "ok

4a tovL 0 usk4







Student A
Post-test, Score: 2


~-f~YtL fif.^^ a dc^ / 1kj
ywGa Ack& A3crcs a 4Aj aMt

y is ; I 'kwwte wcokf F tewe tAc
9i sc/Ay 3A.6* IeIlSfC A nAk







Wc A CA, % uJ ttT


Lj^ i\. 6 Cr A j Lug4~~









Student B, Pre-test, Score: 3

.D.j)cc v McsL-UC e l_
- X'2E pjt~jy3 ~tN) \ ._cp '\Ac- 1 P .-2Od.
__Q^I. _(dTu-k&ocC L.CAL'.ycxri V^"'^..lep 6laoM

- 'I _:I .verrO. _. h"iL7 oYvotAC.oAQNL.46ct--


__J^oP C\\^cAl\nf l-\^e gg -.l
_P tB.ryA gSr i' speQf9 nr6\iod o.1T---u

_ *Vcor^ nhkr.Lt^ts r------.------
PCS f\,M CQ *flff\ cyj F -
- X'kNC1j\ $hin,4& i&. --



--.. c hr -- i--



_- Spt! atct I N|


'2'CJLON4 Ac&f 'tccX tc-
_^PX FN tYS ACS (1om (1\ce 1/ QA ---








IrWf iC. rewtrr.---










Student B

Post-test, Score: 5


_ z itt b.c _rAiYLt iIIZA^r. nIJCiirc w *_AC:l td1
_ + \ M^l (k4Hi\ A Alitfl t t AIvTc- Sirc fL10 C zh

-rfr~^yrtiY sla\ XliuA a \a iLn *W-_
rchiaLr^w& c4 Aq 0 Wh1. CtIfw< Kir'rV1 'bC (X) ee' ct j
I fwj e9r^. \^ r JkeV \C Atc\\f1 kMT 1n
- lt LzCr^ y ^ a u *CC 2A X W A.1i fm.A_ Ac-(-)

- LLL &X p -t QJL&MI. C hiL k
(2xhtI-4 r'i fAItu prAr A9 L' Q _^i -
- spri t Yr \ itw L QU .nUed-r 7M^ua c '^tO ( w u



+T1.fln1J L-iLF- L4Ji Al C flY L v\L\ t2 OfluV Wo 2kWANt


Ei'cs diue ,r rd _r <;&c etU A y \rrl cv-raw c&fLCAn
5YO.C&11 CAtLvi it1 aC L S i MS. Ci A< &S\\ (.11 etAIl .
NliF WTI) W(7s r' (W CPCY-cCS A-) neA\ Z .c- it-.


- ffLt~~dli2TCSX S4A&OC ca-in 4\VA-a~lS CNu~lf iH~;hc44l L
?1-ve Vu ~ ,-~. -a- *[o r~.c~l ~arYi a no ~cI~-si sar Xv.PstJjn.Ih w3 kr'


... ,-y .i... i .. .. --. r-. I- .- -. .--



r-
I__ i_ c Q_ f N'_c'__ i-- &'o f, ..D % \' ._
2IAtr. cnt11ncahwsz%2.-t*-(Po C9nl n-y ^r6& ^^re in *

bfl 4 '1"r A\" cf t4 .1A9 "Yct \L-rL A "t-rr'1_ .7f..
+,l hir\ *q j r
m f.I a bv> ( A9 AL LkO_ a ,{ ti_ ,il.L W, ,l-N. x V-)
-^1i^ UAcN >( %
ILV.. 14- C.rt ,. ncWvc it- ro Afl CA-ad x Amn._ ,_ %n





68

.. .C... ..L .e .. . .. t.......

.-bQ- iJXC ^i. Lan e.r^rRDjL^^U ^-6 Qcob ^^
-0LnC o._T-- Hai-M^-.iik ns_ a__L,_


hal fl\ Wr \\ \^'Q. &A aruiv ,a ^__.


TScw.u, r 4-r r- lY ___















LIST OF REFERENCES


Anderson, R.C., Shirey, L.L., Wilson, P.T. & Fielding, L.G. (1980). Introduction to
literature: Stories. (Third edition). NY: Macmillan.

Baer, V. (1988). Computers as compositions tools: A case study of student attitudes.
Journal of Computer Based Instruction, 15(4), 144-148.

Ballas, J., & Abrams, K. (1997). Teaching naturally: Using environment to improve
teaching and learning. Florida Office of Environmental Education. Tallahassee: FL
Department of Education.

Bennett, D. (1988/1989). Four steps to evaluating environmental education learning
experiences. Journal ofEnvironmental Education, 20(2), 14-21.

Bentley, M. (2000). How Standards-based Reform Hurts Environmental Education.
Conference proceedings from the North American Association for Environmental
Education (NAAEE) 28th annual conference, Cincinnati, Ohio. August 1999. From the
1998-2000 Conference Proceedings CD ROM. NAAEE, 2000.

Braus, J. (1999). Powerful pedagogy: Using EE to achieve your education goals.
EEducator, Spring, 1999, Special Issue.

Braus, J., & Wood, D. (1993). Environmental education in the schools: creating a
program that works. Manual M0044. Washington, D.C.: Peace Corps Info. Collection
and Exchange.

Cantrell, D.C., & Barron, P.A. (1994). Integrating environmental education and
science. Newark: Environmental Education Council of Ohio.

Carlson, S. (1988). Learning by doing and the youth-driven model. The Center:
Today's 4-H connects youth to the world. St. Paul: University of Minnesota.

Chafee, J.H. (1995). Preparing for the next century: public understanding is critical.
Environmental Protection Agency Journal, 21(2), 9-11.

Disinger, J.F., & Monroe, M.C. (1994). Defining environmental education. Workshop
Resource Manual, EE Toolbox. National Consortium for Environmental Education and
Training (NCEET): University of Michigan.









Engleson, D.C. (1985). A guide to curriculum planning in environmental education.
Madison, WI: Department of Public Instruction.

Gagne, R. & Briggs, L. (1979). Principles oflnstructionalDesign. New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston. 154-155.

Gambro, J.S. & Switzky, H.N. (1996). A national survey of high school students'
environmental knowledge. Journal ofEnvironmental Education, 27(3), 28-33.

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Hungerford, H.R., Peyton, R.B., & Wilke, R.J. (1980). Goals for curriculum
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Hunt, S. & Staton, A. (1996). The communication of educational reform: A nation at
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International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN),
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development. Gland, Switzerland.

Kaspar, M. (1999). Achieving standards through environmental education. EEducator.
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Lieberman, G.A. (1995). Pieces of puzzle: An overview of the status of environmental
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Diego, CA.

Lieberman, G.A. & Hoody, L.L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: using the
environment as an integrating context for learning. State Environmental Education
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McCain, K. (2000). Sharing digitized research-related information on the World Wide
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Model Links: Environmental Education and School Improvement. (1999). What's
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Monroe, M., Clark, B., Denny, C., Easton, J., Frost, C., Birmingham-Hague, N., Johnson,
H., Mwale, A., Peme, L., & Randall, J. (1999). Project Learning Tree Teacher
Assessment Study Interim Report. Unpublished report submitted to The Florida Project
Learning Tree Steering Committee. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.

Monroe, M. & Day, B. (2000). Environmental Education Communication For a
Sustainable World: Handbook for International Practitioners. Washington, D.C.:
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Monroe, M.C. & Cappaert, D. (1994). Integrating Environmental Education Into the
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National Environmental Education Advisory Council. (1996). Report assessing
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Ramsey, J.M., Hungerford, H.R. & Volk, T.L. (1992). Environmental education in the
K-12 curriculum: Finding a niche. Journal ofEnvironmental Education 23(2), 35-45.

Rassmussen, K. (2000). Environmental education evolves: developing citizens,
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Ruskey, A. & Wilke, R. (1994). Promoting environmental education: An action
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State Education and Environment Roundtable (SEER). (2000). California Student
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Achievement. San Diego, CA: SEER.






72


Stapp, W. (1969). The concept of environmental education. Journal ofEnvironmental
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Sussman, A. (1999). A primer on education reform. EEducator. Spring 1999, Special
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United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (1978).
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jeanette Randall was born in Atlanta, Georgia, November 22, 1974. She grew up

in a small town outside of Athens where she spent every waking moment either reading

or playing in the dirt. During college, she worked with several of Atlanta's

environmental non-profit organizations: Zoo Atlanta, The Chattahoochee Nature Center,

The Georgia Wildlife Federation, and The National Wildlife Federation. These

experiences helped ignite her passion for the environment and for teaching. She received

an undergraduate degree in environmental education from Oglethorpe University in

Atlanta.

After traveling around the southeast for two years as an admission counselor for

Oglethorpe, she decided it was time to get back into EE and sought a Master of Science

degree from the University of Florida. Jeanette hopes to continue her career in

environmental education by teaching and designing school programs that use the

environment as a context for learning.




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