NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED516468
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 149
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-3845-2
Environmental Literacy of Hispanic, Urban, Middle School Students in Houston, Texas
Meuth, Amber M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Houston
With the global crises facing the planet that bring major implications, (Hart & Nolan, 1999; Hungerford & Simmons, 2003) it is imperative that there be an environmentally literate citizenry who can identify, solve, and prevent environmental issues. Since middle school students are evolving into participating citizens and are developing the ability to think in abstract terms, they are a critical group to study regarding levels of environmental literacy. Additionally, with the increased resource needs and decreased air and water quality in highly populated urban areas, focusing on the environmental literacy of students living and attending school in urban areas is essential. The purpose of this study was to describe the levels of environmental literacy of a group of Hispanic, urban, middle school students in Houston, Texas. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students who attend a charter school in Houston, Texas were given, the "Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey" ("MSELS"). This survey has been developed to measure components of environmental literacy as related to domains identified critical to environmental literacy (McBeth et al., 2008). The four domains include ecological knowledge, environmental affect, cognitive skills, and behavior. Data collected from the survey was used to determine levels of environmental literacy in the following variables: ecological knowledge, verbal commitment, actual commitment, environmental sensitivity, general environmental feelings, and environmental issue and action skills. Descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed for each grade level and as an entire sample for each variable in order to generate a profile of the group. Composite scores were calculated in the four domains (ecological knowledge, environmental affect, cognitive skills, and behavior) and were compared to high, moderate, and low levels of environmental literacy set forth by top environmental education researchers (McBeth et al., 2008). Additionally, two secondary analyses were conducted. First, mean scores for each grade level were compared by gender to see if gender plays a role in environmental literacy variables. Second, mean scores in each environmental literacy variable were compared by grade level to investigate if significant differences occur between grade levels. The results indicate that the participants in this sample have high levels of ecological knowledge but convey only moderate feelings towards the environment. The students report that they are willing to engage in more pro-environmental behaviors than they actually report doing. They also display modest abilities to identify and analyze environmental issues as well as select appropriate action plans. Regarding the domains critical to environmental literacy, the mean scores for this sample fell within the high range for ecological knowledge; scores for affect, cognitive skills, and behavior all fell within the moderate range. For each grade level, the overall environmental literacy composite scores also fell within the moderate range. When compared to students in a national study, generally, in the performance based sections of the "MSELS," the 6th and 8th grade students in this sample scored at or above the students in the national sample while on the self-report sections, the 6th and 8th grade students in this sample generally scored below the students in the national sample. That being said, however, when comparing composite scores for the Affect, Cognitive Skills, and Behavior domains, both sets of students scored within the moderate range. In the Knowledge domain, the students in this sample scored in the high range while the students in the national sample scored in the moderate range. Gender did not appear to play a part in the levels of the environmental literacy variables, while grade level may make a difference for certain variables such as verbal commitment, actual commitment, and environmental sensitivity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas