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ERIC Number: EJ1218596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1350-4622
Effects of Childhood Setting and Interaction with Nature on Academic Performance in Introductory College-Level Courses in the Environmental Sciences
Spero, Melanie A.; Balster, Nick J.; Bajcz, Alex W.
Environmental Education Research, v25 n3 p422-442 2019
This study explored the relationships between student background and academic performance in college introductory environmental science (ES) courses at a large U.S. research university with the premise that this analysis may inform teaching practices, curricula, and efforts to increase retention. We surveyed over 700 students across eleven introductory ES courses and used multiple linear mixed-effects regressions to model the data. We found that students who grew up in rural settings or who had frequent childhood interactions with natural environments earned higher grades, on average, than students from urban settings or with fewer childhood interactions with natural environments. Our results indicate that students reporting frequent childhood interactions with forests, for example, were projected to earn grades up to 1.5 letter grades higher in these courses than students with no such interactions. In addition, students with frequent childhood interactions with nature were likelier to report that such interactions helped them in their ES course, suggesting that these students may recognize the value of these experiences. Greater interest in the subject matter also correlated with higher ES course grades, whereas amount of prior ES coursework did not. We discuss the possible implications of these correlations for ES academic performance and educational practice.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF); National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH//DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1231286; T32GM008349