ERIC Number: EJ871185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Blazing an Evaluation Pathway: Lessons Learned from Applying Utilization-Focused Evaluation to a Conservation Education Program
Flowers, Alice B.
Evaluation and Program Planning, v33 n2 p165-171 May 2010
In 2005, state fish and wildlife agency wanted to examine how one of its conservation education programs was providing science-based understanding and outdoor experiences by evaluating students' knowledge, skills, attitudes and intended behavioral outcomes related to fish, fishing and aquatic habitats in Montana. A key factor in this study was the acceptance by program stakeholders to conduct the evaluation using a utilization-focused evaluation approach to promote usability and accuracy of evaluation results. Using a quasi-experimental non-equivalent group design, more than 2000 students in participating classrooms throughout Montana received a pre-survey, post-survey and an extended post-survey; 114 teachers participated in an Internet survey and 16 program instructors took part in a structured open-ended telephone interview. The participatory approach and mixed methods enhanced abilities to interpret results of student surveys in particular. The user-focused approach was discovered to be personal and situational, allowed the facilitation of the evaluation process with consideration for increased application of evaluation findings and implementation of recommendations from beginning to end. Further development of evaluation pathways is needed to more effectively evaluate outcomes and implement practical and transferable measures to determine if environmental education activities produce desired participant outcomes. (Contains 4 tables.)
Descriptors: Animals, Conservation Education, Student Surveys, Teaching Methods, Quasiexperimental Design, Outdoor Education, Teacher Surveys, Interviews, Educational Assessment, Evaluation Methods, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, State Agencies, State Programs, Wildlife
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Montana