"This program helps us meet the needs of every learner in our classroom with the added bonuses of increasing awareness and relating science to everyday life."
Teacher satisfaction was measured for three reasons: (1) teachers are the primary audience for most Project WILD efforts (teachers, in turn, reach students); (2) if teachers like Project WILD, they are more likely to use it, tell others about it, and support additional Project WILD efforts; and (3) teachers are often the best source of information regarding value of an educational program. The evaluation instrument developed was piloted by 231 educators in seven states.
During the course of the pilot test, researchers garnered the following perceptions from the educators who field tested Project WILD and clearly understood its value in student learning:
Educators use activities and supplemental materials from training that are not part of the activities conducted during the training.
Activities are used by educators as part of existing lessons or thematic units.
The Educators involved in the pilot study also stated that Project WILD helps students:
Understand environmental issues.
See many sides to environmental issues.
Learn conservation and environmental behaviors.
Project WILD materials, coupled with training, were considered by the educators to be:
Easy to implement
Easy to adapt
Educators use Project WILD because they are confident in its value. Along with guidelines for implementation, the evaluation instrument has been distributed to Project WILD State Coordinators.
Evaluation of Knowledge and Attitude Gains
A group from Ohio State University developed a highly controlled study to measure the impact of Project WILD on student learning and attitudes.
Because Project WILD is a complex collection of activities and units, one unit from the "framework" was selected and isolated. Teachers involved in the study conducted five activities from the unit (from a choice of nine) and student knowledge was measured specifically on knowledge outcomes identified in the framework, not on knowledge specific to each activity.
Using a pre- and post-test treatment and control group design, this study was utilized in eight classrooms (n=224).
The study confirmed that:
- Project WILD has a positive impact on student knowledge about wildlife;
- Exposure to Project WILD activities has a positive impact on the attitudes of students toward wildlife and constructs about wildlife.
Mean scores for students participating in Project WILD activities were higher for both knowledge and attitude than were those who did not participate. Standard deviations also reveal there is consistency in the response patterns for students who participated.
The use of five activities from one unit of the Project WILD K-12 Curriculum Guide resulted in nearly a 10% score increase on a difficult test based on the framework.
Control measures and statistical data reveal that outcome gains (learning) by students in the treatment group can be attributed directly to their participation in Project WILD.