Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seminal Study: Environment-based Education Measurably Improves All-around Student Performance

In 1998, The State Education and Environment Roundtable helped the environmental education field and education in general to better assess how environment-based education can improve a student's overall academic experience and performance. The particular focus of this effort was on how environment-based education can serve as a medium for integrating education across disciplines and educational strategies. The authors and developers refer to it as Environment as and Integrating Context (EIC).

Citation: Lieberman, Gerald A. and Hoody, Linda. (1998). Closing the Achievement Gap. San Diego, CA: State Education and Environment Roundtable. (

This study assessed student performance in 40 schools that were already implementing the EIC approach. It was completed by Lieberman and Hoody in partnership with 12 State Departments of Education. The data came from site visits to all 40 schools and inclued four different teacher surveys, interviews with more than 400 students and 250 teachers and administrators. Moreover, in 14 of the subject schools, the EIC students were compared with students from the same schools who were in traditional classrooms looking at on standardized test scores, grade point averages, attendance, student attitude measures, and records of disciplinary actions.

The results: higher scores on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies; reduced discipline and classroom management problems; increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning; and greater pride and ownership in their accomplishments.

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