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Evaluating a Multi-Component Assessment Framework for Biodiversity Education

The Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) is a global initiative that seeks to create opportunities for the broad exchange of educational and training information and strategies among conservation educators and practitioners. The lack of access to such resources is a significant obstacle to building capacity in biodiversity conservation. To expand teaching resources and availability, NCEP has created over sixty web-based curricular modules on biodiversity topics that emphasize active learning pedagogies and the application of critical thinking to conservation problems. To complement the modules, we developed a multi-component assessment framework that evaluates 1) content knowledge before and after using the modules, 2) student confidence in their knowledge of biodiversity, 3) interest in biodiversity topics, 4)development of process skills that are important for conservation, and 5) changes in worldview and environmental orientation. Using this framework, three NCEP modules were tested in five diverse undergraduate courses and institutions with various class sizes. We predicted significant learning gains in content knowledge and changes in ecological attitudes and worldviews. We found significant learning gains in content knowledge as well as increases in student confidence in content knowledge and greater interest in the field of biodiversity conservation. Module use did not change the overall environmental worldview of students in the study population. We also detected statistically significant declines in overall student confidence in process skills important to conservation. Analyses revealed no significant differences in any study variables based upon demographics such as school, gender, ethnicity, class standing, reason for
enrollment or academic major. Results demonstrate the value of the NCEP modules in enhancing biodiversity education, and the value of assessing student ability and perceptions of ability as measures of the effectiveness of educational programs.
Associated files
Resource Group TIEE
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords biodiversity, conservation biology, assessment
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description modules provide an effective
introduction to the topical material, and spark studentsí interest in biodiversity and
conservation issues. These results are consistent with other studies that showed an
increase in learning gains as well as concern for the environment after an
undergraduate ecology or environmental science course (Leeming 1993, Zelezny 1999,
Humston and Ortiz-Barney 2007, Anderson et al. 2007). Despite the small sample size
in this study, learning and confidence gains occurred in a wide range of classes, across
different types of institutions, and with different amounts of time devoted to the materials, indicating that the modules are an effective tool in a wide range of settings
and situations.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Brian E. Hagenbuch
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Holyoke Community College , Holyoke, MA
Primary Author email
Added By Id
  • educationintern
Rights Author maintains rights
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2011-03-09
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2011-08-24 16:14:17
Last Modified By Id
  • educationintern
Date Last Modified 2018-07-25 14:41:13
Release Flag Published

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