Title page for ETD etd-04212011-135340


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Jones, Rebecca Mary
Author's Email Address rjones@alumni.lsu.edu
URN etd-04212011-135340
Title Development of Attitudes of Children toward Coastal Environmental Themes Survey: Exploring Attitudes of Louisiana Middle School Students
Degree Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Blanchard, Pamela Borne Committee Chair
Bush, Edward Wayne Committee Member
Wandersee, James H. Committee Member
Keywords
  • stewardship
  • coastal environments
  • LSU Coastal Roots
  • attitude survey
  • children
  • environmental education
Date of Defense 2011-04-06
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Louisiana’s coast is losing land due to erosion at the startling rate of approximately 24 square miles per year (Lockwood & Gray, 2005). Coastal erosion has serious implications for human safety and Louisiana’s economy. There are many environmental education programs throughout coastal regions of the United States that educate school children about coastal issues. LSU Coastal Roots (CR) is one such program. Students at approximately 40 participating schools raise native plants in nurseries at their school and then travel to a restoration site to transplant their plants. The goal CR is to build an attitude of stewardship and awareness toward the coastal issues in student participants (Blanchard, 2007).

CR and other coastal environmental programs would find value in a survey that assesses the effect their programs have on the attitudes of participants. Therefore, a 25-item Likert scale survey entitled Attitudes of Children toward Coastal Environmental Themes (ACCET) was developed by the researcher to measure middle school student attitudes toward five coastal environmental themes. The five themes are general, ecosystems, coastal erosion, human impacts, and resources. Participant responses can be scored for a total score and individual theme scores. Reading level of the ACCET falls within grades third through fifth. The ACCET has internal-consistency reliability (Chronbach’s alpha) of 0.87 and test-retest reliability of 0.64.

The ACCET was administered to students at five CR schools at the beginning of the school year and again after their participation in their restoration-planting trip to examine changes in student attitude. Students in two control schools were also administered the ACCET survey. The results were analyzed using inferential and descriptive statistics. The CR schools scored significantly higher on the ACCET than the control schools on both the pre- and post-surveys, which may indicate that participation in the CR program has a positive impact on participant attitudes. However, a significant difference was not found between pre- and post-surveys for the treatment group. Therefore, it is recommended that the ACCET not be used as a survey to examine changes in attitudes, but rather should be used to as a general measure of attitude toward coastal environments.

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