Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rural Kentucky Schools: Environmental Education Leads To Higher Scores on Statewide KRIS Test

When Tompkinsville elementary got an outdoor classroom some wondered about its academic value. A group of teachers and community members built trails, observation decks, and an outdoor amphitheatre; created garden beds; and planted flowers on the 27-acre rural campus. They soon started to see positive results.

Tompkinsville’s 630 students live in a rural area. Many of their families qualify for the free lunch program. The school serves grades pre-K through Fifth Grade. Prior to 1995, test scores in science, reading, and social studies were low.

Tompkinsville’s test scores have steadily improved since 1995 (see Table 10), and Kentucky is proud of the academic progress this school and others have achieved. Over four years, science scores increased by 25 percentage points, reading by over 21 percentage points, and social studies by nearly 40.

1995 to 1999 performance on the Kentucky Instructional Results Information System (statewide test)

-------- Science - Reading -Soc. Studies
1995–96 (24.15) (49.54) (30.37)
1996–97 (35.82) (61.87) (60.19)
1997–98 (41.14) (58.85) (64.20)
1998–99 (50.00) (72.00) (70.00)

*Total possible score: 100

See NEEF report (Page 33)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kevin

    It is not always easy to separate the causal agent in improving scores in literacy, numeracy etc. In many of these schools the very fact that staff are engaging with environmental education suggests they are motivated to bring about positive change. As a new country engaging with Eco-Schools it would be good to get baseline scores from schools before they start the programme and then follow their progress. This might give a good indication of the impact of ES in a few years time?