The Development of an Instrument for Evaluating World Wildlife Fund's Window on the Wild Biodiversity Education Program
Fleming, AnneMarie VanDam
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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In 1993, World Wildlife Fund - U.S. initiated a new biodiversity education program called Windows on the Wild (WOW!). The overall goal of Windows on the Wild is to use biodiversity as an organizing theme to help increase the environmental literacy of middle school students, link formal and nonformal educational institutions, and enhance biodiversity training for educators. World Wildlife Fund contracted with the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point to perform an evaluation of student performance with Windows on the Wild. More specifically, the purpose of this evaluation is to determine whether or not Windows on the Wild is effective in improving students' knowledge of and attitudes towards biodiversity and related issues. This study focused on the development of the instrument that would later be used in a pre-test/post-test design with students who participate in Windows on the Wild. In May 1995, three pilot tests were conducted with 18 classrooms (477 students). The results were analyzed by examining frequencies, reliability and corrected item correlation (using Cronbach's alpha), difficulty, and discrimination index. These analyses were used to modify the items and create another pilot which was conducted in December, 1995 with 10 classrooms (264 students). Using the combined results of both stages of piloting, a single evaluation instrument was created during April, 1996. This instrument contains 9 introductory questions, 39 Likert items (statements for measuring attitudes), and 32 multiple choice items. The instrument is designed to be conducted within a single classroom period and will yield quantitative results. Plans have been made to implement the instrument in conjunction with the piloting of materials from the Windows on the Wild curriculum.