Below is the Executive Summary text. The complete report can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.
PEEC Cross-Program Evaluation Progress Report:
Findings From Survey Analysis, 2005-2007
PEEC members representing the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation - Wellborn Ecology Fund, the Forest For Every Classroom project, the CO-SEED program, the Sustainable Schools Project, the Trail to Every Classroom project, the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, and the Local Investigations of Natural Sciences project
Michael Duffin, Rachel Becker-Klein, George Tremblay, and PEER Associates, Inc.
April 7, 2008
The Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC) formed in 2002 to increase their collective program evaluation effectiveness. In addition to conducting evaluations of individual PEEC programs, each year PEEC takes on cross-program investigations which seek to clarify more transferable (perhaps eventually generalizable) characteristics of place-based education (PBE).
The PEEC cross-program research agenda has evolved over the past five years. The 2002-2003 agenda began with analysis of interview data to identify changes in teacher practice common across PEEC programs. The 2003-2004 agenda successfully piloted a quantitative dose-response measurement strategy. The 2003-2004 survey analysis also generated a “tipping point” hypothesis, suggesting that PBE practices can become embedded in the culture of a school after a couple years of intensive PBE programming. In 2004-2005, the “tipping point” findings were extended through cross-validation interviews, focus groups, and a targeted review of school culture literature. During 2005-2006 a “long term research agenda” was developed to pursue the tipping point hypothesis and associated refinement of measurement
strategies, and the first incremental steps to achieve it were taken. 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 provided an opportunity to continue collecting additional survey data from existing and new PEEC programs. Also during 2007-2008, analysis of the internal reliability and dose measures were undertaken to determine how closely the data we collected thus far fit our initial conceptualization of indices and modules, and to inform potential refinements of future models and strategies.
This report presents an updated summary of advancements since the PEEC Cross-Program 2004-2005 Informal Progress Report. Since then, 485 Educator surveys and 608 Student surveys have been added to the analysis, bring the total data set to 884 Educator surveys and 2364 Student surveys, spanning seven PBE programs.
The primary finding was that this body of quantitative evidence shows clearly that PEEC programs are achieving many to most of their targeted outcomes. Thus, it is now time to shift from a focus on whether or not PBE has the desired effects to a finer grained focus on how, why, and under what conditions certain effects occur. Specific findings include:
· School culture tipping point hypothesis remains the most impressive overall finding;
· Strong quantitative evidence for increased student stewardship behavior;
· Measurement of dose can be refined and streamlined; and
· Internal reliability and factor analysis tests generally support theoretical model.
The main body of this report provides discussion of each of the findings above. The Appendices provide detailed versions of the supporting tables, analyses, and documents associated with this analysis.