Below is the text from Executive Summary of this report. A web compatible version (i.e. low resolution graphics) of the complete report can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. Contact PEEC directly for a high resolution version of the report.
Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative
Report on Cross-Program Research
& Other Program Evaluation Activities
Community Mapping Program -
The Orton Family Foundation and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Antioch New England Institute in partnership with…
Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston Nature Center of Mass Audubon,
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, High Five Outdoor Adventure Program, Hulbert Outdoor Center, Prescott Farm of the Audubon Society
of New Hampshire, and Zoo New England
Forest for Every Classroom -
Shelburne Farms, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park,
Green Mountain National Forest, the Northeast Office of the National Wildlife Federation, the Conservation Study Institute, and the Northern Forest Center
Sustainable Schools Project-
Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Education for Sustainability Project
The Upper Valley Community Foundation
Amy Powers, George Tremblay,
& Program Evaluation & Educational Research (PEER)
October 6, 2004
The Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC) is a group of people representing more than a dozen organizations that, in various configurations, sponsor four different place-based education programs that work with K-12 schools, mostly in New England. PEEC members pool their program evaluation efforts in order to improve the quality and utility of the evaluation of individual programs, and also to collectively make a larger contribution to the field of place-based education research. This report summarizes the PEEC cross-program research agenda and findings for 2003-04, as well as comments on some of the benefits accrued from working as a collaborative. In short, the work of PEEC as a whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Results of this year’s evaluation, based on 338 educator surveys and 721 student surveys, suggested that participating in PEEC programs makes significant and positive contributions to:
· Teacher practice (especially teacher engagement/growth)
· Use of local places for teaching
· Student engagement in learning
· Student civic engagement
· Student time spent outdoors
· Student stewardship behavior
· Community civic engagement
· Community planning/decision making processes.
Survey data also suggested that the impacts of place-based education programs that work with an entire school for multiple years may reach a kind of “tipping point,” after which the effects of a program begin to become part of the school culture, norms, and practices, and thus become more powerful for the long term.
Reflection upon the unique structure of PEEC revealed the following benefits of collaboration during this phase of program evaluation:
· Better articulation of cross-program theory, logic, and conceptual frameworks
· Greater efficiencies in design of evaluation instruments and processes
· Shared fundraising and program promotion
· Cross-fertilization among PEEC programs.
This evaluation report also situates PEEC programs in the context of educational and research literature related to the need for a cleaner environment, the connection between schools and communities, educational reform, student achievement, “diffusion of innovations” theory and research, and a recent study that synthesizes the research on environmental education, museums, health education, and social marketing.
Given these results summarized immediately above, the overall implication for practice is for PEEC to start thinking even longer term by investing in evaluation activities that:
· Build upon this year’s success with surveys
· Lay the groundwork for qualitative and quantitative longitudinal investigations
· Emphasize reflection upon the purpose, processes, and priorities of the collaborative structure of PEEC.
The main body of this report provides a more detailed presentation of all of the findings and methods described above.