Since publishing the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide in 1995, Project WET has invested considerable resources in evaluating the ability of its materials to increase student knowledge. Project WET evaluates its effectiveness through:
- field tests.
- workshop evaluation forms.
- annual reports collected from each Project WET coordinator.
- periodic evaluations conducted by third parties.
In July 2007, the University of Arizona conducted an independent evaluation to determine if learning occurs through Project WET. In this evaluation, 80 participants were asked what students gained from participating in Project WET activities, specifically those appearing in the Discover a Watershed the Colorado Educators Guide.
- Content knowledge: Participants said activities helped solidify the content. They gave students a more concrete understanding of what was being studied. The Project WET lessons helped students learn the content in depth rather than just acquiring a rote understanding.
- Interest: Participants noticed that after completing Project WET activities, students became more engaged readers. Students who were reported to dislike reading asked for additional material regarding water issues and all students appeared to have increased motivation during classroom activities.
- Attitudes: Many students realized they lacked knowledge about water and were surprised they knew so little about such an important resource. They were excited to gain a better understanding of water issues and convey important messages to friends and family.
- Stewardship: Most participants said their students became more aware and involved in protecting and conserving water. They also realized how much their choices affect others.
- In the study conducted by the University of Arizona, students from eleven sixth- grade classrooms were evaluated to determine if learning occurs when studying the KIDs in Discovery Series (KIDs) publications for 30 to 40 minutes. Evaluators used pre- and post-tests and evaluated data using t-test methodology. Findings proved learning occurs.
- Findings also indicated use of Project WET facilitates educator learning. In the University of Arizona evaluation, participants reported an increased interest in the subject, specifically water resources.
- In a survey by the Ohio State University School of Natural Resources in October 2006, 85 respondents were asked to rank, on a scale of one to 11, outcomes of using the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide. Six signifies satisfactory and 11 excellent. As demonstrated by the chart below, the mean and median for each outcome fell well above satisfactory.
|Students Become More Aware of Environmental Issues
|Students See Many Sides of Environmental Issues
|Students Learn Environmental and Water Conservation Behaviors
|Instructor Becomes More Interested in Teaching Environmental Education
|Overall Needs of the Instructor Were Met
|Instructor Becomes More Aware of Water Issues
- Each activity in Project WET Kids In Discovery series (KIDs) publications has self-assessment built into it. Educators, parents and others can use this to determine if learning occurred.
- Each Project WET activity includes a section on assessment. This enables the educator leading the activity to determine if learning occurs.
- Many Project WET coordinators conduct tests at the beginning and end of their workshops to assess whether learning occurred.
Starting as a small field within education, the scholarly foundation of environmental education research grows every day. Project WET stays abreast of the latest research by:
- participating in the environmental education community through conferences and presentations.
- sponsoring and supporting research both inside and outside our organization.