Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning.
Liebermann, J., & Hoody, L. (1998).
40 schools in 12 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington) that have designed entire school curricula and structure around using the local community and natural resources as the context for learning.
Liebermann and Hoody looked at the effects of Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC). EIC shares the same pedagogy as place-based education. They conducted:
- Interviews with over 250 teachers and principals and over 400 students
- Four surveys about site characteristics
- 14 comparisons between EIC and traditional programs
Summary of Findings:
In this seminal 1998 study, Lieberman and Hoody found that students in schools that used EIC were outperforming their peers from non-EIC schools. In particular, they found:
- Higher scores on standardized measures of academic achievement (reading, writing, math, science, social studies, GPA)
- In the 14 schools that compared EIC v. traditional programs, 36 out of 39 measures showed better performance by EIC students
- Reduced discipline, classroom management problems; Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning; Greater pride, ownership in their accomplishments.