Effectiveness of Project WILD Classroom Instruction at the Middle School Level in South Dakota

Kearns, Maria Swain

Project WILD, an environmental education curriculum, celebrates widespread use in the United States and several countries around the world. This study measures the effectiveness of Project WILD versus non-WILD methods of instruction in addressing environmental education objectives with South Dakota middle school students. South Dakota middle school teachers were randomly assigned to blind, non-WILD, or WILD treatment groups. Workshop-trained non-WILD and WILD treatment groups taught an ecosystem unit using either a non-WILD or WILD instructional approach. Pre-testing, post-testing, and retention student testing used an identical prompt requiring student written response. A scoring rubric was used to rate the responses of students. Results showed overall low scores and no significant differences. Student written responses reflected difficulty with written communication and reading skills. In future studies, use of such an alternative assessment approach might stand alongside a standardized approach, providing additional verification of findings.

Pedagogical Area
  • environmental education
Delivery Area
  • school based
  • on site day programs (nature center, farm, etc.)
Outcome Area
  • academic performance
  • environmental knowledge, attitude and awareness
Participant Area
  • student
  • educator
  • program
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)