Do schools make a difference in their students' environmental attitudes and awareness? Evidence from PISA 2006
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
International journal of science and mathematics education. - Place of publication unknown
, p. 497-522
University of Antwerp
The environmental agenda is gaining momentum as an international policy issue. This is reflected in an increase in environmental education research focussing on childrens awareness and attitudes toward the environment. In this study, we focused on this issue from a school effectiveness perspective and evaluated (a) which student characteristics predict environmental attitudes and awareness, (b) whether schools make a difference in their students environmental attitudes and awareness and (c) if school effects are different for students with varying levels of science ability. The cross-sectional Flemish data of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments Programme for International Student Assessment 2006 (4,999 students in 156 schools) were re-analysed using a multivariate multilevel model to address these issues. Results show that gender, immigrant status, socioeconomic status and educational track are important in explaining students environmental attitudes and awareness. Furthermore, the results show that schools do matter; schools in which science is taught in a more hands-on manner are associated with higher student environmental awareness whilst environmental learning activities are associated with more pro-environmental attitudes amongst students. After controlling for student characteristics, these school effects do not differ between more science-literate children and their less or average science-literate peers.