Date of this Version
Flowers, A., G. Green, and J.P. Carroll. 2014. Using art to assess environmental education outcomes. Environmental Education Research. 21: 846-864.
Construction of developmentally appropriate tools for assessing the environmental attitudes and awareness of young learners has proven to be challenging. Art-based assessments that encourage creativity and accommodate different modes of expression may be a particularly useful complement to conventional tools (e.g. surveys), but their efficacy and feasibility across diverse contexts has not been adequately explored. To examine the potential utility of integrating art into evaluations of environmental education outcomes, we adapted an existing drawing prompt and corresponding grading rubric to assess the environmental attitudes and awareness of children (ages 6–12) at summer camps in Athens, GA, USA (n = 285). We then compared children’s drawings with scores on a more typical survey instrument that measured similar outcomes, the Children Environmental Perception’s Scale. Results showed that a drawing prompt was a practical and unique learner-centered tool for measuring distinct components of environmental attitudes and awareness. Findings also revealed different response patterns across the two instruments, highlighting the value of using multiple approaches (e.g. art-based and survey-based) to assess cognitive and affective aspects of children’s environmental orientations.