How do you know that your environmental education program or resource is making an impact? How do you improve your programs and resources? Assessment and Evaluation is a critical part of high quality environmental education. This course is designed to help you get familiar with some of the key competencies that high quality environmental educators should know and be able to do when it comes to assessment and evaluation including:
1. Understanding the difference between assessment and evaluation
2. Understanding Learner Outcomes in EE and how they are tied to assessment
3. Using assessment as part of instruction and Improving Instruction
4. Understanding Program Evaluation
This is an entry level course designed to familiarize you with language and connect you to resources for furthering your development.
Welcome to the course! Watch our short introductory video to learn more about the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education and what we will be covering in the course. If you are pursuing a Professional EE Certification, this course will provide helpful information for Theme 5 Portfolio Requirements. The rubrics and requirements are included as optional resources. The course will progress in the following outline:
1. Welcome and Course Goals
2. Explore the differences between Assessment and Evaluation
3. Learning Goals
4. Assessment that is Part of Instruction
5. Improving Instruction
6. Evaluating Programming
7. Review and Check for Understanding
Although the terms assessment and evaluation are often used interchangeably, in environmental education we want all high quality educators to understand how to use both in their work. Watch the short video lecture to get a brief description of each. If you are applying for EE Certification, please consider how you represent both assessment and evaluation in your portfolio.
High quality environmental educators understand the importance of tying assessment to learning. This section will help you understand the purpose of learner outcomes and give examples of categories of learner outcomes in environmental education. We've included several resources to help you including a matrix for organizing and choosing evaluation tools (Wells, 2009) and a guide using case studies to measure environmental education outcomes (Russ, 2014).
In this section we will talk about Assessment that is part of instruction and improving instruction based on the assessment data you collect. As you are watching the short video, think about ways that you are already using assessment informally and formally. How can you build assessment more intentionally into your program design? You may find the included resource helpful in thinking about assessment as part of your program design.
Evaluation is the systemic investigation of the merit or worth of a program. It can also be a process or tool used to make informed decisions about a program. By collecting data targeted for program improvement, we can ascertain whether and how well a program is functioning and what results the program is accruing. This section will provide guidance on how evaluation is used for program development and making judgments about program improvement. Be sure to check out the My Environmental Education Evaluation Resource Assistant (MEERA) resource, a free online repository with online tools and examples to help you develop your own evaluation plan.
Congratulations! You have completed all the course content! As you are working on assessment and evaluation as part of your programs or compiling your portfolio for EE Certification, don't forget to check out all the valuable existing resources throughout the course for additional help and support!
The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education serves all sectors of the Colorado community to improve the collective effectiveness of Environmental Education. We envision an environmentally-literate Colorado, and we work to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.