Informed students shown to be most realistic about future
According to an international assessment of 15-year-old students, those who are well informed about environmental science are the most realistic about future environmental challenges. The students who are least informed are the most optimistic about the future.
Those are the findings of Green at 15?, a study by sociologist David Baker and others at Pennsylvania State University. The assessment measured the knowledge and skills of more than 400,000 students in 57 countries around the world.
The report looked at achievement, or “scientific literacy,” as well as students’ attitudes about the environment. It used a combination of questions to give students an opportunity to analyze and interpret data.
Seventeen percent of American students demonstrated the highest level of proficiency, indicating they could consistently identify, explain and apply scientific knowledge to a variety of environmental topics. They also could link different information sources and explanations to make decisions about environmental issues. However, 42 percent of American students performed at the bottom of the scale, showing difficulty answering questions containing scientific information about basic environmental issues.
Green at 15? showed that most students were familiar with such issues as air pollution, energy shortages and extinction of plants and animals.