Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Cathy Wissehr

Committee Member

Michael J. Wavering

Second Committee Member

George S. Denny

Third Committee Member

William F. McComas


Education, Environmental education, Environmental literacy, Middle grades, Sixth grade students


Environmental education must be better integrated into K-12 curriculum to advance environmental literacy. Producing a citizenry that can understand and address the complex environmental issues facing the world today and in the future is essential to sustainable life on this planet.

Using the Middle School Environmental Literacy Survey, 6th grade students across Arkansas were surveyed to obtain a baseline measure of environmental literacy based on the four domains of environmental literacy included in the survey; ecological knowledge, environmental affect, cognitive skills, and behavior. Individual domain scores were combined into a composite environmental literacy score. Results were then compared to the national baseline established by the National Environmental Literacy Assessment Project. The research population consisted of a stratified random sample of 6th grade students across Arkansas. An ex post facto research design was used to analyze the sample.

The results of the research indicated that the Arkansas 6th grade students scored in the moderate range for the domains of ecological knowledge, environmental affect, and behavior. However, scores for cognitive skills were in the low range. The mean composite environmental literacy score indicated the 6th grade students had a moderate level of environmental literacy overall. Students in Arkansas scored significantly lower (t (4110) = 15.41, p =