Educational Impact and Retention Study
5th Grade TEKS Concepts
Pine Cove Outdoor Education Program
During the spring of 2009, Pine Cove conducted an evaluation of its Outdoor Education Program to measure the educational impact it had on fifth grade students. The study focused on 80 students from two campuses from the Tyler Independent School District.
The outline of the study was to administer three tests:
- Test 1 - (Pre-test) This test is administered the week prior to students attending and is designed to establish a baseline of what students have been taught in the classroom before coming to Pine Cove.
- Test 2 - (Post-test) This test is administered the week after students return from Pine Cove and is designed to measure the initial impact of what students learned while on the trip.
- Test 3 - (4-6 Week Post-test) This test is administered 4-6 weeks after the students return from Pine Cove and is designed to measure the retention rates of concepts covered in the program.
It should be noted that the same test is administered three times and that it covers fifth grade TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and TAKS information that the students are required to learn.
The specific research question addressed is as follows:
How does the science instruction received through the Pine Cove Outdoor Education Program affect the students’ knowledge and understanding of science concepts?
The findings were as follows:
1. Prior to attending Pine Cove, 41 of 80 students failed the pre-test and only one student scored higher than 90.
2. Immediately following the trip, the number of failing students dropped to 27 and the number of A’s increased to 11.
3. Four-to-six weeks after the trip, the students’ retention rate did not drop off. The number of failing students continued to drop, and the number of A’s continued to rise.
4. There was no statistical difference in test scores between the campus that stayed overnight at Pine Cove and the campus that did not.
The results suggest that the students did receive a significant educational benefit from attending the Outdoor Education Program at Pine Cove. The students were able to associate concepts learned in the classroom with real, tangible examples from nature. The unique teaching tools used by the Outdoor Education staff made the concepts memorable. This allowed campus teachers the ability to refer back to these tools even weeks after the trip had concluded.
In closing, the students significantly raised their science scores and retained that knowledge even weeks after returning from Pine Cove.