Views of elementary and middle school Turkish students toward environmental issues

Yılmaz Ö., Anderson H. O., Boone W. J.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION, vol.26, pp.1527-1546, 2004 (SSCI) identifier identifier


This study was conducted in order to identify the intensity of Turkish students' views with regard to environmental issues presented in the national curriculum and to determine how these views differ by gender, grade level, previous science achievement, socio-economic status (SES), and school location. For this project, a 51-item Attitude Toward Environmental Issues Scale (ATEIS) was created and utilized. In total, the scale involved 30 distinct environmental issues. These environmental issues are emphasized in the current Turkish science education curriculum. A total of 458 students in grade 4 - 8 classrooms completed the scale. Rasch analysis results indicated that, in general, the students felt environmental problems should be confronted in Turkey. But when students were presented with a range of survey items stating that a particular environmental issue should take precedence over economic growth, it was often very difficult for students to agree. On the other hand, when students were simply presented a range of survey issues concerning environmental problems in Turkey, it was easy for them to agree with the presence ( or importance) of these environmental issues in Turkey. Subsequent analysis suggested that the set of ATEIS survey items were understood and functioned in a similar measurement manner for male and female students, as well as elementary and middle school students. Results of ANOVA analyses indicated that recent high achievement in science courses resulted in more positive attitudes toward environmental issues. T-test analyses revealed that the older female students of this data set exhibited more support for environmental issues than did male students. Students with high family income, and those students living in urban areas, displayed more positive attitudes toward environmental issues than did students with low family income, and those living in suburban areas.