Geoscience Literacy and Career Interest Improve Among Two-Year College Students Learning with InTeGrate Materials

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Wednesday


Elizabeth Nagy, Pasadena City College
Lisa Gilbert, Cabrillo College
InTeGrate classroom materials are designed to strengthen earth science literacy of undergraduate students as well as increase the number of earth science majors who can address critical environmental and resource challenges. Two assessment instruments used to measure the success of these goals were each given to students pre- and post-instruction in classes where instructors used the InTeGrate materials, as well as with control groups that were not instructed with InTeGrate materials. The Geoscience Literacy Exam (GLE), based on the four Geoscience Literacy Documents, is designed to measure gains in content knowledge over one semester. The InTeGrate Attitudinal Instrument (IAI) examines interests in earth science careers and motivation related to solving grand challenges in earth science such as environmental sustainability and resource depletion. This study separated and compared GLE and IAI data from two-year colleges (2YCs) and four-year colleges (4YCs) to examine literacy and interest gains. Paired GLE results (i.e., pre-and post-semester results for a given student) show that the InTeGrate materials enhanced geoscience literacy for both 2YC (n=568) and 4YC (n=3739) students, but that the 2YC gains are significantly higher. By the end of the course, the 2YC students no longer lag behind 4YC students in geoscience literacy. The 2YC students also show a greater increase in geoscience-related career interests from pre- to post-semester (43%) compared to 4YC students (32%) and a control group (32%). One interpretation of these results is that InTeGrate materials are providing a disproportionate benefit to 2YC students in terms of geoscience literacy and attitudes. According to American Geoscience Institute reports 25% of students holding bachelor's degrees in the geosciences attended a 2YC for at least one semester before transferring to a 4YC. This study suggests that InTeGrate materials may be particularly effective in recruiting even more 2YC students into the geosciences.