Tool Library

Welcome to the eeVAL Tool Library! After you have centered the Values and done the foundational work articulated in Processes A and B, you should be well prepared to select tools that are well-matched to your program and participants. 

Environmental education occurs in many settings and with program participants that are equally diverse. There are no “right” tools. The best tools are ones that align with your project and multiple perspectives and methods of inquiry rooted in the cultures, histories, and traditions of the local context where an takes place (the value of deep curiosity). Below are examples of tools that have been used by EE practitioners. However, this list is by no means complete or exhaustive. As with all of eeVAL, this list of outcomes is a “living” project that evolves as evaluation becomes more inclusive of the voices and experiences of persons who currently hold least among us (e.g., youth, practitioners, non-degree holders, members of non-dominant cultural groups).

As you choose a tool, reflect and consider to think about whether the tool needs to be adapted for use in your setting and your program participants. The tools below are organized by relevant outcomes, defined here as well. The definitions of outcomes presented here are simplified, and more about each outcome by found through the cited. 

After you have used your selected tool, consider ways to validate the findings with your program and communities partners and to continually improve the tool, your process, and your program.  

Click here to learn more about the eeVAL processes to share findings and contribute to continual improvement.

AWE Reflection Question

Outcome Sense of Place
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Drawings/Journal Prompts

This tool is a reflection question that can help participants consider what they felt during a program. It can be formatted as a journal prompt or exit slip. Have participants say or write down their responses to the following question to assess attachment to place:

When I spend time in waterways and trails near my home, I feel…

Checklist for Effective Environmental Education Programs: A Guide to Formative Evaluation Reflection

Outcome Process Level Evaluation
Audience
Method

This tool is a short series of 15 prompting questions to help environmental educators reflect on their program and their program development process. There are four categories of questions that are based on an understanding of how people learn.

Climate Change Attitude Survey

Outcome Attitudes
Audience 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This survey measures attitudes about about acting to address . It can be helpful for programs educating about climate change to determine if the curriculum is effectively addressing attitudes. 

Climate Change Hope Scale (CCHS)

Outcome Efficacy
Audience 15-18 years old (~High school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This survey can be used to assess the degree of present in high school students with respect to . It captures an individual’s to move from despair or helplessness to optimism and , and how much they believe that they and society can solve problems caused by climate change.

Connection to Nature Index

Outcome Nature Connectedness
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This tool is useful for assessing children’s feelings about the natural world and their

Cultural Responsiveness Self Evaluation Tool

Outcome Process Level Evaluation
Audience
Method

This is a self- tool that is designed to support programs in becoming more culturally responsive. The goal is to use this to engage in reflection and discussion with your staff and team members in order to understand whether your program(s) are inclusive and meaningful to all participants. The ultimate goal is that these team conversations will promote programmatic and organizational changes as needed, and lead to meaningful and positive experiences for participants.

DEVISE: Interest in Science and Nature (Adults)

Outcome Engagement
Audience 15-18 years old (~High school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

Measuring interest in science and nature is one way to gauge participant . Developing a high interest in science and nature is key to sustained learning for adults. This tool measures interest, which is defined by how much someone assigns personal relevance to a subject. 

DEVISE: Interest in Science and Nature (Youth)

Outcome Engagement
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

Measuring interest in science and nature is one way to gauge participant . Developing a high interest in science and nature is key to developing youth’s as a science learner, sustaining engagement in the subject, and gaining their interest in science careers. This tool measures interest, which is defined by how much someone assigns personal relevance to a subject.

DEVISE: Motivation for Doing and Learning Science

Outcome Engagement
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

The tool provides information about the type of motivation for doing and learning science in adult audiences; it is distinctly different from measuring an individual’s reason for participation. It is based on the understanding that motivation can range from intrinsic to . Choosing to participate in an activity may be because it makes an individual feel good (intrinsic), or it may be because it gains the respect of others (extrinsic). Motivation can be important to measure because it can drive , such as someone choosing to volunteer for an environmental organization.

DEVISE: Self Efficacy for Environmental Action

Outcome Efficacy
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This survey is useful to measure a learner’s self-confidence in their to participate in activities for environmental action. It measures “an individual’s confidence in their ability to effectively address environmental concerns”.

Draw-an-Ecosystem Task

Outcome Environmental Knowledge
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Drawings/Journal Prompts

This tool, the Draw-an-Ecosystem task, takes a approach to . Participants draw and label an ecosystem before and after a program to measure their change in

EE21

Outcome 21st Century Skills
Audience 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

The EE21 tool is used to measure outcomes for adolescent students engaged in environmental education programs with a focus on environmental literacy, 21st Century Skills and positive youth development. The 12 outcomes that the tool measures are enjoyment, place connection, learning, interest/motivation, 21st Century Skills, meaning/self-identity, self-efficacy, environmental attitudes, environmental behaviors, school behaviors, cooperation, and behavior change.

Empathy Toward Animals Scale

Outcome Attitudes
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This tool has been used to measure youth’s attitudes toward animals during long-term programs at a zoo. It focuses on by exploring perspective-taking, respect, and concern for animals. Empathy is an environmental (outcome); developing empathy for animals can lead someone to take action on behalf of wildlife.

Environmental Action Scale

Outcome Environmental Actions
Audience 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

Environmental action measured by this survey is defined as intentional civic behaviors focused on systemic environmental issues and collective efforts. Examples include attending environmental events or organizing a protest. 

Environmental Attitude Inventory

Outcome Attitudes
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This tool was designed to measure a variety of environmental attitudes, based on the multitude of research that has occurred over decades. Because it was not designed to evaluate educational programs, consider whether and how to use the 12 scales that collectively offer 120 . The scales capture both and attitudes, as well as broad perceptions about the natural .

The 12 scales include: 1) Enjoyment of nature 2) Support for interventionist policies 3) Environmental movement activism 4) Conservation motivated by anthropocentric concern 5) Confidence in science and technology 6) Environmental threat 7) Altering nature 8) Personal conservation 9) Human dominance over nature 10) Human utilization of nature 11) Ecocentric concern and 12) Support for growth policies. 

Alternatively, there is one condensed scale developed by the researchers. It consists of 24 items which measure environmental attitudes more generally. 

 

Environmental Education Teacher Efficacy Belief Instrument (EETEBI)

Outcome Efficacy
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This survey would be useful for EE teacher education and professional development programs working with preservice and in-service educators. The survey is used to assess whether teachers believe that they can teach EE effectively as it relates to EE teaching strategies and outcomes.

Environmental Identity Scale

Outcome Nature Connectedness
Audience 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

The Environmental (EID) can be used to measure a person’s environmental identity, or their sense of connection to the natural world. It can be helpful to assess a person’s environmental identity because this identity can have a broad and lasting influence on their . The scale measures different aspects of a person’s environmental identity, including 1) self-identification (based on the extent and importance of an individual’s interaction with nature), 2) ideology (based on support for environmentally friendly lifestyle choices), and 3) positive emotions toward the environment (based on enjoyment obtained in nature).

Environmental Literacy Instrument for Adolescents

Outcome Environmental Literacy
Audience 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged)
Method Tests of knowledge

This tool measures four components of : , , , and .

Focus Groups

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience
Method Focus groups

can be used to explore participants' thoughts and experiences through group discussion. 

Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool

Outcome Process Level Evaluation
Audience
Method

This tool is useful for programs that wish to self-evaluate their instructional and curriculum. It is not meant to rank or grade a program, not to increase the similarity or standardization of programs. The goal is conversations had in the process of using this tool will promote curriculum, program, and organizational changes as needed, and lead to a meaningful and positive experience for participants.

Interviews

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience
Method Interviews

can be used to understand someone's impression or experience or learn more about their responses to other methods (like ). 

Life Effectiveness Questionnaire

Outcome 21st Century Skills
Audience 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

The Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ-H) is a survey used to measure personal development in several areas related to life effectiveness, or “a person’s demonstrated capacity to adapt, survive, and thrive” (Neill, 2008). The LEQ-H measures 8 domains, including time management, social competence, achievement motivation, intellectual flexibility, task leadership, emotional control, active initiative, and self confidence. The tool has been used to assess how outdoor education programs, including a variety of Outward Bound programs, influence a person’s self-perception of their skills in these areas.

Observations

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience
Method Observations

Observations are a way to gather more information about how a program actually operates, particularly about processes. 

Participant Voice

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged), 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Photo-elicitation/Photovoice

This set of tools intend to help programs/organizations understand how participants experience their program(s). Because of the qualitative nature of the tools, this approach lifts up participants’ voice in their own words, as opposed to a closed-ended survey tool. These tools help capture the nuance and story of participant experience and can be useful for both internal understanding and external reports to funders, boards, members, and other key stakeholders.

Positive Youth Development (PYD) Retrospective Scale

Outcome Positive Youth Development
Audience 10 years and younger (~Elementary school aged and younger), 11-14 years old (~Middle school aged), 15-18 years old (~High school aged)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This is a very brief measure of (PYD) as conceptualized by the Lerner and Lerner Five Cs model of PYD (Lerner et al., 2015). The Five Cs model emphasizes that thriving youth are characterized by five Cs (competence, confidence, connection, character and caring). Youth who exhibit the five Cs are more likely to contribute to their families, schools, and communities, thus developing the “sixth C”, which is contribution.  

Lerner, R. M., Lerner, J. V., Bowers, E. P., & Geldhof, G. J. (2015). Positive and relational developmental systems. In W. F. Overton & P. C. Molenaar (Eds.), Theory and method. Volume 1 of the Handbook of child psychology and developmental science (7th ed., pp. 607–651). Editor-in-chief: R. M. Lerner. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Pro-Environmental Behavior Scale

Outcome Behaviors
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This 13-item evaluates 4 key domains of pro-environmental : 1) lifestyle behaviors (household choices made by people that broadly influence environmental , like recycling or water conservation); 2) land stewardship behaviors (direct with the , like tree planting or science); 3) social environmentalism (actions that deal with social relationships, like participating with an environmental group or telling friends about environmental issues) and 4) environmental citizenship (actions related to environmental policy, like voting to support conservation efforts or donating money to conservation organizations).

Special Education and Accessibility Self Evaluation Tool

Outcome Process Level Evaluation
Audience
Method

This is a self- tool that is designed to support programs in becoming more inclusive and accessible, specifically for students with exceptional needs. The goal is to use this to engage in reflection and discussion with your staff and the in order to co-develop improvement goals for high-quality, accessible and inclusive programming.

Surveys

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience
Method Questionnaires and surveys

can be used to to quickly and/or easily get a lot of information from people.

Sustainability Attitudes Scale

Outcome Attitudes
Audience 18+ (Adult and older)
Method Questionnaires and surveys

This tool was designed to assess participants’ attitudes toward . It measures sustainability attitudes with a single score drawing from three domains (ecological, social, and economic).

Tests of Knowledge

Outcome General Methods or Ways to Create Your Own Method
Audience
Method Tests of knowledge

Tests of knowledge can be used to determine an audience's current state of knowledge on an issue or understanding of a skill.