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OUTDOOR SCHOOL EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT

OUTDOOR SCHOOL FOR ALL!
DIVERSE PROGRAMMING AND OUTCOMES IN OREGON

Call To Action:

Outdoor school has been an Oregon tradition for over 50 years. We know that engaging students in applicable, relevant, and engaging experiences in the out-of-doors contributes to academic success and environmental literacy. However, there has been limited quantifiable measure of these outcomes statewide. How do we track and compare best practices without a common measurement system? A common measurement system enables programs to consider statewide trends, as well as track their outcomes, looking at change within their individual programs over time, and among themselves.

Evaluation Project Overview:

Outdoor School for All! Diverse Programming and Outcomes in Oregon is a collaborative evaluation project which began in 2014 with support by the Gray Family Foundation. Stakeholders across the state came together to build understanding and knowledge about current outdoor school programming and its intended outcomes. We built a common measurement system based on legislative requirements, a wide variety of data sources, existing literature/knowledge base and substantial input from stakeholders. The data gathered in this project are expected to support several elements of the statewide program. These include:

  • Legislative reporting requirements (OR-SB 439)
  • Efforts to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Professional development and learning
  • Community engagement and outreach
  • Program and curriculum development
  • Research, evaluation, and assessment

The goal of the project is not to be prescriptive, but rather to be inclusive and useful in outdoor school curriculum design or assessment—at both the statewide and individual program levels.


Opt-In for the 2021-2022
Outdoor School Program Outcomes Evaluation

Participate in this school year's program evaluation.  Are you interested in learning more about the outcomes of your outdoor school program?  Are you interested in supporting statewide efforts for greater equity in outdoor school?  We invite you to participate in this school year's evaluation of outdoor school outcomes. 



Complete this 2-minute Survey

Participation in the evaluation is optional and confidential.  Your program is not required to participate to receive funding from Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program. This is an optional evaluation; neither your students’ results, nor your participation as a program will be shared with OSU (or any entity) without your expressed consent. Results will be used for program evaluation: it will help measure the collective impact of Outdoor School statewide and your program will receive a confidential program-specific report.

Overview of the Evaluation.  A group, or all, of your students take a survey at the end of Outdoor School.  We send you all materials and prepaid labels for returning completed surveys.  Teachers also take an online survey.  We send you a link and text to pass along to your school/teacher partners.  You will receive evaluation consultation, a confidential report with your results, and invited to participate in evidence-based professional learning opportunities.  Evaluation results also inform statewide activities and confidential reporting.

OUTDOOR SCHOOL FOR ALL! DIVERSE PROGRAMMING AND OUTCOMES IN OREGON

Call To Action:

Outdoor school has been an Oregon tradition for over 50 years. We know that engaging students in applicable, relevant, and engaging experiences in the out-of-doors contributes to academic success and environmental literacy. However, there has been limited quantifiable measure of these outcomes statewide. How do we track and compare best practices without a common measurement system? A common measurement system enables programs to consider statewide trends, as well as track their outcomes, looking at change within their individual programs over time, and among themselves.

Evaluation Project Overview:

Outdoor School for All! Diverse Programming and Outcomes in Oregon is a collaborative evaluation project which began in 2014 with support by the Gray Family Foundation. Stakeholders across the state came together to build understanding and knowledge about current outdoor school programming and its intended outcomes. We built a common measurement system based on legislative requirements, a wide variety of data sources, existing literature/knowledge base and substantial input from stakeholders. The data gathered in this project are expected to support several elements of the statewide program. These include:

  • Legislative reporting requirements (OR-SB 439)
  • Efforts to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Professional development and learning
  • Community engagement and outreach
  • Program and curriculum development
  • Research, evaluation, and assessment

The goal of the project is not to be prescriptive, but rather to be inclusive and useful in outdoor school curriculum design or assessment—at both the statewide and individual program levels.

Opt-In for the 2021-2022 Outdoor School Program Outcomes Evaluation

Participate in this school year's program evaluation.  Are you interested in learning more about the outcomes of your outdoor school program?  Are you interested in supporting statewide efforts for greater equity in outdoor school?  We invite you to participate in this school year's evaluation of outdoor school outcomes. 

Complete this 2-minute Survey

Participation in the evaluation is optional and confidential.  Your program is not required to participate to receive funding from Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program. This is an optional evaluation; neither your students’ results, nor your participation as a program will be shared with OSU (or any entity) without your expressed consent. Results will be used for program evaluation: it will help measure the collective impact of Outdoor School statewide and your program will receive a confidential program-specific report.

Overview of the Evaluation.  A group, or all, of your students take a survey at the end of Outdoor School.  We send you all materials and prepaid labels for returning completed surveys.  Teachers also take an online survey.  We send you a link and text to pass along to your school/teacher partners.  You will receive evaluation consultation, a confidential report with your results, and invited to participate in evidence-based professional learning opportunities.  Evaluation results also inform statewide activities and confidential reporting.

Initial Project Results: What We've Discovered Thus Far 

The common measurement system was piloted with six outdoor schools of differing length, programming, and size; 82 teachers and 680 students participated during the 2017-2018 school year. Initial results show significant positive gains and a strong influence on many educational outcomes.

These include:

  • Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Essential Skills (e.g, critical thinking, teamwork)
  • 21st Century skills (e.g, problem-solving, collaboration)
  • Interest in learning
  • Positive school behaviors (e.g, pay more attention)
  • Students' self-efficacy
  • Legislative requirements (e.g, behavior, engagement, performance)
  • Student learning: overall and specific to the environment
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Social Emotional Learning Core Competencies (e.g, empathy, responsibility)

Initial Project Results: What We've Discovered Thus Far 

The common measurement system was piloted with six outdoor schools of differing length, programming, and size; 82 teachers and 680 students participated during the 2017-2018 school year. Initial results show significant positive gains and a strong influence on many educational outcomes.

These include:

  • Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Essential Skills (e.g, critical thinking, teamwork)
  • 21st Century skills (e.g, problem-solving, collaboration)
  • Interest in learning
  • Positive school behaviors (e.g, pay more attention)
  • Students' self-efficacy
  • Legislative requirements (e.g, behavior, engagement, performance)
  • Student learning: overall and specific to the environment
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Social Emotional Learning Core Competencies (e.g, empathy, responsibility)
Want More Information?

Please feel free to contact us (Dr. Spirit Brooks, Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Coordinator, or Dr. Steven Braun, Project Evaluator).
For a comprehensive explanation of methods and findings, you can view the Pilot Study Evaluation Report.

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