Thesis Title

Evaluating The Effectiveness Of An Issues-Based Curriculum On Student Knowledge And Attitudes Toward Amphibians

Date of Graduation

Summer 2004


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


Many amphibian populations are declining worldwide. According to recent studies, habitat destruction and fragmentation, acid precipitation, introduced species, and ozone depletion are just a few of the causes linked to this decline. The objectives of this study were to document the environmental attitudes and knowledge gained by an experimental group that participated in an issues-based unit concerning amphibians compared to a control group that was not involved in the unit. Six seventh-grade biology classes participated in this study; four experiencing the amphibian unit and two control classes not exposed to the material. The experimental groups differed significantly (p < 0.001) in both knowledge and attitudes from pre-test to post-test scores. The control groups, however, did not differ significantly from pre-test to post-test scores in either area (p > 0.05). The experimental and control groups differed significantly (p < 0.001) on post-test scores but not on pre-test scores. This study revealed that students exposed to an issues-based unit on amphibians showed a significant increase in both knowledge and attitudes during the course of the instruction. The issues-based approach allowed students to learn about science in the context of human experiences. Students developed an understanding of the current, real-world issues surrounding amphibians and their declining populations.


amphibians, issues-based curriculum, bioregionalism, amphibian decline, sense of place

Subject Categories



© Whitney B. Rapp