Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

8-2004

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Nancy Dishner, Russell F. West, Thomas E. Coates

Abstract

In the fall of 1991, Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in partnership with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, began development and implementation of a Parks As Classrooms curriculum that encompassed all nine-grade levels of the K-8 school. The purpose of this case study was to evaluate the Parks As Classrooms program and how it impacts the students and the community.

Multiple means of data collection were necessary in order for valid assessment to take place. First, interviews were conducted with principle stakeholders. Observations of field trips were done. These data were imported into NUD*IST (Non-Numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing) for evaluation purposes. Second, a survey instrument was developed and administered to parents, teachers, and administrators to assess the impact of the program on various groups. Finally, pre-test and post-test measures for each unit were developed by teachers at each grade level to assess the impact the program has on students. An item analysis was done to evaluate these measures along with descriptive and inferential statistics to evaluate the impact of the program. To conclude this assessment, student data on the Terra Nova exam were evaluated.

The findings suggest the reasons for the development of the Parks As Classrooms program at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School. It also presents a picture of what the program looks like today and suggests that students benefit from the program both academically and attitudinally.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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