Ohmart Portland F2 C Conference 3 09


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Jeri Ohmart - presentation from workshop titled ' What Does Farm to School Research Tell Us? Making Fact-Based Claims

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  • HI Talking about research in the area of garden based learning and instructional school gardens. Framework for evaluating research First—want to give a framework Framework: because I think it’s really important to be aware of the kinds of research that is being conducted and how we can use different kinds of research for different purposes. Overview of the major areas in which research has been conducted—really just highlights—lots going on. Academics Nutrition Agricultural & Ecoliteracy Behavior/Social relationships Future directions
  • Ohmart Portland F2 C Conference 3 09

    1. 1. Garden Based Learning: Trends in Research and Practice Jeri L. Ohmart UC Davis Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program Children’s Garden Program & Student Farm
    2. 2. Why Research? <ul><li>Need evidence to show </li></ul><ul><ul><li>policy makers, decision makers, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>administrators, teachers, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>media, funders, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>nonprofit and agency personnel </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good research leads to better questions, better understanding of complexities </li></ul><ul><li>Different kinds of “evidence,” data, and information is valuable for different audiences & different purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Need for understanding from a variety of perspectives </li></ul>
    3. 3. (Classic) Controlled Studies <ul><li>Large, randomized samples </li></ul><ul><li>“ Experimental” and “control” groups </li></ul><ul><li>Replicable design </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on “intervention” and “variables” </li></ul><ul><li>Aims for statistical significance (generalizable) </li></ul>Framework: Types of Research
    4. 4. <ul><li>Positives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong evidence because of design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Numbers, controls, comparisons, stats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Downsides: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be narrow in results/interpretation </li></ul></ul>(Classic) Controlled Studies
    5. 5. Mixed Methods Studies <ul><li>Often referred to as “quasi-experimental” </li></ul><ul><li>Can have “control” elements </li></ul><ul><li>Typically based on pre- post- test results </li></ul><ul><li>Use both quantitative & qualitative methods </li></ul>
    6. 6. Mixed Methods Studies <ul><li>Positives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gets at data from different angles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More holistic—includes experiential & qualitative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Downsides: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If no control group, results can be questioned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some methods are less reliable than others </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Surveys, evaluations, reports <ul><li>Programmatic focus (not isolating variables) </li></ul><ul><li>Wide variation in how information/data are collected & reported </li></ul><ul><li>Positives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Results can yield valuable & valid data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ On the ground” implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not “designed” for certain results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to more unique kinds of data </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Surveys, evaluations, reports <ul><li>Downsides: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Anecdotal”, over generalized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Desire to make results look positive (e.g., for funders) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually not aiming for statistical significance, so more vulnerable to critiques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewer bias </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Different uses of results: Audiences <ul><li>Legislators, policy & decision makers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lean towards “controlled” studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classic & quasi-experimental designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistics carry weight </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teachers, food service, garden staff, parents, practitioners, advocates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lean towards experientially based studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observations, personal experience, stories, “intuitive” knowledge </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. What can we say? School gardens promote academic achievement ~12 studies; 7 showed positive impacts (stat sigf)
    11. 11. <ul><li>Extensive study evaluating experiential education focused on environmental issues </li></ul><ul><li>EIC students out-performed control group on 92% of standardized tests across a range of academic areas—ELA, Sci, Soc Sci, Math </li></ul>Murphy & Schweers, Harvard 2003 Lieberman & Hoody 1998 <ul><li>Ecoliteracy curriculum - Edible Schoolyard Berkeley </li></ul><ul><li>Ecoliteracy students showed significant gains in overall GPA and English, Social Studies, Math and Science compared to control </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Over 600 students </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional science classroom vs. garden-based experiential approach </li></ul><ul><li>Higher science achievement scores with GBL group </li></ul><ul><li>“ Higher levels of learning, synthesizing and evaluating problems with experiential learning.” </li></ul>Science Achievement Klemmer et al. 2005 Studies with similar gains Mabie & Baker 1996 (no stats) Dirks & Orvis 2005 Smith & Motsenbocker 2005
    13. 13. <ul><li>School gardens improve attitudes toward fruits & vegetables, </li></ul><ul><li>and increase preferences for fruit and vegetable snacks… </li></ul><ul><li>( Nolan 2006 ) </li></ul>School gardens promote health and nutrition. Or do they?
    14. 14. <ul><li>Dimensions being tested </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge of f/vegs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preference for f/vegs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to try more f/vegs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumption of f/vegs </li></ul></ul>11 show impacts of gardens on nutrition 5 use control groups and stats Promising positive results for those with controls Peer-reviewed journal studies
    15. 15. Morris, Zidenberg-Cherr UC Davis 2002 <ul><li>3 Groups: N, N+G, Control </li></ul><ul><li>NG group, significant improvements in 4 th grade students’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrition knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Preferences for certain vegetables--both grown in the garden and others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Increased consumption at home, willingness to eat vegs as a snack and ask a family member to buy certain vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up showed that results were retained 6 months later, implying lasting effects </li></ul>
    16. 16. McAleese & Rankin, Idaho State 2007 <ul><li>For N+G group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the number of servings of fruits and vegetables combined more than doubled from 1.93 to 4.5 servings per day. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vitamin A, C and Fiber intake increased. </li></ul><ul><li>No significant increases in servings, vitamins, or fiber for other 2 groups. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Pre- & Post-tests: fewer controls <ul><li>One study showed increased consumption </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Self-reports of 2 nd graders “I eat vegetables every day.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Were served in the school garden program. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But good cultural connections with garden/ nutrition. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive attitudes toward citrus, no stats </li></ul><ul><li>Some show increased preference & willingness to taste; others no difference </li></ul>
    18. 18. Enhances environmental understanding, Agricultural & Ecological Literacy <ul><li>Project-based learning deepens understanding of natural systems, enhances ecoliteracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters stewardship and nurturing </li></ul><ul><li>Increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances focus; speaks to different learning styles </li></ul>
    19. 19. Grant Union High School, Sacramento, CA A student designed garden/ action project: beyond the garden and into the community Personal development, citizenship & community <ul><li>Increased self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced discipline problems </li></ul><ul><li>Greater pride and ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Parental involvement </li></ul>
    20. 20. Summary <ul><li>Several studies using quasi-experimental pre- and post-test designs to quantify impacts of school garden participation on students’ learning, behavior, attitudes, fruit & veg preferences or consumption </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Garden and Nutrition = ~ 12 showing statistical significance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most = positive; some mixed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add in qualitative studies on human development = another ~12 + showing significance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add all up—many positive results (not always stats to support) </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Where from here? <ul><li>What domains? What variables? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Behavioral, attitude, preferences, learning? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capacity building in youth, communities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainability? </li></ul></ul>School Meals Experiential Education
    22. 22. <ul><li>Qualitative and evaluative </li></ul><ul><li>Look for measures-incorporate quantitative </li></ul><ul><li>Combine methods-interviews, self-reports </li></ul><ul><li>Explore non-traditional subjects & techniques </li></ul>What types & designs? <ul><li>Controlled studies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large enough sample sizes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control for variables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replicable designs </li></ul></ul>Professional Development Cooks’ Camp