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Fifth grade students’ environmental literacy and the factors affecting students’ environmentally responsible behaviors

Erdoğan, Mehmet
The purpose of the study was to assess 5th grade Turkish students’ environmental literacy (EL) level by considering six EL components, and explore the factors predicting the environmentally responsible behaviors (ERB) of these students. The research design of the study was nation-wide survey. The sample of the survey consisted of 2412 fifth grade students selected from 78 elementary schools (26 private and 52 public) in 26 provinces across Turkey. Developed by the researcher, Elementary School Environmental Literacy Instrument (ESELI) including five parts and total 81 items was used as data collection instrument. To analyze quantitative data, descriptive statistics, ANOVA, multiple correlation and path analysis were conducted. The responses to open-ended question were subjected to content analysis. The results of the study revealed that EL score of the students was found 149 (SD=26.19) suggesting moderate level of EL and 64.1% of the students (n=1545) had moderate level EL. The factors significantly affecting 5th grade students’ ERB and the effect size of these factors were as follows; school type (partial =.007), taking pre-school education (partial =.002), mother education level (partial =.007), father education level (partial =.012), residence (partial =.008), experiences in the natural regions (partial =.046), curiosity toward environmental information (partial =.048), mother environmental concern (partial =.023), father environmental concern (partial =.031) and sibling environmental concern (partial =.014). Furthermore, a combination of environmental knowledge, willingness to take environmental action, cognitive skills, and environmental attitude and environmental sensitivity explained 12% of the variance in ERB. As a conclusion, the results of the presents study will shed light on the attempts on policy making and curriculum development regarding environmental education.