Students Least Informed About Environmental Science Are Most Optimistic

Will problems associated with environmental issues improve in the next two decades? According to an analysis of student performance on PISA 2006–an international assessment of 15-year-olds–students who are the best informed about environmental science and the geosciences are also the most realistic about the environmental challenges facing the world in the next 20 years. Meanwhile, students who are least informed in these areas are the most wildly optimistic that things will improve.

These attitudes are among the results presented in Green at 15?, a study done by sociologist David Baker and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University, in collaboration with a team of researchers at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, an international organisation that helps governments tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of a globalised economy. A PISA assessment is done every three years. PISA 2006 focused on science, assessing the knowledge and skills of more than 400,000 students in 57 countries around the world.

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