NELA Project: National Baseline Study of Middle Grades Students


The National Environmental Literacy (NELA) Phase One (2006 – 2008) identified baseline levels of environmental literacy among sixth- and eighth-grade students in randomly selected schools.  The findings of this national assessment indicated that:

  • Levels of general environmental literacy appear to be at the moderate level for sixth- and eighth- grade students in the U.S.
  • Moderate levels were also found for the four environmental literacy components: knowledge, affect (verbal commitment, environmental sensitivity, and environmental feelings), cognitive skills (issue identification, issue analysis, and action planning), and behavior.
  • Although still in the moderate range, levels of cognitive skills were markedly lower among both sixth and eighth graders than levels of knowledge, affect or behavior.
  • Levels of knowledge and cognitive skills appear to be higher among eighth-grade students than among sixth-grade students, while
  • Levels of affect and behavior appear to be higher among sixth-grade students than among eighth-grade students.