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Olsson, D., Gericke, N., Sass, W. & Boeve-de Pauw, J. (2020). Self-perceived action competence for sustainability: The theoretical grounding and empirical validation of a novel research instrument. Environmental Education Research, 1-20
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Self-perceived action competence for sustainability: The theoretical grounding and empirical validation of a novel research instrument
2020 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, p. 1-20Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study contributes to an operationalization of the concept of action competence for sustainability through the theoretical development and empirical validation of a new 12-item Likert-scale questionnaire: the Self-Perceived Action Competence for Sustainability Questionnaire, SPACS-Q. Other scales in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) typically measure concepts such as pro-environmental and sustainability attitudes and behaviors, and therefore do not fully cover the concept of action competence for sustainability. An action differs from a 'mere' behavior in that it is voluntary and targeted at bringing about change, which is the overarching goal of ESE. We define action competence as a latent capacity among individuals to act sustainably. We introduce a novel scale measuring this seminal concept. Totally, 614 Swedish adolescents aged 12-19 participated in this study. The scale includes three latent subconstructs: i) knowledge of action possibilities, ii) confidence in one's own influence, and iii) the willingness to act. Confirmatory factor analyses, reliability measures and investigation of convergent validity reveal a questionnaire instrument with excellent psychometric quality. We put forward that the SPACS-Q is a novel and theory-driven, empirically reliable and valid, instrument, and encourage fellow researchers to use the SPACS-Q when investigating people's action competence for sustainability in various contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2020
Keywords
Action competence, scale validation, sustainability, questionnaire development, psychometric
National Category
Educational Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology; Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-77506 (URN)10.1080/13504622.2020.1736991 (DOI)000519428400001 ()
Available from: 2020-04-23 Created: 2020-04-23 Last updated: 2020-05-20Bibliographically approved
Berglund, T., Gericke, N., Boeve-de Pauw, J., Olsson, D. & Chang, T. (2019). A cross-cultural comparative study of sustainability consciousness between students in Taiwan and Sweden. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1-27
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A cross-cultural comparative study of sustainability consciousness between students in Taiwan and Sweden
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2019 (English)In: Environment, Development and Sustainability, ISSN 1387-585X, E-ISSN 1573-2975, p. 1-27Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is promoted as one important component in the endeavor toward sustainable development. Goal 4 in the Sustainable Development Goals (UN in Sustainable development goals—17 goals to transform our world, 2017) in particular targets the role of ESD in this respect. The importance of cultural specificity in ESD is emphasized in numerous international policy documents, but there are few cross-cultural studies that focus on the broad context of sustainable development and ESD. The current study investigates the sustainability consciousness of grade 12 students (age 18–19) in Taiwan (N = 617) and Sweden (N = 583) and discusses the implications for ESD policy and practice. The findings indicate that significant differences exist between the two samples, both with respect to their sustainability consciousness and within the three sub-constructs of knowingness, attitudes and self-reported behaviors. The differences are considered in light of the cultural value orientations of the East Asian and Western European regions. Implications for ESD are discussed from the perspective of cultural specificity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Sustainable development, education, culture, sustainability consciousness, knowledge, attitudes, behavior
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Biology; Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75228 (URN)10.1007/s10668-019-00478-2 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, B0589701
Available from: 2019-10-21 Created: 2019-10-21 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved
Olsson, D. & Gericke, N. (2019). Cross validation of a new scale covering student self-perceived action competence. In: : . Paper presented at Oral presentation within the symposium “Bringing Perspectives of Action Competence Together in Education for Sustainable Development”, held at the ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) held by EERA (European Educational Research Association) in Hamburg, Germany 2-6th of September..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cross validation of a new scale covering student self-perceived action competence
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This contribution aims to describe the development, cross validation and operationalization of a new scale developed to measure student self-perceived action competence. The underlying idea of education for sustainable development (ESD) is to empower young people to be sustainability action competent and thus, in the long run, contribute to transform the world into a more sustainable place (Lotz-Sitiska, Wals, Kronlid, & McGarry, 2015; Mogensen & Schnack, 2010, UNESCO, 2014). To be able to tune in and develop ESD processes and implementation strategies it is important to evaluate outcomes of ESD at the student level (Scott, 2013). Therefore, we set out to construct a reliable and valid instrument that covers action competence based on its definition in relation to sustainable development. The self-perceived action competence (SPAC) item battery was developed based on the definition of action competence by Danish researchers (Jensen & Schnack, 1997; Breiting & Mogensen, 1999). We built a higher order SEM model to validate the SPAC through confirmatory factor analysis. In our model, the student SPAC consists of three main parts (latent constructs): (KAP) knowledge of action possibilities, (COI) confidence in one’s own influence, and (WTA) a wish to act. The latent constructs KAP, COI and WTA are covered by four items respectively. 608 students aged 13-19 years old responded on a five-point Likert-scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree) to each of the twelve items. To cross validate the SPAC, the students also gave their answers to the short version (27 items) of the sustainability consciousness questionnaire (SCQs) (Gericke et al., 2018). The two scales were respectively validated with good model-fit. Moreover, the SPAC was translated into Dutch and cross validated with a group of Flemish students (n=403). The Flemish SPAC model was validated with good model fit. At the ECER conference in Hamburg, we will present the full 12-item scale and the full validation of the SPAC, including reliability measures of the scales and correlations between the Swedish and Flemish cohorts as well as the cross validation between the SPAC and SCQs for the Swedish data. We will invite the audience to share their thoughts on the relation between student self-perceived action competence and the action competence concept as an educational ideal. Feedback on strengths and shortcomings of our SPAC questionnaire will also be welcomed.

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75277 (URN)
Conference
Oral presentation within the symposium “Bringing Perspectives of Action Competence Together in Education for Sustainable Development”, held at the ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) held by EERA (European Educational Research Association) in Hamburg, Germany 2-6th of September.
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-14 Last updated: 2019-10-28Bibliographically approved
Olsson, D., Gericke, N. & Chang, T. (2019). Effects of green schools in Taiwan on students’ sustainability consciousness. In: : . Paper presented at Oral presentation at the 13th ESERA (European Science Education Research Association) conference in Bologna, Italy, 26-30th August..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of green schools in Taiwan on students’ sustainability consciousness
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75283 (URN)
Conference
Oral presentation at the 13th ESERA (European Science Education Research Association) conference in Bologna, Italy, 26-30th August.
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-14 Last updated: 2019-10-28Bibliographically approved
Olsson, D., Gericke, N., Boeve-de Pauw, J., Berglund, T. & Chang, T. (2019). Green Schools in Taiwan: Effects on Student Sustainability Consciousness. Global Environmental Change, 54, 184-194
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Green Schools in Taiwan: Effects on Student Sustainability Consciousness
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2019 (English)In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 54, p. 184-194Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent decades, the Taiwanese government has worked actively to implement the concept of a sustainable Taiwan. As an important step in their strategy, the Ministry of Education has decided to promote the Green School Partnership Project in Taiwan (GPPT). However, academic research and critical reflection on the effects of this environmental and sustainability education initiative are lacking. Therefore, this study focuses on filling this gap by means of a nationwide generalizable effect study. The sampling allowed comparisons between the sixth, ninth, and twelfth grades in GPPT and non-GPPT schools and considered the geographic location (north, center, and south of Taiwan) as well as socio-economic area of the schools. A total of 1,741 students participated, answering a questionnaire that focused on student sustainability consciousness (SC) and its components (i.e., knowingness, attitudes, and behaviors in relation to sustainability). Data were analyzed through structural equation modeling. Our findings make an important empirical contribution, indicating that GPPT schools and non-GPPT schools have a similar effect on the SC of students, i.e. schools engaged in the GPPT do not enhance student SC. In addition, the gender gap regarding SC increased consistently with each increasing grade level, yielding higher mean values for the girls than for the boys. Furthermore, an adolescent dip occurred in the student SC, especially with regard to student sustainability behavior. Given these findings, implications for developing GPPT are discussed; this research could provide valuable informationabout the educational transformation process to enhance environmental and sustainability behavior among students in Taiwan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019
Keywords
Adolescent dip, education for sustainable development, gender gap, green schools, sustainability consciousness
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-70818 (URN)10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.11.011 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-01-28 Created: 2019-01-28 Last updated: 2019-07-10Bibliographically approved
Berglund, T., Olsson, D. & Gericke, N. (2019). Questionnaire 12th grade short version.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Questionnaire 12th grade short version
2019 (English)Other (Other academic)
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74848 (URN)
Available from: 2019-10-01 Created: 2019-10-01 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Olsson, D., Boeve-de Pauw, J., Gericke, N. & Berglund, T. (2018). Self-perceived action competence: Validation of an instrument in a whole school ESD development process in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at Oral presentation at ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) held by EERA (European Educational Research Association) in Bolzano, Italy, 4-7th of September..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Self-perceived action competence: Validation of an instrument in a whole school ESD development process in Sweden
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75292 (URN)
Conference
Oral presentation at ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) held by EERA (European Educational Research Association) in Bolzano, Italy, 4-7th of September.
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-14 Last updated: 2019-10-28Bibliographically approved
Olsson, D. (2018). Student Sustainability Consciousness: Investigating Effects of Education for Sustainable Development in Sweden and Beyond. (Doctoral dissertation). Karlstad: Karlstads universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Student Sustainability Consciousness: Investigating Effects of Education for Sustainable Development in Sweden and Beyond
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Environmental and sustainability education has been an important part of education worldwide for many years, aiming to foster pro-environmental behavior among young people. Education for sustainable development (ESD) and its teaching components holism (the approach to the content) and pluralism (the approach to teaching) has been launched as the educational approach to support this aim by empowering young people with action competence for a sustainable future. Environmental and sustainability certifications are commonly used by schools as support in their ESD-implementation efforts. To date, scholarly attention to, and critical reflection on the effects of such certification on students’ perceptions of sustainability have been limited.

This doctoral thesis focuses on this gap in ESD research through five large-scale studies, four of which were conducted in Sweden and one in Taiwan. Questionnaire instruments measuring students’ sustainability consciousness (SC) and their experiences of ESD were developed for the project.  In total, 2 413 students in Sweden and 1 741 students in Taiwan (grades six, nine and twelve) participated by filling in the SC questionnaire. The Swedish students also filled in questionnaires about their experiences of ESD at their schools in terms of holistic approach to content and pluralistic approach to teaching.

The results question the impact of schools’ environmental and sustainability certification on students’ SC. The results also show the importance of holism and pluralism in ESD for students’ SC, regardless of whether schools were certified or not. Moreover, the findings reveal an adolescent dip in students’ SC as well as a gender gap, both of which were reinforced among students in the certified schools.

Given the findings, this thesis can give more generalizable guidance for schools and certifying organizations to further reorient ESD towards teaching and learning approaches that have an effect on student SC.

Abstract [en]

Education for sustainable development (ESD) has been launched worldwide to empower young people by providing them with action competence for a sustainable future. ESD certifications are commonly used by schools as support in their ESD implementation efforts. To date, scholarly attention to and critical reflection on the effects of such certification on students’ perceptions of sustainability have been limited.

This doctoral thesis focuses on this gap in ESD research through five large-scale studies of which four were conducted in Sweden (N=2413) and one in Taiwan (N=1741). Questionnaire instruments measuring students’ sustainability consciousness (SC) and experiences of ESD were developed for the project. The findings reveal that the effect of ESD certifications on students’ SC is limited. The results also show positive effects of ESD on students’ SC in the form of the teaching approaches based on holism and pluralism, regardless whether schools were ESD certified or not. Moreover, results also reveal that in the certified schools the general adolescent dip and gender gap in students’ SC were reinforced. Given the findings, this thesis can give more generalizable empirical guidance for schools and certifying organizations to further reorient education towards ESD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2018. p. 104
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2018:48
Keywords
Education for sustainable development, effects, environmental and sustainability education, holism and pluralism, students, sustainability consciousness
National Category
Other Biological Topics
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69838 (URN)978-91-7063-887-9 (ISBN)978-91-7063-982-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-14, 1B 364 (Frödingsalen), Karlstad, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-23 Created: 2018-10-23 Last updated: 2019-03-26Bibliographically approved
Gericke, N., Boeve-de Pauw, J., Berglund, T. & Olsson, D. (2018). The Sustainability Consciousness Questionnaire: The theoretical development and empirical validation of an evaluation instrument for stakeholders working with sustainable development. Sustainable Development, 27(1), 35-49
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Sustainability Consciousness Questionnaire: The theoretical development and empirical validation of an evaluation instrument for stakeholders working with sustainable development
2018 (English)In: Sustainable Development, ISSN 0968-0802, E-ISSN 1099-1719, Vol. 27, no 1, p. 35-49Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, the concept of sustainability consciousness, an individual's experience and awareness of sustainable development, is introduced. Based on UNESCO's definition of sustainable development, a sustainability consciousness questionnaire (SCQ) is theoretically and empirically developed. Using the data of 638 respondents from Sweden aged 18-19 years old, the scale is developed in two versions. The long version (SCQ-L) can be used to measure individuals' environmental, social and economic knowingness, attitudes and behaviour (nine valid and reliable subscales), in addition to the second order constructs of sustainability knowingness, sustainability attitudes and sustainability behaviour, as well as the third order construct, sustainability consciousness. For the short version (SCQ-S) 27 items were identified that can be used to measure the second and third order constructs. Both versions of the scale present excellent psychometric quality. Possible applications of the questionnaire instruments in the context of evaluation of sustainability policies, practices and stakeholder engagement are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hoboken, N. J., USA: John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2018
Keywords
Empirical validation of the sustainability consciousness questionnaire, Questionnaire instrument, Stakeholder engagement, Sustainability Consciousness, Sustainable development, Sustainable development policy, Theoretical development of the construct of sustainability consciousness
National Category
Environmental Sciences Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69078 (URN)10.1002/sd.1859 (DOI)000458174300004 ()2-s2.0-85050470816 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721‐2011‐5897, B0589701
Available from: 2018-09-05 Created: 2018-09-05 Last updated: 2019-06-17Bibliographically approved
Gericke, N., Olsson, D. & Berglund, T. (2017). An investigation of ESD-implementation in Swedish schools by assessing students’ Sustainability Consciousness. In: : . Paper presented at Oral presentation within the symposium: “How Effective is Education for Sustainable Development at School? Findings from Recent Studies across Europe”, including the participants: Uitto., A., Boeve-de-Pauw, J., Gericke, N., Goldman, D., Baum, D., Berglund, T., Olsson, D., Van Petegem, P., Saloranta, S., & Weiss, B. at 90th NARST (National Association of Research in Science Teaching) conference, San Antonio, USA, 22-25th of April..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An investigation of ESD-implementation in Swedish schools by assessing students’ Sustainability Consciousness
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-75365 (URN)
Conference
Oral presentation within the symposium: “How Effective is Education for Sustainable Development at School? Findings from Recent Studies across Europe”, including the participants: Uitto., A., Boeve-de-Pauw, J., Gericke, N., Goldman, D., Baum, D., Berglund, T., Olsson, D., Van Petegem, P., Saloranta, S., & Weiss, B. at 90th NARST (National Association of Research in Science Teaching) conference, San Antonio, USA, 22-25th of April.
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-14 Last updated: 2019-10-28Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7976-4860

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