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Energy literacy of secondary students in New York State (USA): A measure of knowledge, affect, and behavior

Listed author(s):
  • DeWaters, Jan E.
  • Powers, Susan E.
Registered author(s):

    Energy literacy, which encompasses broad content knowledge as well as affective and behavioral characteristics, will empower people to make appropriate energy-related choices and embrace changes in the way we harness and consume energy. Energy literacy was measured with a written questionnaire completed by 3708 secondary students in New York State, USA. Results indicate that students are concerned about energy problems (affective subscale mean 73% of the maximum attainable score), yet relatively low cognitive (42% correct) and behavioral (65% of the maximum) scores suggest that students may lack the knowledge and skills they need to effectively contribute toward solutions. High school (HS) students scored significantly better than middle school (MS) students on the cognitive subscale; gains were greatest on topics included in NY State educational standards, and less on topics related to "practical" energy knowledge such as ways to save energy. Despite knowledge gains, there was a significant drop in energy conservation behavior between the MS and HS students. Intercorrelations between groups of questions indicate energy-related behaviors are more strongly related to affect than to knowledge. These findings underscore the need for education that improves energy literacy by impacting student attitudes, values and behaviors, as well as broad content knowledge.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301-4215(11)00007-3
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 1699-1710

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:1699-1710
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    1. Dias, Rubens A. & Mattos, Cristiano R. & Balestieri, Jose A. P., 2004. "Energy education: breaking up the rational energy use barriers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1339-1347, July.
    2. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    3. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2009. "Rejecting renewables: The socio-technical impediments to renewable electricity in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4500-4513, November.
    4. Owens, Susan & Driffill, Louise, 2008. "How to change attitudes and behaviours in the context of energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4412-4418, December.
    5. Zografakis, Nikolaos & Menegaki, Angeliki N. & Tsagarakis, Konstantinos P., 2008. "Effective education for energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 3216-3222, August.
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