Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM


EBERT, James R., Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, SUNY Oneonta, 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta, NY 13820-4015, LADUE, Nicole D., Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, SCHMIDT, Richard W., Science Department, Upper Dublin High School, 800 Loch Alsh Ave, Fort Washington, PA 19034, LIBARKIN, Julie C., Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, 288 Farm Ln, 206 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115, ELLIS, Todd D., Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, SUNY College at Oneonta, 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta, NY 13820-4015 and KLUGE, Steve, Resources for GeoScience Education, 63 Lake Drive, New Milford, CT 06776,

SUNY Oneonta’s Earth Science Outreach Program (ESOP) began in 2004 with 2 schools offering dual credit (DC) introductory geology courses. In 2012-13, 243 students from 15 schools in NY, PA and VA earned college credit through ESOP. 163 students enrolled in introductory geology courses. Other students were in introductory oceanography (41), meteorology (36), and astronomy (3) courses. 4 new schools will join ESOP in 2013-14.

Students enroll in DC geoscience courses for many reasons. A 2010 pre-course survey of ESOP students revealed that 72% (N = 168) indicated that interest in the topic was a factor in taking the course. 57% indicated that interest was the most important reason for taking the course and 23% reported that geoscience was a topic that they were interested in studying in college. 19% of the students reported that peer recommendation was the most important factor in enrolling in ESOP. The ESOP teacher’s reputation was the most important factor for 9% of students.

47 students completed a post-course survey in 2011. Reasons for taking the ESOP course were not significantly different from the pre-course survey, suggesting that DC geoscience courses preserve rather than create student interest in the geosciences.

A 2012-13 case study in a suburban PA high school revealed that 38% (N = 42) of students enrolled in a DC course through ESOP agreed or strongly agreed that they would consider a geoscience major in college. This contrasts starkly with the control group at the same school where 81% (N = 47) of students in AP courses disagreed or strongly disagreed that they would consider majoring in a geoscience. The DC students had greater awareness of geoscience career opportunities than AP students. Interviews with a subset of DC students revealed a strong preference for DC over AP courses.

Our data support Holbrook’s (1997) contention that students’ choice of a science major correlates with exposure to that science in high school. These data support previous reports that most students choose a major before leaving high school. This clearly impacts recruitment from on campus intro courses because many potential majors have self-selected out of taking geoscience courses while in high school. DC geoscience courses preserve student interest and increase the likelihood that students will choose a geoscience major in college.

  • Ebert et al GSA Denver 2013 ESOP.ppt (2.7 MB)