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The Ocean Literacy Principles: Understanding the Impact of This Educator-Scientist Collaboration on Public Understanding of Science

There is traditionally little emphasis on ocean science topics in K-12 classrooms. At the same time, the economic, legislative and health-related issues pertaining to the ocean have become increasingly evident.

Educator-scientist collaborations led by the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence-California (COSEE-CA) led to the development of the Ocean Literacy Principles and other related materials.

COSEE-CA researchers have developed a survey that measures understanding and attitudes about the ocean and the role that ocean sciences play in supporting understanding of Earth systems. A measure of ocean literacy, or the understanding of the mutual impact between humans and the ocean, is necessary to properly assess where awareness of ocean concepts is lacking and for potential interventions.

The Survey of Ocean Literacy (OLS) is theoretically a measure of:

  1. Understanding of the seven Ocean Literacy Principles (factual knowledge)
  2. Ability to communicate and make informed decisions regarding the ocean and its resources (behaviors)
    • Additionally, ocean-related attitudes were included in the index as another indictor of ocean literacy as it has been shown to be highly related to environmental behaviors.
    • Another set of items pertaining to a participant’s exposure to ocean-related concepts was added as a potential moderating variable in subsequent analyses.

Presented by Joo Chung, Rena Dorph, & Kristin Nagy Catz at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT

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