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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Parsley, Kathryn [1], Daigle, Bernie [2], Sabel, Jaime [2].

The Plant Awareness Disparity Index: An Assessment for Measuring Plant Awareness Disparity in Undergraduate Students.

Plant awareness disparity (PAD, formerly known as plant blindness) is the tendency not to notice plants within one’s environment leading to anthropocentric points of view such as plants are not important to humans or do not do anything (Parsley, 2020; Wandersee & Schussler, 1999). This phenomenon is composed of four components: attitude (not liking plants), attention (not noticing plants), knowledge (not understanding the importance of plants) and relative interest (finding animals more interesting than plants) (Parsley, 2020). Previously, instruments have only been used to assess attitudes and attention toward plants. To address the lack of an instrument that includes all four components of PAD, we developed the Plant Awareness Disparity Index (PAD-I) (Parsley, 2020). The development of the PAD-I is significant in that it allows educators to measure PAD and determine the extent to which interventions to mitigate PAD are successful.

To develop the Plant Awareness Disparity Index (PADI) we considered each of the four components of PAD separately and created items that would address each component. The first version included eight items about attitude, eight items about knowledge, six items about relative interest, and six items about attention, for a total of 28 items. We used a Likert-style scale consisting of, “Completely Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Somewhat Agree, and Completely Agree,” as answer options.

We completed two rounds of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with adjustments to the instrument between each round to determine structural validity of the instrument. Both rounds utilized the same methodology, and changes to the instrument after the first round reflected the results from the first round of EFA. We analyzed the data using a maximum likelihood factor extraction with direct oblimin rotation within the psych package in R (Revelle, 2019). We also collected interview data to establish face and concept validity, and these results will be presented in the talk if accepted.
Our results indicated that a six-factor model would be a good fit for our data.The final version of the PAD-I includes six factors: Caring for or Investment in Plants, Necessity of Plants/Importance of Plants, Attention toward Plants, Positive Affect toward Plants, Plants Better than Animals, and Animals Better than Plants. The development of this tool will allow instructors to measure how well their interventions work in reducing student levels of PAD. It will also allow instructors at the university level to determine if their courses are improving student PAD.

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1 - Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Education Research and Outreach, 975 N Warson Rd, St. Louis, MO, 63132, USA
2 - University of Memphis, Biological Sciences, 3774 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN, 38152, USA

plant blindness
plant awareness disparity
botany education
botany outreach.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ED2, Education & Outreach II - Engagement, Communication & Teaching Tools
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 10:15 AM(EDT)
Number: ED2002
Abstract ID:60
Candidate for Awards:None

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