Strategies for Aligning Outdoor Education Programs to State Learning Standards

Schools across the nation are facing increasing challenges in addressing and meeting requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, standardized testing schedules, and increasingly stringent state curriculum standards. These challenges, coupled with traditionally-restrictive school district budgets and a mind-set that field trips are “vacations from school,” result in outdoor education programs being considered superfluous activities. Aligning outdoor education programs to state curriculum standards can be used to promote these programs as a tool in curriculum adherence as opposed to an unnecessary trip away from school. This session provided a basic introduction to curriculum standards and assessment and evaluation methods. Using Georgia Performance Standards as examples, the session also explored quick methods to align existing outdoor education programs with state learning standards. Curriculum alignment resources for a selection of southeastern states were provided.

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