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Faculty Image Beth Covitt
Office: JRH 017
Phone: (406) 243-4660


Field Of Study:

Citizenship Education, Environmental Education, Environmental Education Program Evaluation, Environmental Science Literacy, K-12 Teacher Professional Development, Learning Progressions, Science Education, Water Education

Research Interests:

Reasoning Tools for Understanding Water Systems, NSF Discovery Research K-12 Grant - This project builds on current learning progression research to study the effects of teaching Tools for Reasoning on development of middle school students' capacities to understand the Earth's hydrologic systems. The project applies a design-based research approach using iterative cycles of Tool design/revision, teacher workshops, and small-scale pilot tests of Tools through classroom experiments with teachers and students in Montana and Arizona.

Culturally Relevant Ecology, Learning Progressions and Environmental Literacy - This project extends across the country, bringing together researchers, K-12 teachers, and students associated with four Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites and 22 schools/districts that are geographically and culturally diverse. Work involves development of learning progressions for environmental science literacy in areas of water, carbon, biodiversity, and environmental science citizenship. We are developing curriculum materials and engaging in professional development with teachers, providing opportunities for teachers to use teaching units developed based on research concerning how students understand the material world.  

Big Sky Science Partnership - The Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) partners K-8 Schools, Tribal Communities and Institutions of Higher Education to strengthen elementary science education in Montana. The BSSP professional learning community consists of teachers from the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne, and Crow Reservation and Missoula area K-8 schools; and Science and Science Education faculty from the Salish Kootenai College, the University of Montana and Montana State University. The overarching goal of the Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) is to increase science achievement of Montana American Indian students in grades 3-8 through teacher professional development in science and culture content and pedagogy, and through teacher leadership development.


PhD: University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources & Environment

Selected Publications:

Gunckel, K.L., Covitt, B.A., Salinas, I., & Anderson, C.W. 2012. A learning progression for water in socio-ecological systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(7), 843-868.

Gunckel, K. L., Mohan, L., Covitt, B. A., & Anderson, C. W. 2012. Addressing challenges in developing learning progressions for environmental science literacy. In A. Alonzo & A. W. Gotwals (Eds.), Learning Progressions in Science. Boston, MA: Sense Publishers.

Zint, M., Covitt, B., & Dowd, P. 2011. Insights from an evaluability assessment of the US Forest Service More Kids in the Woods Initiative. Journal of Environmental Education, 42
(4), 255-271.

Zint, M., Dowd, P., & Covitt, B. 2011. Enhancing environmental educators’ evaluation competencies: insights from an examination of the effectiveness of the My Environmental Education Evaluation Resources Assistant (MEERA) website. Environmental Education Research, 17(4), 471-497.

Covitt, B., Gunckel, K. & Anderson, C. 2009. Students’ developing understanding of water in environmental systems. Journal of Environmental Education, 40(3), 37-51.

Weizman, A., Covitt, B., Koehler, M., Lundeberg, M., Oslund, J., Low, M., Eberhardt, J., & Urban-Lurain, M. 2008. Measuring teachers’ learning from a problem-based learning approach to professional development in Science Education.  Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 2(5), 29-60.

Schwarz, C., Gunckel, K., Smith, E., Covitt, B., Bae, M., Enfield, M., & Tsurusaki, B.  2008. Helping elementary preservice teachers learn to use curriculum materials for effective science teaching.  Science Education, 92(2), 345-377.

Covitt, B.  2006.  Self-determination and student perceptions in environmental service-learning.  Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 5(3), 171-181.

Covitt, B., Gomez-Schmidt, C., & Zint, M.  2005.  An evaluation of the risk education module Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on RiskJournal of Environmental Education, 36(2), 3-13.

Covitt, B.  2002.  Motivating environmentally responsible behavior through service-learning.  In S. Billig and A. Furco (Eds.).  Advances in Service-Learning Research (Vol. 2).  Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.