During the annual July-June program cycle, O'Neill Sea Odyssey administers two surveys to each participating group. Teachers and group leaders are asked to fill out a survey after participating in the program, to get their feedback on the organization and effectiveness of the program, program materials, and the OSO website. A second survey is read aloud to the students that ask them (by a show of hands) about their knowledge of, and attitudes toward, the environment. This survey is administered to the students before and after the program, and thereby measures the amount of change in their environmental awareness.
OSO undertakes the analyses of these two surveys and other program data for use in evaluating the program, further planning, and developing funds for program expansion and replication. Here are the highlights from the 2016-2017 evaluation recently completed by Applied Survey Research.
The primary purpose of the program is to foster awareness of environmental stewardship and personal responsibility among program participants. This is done by delivering an interactive curriculum that emphasizes the connection between land and sea through a multidisciplinary approach including ecology, biology, and mathematics.
The OSO website provides extensive curriculum and learning materials that are designed to introduce students to the topics they will be learning in the program. Teachers and group leaders are encouraged to use these materials with their students before attending the program and afterwards as follow-up activities.
Overall, the program was very well attended by the target population of students; the program materials were frequently used; and the program was very highly regarded by teachers and group leaders. In addition, Student Survey results suggest that the OSO program succeeded in bringing all students to a higher level of environmentally-conscious behavior and knowledge despite some factors (such as economic background) that may have limited how much environmental awareness a student had before attending the program.