Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.06
Liaison Margaret Bounds
Submission Date June 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Connecticut College
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
4.00 / 4.00 Margaret Bounds
Assistant Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Pre- and post-assessment to the same cohort or to representative samples in both a pre- and post-test

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
A list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

The questions are in the attached file.


A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

The Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey was developed in Spring and Summer 2019 through a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Institutional Research. It was administered in September 2019 and September 2020. Going forward it will be administered every 2 years.


A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

The Sustainability Literacy and Culture Survey was administered through the Office of Institutional Research to the entire campus community. Students received automatic reminders to complete the survey, while faculty and staff received 3 reminders throughout the 15 day response period. In 2019, there were 477 responses - 318 students, 101 staff, 58 faculty. In 2020, there were 453 responses - 288 students, 100 staff, 65 faculty. We did not promote this survey in sustainability related venues to reduce over-representation. We also included questions about department or major for students and division for faculty and staff as a way to assess how representative the sample was.

Upon completion of the survey, responders were taken to a website with the correct answers and supporting information for each of the literacy questions.


A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):

Overall, the results of the assessment show that our campus community has a basic understanding of current environmental and sustainability issues. Between 2019 and 2020 we saw an increase in correct responses for 10 of the 15 questions, we saw an increase in both correct and incorrect responses for all 3 of the "select all" questions, and we saw a decrease in correct responses for 2 questions.

There were three questions for which the majority of respondents selected an incorrect answer. The first was a question about population growth where 49% responded that they believed population would increase exponentially over the next 100 years (the correct answer, increase and then level off by 2100, had the second largest number of responses with 26%). The second asked where the trash from campus is taken when thrown away. The majority (52%) selected "landfill in Connecticut" while 36% selected the correct answer "Incinerator in Connecticut." The final question where incorrect answers were greater than correct answers asked "which of the following would be the most effective way to reduce the average American's carbon emissions?" 40% of respondents selected "switching to a vegetarian diet" while 32% selected the correct answer "reducing air travel by the equivalent of one round trip flight to Europe per year." We did see a 13% increase in correct responses to this question - the largest increase between 2019 and 2020.

There were two questions where we saw the percentage of correct responses decrease between 2019 and 2020. They were both related to campus operations - showing we have work to do educating our community about the College's emissions. The first asked "what is the primary fuel used to generate electricity for the College," and we saw a 3% decrease in correct responses (natural gas) and an increase in respondents who believed our electricity primarily came from renewable sources. The second question where we saw a decrease in correct responses asked "What is the largest contributor to Conn's carbon footprint?" The majority (61%) identified the correct response - electricity generation - but that was a decrease of 5% from 2019. More respondents (4%) selected steam generation (which is a close second) and commuting (1%).

Full 2020 results can be seen in the attached file below.


Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.