Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.45
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Dickinson College
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:
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 sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

The survey includes the following sustainability knowledge/literacy questions:

The United Nations definition of sustainable development calls for:
a) Maintaining current incomes and quality of life forever.
b) Increasing consumption at a constant rate.
c) Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
d) Setting aside resources for preservation, never to be used.

An approach that seeks to understand sustainability problems by examining interactions and feedbacks within and between human and natural systems is called:
a) Deductive reasoning
b) Inductive reasoning
c) Strategic thinking
d) Systems thinking

Many economists argue that electricity prices in the U.S. are too low because:
a) The prices do not reflect costs caused by pollution from generating electricity.
b) Profits of electric utilities are too low.
c) Higher electricity prices would stimulate economic growth.
d) Low electricity prices make the U.S. less competitive in international markets.

How has the percentage of the world's population living in extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.90 or less per day, changed in the last 30 years?
a) Increased substantially
b) Increased slightly
c) Decreased slightly
d) Decreased substantially

How has the gap in incomes between the richest and poorest households in the United States changed over the last 30 years?
a) Increased
b) Decreased
c) Neither increased or decreased.
d) Changed volatilely from year to year.

How has air quality changed on average in the United States since 1990?
a) Improved substantially
b) Remained stable
c) Degraded slightly
d) Degraded substantially

What does the precautionary principle call for when an activity has the potential to cause substantial harm but the harm is uncertain?
a) Proceed but notify people who may be harmed.
b) Proceed but purchase insurance that would pay potential victims.
c) Take actions to diminish or prevent the potential harm.
d) Prohibit the activity.

A life-cycle analysis of a product assesses the:
a) Accumulation of toxins from the product in at risk species at different life stages.
b) Environmental impacts of the production, transport, use and disposal of the product.
c) Probability that the product will harm human life.
d) Time it takes for the product to decompose.

What is the primary source of drinking water for Carlisle and Dickinson?
a) Letort Spring Run
b) Conodoguinet Creek
c) Susquehanna River
d) Groundwater wells

How have prices of electricity generated with renewable solar and wind energy changed over the past 30 years?
a) Increased substantially
b) Increased slightly
c) Decreased slightly
d) Decreased substantially

The greenhouse effect warms the Earth's climate because greenhouse gases:
a) Absorb long-wave thermal radiation.
b) Cause chemical reactions in the atmosphere that generate heat.
c) Increase the amount of visible solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface.
d) Decrease the amount of visible solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface.

Which future pathway of global carbon dioxide emissions is most likely to limit warming of the Earth’s climate to less than 2oC above the preindustrial level?
a) Allow emissions to grow by only a very small percentage each year through 2100.
b) Hold annual emissions constant at the present level through 2100.
c) Reduce annual emissions 20 percent from the present level by 2100.
d) Reduce annual emissions 80 percent or more from the present level by 2100.


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

A survey of sustainability literacy, practices and beliefs and engagement in Dickinson sustainability programs was developed and administered in spring 2018 by the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE). Input to the survey instrument was obtained from students, recent alumni, faculty with expertise in survey design, CSE steering committee members, the President's Commission on Environmental Sustainability and the Office of Institutional Research, as well as from a review of surveys used by other institutions and relevant literature. The survey includes 12 questions concerning knowledge and understanding of key sustainability concepts and important sustainability-related trends.


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

The Office of Institutional Research selected a representative sample of students from each class year. The survey was administered by sending an email to the sample of students with a link to a Qualtrics survey in spring 2018. The survey will be administered every spring to representative samples of the same cohorts of students to create a longitudinal database. Student class years form our cohorts. Results from the spring 2018 survey for each class year represent a pre-test for the class year; results from the spring 2019 survey will represent a post-test for the class year after one additional year of college study. Differences between the pre- and post-tests will provide a measure of changes in sustainability literacy for each class year from one year to the next.


A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

The survey was first administered in spring 2018. Results of the survey have not yet been analyzed. Results will be published online when they are available.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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