Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.91
Liaison Elizabeth Swiman
Submission Date Dec. 19, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Florida State University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 4.00 Jamie Valentine
Partnerships Coordinator
Sustainable Campus
"---" 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::
A subset of students or a sample that may not be representative of the predominant student body

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Standalone evaluation without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples

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:

What is your academic standing?
a. 1st year student
b. 2nd year student
c. 3rd year student
d. Graduate student
e. Other
What is your academic college?
a. College of Applied Studies
b. College of Arts and Sciences
c. College of Business
d. College of Communication and Information
e. College of Criminology and Criminal Justice
f. College of Education
g. College of Engineering
h. College of Fine Arts
i. College of Human Sciences
j. College of Law
k. College of Medicine
l. College of Motion Picture Arts
m. College of Music
n. College of Nursing
o. College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
p. College of Social Work
There will be a total of 12 multiple-choice questions comprising four components: science-based knowledge, environmental economics knowledge, environmental justice knowledge, and knowledge of "core" sustainability concepts.

Topic: Environmental Justice
1. Climate change disproportionately impacts people earning a low income because:
a. The infrastructure in low income areas can be less resilient to strong storms.
b. People earning a low income have fewer resources to rebuild or relocate after flooding.
c. People earning a low income are more likely to live in areas threatened by flooding, water scarcity and/or vector-borne (ex: mosquito) disease.
d. All of the above.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Science-based/"core" sustainability concepts
2. Burning fuel in Florida to cool homes, operate cars, and produce electricity contributes to air pollution:
a. Only in the city where it is burned.
b. Throughout Florida and neighboring states.
c. Globally.
d. Not at all.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Science-based
3. DDT, a toxic chemical, can be found in low levels in Florida lakes and rivers. DDT is taken up by small crayfish that live in the water. Which species will have the highest level of DDT in its body?
a. The water grasses that house the crayfish.
b. The crayfish.
c. The fish that eats the crayfish.
d. The bird that eats the fish that eats the crayfish.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Science-based
4. Which of the below is NOT a function of wetlands in Florida:
a. Remove invasive species to provide habitat for native wildlife.
b. Protect the shoreline from storms.
c. Filter out contaminants in run-off water.
d. Recharge underground aquifers.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Environmental Economics
5. A group of fishing boat owners share equal access to a common fishing area and are dependent upon it for their livelihoods. For the group, it is most economically rational to:
a. Catch all the fish they can to maximize their profit.
b. Catch all the fish they can to eliminate the competition.
c. Limit the number of fish they catch to ensure there will be fish to catch in the future.
d. Limit the number of fish they catch to ensure that everyone gets an equal share.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Science-based/Environmental Economics/"core" sustainability concepts
6. An ecosystem’s “carrying capacity” refers to:
a. The amount of land currently in agricultural production.
b. The number of living things the system can sustain indefinitely.
c. The maximum number of species an ecosystem needs to continue to survive.
d. The amount of nutrients that water a certain temperature can hold.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Science-based/"core" sustainability concepts
7. The meal with the highest carbon footprint is:
a. Serving of chicken wings.
b. Lamb chops.
c. Veggie burger.
d. Salmon fillet.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Environmental Justice
8. Which of the following is the best example of environmental justice?
a. Urban citizens win a bill to have toxic wastes taken to rural communities.
b. The government dams a river, flooding Native American tribal lands to create hydropower for large cities.
c. All stakeholders from an indigenous community are involved in setting a quota for the amount of wood they can take from a protected forest next to their village.
d. Multi-national corporations build factories in developing countries where environmental laws are less strict.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Environmental Economics
9. Of the following, which would be considered the most environmentally conscious manner of purchasing:
a. Recycling all recyclable packaging.
b. Reducing consumption of all products.
c. Buying products labeled “eco” or “green.”
d. Buying products made with the newest and latest technology.
e. I don’t know.
Topic: Environmental Economics
10. The best way to support a local economy, such as the economy of Tallahassee, is to purchase goods (groceries, clothing, toiletries, etc):
a. At large chain stores that may employ workers from the local community.
b. Online from discount retailers.
c. From vendors that sell locally-produced goods.
d. From second-hand/thrift stores.
e. I don’t know.

Topic: Environmental Economics
11. Imagine that we had to pay for all the costs associated with the goods we use every day. What would go into calculating the true costs of a product?
a. The cost of raw materials to make the product.
b. The cost of environmental damage caused by production.
c. The cost of health care for employees who manufacture the product.
d. All of the above.
e. A, B, but not C.
f. B, C, but not A.
g. A, C, but not B.
h. I don’t know.
Topic: Environmental Justice
12. Workers around the world face a variety of social injustices, including low wages, poor environmental working conditions, and lack of access to education. To help improve conditions for these workers you can:
a. Support corporations that do not allow workers to join labor unions.
b. Buy the newest products to keep factories around the world open.
c. Purchase products from companies that conduct business in a socially responsible manner.
d. Support large corporations because they generally have more money to pay their workers.
e. I don’t know.


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

The assessment was developed and conducted by a graduate student in the College of Education with the consultation of the Director of Campus Sustainability and Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Sociology. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the awareness and knowledge of sustainability concepts among FSU students. Comprehending student climate regarding sustainability concepts will support FSU’s sustainability office to target the campus community with educational programming and initiatives.


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

The assessment was administered to the College of Education research subject pool, a subset of students from various departments and academic standings across FSU. The participant pool relies on the involvement of instructors from selected courses who allow students the ability to acquire a small part of their course grade via research participation. These students participate in research studies strictly on a voluntary basis.


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

The sustainability assessment was taken by 212 students from freshman to graduate student across 10 departments. The questions contained concepts from four components: science-based knowledge, environmental economics knowledge, environmental justice knowledge, and core sustainability concepts. The majority of students correctly responded to questions of environmental justice and human rights. Students were less knowledgeable in areas concerning science-based information such as toxicity and purpose of wetlands, as well as core sustainability concepts such as the carbon footprint of food and environmentally responsible purchasing.


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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