Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.09
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 30, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Iowa State University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Merry Rankin
ISU Director of Sustainability
Facilities Planning & Management
"---" 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)?:

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::
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:

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

A pre-/post-test assessment of sustainability literacy, administered through a Sustainable Engineering and International Development course, as a part of an ongoing research project investigating methods for teaching an interdisciplinary class focused on sustainability.

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

The assessment was administered to all students enrolled in Sustainable Engineering and International Development.

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

Assessing the nature of teaching and learning in a multidisciplinary sustainable engineering class can be a challenge. Through this study the following conclusions were drawn:
1. The use of multiple assessment techniques provide a means for gaining deeper understanding of student perceptions and learning, which is particularly helpful in the case of a multidisciplinary class. Multiple assessments that are complementary in nature are particularly valuable. In the case of this study, surveys and focus groups provided both quantitative and qualitative measures of student perceptions of the course. The pre- and post- assessment provided a direct measure of student learning. Measuring student learning answered questions about what type of learning took place in the course, while uncovering student perceptions often answered questions about how learning occurred.

2. Multidisciplinary courses have good potential to train engineers to bring a sustainability perspective into their practice; in fact, we cannot envision training engineers in sustainability in a strictly disciplinary context. Nevertheless, because of the narrowly focused nature of engineering education, a multidisciplinary course presented several barriers or challenges of which an instructor should be aware. These barriers included students having limited project management and communication skills, students with low capability to connect with others outside their disciplines and course organization leading to students having difficulty in connecting to the course topics. We believe effective multidisciplinary course design can overcome many of these barriers.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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