Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.07
Liaison Cary Gaunt
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

Keene State College
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Cary Gaunt
Director of Campus Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

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 following are some examples from Keene State College's longer Sustainability Literacy Assessment.
Which of the following is a foundational concept of sustainability?
o Ensuring that people continue to buy more goods and use more resources, indefinitely
o Setting aside resources for preservation, never to be used
o Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
o Only using recycled materials for production
o Don't know
Which of the following is the most urgent sustainability issue facing the world today?
o Hazardous waste landfills
o Overfishing the world’s oceans
o Ocean acidification
o Global climate change
o Don't know
When we think of environmental sustainability we also have to consider how the impacts of saving the planet affect people. True or false?
o True
o False
o Don't know
Which of the following is a choice that balances the well-being of people and the environment?
o Drinking water and other beverages (like coffee) from reusable containers
o Using single-use, throw-away, plastic bottles and bags
o Keeping GDP as a means for tracking the success of an economy
o Outsourcing work to countries that have less strict regulations
o Don't know
Which of the following is the best example of environmental justice?
o Urban citizens win a bill to have toxic wastes taken to rural communities.
o The US government dams a river, flooding Native American tribal lands to create hydropower for large cities.
o Community members, representing the diversity of the community, are involved in making decisions about how resources, like wood, can be used from a protected forest next to their village.
o Multinational corporations build factories in developing countries where environmental laws are less strict.
o Don't know
What are some of the Indigenous peoples in the New England States?
• Abenaki, Wampanoag, Mohegan
• Apache, Navajo, Hopi
• Chehalis, Hoh, Skokomish
• Chippewa, Ojibwe, Upper Sioux
• Don’t know
What is the most predominant ecological habitat in New England?
• Oak-Hickory forests
• Northern broadleaf forests (dominated by maples, birch, American Beech and includes Eastern Hemlocks and White Pines)
• Northern conifer forests (predominantly spruce and fir)
• Fresh water marshes
• Abandoned fields
• Don’t know
Which of the following examples is a true statement of how human and natural systems are interconnected, or interdependent?
A) Many of the world’s food crops depend on bee pollination, but bee populations are threatened and dying because of human caused habitat loss and pollution.
B) Creation of impervious (paved) area to build new roads and parking lots enhances local water quality so aquatic life can thrive
C) Food waste from Keene State College is properly composted to create organically rich material that enhances soil health for plants to grow
D) Logging the world’s forests enhances air quality and improves global climate conditions.
E) A and B
F) A and C
G) B and D
H) Don’t know
What percentage of the world’s reputable scientists agree that the Earth’s climate is warming?
o 10%
o 25%
o 50%
o Over 97%
o Don't know

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

The Keene State College (KSC) Office of Sustainability worked collaborated with the President's Council for a Sustainable Future, the Sustainability Collegewide Learning Outcome Subcommittee, and a representative group of students to develop a draft Sustainability Literacy Assessment. The draft Assessment was carefully reviewed by the KSC Office of Institutional Research and prepared as a Qualtrics Survey that was pilot tested in the fall of 2019. Based on the results of the pilot test, the Survey was refined and adopted by the Sustainability Council, Collegewide Learning Outcome Subcommittee, and Office of Institutional Research. The final Sustainability Literacy Assessment is a critical evaluation tool to measure the efficacy of sustainability education at KSC and is overseen by the Office of Sustainability and the Sustainability College-Wide Learning Outcome Subcommittee.

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

As described in the previous question, the KSC Sustainability Literacy Assessment (SLA) is a critical tool in evaluating the efficacy of sustainability education at Keene State College. The SLA is administered to all incoming first-year students and to all graduating seniors, and will be administered every year thus ensuring close to 100% of students are surveyed. The College developed this approach because the first-year students and graduating seniors offer two opportunities for a "captive" audience to ensure maximum participation. The First Year SLA is administered during Orientation where all first year students are required to take multiple sessions, including one where they learn about information technology and do online activities, like surveys. For the last 3-years the Office of Sustainability has administered an online sustainability pledge that has garnered a 100% response. Similarly, seniors are required to take various surveys as a prerequisite for graduating. The Sustainability College-Wide Learning Outcome Subcommittee that oversees the SLA has received permission from the Orientation and Graduating Seniors leadership to administer the SLA.

Covid-19 interrupted completion of the SLA in the previous academic year, and modified First Year Orientations so that the SLA could not be completed as intended since those in-person sessions did not occur. However, the Sustainability Literacy Assessment was successfully administered in the Fall of 2020 to the entering first year class as part of the required First Year Experience class. Unfortunately completion of the survey was not mandatory, however 58% of the students completed the assessment.

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

Students demonstrated a strong understanding of the basics of climate change and understood the role of human activities. However, they were less clear on what needed to occur in order to stabilize temperatures and reduce the impacts. This was true for other sustainability topics, as well. Students understood general sustainability principles; however, lacked some critical knowledge. For example, only 35% understood what it means to live in a watershed. This is an important piece of information since the Ashuelot River runs through campus and KSC is a key influencer of watershed health. The SLA results from the fall of 2020 are provided as additional documentation.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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