Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.63
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Aug. 22, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

McGill University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Kathleen Ng
Environmental Officer
Sustainability Office - Campus and Space Planning
"---" 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::
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:

All of the questions in this assessment will ensure that future graduates have basic knowledge on sustainable development and both individual and Organisational sustainability and responsibility. For this purpose, the scope of this assessment covers 2 types of question:

Questions on challenges facing society and the planet i.e. general knowledge on social,environmental and economic issues, basic understanding of the earth e.g. water and carbon cycles, greenhouse effect etc.
Questions on the Organisation’s responsibility in general and on corporate responsibility in particular i.e. questions on practices for integrating social responsibility throughout an Organisation and questions on the responsibility of individuals as employees and citizens.
In order to be easy to use worldwide, a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) format has been chosen.
50 MCQ’s are randomly selected out of among a wide range. Of those questions, 2/3 are related to Supra/International level (global warming for instance) and 1/3 linked to national/regional level (i.e. local regulations and laws, culture and practices). The test takes 30 minutes.

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

"A strict review process guarantees the quality and reliability of the assessment tool. Senior advisors, representatives from international organizations and UN agencies, check the local and international set of questions with a “review grid” and give a feedback to the general secretariat on each question (Accepted / Rejected / Need clarification) using the following criteria. • Content:
Does the question make sense? Is the source indicated, and is it clear, acceptable (legitimate) and verifiable? Does the question address a controversial topic? Does it focus on the appropriate level (international for IQ, national or regional for LQ)?
• Form:
Is the question understandable? Are the possible answers understandable? Are the answers clear – neither too vague, nor too precise? Is the question pitched at the right level – neither too easy, nor too complicated? Are the answers formulated coherently in relation to the questions? Is the formulation pitched at the right level – not too biased/subjective/leading.

To be relevant around the world, questions are based on sources that are subject to a broad consensus in the community of researchers and practitioners: They are based on the founding principles of sustainable development including basic definitions (e.g. sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investment, social entrepreneurship, etc.…); trends and key figures of global issues covering environmental, social and economic dimensions. (e.g. demographic, biodiversity extinction, etc.; sources in international texts (e.g. international reports, UN conventions, etc.); and from reports and surveys from specialized national agencies. Some are structured by core subjects addressed in ISO 26000, the international standard for social responsibility of Organisations (7 core subjects and 37 core issues).


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

Undergraduate and graduate students were sent a link by the Students Society of McGill University (SMMU) environmental commissioner and the Post-Graduate Students Society (PGSS) President for voluntary participation.

A non-representative sample of McGill students completed the inaugural sustainability literacy test in 2015.

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

While results are currently limited (only 79 participants have completed the Sustainability Literacy Test), in general, there appears to be a strong outcome from assessments conducted thus far.

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.