Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 59.94
Liaison Elaine Goetz
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

Ohio University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Xander Stultz
Sustainability Data Reporting Assistant
Ohio Unversity Office of 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:

3 What is the most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere?
o Nitrogen
o Oxygen
o Argon

4 Which of these is not a greenhouse gas?
o Carbon Dioxide
o Nitrogen
o Water Vapor

5 According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, what is the hottest year on record?
o 1986
o 2009
o 2016
o 2019

7 Will precipitation rates increase, decrease or stay the same if the Earth's global temperatures continue to rise?
o Increase
o Decrease
o Stay the same

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

A pilot program occurred in FY 12 where a larger set of questions was asked to over 250 first year students through the Ohio University Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP). For 4 years, the Office of Sustainability surveyed graduates through an emailed survey in the Spring. In FY16, it was decided to transition to a campus-wide survey that captured more data and more demographics (students, faculty, staff and alumni/community) to better tailor education and outreach efforts. A 16-question survey is now emailed regularly (usually annually) to every individual with an Ohio University email address. 6 questions (38%) on the survey directly addresses sustainability literacy, while 6 questions (38%) address sustainability engagement or culture. The remaining 4 questions (25%) on the survey are demographic questions utilized for data analysis and internal tracking.

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

The original surveying method included in-person surveying of first-year students in a pilot survey (CIRP) in the fall and then emailed surveying of all graduates each spring. When it was determined that more complete and consistent surveying needed to happen, the Office of Sustainability worked with Information Technology to ensure that a representative sample of the entire campus community could be reached annually through emailed surveying.

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

The surveying does require that the respondent identifies one's self as 1.) first year student 2.) graduating student 3.) other student population 4.) University employee, or 5.) Alumni/community member. Such classifications allow us to compare changes in knowledge between demographics and to determine if exiting students are acquiring new knowledge after their time at the University. The results of the current surveying method show that the Sustainability Literacy rate of the overall campus community was 74% in FY21. That number has fluctuated between 67% and 74% in the past five years. Such fluctuations suggest that the University has some consistent outreach on the topics of sustainability and carbon neutrality but that increased outreach efforts do need to occur. Surveying results analyzed for changes in knowledge from first-year students to graduates yield varying data, showing that, perhaps, the knowledge gained while on campus may not specifically address the questions on this survey and the Office of Sustainability should, therefore, create a pointed engagement campaign that addresses these questions.

Since the survey is conducted annually, data from four years ago is able to supplement a pre- and post-assessment analysis. FY17 first-years had a literacy rate of 68%, while in FY21 this same group had a literacy rate of 70%. This slight increase of 2% may indicate that sustainability knowledge provided by the University and was retained, but still shows room for improvement on the university’s part.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The website URL provided is the page that survey respondents are directed to after completing the survey. This page provides them with the answer to the questions which have specific answers and offers more information about how to incorporate sustainability into one's life.

Updated 7/13/2021 by Xander Stultz with 2021 Literacy Survey Report and brief description and summary.

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.