Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.49
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Dec. 17, 2020

STARS v2.2

Pennsylvania State University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

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:

See copy of assessment tool linked above.


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

In 2018 a Sustainability Survey was developed by a committee led by the Penn State Student Affairs Research and Assessment (SARA) office. The committee included staff from the Sustainability Institute, and other offices of Student Affairs. The survey covered several areas, including literacy, opinions regarding the Sustainable Development Goals, and knowledge of sustainability programs and practices at Penn State. The literacy portion of the survey, which consisted of 12 questions, was drawn directly from the work of Zwickle and Jones (see citation below), with permission.


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

Survey was administered in Fall 2018 by Student Affairs Research and Assessment staff. An invitation to participate, with a link to the Qualtrics survey, was sent via email to a randomly selected sample of 7,500 undergraduate and 1,500 graduate full-time, degree-seeking students. A total of 1,228 students completed the survey for a 13.64% response rate. Demographics of respondents were compared to those of the overall student body. The survey will be repeated in Fall 2021, which will allow comparison between the two time periods for each demographic group.


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

The attached file presents an analysis of performance on the literacy portion of the survey by class year. On average, first year students scored 73.1% correct, sophomores 75.3%, juniors, 76.2%, seniors 84.5%, and grad/professional students 88.9% correct. On average, the literacy of fourth year and graduate/professional students is significantly higher than first-year, second year, and third-year students. However, the average literacy is not significantly different between fourth year and graduate/professional students. Therefore, results suggest that sustainability literacy increases significantly by class year for undergraduate students.


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

Zwickle,A. and K. Jones. 2018. Sustainability Knowledge and Attitudes—Assessing Latent Constructs. In Springer International Publishing AG 2018W. Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research, World Sustainability Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67122-2_25

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.