Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.45
Liaison Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2020

STARS v2.2

Santa Clara University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Cara Uy
Sustainability Coordinator
Center for Sustainability
"---" 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::
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):
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A list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

Q: What is meant by the term “carbon footprint”?
A) The age of an item found at an archeological site
B) The carbon left on the ground each time you take a step
C) The size of the carbon chain in a given quantity of gasoline
D) The greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels for electricity and transportation

Q: What is the name of the primary federal agency that oversees environmental regulation?
A) Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA)
B) Department of Health, Environment, and Safety (the DHES)
C) National Environmental Agency (the NEA)
D) Federal Pollution Control Agency (the FPCA)
E) Do not know

Q: "Sustainability" with regard to natural resources means:
A) Using natural resources as slowly as possible
B) Using only as much as is replaced by natural processes
C) Not introducing new technology too quickly
D) Discovering new resources to allow maximum economic growth
E) Do not know


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

The literacy assessment was developed in late 2016 with the sustainability coordinator and 2 faculty members (one from Environmental Studies and Sciences and one from the English Department). Questions were replicated from other university literacy assessments like Arizona State University, Ohio State University and University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill as well as adding our own. It was finalized, adopted and administered at the end of January 2017.


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

The survey was sent to all first-time first-year Santa Clara University students. The students were alerted of the survey via their University's email network, and the surveying tool used was Qualtrics. The inaugural survey was sent in January 2017. Every year since, the assessment has been distributed in the month of November with the exception of 2018, when it was disseminated in late October yet closed in November.


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

This is the fourth year Santa Clara University has conducted a Sustainability Literacy Assessment on first-year students and the first year that we will have distributed the same survey to reassess the initial class of students who are now in their fourth year of college and graduating. Since this survey will be carried out in Spring of 2020, we do not have any measurable outcomes at this time. All incoming first-year students are asked to complete the survey, with a representative sample of this same class being re-assessed during their fourth year at the University. The survey is currently voluntarily and sent to all graduating students of that class year, whether or not they initially responded to it in their first year of college.

Questions were designed to test students' base level of understanding of sustainability topics. Questions ranged from asking students to identify the appropriate definition of sustainability, to identifying the proper US government organization whose role it is to protect the environment.


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