Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.39
Liaison Yolanda Cieters
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Seattle University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Yolanda Cieters
Sustainability Manager
"---" 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:

NOTE about attached questions: the survey is distributed using qualtrics. Qualtrics, by default, numbers the questions in the order they are produced. Those are not the numbers that appear to the respondent.

For more information, see: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/sustainability-literacy/

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

The Sustainability Literacy assessment was adopted in August 2013.

SUSTLIT is a standardized questionnaire designed to assess aptitude in sustainability. The questionnaire measures knowledge, attitudes, and behavior about sustainability. SUSTLIT has both the behavior checklists and an array of attitude questions; but, most of the items assess knowledge. Sustainability is defined across six dimensions of knowledge: climate change, energy, planetary assets, systems, environmental, and organizational influences, plus a set of definition questions. The six knowledge dimensions are assessed with four to eight items. There are also eleven definition questions, eleven attitude items, and sixteen behavior measures.

All the knowledge items are 5-point Likert scales (strongly disagree-strongly agree). Likert scales are appropriate for measuring knowledge when there is not an objectively clear right or wrong response. Statements on SUSTLIT are worded such that about half reflected correct understanding of sustainability and half incorrect. Reported scores, therefore, were recoded such that higher numbers reflected more correct responses--stronger agreement indicating higher sustainability literacy.

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

In August of 2013, Seattle University assessed the sustainability literacy of all incoming freshman. The class of 975 new students were invited to complete the SUSTLIT survey on-line. SUSTLIT is a standardized questionnaire designed to assess aptitude in sustainability. The scale was developed and its psychometric properties assessed, using SU students. Results from that development process are available; but, because they were not intended to be a targeted sample, they do not necessarily represent any specific group at Seattle University. This data collection was, therefore, intended to be the benchmark in a series of annual surveys of incoming freshman, to be supplemented with periodic assessments of graduating seniors.

The survey has been given to all incoming freshmen at the start of the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 fall quarters. The first post-test has been given to all graduating seniors in May 2017 and has bene conducted since then in 2018 and in 2020. The survey is sent out by Academic Affairs and administered by two Faculty members from SU’s Albers School of Business and Economics.

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

See result tables here: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/campus-sustainability/sustainability-literacy/

Previous analysis showed the combined 2017-18 graduating class was significantly more sustainability literate than when they entered Seattle University. A review of the 2020 graduating class suggests the same for that group. The graduating class scored higher on seven of nine comparisons--lower on sustainability issues related to energy and planetary assets. Overall, the results support our belief that an SU education increases the sustainability literacy of its students.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.