Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.00
Liaison Melissa Maigler
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
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 (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:
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 sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

Please see the uploaded file with a complete list of questions included in the survey.


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

In 2016-17, it became a new goal of the Provost’s Committee on Sustainability to better measure the combined impact of the countless sustainability initiatives at Stanford on the student experience. With this goal in mind, the Provost’s Committee on Sustainability formed a Sustainability Literacy Working Group comprised of students, faculty and staff. The working group assisted with the development of a sustainability literacy survey. The survey became available to all students on campus, including both undergraduates and graduate students in Fall 2017, at the start of the 2017-18 academic year. As an incentive, students were offered points via the My Cardinal Green online engagement platform for taking the survey. The post-survey was then administered only to students who had taken the pre-survey in Spring 2018, towards the end of the 2017-18 academic year. Completion of the post-survey was also eligible for points in My Cardinal Green.


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

The survey is available to all students and can be accessed online at http://sustainable.stanford.edu/cardinal-green/my-cardinal-green Respondents access the survey with their Stanford online IDs, which allows the survey to be tracked to each individual. The link above is regularly pushed out via multiple channels, including emails to student listservs and promotions in the Stanford Report; taking the sustainability literacy survey is marked as a "promotional action" so it is located at the top of each user's dashboard once they log in with their Stanford ID.


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

The literacy assessment demonstrated strong student knowledge of the overall concepts and definitions of sustainability and sustainable development, sources of renewable energy, and environmental externalities. On the other hand, students were less familiar with more nuanced concepts like the sources of energy in California, the benefits of forests, and the specific actions that contribute most to climate change. The average correct response rate on the 13 questions included in the survey was 84%. This figure includes graduate students, who comprised 45% of the survey participants, but even when only undergraduates are considered, the average correct response rate was 82%.

With a high rate of correct responses in the pre-survey, there was not much room for improvement in the post-survey, but there were some specific questions that showed marked improvements. For example, the number of correct responses rose from 29% to 50% for the question asking "which of the following makes up the smallest percentage of the power generated in California?" (the correct response is coal). This small example suggests that during their time at Stanford, student knowledge of more local sustainability trends is improving.


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