Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.48
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Université de Sherbrooke
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Véronique Bisaillon
Sustainable Development Education Advisor
Office of the Vice-President, Administration and Sustainable Development
"---" 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)?:

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::
Standalone evaluation without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples

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:

Sustainability Literacy Assessment (i.e. student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)
Survey: "Are you Environmentally Responsible? Test your knowledge!”

Following is an excerpt of ten questions included in the survey used to assess the sustainability literacy of students:

Q.12. In Québec, drinking water is an inexhaustible resource. True or false?
Response Options : True, False, I do not know

Q.13. Québec has more than 15% of the world's renewable freshwater reserves. True or false?
Response Options : True, False, I do not know

Q.20. Among the following choices, which of these energy sources is renewable?
Renewable energy: All the energies that nature builds or restores faster than humans use them. They can thus be considered as inexhaustible on the scale of human time.
Response Options : Natural gas, Nuclear, Hydraulic, Coal

Q.21. What percentage of Québec's electricity production comes from renewable sources?
Response Options : 0%, 15%, 50%, 75%, 99%

Q.24. Who do you think should have the greatest responsibility for tackling climate change?
Response Options : Citizens, Companies, Governments, All of the above

Q. 25. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "In the current context of climate change, it is partly the duty of citizens to adopt behaviors to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated (public transport, buying locally, etc.).»
Greenhouse Gases: Naturally occurring gases in the earth's atmosphere that contribute to retaining heat near the earth's surface
Response Options : Totally agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly disagree

Q.26. Currently, the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would be seen as the main cause of climate change. In your opinion, what is the greater concentration of greenhouse gas emission due to human activity?
Climate change: Refers to the changes in the earth's climate as a whole.
Response Options : Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Ozone (O3)

Q.27. In 2013, this sector of activity was responsible for the largest share (43.0%) of greenhouse gas emissions produced in Québec. Choose the appropriate activity sector among the following:
Response Options : Industrial sector, Transportation sector, Market sector, Power generation sector

Q.28. In 2013, petroleum products were responsible for the majority of total greenhouse gas emissions in Québec. True or false ?
Response Options : True, False, I do not know

Q.29. According to the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in the coming decades, rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes of all aspects of society will have to be made in order to limit the increase of unstable climate. What is your level of agreement with this IPCC statement?
Response Options : Strongly agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly disagree

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

In the fall 2018, the Université de Sherbrooke commissioned a group of students registered to the “Integrative Project” course, offered in the Baccalaureate in Environmental Studies, to survey the student community on eco-friendly notions and sustainability. The student group developed a questionnaire in collaboration with the Vice-Rectorate, Administration and Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Academic Advisor.

Several elements of this survey, such as the sampling method, the representativeness of the sample, the thematic of the questions and their formulation, were defined based on STARS criteria. The survey questions assessed the students’ life habits and their general knowledge on different themes associated to sustainable development.

The survey’s objective was to determine students’ behaviors and knowledge on eco-friendly notions and sustainability, and to increase awareness among the University’s community on these issues. In addition, follow-up indicators were developed in order to ensure continuous improvement of the survey. Indeed, it is expected to renew the survey over the years, may it be in a different format.

The questionnaire was structured into seven sections, comprised of over thirty questions:
1. General Information
2. Consumer and Food Habits
3. Water Management
4. Waste Management
5. Energy
6. Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Transportation
7. Survey Participation

The questions were inspired by themes proposed by the Sustainability Literacy Test (https://www.sulitest.org/en/vision-mission.html?newWorkingLanguage=en). This test was created to help higher education institutions, companies or any other organizations to structure and evaluate their approach in deploying a sustainability culture. The tool remains an important reference in survey development that measures participants’ responses about sustainable development and eco-friendly notions. The approach was also inspired by themes and sub-themes presented in the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) eco-friendly guide.

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

Undergraduate students from the three Université de Shebrooke’s campuses were selected as the study population since they represent the institution’s predominant student body. The population included full-time students as well as trainees.

The survey was distributed to the undergraduate students’ associations, to the Student Federation of the Université de Sherbrooke (Fédération étudiante de l’Université de Sherbrooke (FEUS)) and to the University’s Coop (COOPérative de l’Université de Sherbrooke) Facebook pages. A non-probability sampling was done, meaning without a systematic method. The respondents were obtained in an unpredictable way and according to their willingness to participate.

318 out of 406 completed surveys were retained for the results analysis since they were representing the profile sought by the survey.

To ensure the representativeness of the sample, an assessing representativeness method, with a relative error of ± 5.00%, was used. This justified the reasonableness of the results weighting. Indeed, this was necessary since some faculties were overrepresented while others were underrepresented.

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

The survey showed that students from the Environment and Sustainable Development University Training Center (Centre universitaire de formation en environnement et développement durable (CUFE)), from the faculties of Science and Engineering had superior results in terms of general knowledge on sustainable topics and challenges. Faculties whose students had lower scores in this regard were Education, Management and Medicine.

In addition, the results underlined the fact that undergraduate students being at the beginning of their studies scored less on questions pertaining to general knowledge on sustainability, while those close to the end of their studies scored better.

This exercise having been a first and administered as a standalone evaluation, it is planned to introduce a pre and post-assessment of students’ sustainability literacy in a near future, so as to identify progress and introduce improvements where needed in terms of sustainability education initiatives.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives 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.