Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.39
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date Sept. 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Colorado Boulder
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Marianne Martin
Associate Director
Environmental Center
"---" 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:

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:
The original literacy assessment was developed in 2009 with an assessment professional and Environmental Center staff for incoming students. Some of the questions were directly related to evaluating the effect of information sharing at orientation modules. The 2017 version was modified and updated. Other literacy assessments were reviewed for best practices. The 2020 version refined the response scales but the questions have remained the same for comparison.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :
Fall 2020 literacy assessment distributed to a representative sample of all undergrad and grad students (sample size 4386) and to a representative sample of faculty and staff (sample size 2013). Samples generated by office of Institutional Research. A 29 question online Qualtrics survey was administered to a representative samples of both graduate and undergraduate CU Boulder students and staff/faculty over a three week period during Fall 2020 semester. For students, the survey invitation was sent by email to the pool and there was a 15% response rate with 658 students participating. For faculty and staff, 765 participated at a 38% response rate in the survey. The response rate for both students and faculty/ staff increased over 2017 helping to build confidence in the results. In previous years, the sustainability survey was administered to incoming students.

The literacy questions have remained consistent in order to conduct pre and post assessments. the 4th year students in the 2020 representative sample survey are the 1st year students in the 2017 representative sample survey. Using the Power BI tool, we can isolate these demographics for comparison to evaluate if literacy has increased or decreased. We can also compare values and behaviors for this cohort.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):
Students continued to demonstrate a strong understanding of sustainability terms and concepts from 2017 to 2020. Responses to literacy questions were generally consistent from 2017 to 2020, however some areas of consistency were in the frequencies of reporting lack of knowledge (I don't know responses) or incorrect responses, indicating additional education may be necessary. 45% correctly identified solar as a renewable energy source
42% correctly identified wind as a renewable energy source
85% got the right definition of Sustainable Development
95% correctly identified the definition for carbon footprint
Over 95% correctly identified the most effective way to support local economies
61% correctly identified the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions
80% correctly chose taking only what one can eat to reduce food waste
81% correctly identified one of the predicted effects of climate change
Nearly 70% correctly defined environmental justice
83% correctly defined the triple bottom line

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.