Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.91
Liaison Julie Hopper
Submission Date Dec. 20, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Julie Hopper
Data Analyst
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?:
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 list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:
The attached file includes the 10 sustainability literacy questions from USC's 2023 Sustainability Survey, along with the background questions and introductory text of the survey. We removed the answer choices for the literacy section in the attached file to avoid survey bias at our institution in future years. The second half of the survey is attached in the STARS credit EN-6 section.

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:
USC's sustainability survey includes sections on 1) background information, 2) sustainability literacy (AC.6), 3) sustainability culture and behavior (EN.6), 4) student commuting questions and 5) options to participate in a prize drawing and to sign up for our sustainability newsletter. Each question was created to best serve USC's Assignment: Earth goals and the reporting needs of STARS. (https://sustainability.usc.edu/2028-framework/goals/). The full survey was initially developed by the staff in the Office of Sustainability (OoS) at USC in February 2022. Development of the literacy section of the survey included reviewing literacy surveys from over 50 STARS-reporting universities, selecting common and key questions and then modifying them for further clarity and relevance. Additional questions were also created and added into the survey, resulting in 11 total literacy questions. The full sustainability survey was reviewed in 2022 and again in 2023 by faculty in the Environmental Studies Program, students and faculty in the Presidential Working Group (PWG) engagement committee, students in the President’s Sustainability Internship Program, several students in the Environmental Student Assembly (ESA) e-board committee, and several additional faculty, postdocs and graduate students. OoS staff edited the survey based on this feedback. In 2022, we additionally sent out the full sustainability survey for external review by sustainability experts at Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Los Angeles. All comments and edits were addressed in the final versions of the survey for each year before launching the survey in the Spring of 2022 and 2023. In 2023, we improved word choice in several questions and answer options to improve clarity. We integrated several new question and answer options into the culture and behavior section of the survey to provide better metrics on our progress in each of our Assignment: Earth Goals.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :
Survey Distribution Tactics: • The survey was launched through USC Qualtrics via an anonymous link option in the Spring of 2022 and the Spring of 2023. The survey remained open for ~3 weeks for each survey year. •Mass emails were distributed to all USC students, postdocs, staff and faculty (UPC, HSC and satellite campuses) by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Administration and the Office of Sustainability. • Additional emails and fliers were sent out by USC student organizations and staff units to their members. • Signs were put up around USC UPC campus. • Incentives included a chance to win one of twenty $100 USC Bookstore gift cards. Gift cards were distributed to 20 lucky survey participants after the close of the survey for each year. In 2022, 5,486 respondents completed the entire survey. Representation (# of survey respondents by role/ # of individuals in that role at USC via population data provided by HR) included 8% of Faculty, 12% of Staff, 12% of Postdocs and Visiting Scholars, 6% of undergraduate students and 6% of graduate students. In 2023, 2,974 respondents completed the entire survey. Representation from USC's population included 4% of Faculty, 6% of Staff, 10% of Postdocs and Visiting Scholars, 3% of undergraduate students and 3% of graduate students.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):
Please see the link below to review the full results from our 2022 and 2023 Sustainability Surveys: https://sustainability.usc.edu/survey/ The 2023 sustainability survey report is also attached under 'Optional Fields' below. Literacy assessment highlights from the 2022 and 2023 surveys include: • There is a significant positive effect of sustainability education and engagement on literacy and behavior scores of respondents. • Top scoring literacy questions indicated high climate change awareness. • A trend (although statistically not-significant) in increased literacy scores with advancement in course levels (eg. 4th years outperformed 3rd years whom outperformed 2nd years whom outperformed 1st years). Please see page 9 in the 2022 survey report: https://sustainability.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/2022-USC-Sustainability-Survey-Report-8-31.pdf In 2023: • We saw an increase of ~2% in sustainability literacy scores compared to those in 2022

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:
All data are from the 2022 and 2023 Sustainability Surveys which were administered to students, postdocs, staff and faculty at USC during Earth Month each year. For more information, feel free to watch the recording of the AASHE webinar that our data analyst, Julie Hopper, participated in: Webinar: Assessing Sustainability Literacy & Culture: Innovations & Lessons Learned by Multiple Institutions https://hub.aashe.org/browse/video/27000/Webinar-Assessing-Sustainability-Literacy-Culture-Innovations-Lessons-Learned-by-Multiple-Institutions

All data are from the 2022 and 2023 Sustainability Surveys which were administered to students, postdocs, staff and faculty at USC during Earth Month each year.

For more information, feel free to watch the recording of the AASHE webinar that our data analyst, Julie Hopper, participated in:

Webinar: Assessing Sustainability Literacy & Culture: Innovations & Lessons Learned by Multiple Institutions

https://hub.aashe.org/browse/video/27000/Webinar-Assessing-Sustainability-Literacy-Culture-Innovations-Lessons-Learned-by-Multiple-Institutions

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.