Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.47
Liaison Gioia Thompson
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Vermont
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Wendy Verrei-Berenback
Assistant Director
Center for Teaching and Learning
"---" 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::
A subset of students or a sample that may not be representative of the predominant student body

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 list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:
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A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

UVM conducted a survey, framed around the four SU learning outcomes, to a sample of graduating seniors (May 2019). This cohort was the first group of students to have the Sustainability General Education requirement in place. Total number of respondents was 181 (response rate = 18.1%), 8.5 % of the total population.
The survey was developed by the Sustainability General Education Assessment Committee, with input from the Student Government Association.


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

UVM’s Office of Institutional Research created a representative sample of students who were invited to take the survey, consisting of 1,000 students (seniors) and was representative of the population in each of UVM’s six colleges, 2,116 students (seniors).


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

75.2% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could evaluate sustainability from local and globals scales.
68.6% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could assess how their actions can contribute to a sustainable world.
66.2% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could evaluate how sustainability impacts their life.
67.1% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could have a discussion about sustainability, addressing the ecological, social, and economic dimensions.
65.2% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could evaluate sustainability from their disciplinary perspective.
58.6% of students agreed and strongly agreed that they could assess sustainability from a different cultural perspective.

Students who took one or more sustainability courses (in addition to the requirement), were more likely to rate their abilities to achieve the learning outcomes higher. 53.5% of all student respondents agreed and strongly agreed that their sustainability course was an important part of their UVM education.

In AY 18-19, the General Education Sustainability Assessment Committee (GEASC) also assessed a sample of student work submitted as part of their sustainability course requirements to determine the degree to which students met Learning Outcome 3 (SLO3): “Students can think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values across multiple scales of relevance from global to local.” GEASC, in collaboration with UVM’s Writing in the Disciplines director, developed a rubric that was used to evaluate all student work. A faculty committee then used this rubric to assess 77 student “artifacts” (i.e., papers, essays, short answers) from 8 courses that have been designated as meeting the Sustainability General Education requirement, representing 165 students (some artifacts were group assignments). Work was rated on a scale of did not meet (1) /did meet (2) achieving SLO 3. Faculty had the option of rating an artifact as “exceeding” (3), although this is not an expectation of general education. Since SLO 3 addresses 2 aspects of sustainability (Students can think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values AND Students can think critically about sustainability across multiple scales of relevance from global to local), the artifacts were received a score for each aspect and an overall score.

While assessing student work yielded important information, there were several variables at play that impacted the usefulness of this exercise. Faculty volunteered to submit work and did not always submit work that was designed to meet the SLO 3. While students may have achieved SLO 3 over the duration of the semester, it is often difficult to point to one “artifact” as representing all learning about this outcome.


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.