Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 76.71
Liaison Gioia Thompson
Submission Date Feb. 6, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Vermont
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 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?:

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:

Please indicate the degree to which you agree with the statements. Please use the following scale when answering:
1 = Strongly Disagree; 5 = Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5; Comment
1. The format and size of my SU course was an effective learning environment.
2. It would have been better if I took my sustainability course earlier in my academic career.
3. My SU course was an important part of my UVM education.

In my SU course, I learned
4. How to have a discussion about sustainability, addressing the ecological, social, and economic dimensions.
5. How to assess sustainability from different cultural perspectives.
6. How to evaluate sustainability from local and global scales.
7. How to evaluate how sustainability impacts my life.
8. How to assess how my actions can contribute to a sustainable world.

9.Is there anything you’d like us to know about your experience taking a SU course?
10.Is there anything you can think of that would have improved your experience with this General Education requirement?

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

UVM’s Office of Sustainability (OS) and the Office of Institutional Research & Assessment (OIRA) collaboratively conducted the Sustainability Literacy Assessment (SLA) survey in the Spring 2022 semester. The SLA survey was developed by adapting the Sustainability Survey - a copy can be found in the additional documentation section below. This survey was based on the four learning outcomes of UVM’s Sustainability “SU” course requirement, that all undergraduate students are required to complete as part of UVM’s General Education program. The 11-item Sustainability Survey was noted by STARS on their website as a “good example of a survey that asks for student perspectives of their own sustainability literacy.” Thus, after minimal changes made to the Sustainability Survey to shorten the length and clarify phrasing, the 6-item SLA survey was developed.

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

It was collaboratively determined by UVM’s OS and OIRA that the SLA survey will be administered twice with all undergraduate students who had registered for any SU course offered in Spring 2022 semester. First administration (pre-assessment) was conducted between January 17th – February 9th and the second (post-assessment) between April 21st – May 9th. The pre-assessment was sent in the form of an email to the 40 instructors teaching SU courses asking for them to share the pre-assessment with students in their class. Of the 40 instructors, 14 administered the survey to their 1073 students. 69 students in these classes completed both the pre- and post-assessment (response rate 6.4%). A Chi-squared test was conducted to check if the sample of 69 was representative of the total undergraduate population of Spring 2022 semester based on the demographic factors of sex (male and female) and enrollment in a sustainability major (majoring or doing study abroad in either Environmental Science or Environmental Studies program). The results of the Chi-squared test indicated that the sample of 69 was not representative, and therefore the data obtained was weighted for the analysis. The observations were weighted so they better represented the demographic categories listed in Table 1. Weighting created samples so that the results could be representative of the total UVM undergraduate population.

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

To test if the change in ratings of students between the pre- and post- survey was statistically significant, a nonparametric Wilcoxon test was used on the weighted observations. Results indicated that students increased their learning on five of six sustainability literacy learning outcomes after the course. After the course 49% of the students were able to evaluate sustainability from local and global scales. The outcome with the least percentage of increase was being able to assess how their actions can contribute to a sustainable world at 26%.

Overall increase in competency of sustainability concepts and being able to discuss, evaluate, and assess by 36% of the sample between the pre survey and the post survey.

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.