Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.40
Liaison Jennifer Bodine
Submission Date April 25, 2022

STARS v2.2

Weber State University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Alice Mulder
SPARC Director, Professor
"---" 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 copy of the survey instrument is uploaded. Note that sustainability literacy questions are found in Block 1 Part 1.

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

The WSU Sustainability Survey was developed under the lead of the director of the Sustainability Practices and Research Center, predominantly during 2019, through a process of reviewing other institution's surveys, literature on assessing sustainability literacy, and discussion with the WSU sustainability team (staff) and members of the faculty Environmental Initiatives Committee.

The survey has been designed and adopted with the intent of its being a longitudinal survey given to a representative sample of students, faculty and staff every 3-4 years. It is also designed to assess sustainability literacy and culture through questions on sustainability knowledge, attitudes, behavior, as well as awareness and engagement with campus sustainability initiatives, programs, events and courses. Thus, this same survey is also the source of data for EN 6 (Assessing Sustainability Culture). The survey received approval by the Institutional Review Board prior to being used. It was first used in AY 2019-2020 (January 2020) and is scheduled with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to be given again in Fall 2022.

The survey has a total of 50 questions (2 are multi-sectioned) with 20 of those focused on sustainability knowledge. Part 1b of the survey (see attached survey instrument) includes the sustainability knowledge questions. Twelve of the 20 questions are from the Assessing Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) instrument (developed and tested by Adam Zwickle, et al., 2014) which includes equal attention to the environmental, social, and economic realms of sustainability. Two questions are regarding the U.S. in a global context (total population as % of world population and resource consumption as percent of global consumption). Three are knowledge questions around climate literacy from other published studies (Bedford 2016). And three questions focused on Utah environmental issues (contributors to air pollution, main source of electricity generation, and water use). The use of questions used elsewhere will enable future comparisons with other institutions/locations.

The remainder of the survey pertains to the assessment of sustainability culture (EN-6) and is described with that entry.

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

A representative sample of students, faculty and staff was requested from and provided by the Director of Academic Analytics in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. A total of 2498 emails were provided, which included 1498 students and 1000 faculty and staff.

The survey was administered via Qualtrics and recruitment of participants was via a personalized email invitation to those pulled as the representative sample, followed by three reminders to non-respondents. The response rate was quite good at 36% with 700 complete surveys (many questions have 820 responses), 271 students, 179 faculty, and 249 staff. All colleges and divisions of campus were represented in the survey, with slightly more coming from the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Health Professions.

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

The composite score for students on 11 of the 12 ASK questions (one question still needs analysis) was 62.5 % (n= 267) and for faculty and staff it was 71% (n= 178 for faculty and 247 for staff). Perhaps in connection to our geographic location in the western U.S., the question related to the depletion of fish stocks in the Atlantic ocean had the lowest correct responses (23%) across all respondents.

Climate literacy, as measured by three questions, was a bit higher for students (68.4%) and faculty (78%), but was the same as the general sustainability knowledge questions for staff (71%).

Knowledge of the U.S. population and resource consumption in the global context was not high for students (45%), faculty (60%) or staff (48%).

Knowledge of local (Utah) issues was also not particularly strong with the composite scores there of 40% (students), 54% (faculty), and 52% (staff).

Faculty had higher knowledge scores on most areas, but staff were comparable on the local issues and ASK questions.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Questions used for assessing sustainability literacy included those from the Assessing Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) instrument developed by Zwickle, et al., 2014 and three on climate literacy used in other published studies (Bedford 2016).

Bedford, Daniel, 2016. Does Climate Literacy Matter? A Case Study of U.S. Students’ Level of Concern about Anthropogenic Global Warming, Journal of Geography, Vol. 115, No. 5, 187-197.

Zwickle, A., Koontz, T., Slagle, K. and Bruskotter, J., 2014. Assessing Sustainability Knowledge of a Student Population: Developing a Measure Knowledge in the Environmental, Economic, and Social Domains, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol.15.No.4, 375-389.

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