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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.28
Liaison Austin Eriksson
Submission Date Feb. 29, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

California State University, Northridge
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.01 / 4.00 Helen Cox
Director, Institute for Sustainability
Institute for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) and for whom a follow-up assessment is conducted:

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) without a follow-up assessment:

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
The questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s) :

A brief description of how the assessment(s) were developed:

The assessment was based on the tool developed by Ohio State University’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Lab in which an initial 30 questions were established and given as a survey to 2,000 OSU undergraduates in 2012. Using Item Response Theory, the questions were analyzed and the question set was reduced to 16 questions. Ohio State then partnered with the University of Maryland in 2013 and tested another 3,000 students. From there, the question set was expanded to 28 questions (Zwickle et al 2014). This survey is now known as the Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge, or (ASK) survey. 18 of the questions in our study came directly from this survey. We added seven more based on subject matter covered in our sustainability program.

A brief description of how the assessment(s) were administered:

Students were surveyed in classes using Scantron forms. We focused on testing students in 1. large section General Education classes, in which students were tested once, and 2. Sustainability classes, in which students were surveyed both at the beginning and end of the semester.
Assessments administered to large section G.E. classes included students from all disciplines. Students were asked to indicate their major and year in school. In addition all sections of SUST-designated classes (core classes for the Sustainability minor) were assessed pre- and post- course for the past three years. Over 2,000 students were surveyed.
The sample is representative of all undergraduates at the university. The breakdown by college of those tested is shown below, with the % of students majoring in each college shown in parentheses. Clearly each college is represented according to its student population:
Arts, Media,Communication:16% (13%)
Business & Economics: 12% (17%)
Health & Human Development: 19% (19%)
Education: 2% (3%)
Engineering & Computer Science: 11% (12%)
Humanities: 6% (5%)
Science & Mathematics: 7% (7%)
Social & Behavioral Sciences: 20% (17%)
Undeclared: 8% (7%)

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

Mean score for non-SUST classes was 12/25 or 48%, 15/25 for students entering a SUST course and 18/25 for those completing a SUST course. In addition, results were analyzed by gender, year in school and major. Results of the study were presented at AASHE conference in Fall 2014 and CHESC conference in 2015. See http://www.aashe.org/files/2014conference/presentations/Cox-Helen_Sustainability-Knowledge-Assessment-at-California-State-University-Northridge.pdf.

The website URL where information about the literacy assessment(s) is available:

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.