The STARS reporting framework includes a number of mechanisms to enhance the quality of public reports and data, protect the credibility of the system, and provide a fair and transparent means for resolving questions about the accuracy of the information reported through STARS.
These mechanisms are detailed in the STARS Data Accuracy Policy and outlined below.
- Reporting AssuranceSTARS includes incentives to encourage institutions to complete an assurance process that successfully identifies and resolves inconsistencies prior to submitting its STARS Report. The assurance process may include:
- Internal review by one or more individuals affiliated with the institution, but who are not directly involved in the data collection process for the credits they review. AND/OR
- An external audit by one or more individuals affiliated with other organizations (e.g., a peer institution or third-party contractor).
Learn more about reporting assurance, including how to find an independent reviewer or assurance provider.
STARS Review Template
To help facilitate pre-submission assurance, AASHE publishes a STARS Review Template. The template highlights common issues that AASHE staff have identified during standard post-submission reviews. It will help you identify and resolve potential data inconsistencies in your report, leading to a higher quality report, fewer issues during the post-submission collaborative review and revision process and expedited report publication and rating. In addition, your institution can earn points for using the template as part of an independent assurance process. Learn more.
- Review & RevisionEvery institution that submits for a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Rating is engaged by AASHE staff in a collaborative review and revision process prior to report publication.
A review is conducted by AASHE staff after a report has been finalized but before the report is publicly posted and any rating is announced:
- The executive cover letter is reviewed to ensure that it originates from the president, chancellor, or other high-ranking executive.
- Each Innovation & Leadership credit is reviewed, both for adherence to criteria and for identification of best practices.
- Approximately a third of all credits, including randomly selected credits, are reviewed for adherence to credit criteria. Submissions with a provisional rating of Platinum are subject to a more comprehensive review.
AASHE staff submit a summary of any identified best practices, required revisions, and recommended improvements to the institution’s STARS Liaison. Our goal is to submit the review results within 30 days of report submission.
All reported content identified during AASHE staff review as not meeting credit criteria must be addressed before a report will be published.
- Institutions have 60 days from the date that a summary of concerns was submitted to address staff concerns, or until the end of the current subscription period (whichever is longer).
- AASHE staff will conduct no more than two rounds of follow-up review for credits that have been identified as not meeting credit criteria.
- If all identified concerns are not addressed before the deadline and within two review followups, an institution may: 1) submit with the credits in question marked “Not Pursuing”, or 2) renew its STARS subscription to extend the review and revision period.
- In instances where an institution and AASHE staff are unable to resolve a data inquiry to their mutual satisfaction, one or more STARS data review panels may be convened to arbitrate.
4. Publication & Rating
Once all identified concerns have been addressed, the STARS report will become final and a rating will be publicized. The rating will be valid for three years from the date that the report was submitted.
As a benefit of paid participation in STARS, pre-publication review is available upon request to institutions that have paid access to the Reporting Tool, but elect to submit as a Reporter rather than pursue a rating. To request review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Other Measures
AASHE staff may conduct periodic post-publication review of data included in published STARS reports.
Transparency & Public Inquiries
All of the information in a STARS Report is made publicly available on the STARS website. If an individual or organization believes that content is not consistent with credit criteria or contains errors, the STARS Data Inquiry Form will bring the potential inconsistency to the attention of the STARS Liaison at that institution.
An institution may submit a request to revise inconsistencies in its STARS Report after it has been made public on the STARS website. Learn more.
Known accuracy issues left unresolved by an institution may be flagged in its public STARS Report until addressed.