The AASHE Staff Review Process

As a benefit of paid participation in STARS, all reports submitted for a rating (i.e., Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) receive AASHE staff support to help ensure the accuracy of reports before they are published. This collaborative review and revision effort also helps to protect the credibility of STARS. A review is conducted by AASHE staff after a report has been submitted, but before the report is publicly posted and any rating is announced. Institutions have approximately 60 days from the date that the review results email was sent to address these issues. 
The review will focus on a set of credits with high error rates (listed below) as well as one or more randomly selected credit(s).  We review credits from within this group when the provisional score for that credit is above a particular threshold (usually the 50th percentile). As a result, submissions with higher provisional scores and ratings will be subject to a more comprehensive review. The AASHE staff collaborative review and revision process and other mechanisms for promoting data integrity are outlined in the STARS Data Accuracy Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common things to check for to ensure a high quality report with minimal issues?

The main things to check for include:

  • Supporting & affirming responses 
  • Aligning with credit timeframes 
  • Avoiding data outliers
  • Ensuring data consistency across credits 
  • Valid and working URLs

How can I check for score and other data outliers? 

The STARS Benchmarking Tool is a great tool for comparative benchmarking. It can also be used to check for score and numeric outliers. In addition, the 2023 Percentile Credit Scores Analysis Document displays credit scores at the 50th and 90th percentile for Version 2.2 reports as of January 2023, and can be used to check for credit score outliers.

Will my report ever be reviewed again by AASHE staff after I complete the collaborative review and revision process and my report is published?

Yes, post-publication reviews are possible. Periodic audits of data submitted by all institutions are conducted by AASHE staff for identification of data outliers or inconsistencies. This typically occurs annually during the development of AASHE’s Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). If issues are found, they are addressed through data inquiries, as outlined in the STARS Data Accuracy Policy

Current List of Standard Review credits (Version 2.2)

AASHE staff review the contents of the following credits for all institutions to ensure that credit criteria are met:

  • AC 1: Academic Courses
  • AC 2: Learning Outcomes
  • OP 7: Food & Beverage Purchasing

AASHE staff also review the contents of the credits below, but may skip the review if the credit score is below the 50th percentile. 

  • AC 6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment
  • AC 9: Research & Scholarship
  • AC 11: Open Access to Research
  • EN 1: Student Educator’s Program
  • EN 7: Employee Educators Program
  • EN 14: Participation in Public Policy
  • OP 1: Emissions Inventory & Disclosure
  • OP 2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • OP 4: Buildings Operations & Maintenance
  • OP 5: Building Energy Consumption
  • OP 6: Clean & Renewable Energy
  • OP 9: Landscape Management   
  • OP 11: Sustainable Procurement
  • OP 16: Commute Modal Split
  • OP 18: Waste Minimization & Diversion
  • OP 21: Water Use
  • PA 2: Sustainability Planning
  • PA 3: Inclusive & Participatory Governance
  • PA 4: Reporting Assurance
  • PA 7: Support for Underrepresented Groups
  • PA 10: Sustainable Investment
  • PA 11: Investment Disclosure
  • PA 12: Employee Compensation
  • PA 14: Wellness Program

AASHE staff typically review all Innovation & Leadership credits for every scored report. The Innovation (IN) credits listed below tend to have relatively high error rates, and are always reviewed by AASHE staff if they are pursued. 

  • Academy & Industry Connections
  • Carbon Mitigation Project Development
  • Dining Services Certification
  • Green Athletics 
  • Green Cleaning Certification
  • Green Laboratory Program
  • Hospital Network
  • Laboratory Animal Welfare
  • Pay Scale Equity
  • Spend Analysis
  • Stormwater Modeling
  • Sustainability Course Designation
  • Sustainability Office Diversity Program
  • Work College

Related Resources


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