In 2013 the ESS Lab developed the initial Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge (ASK), an instrument designed to measure sustainability knowledge across three domains: environmental, economic and social. Unlike surveys that measure beliefs and values, we aim to solely measure factual knowledge.
Phase I: The initial battery of items were developed using expert panels, pilot testing, and testing of the instrument on nearly 2,000 undergraduate students at OSU. We analyzed the initial 30-item battery using Item Response Theory (IRT), and were able to reduce the question set to 16 items.
Phase II: In collaboration with the University of Maryland, we expanded our set of validated items to 28 and administer the assessment to more than 3,000 students during 2013. You are welcome to use this 28-item assessment (available here) at your institution as long as you contact us prior to doing so and appropriately cite our work.
Phase III: We recently administered the 28-item assessment to more than 4,000 students. Following additional IRT analysis, a shortened and updated, 12-item version of the insturment was developed by Dr. Adam Zwickle. For more information please contact us or see the publication: Zwickle, A., & Jones, K. (2018). Sustainability Knowledge and Attitudes—Assessing Latent Constructs. In Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research (pp. 435-451). Springer, Cham.
Please provide feedback or contact us with questions by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘ASK Feedback’ or 'Questions about ASK' in the subject line.
Publications and Reports
Heeren, A., Singh, A., Zwickle, A., Slagle, K., Koontz, T., McCreey, A. 2016. Is sustainability knowledge half the battle? An examination of sustainability knowledge, attitudes, norms and efficacy to understand sustainable behaviors. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 17 (5).
Zwickle, A., T. Koontz, K. Slagle, and J. Bruskotter. 2014. Assessing sustainability knowledge of a student population: Developing a tool to measure knowledge in the environmental, economic, and social domains. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 15(4).
Zwickle, A., T. Koontz, A. Bodine, K. Slagle, and A.C. McCreery. 2014. Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge: Question Domains (ESSL ASK2-2014). The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources. (This report identifies how each of the 28 items used during our second phase fall into one of the three sustainability domains.)
Ranjan, P. and T. Koontz. 2013. Environmental Behaviors of Ohio State University Students (ESSL DR2-2013). The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources.
2013. Assessing Undergraduate Sustainability Knowledge Campus Wide: From design to implementation and analysis Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Eilers, E. and J. Brooks. 2013. Pro-environmental behaviors, social norms, and norm conflict: Information to guide approaches to foster a more sustainable university. Poster presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Ranjan, P. 2012. Sustainability Literacy & Pro-Environmental Behavior: A comparison across domestic and international students at The Ohio State University. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Zwickle, A. 2012. Social Norms and Conservation Behavior: Results from the 2012 Campus Energy and Sustainability Behavior Undergraduate Survey. Ohio State University.
Zwickle, A., T. Koontz and K. Slagle. 2012. Assessing Sustainability Literacy: An Instrument to Measure Knowledge of Environmental, Economic, and Social Sustainability. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
- AASHE Blog Highlights ESS Lab Sustainability Literacy Survey Instrument Assessing Sustainability Literacy: Challenges, Current Research, and Opportunities for Collaboration, November 2012.