Learning Progression Part 1: Assessment

Our first steps to help support teachers advance education for sustainability is to provide an assessment tool that can inform teachers about their students’ competence in sustainability before they come to class. While conducting this study we came across several different types of assessment tools that can be used to assess the key sustainability competencies. We decided that in order to provide a formative assessment tool across disciplines, we need to design a questionnaire survey.

Our investigation into the questionnaire surveys that assess the key sustainability competencies already used and made available in research, led us to our first research article for this project. We recognised a need for a validation study and future research possibilities in education for sustainability. We submitted the article and have posted the abstract below. All feedback is welcome.


Key Sustainability Competence as Assessment: A Review of Scales and Propositions to Validate

By Alice Annelin and Gert-Olof Boström


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review and provide propositions about survey assessment tools of the key sustainability competencies of education for sustainability. UNESCO point out how education plays an important role in transforming our societies towards a sustainable future and achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. In order to plan our education for sustainability teachers need to know the students’ competencies for sustainability level before they come to class. A formative assessment tool can address this need.

Method/Design: The article provides a literature review of assessment tools used to measure sustainability competencies by questionnaire survey. We conceptualise how the competencies influence each other and provide propositions for future research.

Findings: The literature demonstrates that there is much ambiguity between prior research about the scales used and what they represent. A lack of validation across disciplines is apparent and an assessment tool that includes all eight key sustainability competencies could benefit education for sustainability. Future research could investigate how the competencies influence each other and what are the stronger drivers for each discipline across different countries.

Originality: Our findings provide a new analysis about questionnaire assessment tools used in prior research to measure sustainability competence. We offer a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses found in prior research and propose suggestions for future research. Our analysis also provides propositions for validating the key sustainability competencies presented in a recent framework (Redman and Wiek, 2021).

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