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Measuring education for sustainable development: Experiences from the University of Bristol.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
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– The purpose of this paper is to explore how education for sustainable development (ESD) was measured in the taught curriculum at the University of Bristol (UoB), providing comparison to other methods of measurement and how measurements were used to engage academics in considering the visibility of the penetration of sustainable development into their teaching.

– The process of designing a quantitative and comparative method of reviewing ESD utilising a reflective process at the UoB is considered, which can be applied by other institutions. The UoB decided on an in-house method of assessment using the Unit and Programme Catalogue, a list of all taught units. Initially this revealed that some information relating to ESD was not clearly articulated. A school ESD review refined the data along with the release of key information set data, a nationally published data set which identifies mandatory, typical and optional diets taken by students on programmes.

– Text-based methods of assessing ESD penetration into programmes of study have limited use as direct measures of sustainability visibility in programmes, but can be improved by using interpretative methodologies. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies can produce data, which is a useful catalyst for academic reflection. Most importantly, it provides a tool for engagement while also enabling the targeting of resources and support. The UoB has avoided the pitfalls of manipulatable text count methods, and shown that comparative methods can be combined effectively with real engagement with academics and students for a measurement method that showcases good practice.

– Increasingly, universities and the higher education sector more widely are looking to embed ESD. To assess progress, systems of measurement and monitoring are required. This case study shares a replicable methodology combining quantitative and qualitative methods developed at the UoB which has been used by academics as a reflective tool to change their practice.
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