Values-based approaches have a variety of applications in formal and non-formal education contexts.  These include, among others:

  • Evaluation of educational projects and organisations
  • Sustainability learning and teaching in the classroom
  • Assessment of individual and group learning
  • Institutional sustainability assessment

Evaluation of educational projects and organisations

In educational settings, values-based approaches can be helpful in highlighting ‘less tangible’ aspects of project impact and legacies – which may be difficult to identify or evidence using traditional evaluation methods.

We have already created a set of 125 values-based ‘proto-indicators’ (prototypes for measurable indicators) which have been designed specifically for civil society organisations promoting education for sustainable development.   These can be used, in combination with locally elicited indicators generated through a variety of creative activities, as prompts for the co-design of measurable indicators and assessment tools.

Sustainability learning and teaching in the classroom

We have created a toolkit of activities to support sustainability teaching and learning in secondary schools from a values-based perspective – encouraging young people to think about the kind of future that they want to see, rather than focusing on what’s wrong with the world.

These activities can be used with whole classes (e.g. for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education, Geography, Sociology, etc.) and/or with small groups of students, such as Student Councils.

Please see the ‘Resources’ section below for downloadable toolkits.

Assessment of individual and group learning

We have piloted a way of using values-based indicators to help undergraduate students to reflect on, and assess, how they work together in and as groups.  While universities normally focus on the development of competencies at an individual level, learning how to collaborate and co-create with other people is an essential dimension of education for sustainability.

For details, please see Burford, G., et al., Assessing group learning processes: reflections on using values-based indicators as assessment criteria with final-year undergraduates, in Evolving Experiences: Articles from the Learning and Teaching Conference 2013, G. Wisker, et al., Editors. 2014, University of Brighton: Falmer, UK. p. 58-67.

We are currently developing a full framework of sustainability competencies, with associated values-based indicators, in each case, which can be used for assessing individuals or groups.  Further details will be posted on this website as they become available.

Institutional sustainability assessment

Through a collaborative project with BOKU University, Vienna, members of the Values and Sustainability Research Group have created values-based indicators that can be fed into a university’s institutional sustainability assessment.  This can help to motivate staff by showing them how processes and outcomes that they already find meaningful, worthwhile and valuable can be linked to sustainability.    More information can be found in this article:

Ribeiro, M.M., et al., Values: a bridge between sustainability and institutional assessment-a case study from BOKU University. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 2016. 17(1).

Below are links to toolkits for values-based activities and indicators for education for responsible living and sustainability:



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