Integrative Pathways 43-2 Review: Meaningful Assessment

Column: Interdisciplinary Publications of Note
Reviewers: Julie Thompson Klein and Rick Szostak

This column calls attention to recent publications, including books, articles, and authoritative reports. Our purpose is to alert AIS members to works meriting their attention, without full-fledged reviews.

Ilya Boor, Debby Gerritsen, Linda de Greef, and Jessica Rodermans, Meaningful Assessment in Interdisciplinary Education: a practical handbook for university teachers. Amsterdam University Press, 2021. 154 pp.

Interdisciplinary courses and programs have important and unique learning objectives. This book seeks to identify a set of assessment strategies that can serve their needs. The authors argue that the right assessment strategies encourage the successful attainment of learning outcomes.

The first chapter discusses the key goals and characteristics of assessment. The second chapter identifies a set of skills that we should seek to assess, notably integration, critical thinking, collaboration, and reflection.

Part II comprises the bulk of the book. It is devoted to twenty examples of assessment practices in interdisciplinary courses or programs in the Netherlands (and one applied physics course at Harvard). Each assessment strategy is recommended for a particular set of assessment goals. Assessment strategies are classified according to key characteristics such as portfolios, rubrics, group work, peer assessment, and external assessment. For each example, the learning outcomes and assessment are described and then reflected upon.

A brief concluding chapter draws some general lessons. In particular, it is important to see assessment as learning, and to allow for powerful feedback into course and program design.

This book is part of a very useful series on interdisciplinary education from Amsterdam University Press and the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at that university. Earlier volumes include Designing Interdisciplinary Education and Interdisciplinary Learning Activities. You can find – and order – these books by searching for “interdisciplinary” at 

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