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Assessing Learning in Learning Communities

Focusing on specific integrative assignments has provided me with valuable tools to design, evaluate, and assess other assignments or types of learning experiences.
– Barbara Schulz Smith, Westminster College

Resources

Articles and Papers

When Faculty Assess Integrative Learning
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. Sept./Oct. 2009.
This article describes the work of the national project on Assessing Learning in Learning Communities, using the collaborative assessment protocol to assess students' work for integrative and interdisciplinary learning.

Journal of Learning Communities Research
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Journal of Learning Communities Research, 3:3. December 2008/January 2009.
This special edition of the Journal of Learning Communities Research introduces readers to the work undertaken by campus teams involved in Washington Center's National Project on Assessing Learning in Learning Communities (September 2006 to June 2008).

A New Era in Learning Community Work: Why the Pedagogy of Intentional Integration Matters
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. July/August 2008.
This article describes a significant shift in emphasis in learning community practice over the past decade: from a focus on models and organizational structures to a focus on intentionally designed integrative learning for students.

Assessing Student Learning at Disciplinary Crossroads
Veronica Boix-Mansilla. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. January/February 2005.
This article explores what "interdisciplinary understanding" means and describes a framework for assessing student interdisciplinary work.

A Statement on Integrative Learning
Association of American Colleges & Universities and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. March 2004.
This statement speaks to the importance and centrality of integrative learning in undergraduate education.

Interdisciplinary Education at Liberal Arts Institutions
Diane Rhoten, Veronica Boix-Mansilla, Marc Chun, and Julie Thompson Klein. Teagle Foundation White Paper. 2006.
This paper explores what "interdisciplinary understanding" means and describes a framework for assessing student interdisciplinary work.

Designing Integrated Learning for Students: A Heuristic for Teaching, Assessment, and Curriculum Design
Gillies Malnarich and Emily Lardner. Washington Center Occasional Paper. Winter 2003.
What students learn is shaped by the assignments or assessments they are invited to do. The focus of this heuristic, which can be adapted
for use in many kinds of institutional settings, is on designing compelling, substantive and integrative experiences of learning for students.

Books

The Evidence Process: A Collaborative Approach to Understanding and Improving Teaching Learning
Evidence Project. Project Zero. Boston, MA. 2001.
This handbook describes an inquiry process developed by Project Zero that participants in the Assessing Learning project used to discuss and assess student interdisciplinary work.

Toolkit

Dimensions of Disciplinary Learning
National Assessment Project participants. 2007.
During a National Assessment Project meeting, participants convened in discipline-specific groups and outlined dimensions of disciplinary understanding for their academic field, based on Boix-Mansilla's breakdown of dimensions. This document captures that work.

Interdisciplinary Understanding: What Counts as Quality Work?
Veronica Boix-Mansilla. Interdisciplinary Studies Project. Harvard University. 2007.
This handout from the National Assessment Project gives definitions for interdisciplinary and disciplinary understanding, articulates different dimensions of interdisciplinary understanding, and offers a tool for assessing students' interdisciplinary understanding.

Integrative Learning Heuristic
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Olympia, WA: Washington Center. April 2007.
This heuristic was used by participating teams in the national project for Assessing Learning in Learning Communities to design interdisciplinary assignments.

Collaborative Assessment Protocol
Veronica Boix-Mansilla. 2006.
This protocol was developed by Veronica Boix-Mansilla and adapted for the national project on Assessing Learning in Learning Communities as a tool for faculty teams to collaboratively assess student work for evidence of integrative learning.

Targeted Assessment Rubric for Interdisciplinary Writing
Veronica Boix-Mansilla and others. Cambridge, MA: Project Zero, Harvard University School of Education. n.d.
This rubric, developed by Veronica Boix-Mansilla and others at Harvard University School of Education's Project Zero, provides a framework for assessing students' mastery of interdisciplinarity in their written work.

Complete list of resources