Tackling Assessment of Education for Sustainable Development: A Rubric for Collaborative Work



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Kansas State University


This reorientation has wide-reaching pedagogical implications for the advancement of skills, attitudes, and values that support sustainable development (Sterling, 2004). Specifically, ESD should prepare students to foster a relationship with and participate in their local as well as the global community (Egan, 2004). Though the movement has been responsible for significant progress in campus sustainability and advancing research interests related to sustainability, curriculum development has lagged, especially in higher education (Everett, 2008; Rode & Michelsen, 2008; Sterling & Scott, 2008). Most notably, assessment remains an area of opportunity (Forum for the Future, 2005; Rode & Michelsen, 2008; Svanström, Lozano-Garcia, Rowe, 2008; Venkataraman, 2009). The purpose of this project was to develop an instrument to assess skill development among undergraduate students receiving a teaching methodology reflective of ESD. Further, as these skills are fundamental to community involvement, the rubric was developed to measure skill use in collaborative work. From a comprehensive review of the literature about ESD, six dominant skills-related themes emerged: Collaboration and cooperation, effective communication, conflict resolution, systems thinking, values-focused thinking, and introspection. The first five themes were used as anchors for the rubric. Descriptors from the literature were organized under each theme by author. Finally, points were refined for student understanding. The sixth theme, introspection, was incorporated into the rubric design, requiring the student to reflect on their own behavior in their collaborative work. The rubric requires a score on a 0-5 scale (quantitative) for each theme by the student and the instructor as well as reflection about their behavior in their group work (qualitative). The rubric is currently being tested in an apparel product development course. Preliminary results will be available by the conference date.



Skills for Sustainable Development Rubric, Sustainable development, Undergraduates