Unfolding collaborative learning assessment literacy: A reflection on current assessment methods in higher education

Hajo Meijer*, Rink Hoekstra, Jasperina Brouwer, Jan-Willem Strijbos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past two decades, curricula in higher education have increasingly incorporated collaborative learning. However, due to (a) large variations in students’ domain-specific abilities (e.g. knowledge and/or skills) and the effort they invest into the collaboration and (b) teachers’ limited knowledge about how to assess collaborative learning, two main challenges arise. The first challenge concerns ensuring construct validity of the assessment methods, that is, whether an assessment accurately measures students’ domain-specific abilities. The second challenge originates from the potential of assessment methods to elicit student behaviour that is misaligned with the objectives of collaborative learning (e.g. free-riding behaviour). This paper aims to enhance teachers’, researchers’, and students’ awareness for and need to develop what we refer to as ‘collaborative learning assessment literacy’. In particular, we will discuss the two challenges in relation to three frequently used and discussed methods for assessing collaborative learning - group assessment, individual assessment, and group assessment combined with intra-group peer assessment - with specific attention to the purpose of assessment (i.e. formative and summative). Implications of the two challenges as well as their relation to other core components in the design of any collaborative learning setting (e.g. group constellation) will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1240
Number of pages19
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number8
Early online date6-Mar-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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