Towards a Rubric for Stimulating and Evaluating Sustainable Learning

Judith Gulikers*, Carla Oonk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Preparing students for dealing with sustainability issues is a challenge in the field of education. This is a challenge because we don't know exactly what we are educating for, as there are no defined answers or outcomes to the issues; the future is unpredictable. Dealing with these issues requires crossing boundaries between people coming from different 'practices', e.g., disciplines, cultures, academia versus society, thereby making the learning and working process a challenging but critical learning experience in itself. We argue that education for sustainability should not primarily focus on student content knowledge or development of certain products or answers. It should focus on stimulating students to go through boundary-crossing learning processes critical for getting a grip on the unpredictable future. This allows students to learn to work with 'others' around the boundaries, and thereby to develop the ability to co-create new knowledge and work towards innovation or transformation for sustainable practice. Building on the boundary crossing theory and using mixed methods and interventions, this design-based study iteratively develops a boundary crossing rubric as an instrument to operationalise student learning in transdisciplinary projects into concrete student behaviour. This rubric in turn can explicate, stimulate and assess student learning and development in transdisciplinary sustainability projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number969
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019


  • Boundary crossing
  • Stakeholders
  • Student learning
  • Sustainable assessment
  • Sustainable learning
  • Wicked problems

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