Authentic Achievement Through Interdisciplinary Teamwork

Showcase Presenters: Meenal Rai & Aaron Evans

Health and Environment is a required level 5 paper for all new non-clinical health students. The paper’s main assessment, a semester-long team project, encourages students to form connections and think critically about human health and the various environments influencing it. We propose that the team project is a form of authentic assessment and learning.

The team project requires students to develop higher-order thinking around critiquing current health initiatives and existing gaps in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also encourages them to develop problem-solving skills as they design a novel (hypothetical) health/environmental initiative or solution and discuss logistics through various environmental lenses, ensuring it is appropriate within the socio-political context of Aotearoa. 

By grouping students randomly and introducing them to new ideas and worldviews, this assessment encourages authentic interprofessional learning. Students must combine their abilities, plan together, focus on multiple tasks simultaneously, and learn and overcome the challenges of working in a team, as they learn with, from, and about their peers.

This team project provides both an authentic experience through disciplined research enquiry enhancing the individuals’ capabilities of working collaboratively throughout their future careers. Students leave Health and Environment having gained a broader understanding of the world around them, the value of sustainability in a changing world, and the skills to form authentic interpersonal connections.

Attendees at this showcase will learn how interdisciplinary student teams allows students to not just meet the learning objectives of the assessment, but also valuable insights. The assessment challenges students’ personal and collective skills as the learning is assessed at both the team and the individual levels. We have observed certain limitations within the design and execution of this assessment and a discussion with the audience may allow resolution of issues and refinement of concepts.

Dr Aaron Evans and Meenal Rai (PhD Scholar) are tertiary educators in Inter-professional Health Studies, with close to three decades of teaching experience between them. Aaron strives to deliver his content in a relatable way to promote a more engaging classroom environment. Meenal focuses on creating team-based assessments to align educational content with assessment design.