Disciplinary assessment

Can discipline-specific tasks be included in an IDU? Do students' achievement levels in discipline-specific tasks influence students' achievement levels in interdisciplinary criteria?

"Disciplinary mini-summative tasks can take many forms—one option is for a mini-inquiry into the topic or idea investigated in each individual subject to be integrated in the interdisciplinary unit. Disciplinary summative tasks can be assessed with subject-group assessment criteria and strands. Student achievement levels in subject-group criteria can be recorded as subject-specific marks; they are not used to determine student achievement in MYP interdisciplinary criteria." -Interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the MYP

Details to remember

  • Summative assessment of disciplinary learning is optional but, if included, can help to ensure that students develop the necessary disciplinary grounding in the disciplinary knowledge, understanding and skills that are critical to the integrated purpose of the unit and integrated summative task(s). It also allows students additional opportunities to demonstrate their achievement in disciplinary criteria during the time spent in an IDU. This could provide additional evidence for determining a student's "best-fit" achievement level at the end of a term.

  • Summative assessment of disciplinary learning is assessed through disciplinary criteria. Achievement levels in disciplinary criteria are recorded separately as subject-group achievement levels and are not used to inform students’ achievement levels in interdisciplinary criteria.

  • Specific evaluation descriptors for disciplinary assessment are not included in Evaluating MYP interdisciplinary unit plans.

    • In the Building Quality Curriculum service evaluation of interdisciplinary units, disciplinary summative assessment, if included in an IDU, is considered as an element of “disciplinary grounding” in terms of the evidence it provides related to:

      • disciplinary knowledge and skills that support transferable understanding,

      • alignment with the subject group aims and objectives (and related concepts, if applicable) that develop disciplinary grounding.


In this guide, a language and literature and sciences interdisciplinary unit is used to illustrate one example of what each unit plan section could look like using the provided guidance. Below is the description of the disciplinary assessments provided in that unit.

Formative assessment of disciplinary learning

"Formative assessment (assessment for learning) provides teachers and students with insights into the ongoing development of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes. Ongoing formative assessment, carried out during the course of the unit, can provide teachers and students with insights into the development of disciplinary understanding and the effectiveness of the unit’s plan for disciplinary integration." -Interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the MYP

Details to remember

  • Formative assessment of disciplinary learning can include both informal self-assessment, peer- and teacher-feedback, and more formalized formative tasks.

  • The form of the feedback can be oral or written comments, points-based and/or criterion-based.

  • It is important that students are provide multiple opportunities to receive feedback that indicates their progress in terms of the descriptors of disciplinary criteria that used to assess any unit’s disciplinary summative task(s) that may be . This could be through the phrasing of comments-only, or through the use of a task-specific criteria rubric(s).


Check the disciplinary formative tasks through the descriptors (shown below) from the IB publication Evaluating MYP interdisciplinary unit plans.

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