Authentic Assessment | Institute for Teaching Excellence (2022)

What is authentic assessment?

An authentic assessment evaluates if the student can successfully transfer the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to various contexts, scenarios, and situations beyond the classroom. Authentic assessments can include amyriad of assessment techniquesincluding skill labs, experiments, presentations, simulations, role-plays, class/term projects, debates, discussions, etc. (University at Albany SUNY, n.d.).

The table below from Wiggins (1998) compares traditional assessments (tests and exams) to authentic assessments (tasks).

Typical testsAuthentic tasksIndicators of authenticity
Require correct responsesRequire a high-quality product or performance, and a justification of the solutions to problems encounteredCorrectness is not the only criterion; students must be able to justify their answers.
Must be unknown to the student in advance to be validShould be known in advance to students as much as possibleThe tasks and standards for judgment should be know or predictable.
Are disconnected from real-world contexts and constraintsAre tied to real-world contexts and constraints; require the student to "do" the subjectThe context and constraints or the task are like those encountered by practitioners in the discipline.
Contain items that isolate particular skills or factsAre integrated challenges in which a range of skills and knowledge must be used in coordinationThe task is multifaceted and complex, even if there is a right answer.
Include easily scored itemsInvolve complex tasks that for which there may be no right answer, and that may not be easily scoredThe validity of the assessment is not sacrificed in favor or reliable scoring.
Are "one shot"; students get one chance to show their learningAre iterative; contain recurring tasksStudents may use particular knowledge or skills in several different ways or contexts.
Provide a scoreProvide usable diagnostic information about students' skills and knowledgeThe assessment is designed to improve future performance, and students are important "consumers" of such information.

Source: Indiana University Bloomington's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Why use authentic assessments?

Authentic assessments evaluate how students are learning the course material and subject matter over time. Traditional assessments such as quizzes and exams are useful in providing a snapshot of the students' mastery over the subject at a specific interval, but these assessments do not necessarily evaluate how the student can (or will) apply what was learned beyond the classroom.

Consider the way physicians, professional engineers, electricians, teachers, firefighters, and other professionals are assessed. Students of these professions must provide direct evidence they are competently applying learned knowledge/skills before being allowed to perform them in the real world. This is accomplished by way of an authentic assessment and does not solely rely on a written or oral exam (traditional assessment) (Mueller, n.d.).

Moreover, reliance on traditional assessments may prompt students to learn the material simply to pass the exam and then discard the material (or knowledge and skills) after the exam or course has been completed (Thompson, 2016). Authentic assessments provide students a chance to apply what they've learned and allows students to construct meaning about what they've been taught (Mueller, n.d.).

(Video) Authentic Assessment in teaching & learning (Part -1)

Lastly, authentic assessments do not have to be chosen over traditional assessments. A mix of both types of assessments can be effective, and in some cases (depending on the course objectives and outcomes), required.

Benefits and Challenges

Authentic assessments benefit students in a number of ways, but also present some challenges (adapted fromthis resourcefrom the University of New South Wales Sydney).

Benefits

  • Motivates students to deeply engage with the subject matter leading to more constructive and productive learning

  • Builds a portfolio of academic work, which is helpful for students to:

    • Reflect on and assess their own work and effort

    • Seek admission into advanced degree programs and continue their academic career

    • Pursue career opportunities after earning their degree

  • Aids students in preparing for the complexities of professional life by equipping them with relevant workplace skills

    (Video) Authentic Assessment in teaching & learning (Part -5)

  • Prepares students for lifelong learning

Challenges

These challenges can be overcome with careful planning and structuring through the use ofrubrics.

Authentic, Formative, and Summative Assessment

There are two types of assessments frequently used in courses: formative and summative.

Formative assessments can be thought of as "spot checks" used throughout the course to assess the student's current grasp of the material and current mastery over the subject matter (e.g. pop quizzes). Formative assessments are focused on evaluating specific knowledge and/or skills at a specific point, the results of which can be used to improve learning as the course progresses (Indiana University Bloomington, n.d.).

(Video) Authentic Assessment

Summative assessments are used to measure how well students have mastered the entirety of the material and subject matter sometimes by the mid-point of the course (mid-term) and/or at the end of the course (final).

Formative assessmentSummative Assessment
GradingUsually not gradedUsually graded
PurposeImprovement: to give feedback to instructors and students about how well students understand specific materialJudgment: to derive a grade, and to allow students to work intensively with course material
FocusVery focused on whether students have acquired specific skills or informationLess focused on specific skills or information; instead, allows students to demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge
EffortRequires little time from instructors or students; simple; done in classRequires more time from instructors and students; complex; done outside of class

Source: Indiana University Bloomington's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Well-designed summative assessments can be authentic assessments requiring students to think like a practitioner of the field/discipline (Wiggins, 1998). Authentic (summative) assessments require a significant investment of time from both the student and the instructor. The student will be required to think critically and apply a myriad of skills (merging those learned within the course with those learned outside the course) to approach, evaluate, and solve a problem which may take weeks to solve (e.g. a final project). The instructor will need to take more time to evaluate and grade the students' work than they would if applying a traditional assessment technique such as a multiple choice exam.

How do you design authentic assessments?

The following infographic taken from theAuthentic Assessment Toolboxcreated by Mueller (n.d.) provides a design map for creating authentic assessments:

Source: Jon Mueller's Authentic Assessment Toolbox

(Video) Authentic Assessment in teaching & learning (Part -2)

Standards

The first step (STANDARDS) involves reflecting on, writing down, and determining what the goals are for your students (re:course outcomes). Standards can be one-sentence statements or phrases of what students should know and/or be able to do at some point (e.g. "students must define single integrals by week 3").Course outcomesand standards should be written usingBloom's Action Verbs, which will help with designing the assessment and to measure how much of the material students have learned.

ReadStep 1 in the Authentic Assessment Toolboxto learn more about standards.

Authentic Tasks

The second step (AUTHENTIC TASKS) determines how you will know students have met the standards written in Step 1. At this step, selection of the appropriateauthentic task(s)is performed.

There are three types of authentic tasks:

  1. Constructed-Response: students construct responses out of previously learned and newly learned knowledge
  2. Production: students create a deliverable that demonstrates their ability to apply, analyze, and synthesize what they've learned
  3. Performance: students perform a task that demonstrates their ability to apply, analyze, and synthesize what they've learned

ReadStep 2 in the Authentic Assessment Toolboxto learn more about authentic tasks.

Criteria

The third step (CRITERIA) establishes indicators of "good performance" on the authentic task(s) selected in Step 2. Students must achieve these criteria when completing authentic tasks to not only demonstrate what they've learned, but that they are also capable of effectively applying what they've learned.

ReadStep 3 in the Authentic Assessment Toolboxto learn more about criteria.

Rubric

The fourth step (RUBRIC) measures the student's performance on the authentic task(s). Rubrics are essential for structuring the authentic assessment. To start building the rubric, use the criteria established in Step 3 and then decide whether to create an analytic rubric or holistic rubric.

(Video) Authentic Assessment in teaching & learning (Part -4)

An analytic rubric is used when performance will be evaluated for each criterion. A holistic rubric is used when all of the criteria are evaluated together (holistically).

ReadStep 4 in the Authentic Assessment Toolboxto learn more about rubrics.

Sources

FAQs

What are the 5 components of authentic assessment? ›

Five dimensions of authentic assess- ment were distinguished: (a) the assessment task, (b) the physical context, (c) the social con- text, (d) the assessment result or form, and (e) the assessment criteria. These dimensions can vary in their level of authenticity (i.e., they are continuums).

What is the importance of authentic assessment in the teaching/learning process? ›

Authentic assessments provide students a chance to apply what they've learned and allows students to construct meaning about what they've been taught (Mueller, n.d.). Lastly, authentic assessments do not have to be chosen over traditional assessments.

What is the purpose of authentic assessment? ›

The purpose of authentic assessment is to provide students with ample opportunity to engage in authentic tasks so as to develop, use, and extend their knowledge, higher-order thinking, and other 21st-century competencies.

What is the purpose of authentic assessment in the classroom? ›

The goal of authentic assessment is to enhance the learning process and help students gain knowledge while completing tasks that are beneficial to their “real-world” experiences.

Which is the best example of authentic assessment? ›

Authentic Assessment examples:
  • Conduction research and writing a report.
  • Character analysis.
  • Student debates (individual or group)
  • Drawing and writing about a story or chapter.
  • Experiments - trial and error learning.
  • Journal entries (reflective writing)
  • Discussion partners or groups.
  • Student self-assessment.
14 May 2008

What are some examples of authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment can include many of the following:
  • Observation.
  • Essays.
  • Interviews.
  • Performance tasks.
  • Exhibitions and demonstrations.
  • Portfolios.
  • Journals.
  • Teacher-created tests.

How do you implement authentic assessment? ›

Here are ten tips to help you use authentic assessment in your school.
...
Your Weekly Eureka Moment
  1. Break Down Skill Work into Small Steps. Authentic assessment can seem overwhelming at first. ...
  2. Build a Community of Practice. ...
  3. Work Backwards. ...
  4. Have Fun. ...
  5. Ensure Rigor. ...
  6. Give Cards a Try. ...
  7. Tap into Students' Interests. ...
  8. Use Tasks on Demand.

How do we develop an authentic assessment? ›

Now, I will guide you through each these four steps for creating an authentic assessment in more detail.
  1. Step 1: Identify the Standards.
  2. Step 2: Select an Authentic Task.
  3. Step 3: Identify the Criteria for the Task.
  4. Step 4: Create the Rubric. Home | What is it? | Why do it? | How do you do it?

Do teachers prefer authentic assessment over traditional assessment? ›

The question "Why use authentic assessment?" is not meant to suggest that you have to choose between traditional assessments such as tests and more authentic or performance assessments. Often, teachers use a mix of traditional and authentic assessments to serve different purposes.

Why is assessment important what is its main purpose? ›

Assessment is an integral part of instruction, as it determines whether or not the goals of education are being met. Assessment affects decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, curriculum, and, in some cases, funding.

What are the features of authentic assessment? ›

Characteristics of Authentic Assessments
  • Resemble real-world tasks and activities.
  • Can be structured as written or oral assessments completed individually, in pairs, or in groups.
  • Often presented as ill-structured problems with no right answers.

Why authentic assessments are valid and reliable? ›

* Authentic assessment achieves validity and reliability by emphasizing and standardizing the appropriate criteria for scoring such (varied) products; traditional testing standardizes objective “items” and, hence, the (one) right answer for each.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of authentic assessments? ›

Traditional vs. Authentic Assessment
Traditional AssessmentAuthentic Assessment
Advantages:Disadvantages:
Easy to score; Teachers can evaluate students more quickly and easily.Harder to evaluate
3 more rows
18 Jul 2015

What are the challenges of authentic assessment? ›

administration and parents, overwhelming documentation, burdening teaching hours, too many school activities on weekends and lack of training on authentic assessment. the greatest challenge for them in their efforts to prepare and later implemented authentic assessment in the classroom.

Which of the following provides the best definition of authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment is where students thoughtfully apply their acquired skills to a new situation or environment. Assessments are authentic if they are realistic, require judgement and innovation and assess students' ability to effectively use their knowledge or skills to complete a task.

Which authentic assessment tools are commonly used by teachers? ›

These can be graded, but are usually used formatively, to determine organic class knowledge before moving on to other topics.
  • Google Forms.
  • Socrative.
  • PollDaddy.
  • PollDaddy Detail.

What is the most authentic method of assessment? ›

Presentations are the most common method of authentic assessment. Students get to discuss their work and validate their ideas in the presence of a mixed audience made up of their classmates, teachers, and external stakeholders like parents and technocrats.

What are the 4 types of assessment? ›

A Guide to Types of Assessment: Diagnostic, Formative, Interim, and Summative.

What is the difference between standardized and authentic assessment? ›

According to Mueller, standardized assessments only require test takers to recognize or recall information. Authentic assessments, on the other hand, often ask students to analyze, synthesize and apply what they have learned in a substantial manner, and students create new meaning in the process.

What are authentic learning activities? ›

Authentic learning activities are tasks given to students in the real world where they can apply what they learned in class and continue to learn more in a setting that is relevant to them.

What is the first step in creation of an authentic assessment? ›

The first step is the identification of performance standards. It is essential that the standards have real-world application. Learning objectives are identifiable measurable components of the broader standards that have been set.

How can we achieved authentic learning? ›

Aspects of Authentic Learning
  1. Learning as an Active Process. ...
  2. Self-Directed Inquiry. ...
  3. Problem Solving. ...
  4. Reflection in Real World Contexts. ...
  5. Get to Know Your Students. ...
  6. Get to Know Your Families. ...
  7. Get to Know Your Community. ...
  8. Get to Know Your School and Yourself.

What is phases of authentic assessment? ›

Phase I Identity learner outcome. Determine criteria and acceptable evidences of performance. Phase II Evaluate results to determine attainment of outcome and ensure continuous improvement. Phase V Phase III Implement supporting learning experiences and instructional activities.

Why authentic assessment is better than traditional assessment? ›

While traditional tests have right or wrong answers, authentic assessments have varying solutions based on how a student comes to interpret and solve a challenge, problem or task. Authentic assessments can be created for any subject matter.

What is the difference between performance assessment and authentic assessment? ›

PA students demonstrate the desired behavior to be measured; AA students not only demonstrate the desired behavior, but also demonstrate in real life context.

Who gave the most authentic assessment task for the instructional objective? ›

Who gave the most authentic assessment task for the instructional objective, “Solve word problems involving operations with fractions.” A. Teacher Simon who asked his students to construct a word problem given a number sentence involving operations on fractions and then solve the problem they have constructed.

How does assessment help you become a more effective teacher? ›

Assessments help teachers plan and provide effective, targeted instruction in the academic content standards. By assessing student learning against the standards, teachers can tailor instruction directly to individual student needs.

Why assessments are the most important for teachers? ›

Student assessment enables instructors to measure the effectiveness of their teaching by linking student performance to specific learning objectives. As a result, teachers are able to institutionalize effective teaching choices and revise ineffective ones in their pedagogy.

What makes a good assessment in teaching? ›

Reliable: assessment is accurate, consistent and repeatable. Feasible: assessment is practicable in terms of time, resources and student numbers. Educational impact: assessment results in learning what is important and is authentic and worthwhile.

What are the fundamental requirements of authentic assessment? ›

One fundamental aspect of such assessments is that they are authentic. is realistic. requires judgment and innovation. asks the student to “do” the subject.

What are students asked to perform in authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment is "a form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills" (J. Mueller).

Which is better authentic assessment or traditional assessment? ›

Authentic assessments have several advantages over conventional or traditional tests. They are likely to be more valid than conventional tests, particularly for learning outcomes that require higher-order thinking skills.

What is authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment is the idea of using creative learning experiences to test students' skills and knowledge in realistic situations. Authentic assessment measures students' success in a way that's relevant to the skills required of them once they've finished your course or degree program.

What does authentic learning look like? ›

Authentic learning occurs when activities or projects offer students an opportunity to directly apply their knowledge or skills to real-world situations. Authentic assessments can supplement the information obtained through formal assessment measures.

What do you think are the benefits of authentic assessment in inclusive education? ›

Authentic assessments integrate higher-order thinking skills, since students must apply their knowledge in creative ways to solve problems. This helps children build connections with the world outside the classroom, and it builds self-worth as students learn that their contributions to society matter.

How does authentic assessment help diverse learners? ›

Authentic assessment challenges students with tasks that have real-life relevance and meaning while empowering them to take control of their own learning. Rather than simply recalling facts, students are required to create a “product” to show what they know and can do.

What is the importance of authentic assessment in the teaching and learning process? ›

Authentic assessments provide students a chance to apply what they've learned and allows students to construct meaning about what they've been taught (Mueller, n.d.). Lastly, authentic assessments do not have to be chosen over traditional assessments.

What is the goal of authentic assessment? ›

The purpose of authentic assessment is to provide students with ample opportunity to engage in authentic tasks so as to develop, use, and extend their knowledge, higher-order thinking, and other 21st-century competencies.

What are the components of authentic assessment? ›

Atac also points out that the essential parts of authentic assessment are teachers' professional criteria and accountability to improve student learning. The common names for “authentic assessment” are “performance assessment, alternative assessment, and direct assessment” (p. 10).

What are the principles of authentic assessment? ›

Authentic Assessment Principles
  • Use a range of tools to access learning.
  • Involve multiple roles and perspectives.
  • Are reflective.
  • Lead students to create collaborative knowledge.
  • May use relevant real world examples or stimulate tasks from industry.
  • May require an application of learned concepts or skills.
3 Sept 2015

What are the characteristics of authentic assessment? ›

Characteristics of Authentic Assessments
  • Resemble real-world tasks and activities.
  • Can be structured as written or oral assessments completed individually, in pairs, or in groups.
  • Often presented as ill-structured problems with no right answers.

What are the phases of authentic assessment? ›

Now, I will guide you through each these four steps for creating an authentic assessment in more detail.
  • Step 1: Identify the Standards.
  • Step 2: Select an Authentic Task.
  • Step 3: Identify the Criteria for the Task.
  • Step 4: Create the Rubric. Home | What is it? | Why do it? | How do you do it?

What is the purpose of assessment? ›

The purpose of assessment is to gather relevant information about student performance or progress, or to determine student interests to make judgments about their learning process.

What is meant by authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment is the idea of using creative learning experiences to test students' skills and knowledge in realistic situations. Authentic assessment measures students' success in a way that's relevant to the skills required of them once they've finished your course or degree program.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of authentic assessment? ›

Traditional vs. Authentic Assessment
Traditional AssessmentAuthentic Assessment
Advantages:Disadvantages:
Easy to score; Teachers can evaluate students more quickly and easily.Harder to evaluate
3 more rows
18 Jul 2015

What is authentic assessment tools? ›

Authentic assessment involves both oral tests like presentations and written tests with open-ended questions. Students get feedback from the instructor at different points as they engage in the tasks.

Why authentic assessment is better than traditional assessment? ›

While traditional tests have right or wrong answers, authentic assessments have varying solutions based on how a student comes to interpret and solve a challenge, problem or task. Authentic assessments can be created for any subject matter.

Who gave the most authentic assessment task for the instructional objective? ›

Who gave the most authentic assessment task for the instructional objective, “Solve word problems involving operations with fractions.” A. Teacher Simon who asked his students to construct a word problem given a number sentence involving operations on fractions and then solve the problem they have constructed.

What are the 4 types of assessment? ›

A Guide to Types of Assessment: Diagnostic, Formative, Interim, and Summative.

What are students asked to perform in authentic assessment? ›

Authentic assessment is "a form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills" (J. Mueller).

How do you plan an authentic assessment? ›

Identify what you want the student to know or be able to do. Secure an employment site that matches the student's interests and goals. Develop task(s) for the student to perform and demonstrate achievement towards standards. Visit the worksite and observe workers completing the specific task(s).

What is the first step in creation of an authentic assessment? ›

The first step is the identification of performance standards. It is essential that the standards have real-world application. Learning objectives are identifiable measurable components of the broader standards that have been set.

How do you facilitate authentic assessment? ›

5 pillars of authentic assessment
  1. Be realistic, performance-based and cognitively complex. ...
  2. Deliver a clear set of objectives. ...
  3. Take the form of formative and ongoing assessment. ...
  4. Encourage feedback and reflection.
1 Apr 2021

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