Conceptualizing authentic assessment
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Conceptualizing Authentic Assessment. Eboni Thomas EDUC 6322. Questions to consider. What is authentic assessment? Is it more important that learning be authentic or assessment be authentic? Are they equally important?

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Conceptualizing Authentic Assessment

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Conceptualizing authentic assessment

Conceptualizing Authentic Assessment

Eboni Thomas

EDUC 6322

Questions to consider

Questions to consider

  • What is authentic assessment?

  • Is it more important that learning be authentic or assessment be authentic? Are they equally important?

  • What can we do (if anything) to bridge the gap between the different definitions? What will this look like in our classrooms?

Overview of article

Overview of article

  • “New approaches to assessment have been identified as one of the major issues of the decade” (Cumming and Maxwell).

  • Two major theoretical considerations have been raised due to the changing focus

    • Validity of assessment

    • Learning and assessment of learning being in their proper contexts and meaningful for students

If authenticity is good what seems to be the problem

If authenticity is good, what seems to be the problem?

  • People interpret authentic assessment differently, thus there is confusion about the theory and the practice

When did it all begin

When did it all begin?

  • Authentic achievement by Archbald and Newman in 1988

  • In 1992, it was expanded to “identify authentic achievement as having several characteristics that emulate the ‘kinds of mastery demonstrated by successful adults’

What was it supposed to look like

What was it supposed to look like?

  • Production vs. reproduction

  • Discipline inquiry that required

    • Prior knowledge

    • In-depth understanding

    • Integration of information (transfer)

  • Personal value

From achievement to assessment

From achievement to assessment

  • Wiggins in 1989

  • Assessing authentic achievement



  • Learning Goals

    Learning and achievement

    Assessment procedures

Teaching Processes

Theories and authenticity

Theories and authenticity

  • Performance and performance assessment

  • Situated learning and situated assessment

  • Complexity of expertise and problem-based assessment

  • Competence and competence-based assessment

Theories and authenticity1

Theories and authenticity

  • Performance

    • Holistic

    • Integrated

    • Goes beyond observation to make inferences of basic knowledge, skills, and processes

    • Not feasible to do on diverse range of activities

  • Situated

    • Happens best or only when in context

    • Lack of transfer depending on thinking about complete contextual dependence

Theories and authenticity2

Theories and authenticity

  • Complexity

    • Expert performance (engineers)

    • Higher order thinking

    • Disciplined inquiry to solve problems

    • How can we use this in school?

  • Competence

    • Satisfactory performance (in parts, or whole)

    • Should reflect skills of workplace

    • Demonstrated achievement tasks could be authentic

Other issues

Other Issues

  • Camouflage – making problems appear to be “real world” when they are still contrived experiences

    • This can lead to students misunderstanding what is important and thus not meeting the teachers expectations

Other issues1

Other Issues

  • Simulation of the ‘real world’

    • Appear to offer ‘life like’ assessments, but since they are not actual experiences in the ‘real world’, students behave and thus perform differently (usually better)



  • Keep the learner in mind and make sure they are motivated by understanding the purpose and what this has to do with them

  • Instead of using simulation, use construct-centered authenticity to replicate challenges and standards that will represent what they students know and understand

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