My distaste for traditional standardized testing is nearly matched with my affinity towards authentic assessment. Authentic assessment accounts for the evaluation of students’ “performance” during “worthy intellectual tasks”; whereas, traditional tests assess simple recall of information often out of context and not easily relatable to practical applications in students’ lives.1
Assessment reform has attended to the goal of assessment to “support the needs of learners.”1 Authentic assessments achieve this by allowing for a variety of methods used in evaluating learning that is accessible to multiple modalities and learning styles. These more meaningful assessment measures allow teachers to be more responsive to student needs by providing deeper analysis of student learning. Further, authentic assessment provides students clear, predictable expectations, increasing accountability and decreasing frustration while supporting growth toward managing their own learning. Authentic assessment, therefore, serves as both a reflective tool for teachers to analyze their practices and a tool for forward-thinking adaptation to learners’ needs.
Authentic assessment can achieve validity and reliability with standard scoring criteria.1,2 Standard scoring, even with judgement based criterion, can be aligned with standards-based outcomes in order to achieve valid and reliable measures applicable with the adoption of Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and other progressive education reform outcomes. Further, such criterion, emphasizes a spectrum for growth in both teacher effectiveness and student achievement, rather than the yes or no assessment most often indicated in traditional assessment.
Still, a limitation in authentic assessment include their inability to easily provide broad-based, quantifiable data to either support or refute recent reform efforts. The importance of this limitation, however, hinges on other personal philosophies including my unconvinced perspective of any significant benefit from national education norms and the continued negligence of public education in building meaningful partnerships with recipient beneficiaries such as higher education and industry.
1. “The case for authentic assessment. Wiggins, Grant.” 2003. <http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=2&n=2>
2. Popham, W James. Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2005.