Authentic Assessment

Is this going to be on the test? That is just one of the few questions that students care about in a classroom. Assessing how students are comprehending course material has become the most important part of education; rather then intentional learning. I believe that Lombardi and Kohn make good points about assessment being more than grades. Too often are concerned with their letter grade rather than what they are learning. I do not think that letter grades should go away, but how we evaluate students should be altered. Lombardi and Kohn both give examples of how authentic learning can take place. Additionally, Lombardi highlights the difference between traditional and authentic assessment.

By practicing authentic assessment, students can be assessed in a variety of moments and ways rather then by one culminating test or exam. Portfolios are a good example of how this can be achieved. Speaking as someone who has to complete an e-portfolio to meet my graduate capstone requirement, I believe that this method captures what and how I have learned. If my program required a thesis, I do not think it would be an accurate depiction of my learning or that I have completed the learning objectives and there outcomes. Examples like portfolios allows students to take ownership of their learning and use their experiences to prove how they have learned. I do not have an answer for how this should be addressed in the K-12 systems, but it is worthy to consider in how the United States can adapt learning and education.

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3 Responses to Authentic Assessment

  1. While reading your post, I had a similar line of thought to Chris, who commented. In my program, it is emphasized that classes are only 1/3 of the degree and the research component is where we should be creative and excel. My program is also getting us to start to be more creative and each semester offers the chance to write a proposal using theme from the class as the final exam, which is still graded l,but allows us the autonomy to develop a project we can be passionate about. I agree that authentic assessments do allow for better assessments of growth, but the scale up for undergraduates leaves a lot of work do due on the back end for professors.

  2. Chris says:

    Your post triggered a wonderful thought. As graduate students think how differently we are assessed. We need to maintain a B average. From my perspective as student in an agricultural field, no one really cares about grad school grades. I won’t hold to that as a hard and fast rule, but I believe it to be true. Then at the end of our grad student career we are assessed with some form cumulative project that shows of what we have learned, and it isn’t even really graded. We just have a committee say it is good enough to prove that we aren’t nincompoops and can have an original thought. We already practice this alternate assessment style, but run into issues of scale when we go from graduate students to a huge undergrad population. Maybe that is our hang-up in trying to move to an alternative assessment model.

  3. Amy Hermundstad Nave says:

    I really like this example of portfolios as a way to show what was learned in a course or program. My department used to have an e-portfolio requirement and we would use our portfolios to facilitate a conversation with our advisor. When I was putting together my e-portfolio, I had to figure out what my story was, how to support that with various experiences from the program, and how to present the various facets of my work. I could make the e-portfolio look the way I wanted and it was something that I could make that would be useful when applying for jobs. Because it was so useful and I could make it my own, I would spend hours working on my e-portfolio, and I really enjoyed it. And even though we don’t have the requirement anymore, I still update my website and it has evolved with me as I have gone through my program.

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