While the term, ‘authentic assessment’ was coined by Wiggins (1989), there is no agreed definition in the literature. The original concept was that assessment should be either in real work settings or as closely aligned as possible. While this may not be possible in all university contexts, it is still possible to design assessment that requires students to use knowledge and skills in ways that are akin to how they are used in real (authentic) contexts.
The emphasis then is on authentic learning by making the assessment as ‘as authentic as possible in the context of the unit’ and ‘oriented towards the world external to the unit itself’ (Boud, 1998:11). See also Questions to use when critiqueing a task.
An authentic assessment task has four main components Rule (2006). It:
See also Authentic and Investigative Activities http://www.iml.uts.edu.au/assessment-futures/elements/authentic.html
Herrington & Herrington provide the following guidelines for designing an authentic task with the caveat that:
Guidelines to design authentic assessment tasks(Herrington & Herrington, 2006: 147)
Boud, D. (1998). Assessment and learning– unlearning bad habits of assessment. Presentation to the Effective Assessment at University Conference 1998, University of Queensland, 4-5 November. Accessed 14/7/00 from http://www.tedi.uq.edu.au/conferences/A_conf/papers/Boud.html
Herrington, J., & Herrington, A. (2006). Authentic conditions for authentic assessment: Aligning task and assessment. In A. Bunker & I. Vardi (Eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education. Volume 29, Critical visions: Thinking, learning and researching in higher education (pp. 146-151). Milperra, NSW
Wiggins, G. (1989). A True Test: Toward More Authentic and Equitable Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 70: 9 (May).
Rule, A. C. (2006). The components of authentic learning. Journal of Authentic Learning, 3(1),1–10.
Authorised by the Head, Tasmanian Institute of Learning & Teaching
24 September, 2010