In the space below, describe your definition of an Authentic Performance task. This page is not for the facts, but for opinions. When you have finished, click on page 2) Learning and Research (located in the navigation bar on the left-hand side) to investigate some websites around Authentic Performance tasks.
An Authentic Performance task in math is demonstrating the ability to use math to complete a task. It is concrete and the student uses what he/she knows to produce something. I think it also means that the student is not providing a "correct" answer but just doing something with the tools/knowledge that they have.


An authentic Performance task allows students to have a real world situation to work on. Like in math investigations. Students always have a real world application they will apply their thinking with for the end of unit project or assessment. It allows kids to apply their learning in a critical and unique manner. - Alisha

Authentic performance assessments require a demonstration of skills through some project or activity. They seem to focus both not only on the end product, but also on the process of learning that led to the end product. For example students may be asked to explain how they arrived at their answers. Both students and teachers are required to be active participants in the learning process, creation of the product, or duration of the activity. Authentic performance tasks generally require higher level critical thinking skills and demonstrate deep understanding. They must be connected directly to learning goals/standards in order to effectively assess student performance. Performance-based tasks are generally called authentic because students are asked to apply knowledge to an authentic situation--this is usually a "real world" problem they're asked to solve, etc. They are also often to "try on" authentic or professional roles. In a sense students are asked to do similar work to what professionals would be asked to do in a workplace setting. Authentic performance tasks may require more subjective grading and use of a rubric, and some require students to do self-evaluative tasks or reflective tasks after the assessment is complete. Suzanne N.

I want students to show me their understanding by demonstrating their "skills" to create a finished product. In math I have had students make a gingerbread house to demonstrate slope or make a floor plan to demonstrate area, in career education they have created a resume, thank you letter, and applied for a job. So an authentic task to me how they use the knowledge they have acquired to in our investigations to use in a personal application. `KristinaM

To me, an authentic assessment is one that emulates real world tasks/events while forcing a student to perform in a way that proves that he/she has a clear understanding of a concept. A group of students may be given the challenge to produce a newspaper based on events from a novel being read. Interviews must be conducted, research gathered, articles written, and layouts created for publishing.

I see an authentic assessments as often taking more than one day to complete so that students experience the entire process as if they were truly performing their given tasks in the "real world." ~ Sean S.

njkraft 4 minutes ago
An authentic assessment in language arts would involve reading and writing tasks that resemble something students would do in the real world. The assessment should try to retain as much of the real world dialogue and retain a natural flow. Although I think that it should also be something that provides students with some sort of choice. For example when I asked students to create a Craiglist ad for an item of their choice. As well we looked for grammar mistakes in other posts. Student worked on explaining why they were in correct. Last year I had students create a video or rap about sign language that they were to present in a way that would teach someone the alphabet or song. Generally it seems that students really enjoy doing authentic assessments because they know it may help them later in life and see the application. Natalie Kraft
Authentic performance tasks are used to measure a student's ability to apply knowledge learned during a unit of study. Authentic performance tasks typically measure the information set out in a scoring criteria or rubric at the start of the learning cycle. Authentic assessments are clearly defined. Students completing an authentic assessment would be demonstrating their learning that was generated over time. Tracy E.

In my opinion authentic performance tasks show a students understanding of the conceptualized learning while using any skills, strategies, and knowledge learned during a unit of study. It is a cumulative project that allows the student to demonstrate their new learning in the real world authentic situation. It is an assessment project that is outlined at the beginning of the unit and that utilizes the skills and strategies taught during individual lessons. It is an assessment that is clearly defined, and the scoring criteria is achievable by all students. The scoring criteria is outlined in a rubric or similar document. Lisa L.

Authentic performance tasks to me are assignments/assessments that show me if kids are understanding their learning. These tasks are not just random quizzes or assignments, but they are opportunities for kids to show their learning in ways that is meaninful to them. You as a teacher will know that learning has taken place when kids use the vocabulary taught in their own words and they will have demonstrated their learning in their own style. One way is giving kids the opportunity at the end of a lesson to show one thing they learned on a notecard for "the ticket out the door". Their learning can be demonstrated visually through pictures or verbally through definitions or facts. -May F.
My understanding of an Authentic Performance Task is that it is an activity that allows students to create meaning and the ability to transfer understanding to real life situations. It also helps students take ownership by personalizing the task. The task has a defined purpose, audience and expectations that the students know at the beginning of the task to guide them. Christi W-G

Authentic performance tasks are used to determine what students know and are able to do in a meaningful way. At the beginning of the lesson, students should be told what they will be expected to do at the end of the lesson. That way, they know what they are working towards. I don't believe that we use enough authentic assessments at the elementary level.
-Katie Sevier

I really do not understand how to post to this, I have attempted several times, we will see if this works.
An Authentic Performance task for me and the classes I teach would be to simply read. Any type of reading, real world, classroom reading for a teacher outside of my room, a drivers manual, a job application, etc. This would be the best and most accurate way to assess a reading class. To make use of the skill being taught would be the most accurate performance a student could perform. Marybel
Thank you for admitting that it was not so easy for you as well. glad to know that I am not the only one learning something new.



To me Authentic Performance task means that students must DO something that mirrors what might happen in the real world. Students must perform, demonstrate, create, model a real world occurence. In a world language class we do this all the time. It is the easiest way to get students talking in the target language. I begin by giving them a situation, later they can create their own using the vocabulary they know. At this point pronunciation and grammar are not as important as the ability to communicate.Cynthia H


In my mind, authentic assessment includes the types of things that would take place in the real world. Authentic assessment could include writing memos, business letters, collaborating on a problem in order to find a solution that works for the group, and reviews. I read an article last year about rigor in secondary education and the gist of the article is that authentic assessment is key to getting kids ready to meet the challenges of the work place. So, I guess that's what I think about when I plan authentic assessments. Lori R.

When I hear Performance Task, I think of what teachers used to call a "project." Something that students created that showed their level of understanding. It seems like it would incorporate a design element and would have kids develop a product by applying all of their understandings from a particular unit. Now that we're studying Authentic Performance Task, I feel like this is now adding one more dimension to the traditional project, just as Lori said above, something that can be used in the real world, that kids can relate to. Grading is always the most difficult part of this process for me, so when I write up my projects, I always start with the rubric and make sure the kids know my level of expectation. Melissa B.


I like to relate an authentic performance task to my students as various parts of my job as a teacher. I have numerous communication expectations whether it's email, voice mail, face to face in conferences, and of course relating to parents, peers, administrators, etc. Each one is a slightly different. Planning my classes, staying up to date with the latest technology, grading, and using common sense in daily situtations are all performance tasks that I'm "graded" on. I would be expected to use proper "netiquette" when communicating with other adults and would never text abbreviate in those conversations with my superiors or parents. If students can recognize some of these differences then they are on their way to the "real world." Formal and informal types of performance tasks are asked of students daily. A final culminating project/paper/presentation that specifically asks for application of and transfer of knowledge into a new(er) situation could easily be authentic. S. Hobleredit n


I consider an authentic performance task to be a type of assessment that goes above and beyond basic recall of learned information. A performance task asks the students to take what they have learned and apply it in a real life situation. They must use their newly learned skills in a way that shows mastery through a real world context. While there are guiding principles for the task, each final product will be different. Performance tasks allow students to apply and scaffold learning in their own unique way. Dawn D.

jeslwill
An Authentic Performance Task allows students to take subject matter they have learned and apply it to real life situations. It lets students transfer the information to a situation and show understanding. It often helps students to see the actual relevance of what they are learning. It also allows the teacher to check for understanding. Authentic Performance tasks can be much more creative than some of the graded work such as papers and unit tests that are assigned on a normal basis. Students can use more creative ways and means and plug into things that really interest them. Jessie W.
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I feel like one of the most important parts of an authentic Performance task is that it mirrors work that adults do in the "real World." This immediately allows for buy in and answers that dreaded questions, "When will I ever use this in my life?" Like so many parts of teaching the presentation of the assignment becomes paramount. Many assignment ideas can be modified to be performance tasks if given the appropriate set- up. Along with the assignment learning goals are opportunities to teach many of the values that we hold dear as educators such as professional behavior, responsibility, dependability, task commitment ect. Making a performance task allows teachers to dissolve the walls of their classroom and break away from textbooks, seating charts, formal student teacher relationships, and one level learning. Andrea P



Authentic assessments allow students to engage in an "activity" or create a product that assesses understanding in a meaningful way. The meaning comes from the fact that the product or activity is something that mirrors a "real world" experience or something that would be created by someone in that subject area. I think it is important to make sure that Authenitc Assessments assess the objectives and that students are held accountable for their learning. Sometimes we focus so much on the authenic part that the assessment does not tell us what we want it to. I think we also need to be careful how kids are grouped in authentic assessments - we need to make sure that we are holding all of the students accountable for showing their learning. Mandy Kelver

Authentic Performance Tasks to me means [[#|applying]]material/lessons learned to life-like situations. The power of Authentic Performance Tasks comes as students realize what they are learning has real application and meaning in life. Authentic Performances Tasks help give students a reason to care about what they are learning. In elementary school these tasks are often simulated to allow students to see how they might use the class lessons in real life. These tasks can bring "fun" back into learning. An example of an APT might be to create, advertize, make and sell a product in a "store", culminating an ecomonics unit. Heather Y.


An Authentic Performance Task is an assesment tool that not only allows the teacher to measure the extent to which the students have reached the learning goal, but it allows the students to see how that learning is relavent to their lives. As a product of learning, the APT may come in many forms. It may be simulated, or it may be something the students can take away with them as an actual life expererience. It may require more creativity than a pencil/patper test, but there are many resources available that can address this issue. It is well worth the effort. Authentic Performance is an assessment tool that gives as much to the student as to the teacher. ~ Linda C.

An authentic performance

Authentic performance tasks are well, authentic. This means that the students are given the opportunity to show their learning or perform in a real life situation under real-life circumstances. This is different from students sitting down and quietly taking a test with a right or wrong answer. An authentic performance task will show the teacher if the student can apply what is learned into a different scenario. If the student truly understands the essential understandings, he or she will be able to apply the understandings to any situation. Authentic performance tasks require thinking and problem solving. Though a student might not do so well on a paper and pencil test about the same content, an authentic performance task should reflect true understanding. An authentic performance task should also be another opportunity for students to learn. (I also posted this page somewhere else...I'm not really sure if this is the right spot or if that would be on the new page I think I formed...) Shawna C.

To me an authentic performace is a real life test. It is applying what you have learned into a real life situation. As a teacher I think there are both pos and cons. I think they are wonderful ways for students to learn. It is truly using those higher level thinking skills and synthesizing all the learning. However the con I see is developing them. I am still struggling with the development of my authentic assessment for my planning template. I guess I just need to get better at these types of questions and situations. Kerry D.

Authentic performance tasks are taking what you have learned and applying it to real life. For example, in Language Arts classes, students learn about the writing process. Then an authentic assessment for them would be to write to an editor of a newspaper, create a children's book and send to a publisher, write to a congressman to persuade them of something, or write to the prinicipal of some change they would like to start in their school. I think it can be challenging to have every assessment be something like this, but you should at least have one per unit. Deann D.

As far as I am concerned, authentic performance tasks are what we as educators need to use to help our students take their learning to a higher level. A performance task asks the student to transfer his/her learning to a new situation that forces her out of her comfort zone and requires her to apply the knowledge she has gained in a new or more complicated way. It is tremendously important for each performance task to be well thought out and used to plan the direction and scope of a unit of study. Performance tasks should be complex so that no student can slide through to an answer, yet the task should allow for each student to place his own individual stamp on it ~ it needs to be adaptable enough that I can claim ownership of it and each of my students can too. This is not an easy assessment to design, yet the time invested in it is time well spent and enriching to all who partake of it. SandieS

I am finding that from my experience working in Expeditionary Outward Bound schools, this type of learning and assessing is what we did on a daily/weekly basis. When we planned our lessons, we always had a performance task that directly related to the unit of study. For example in a first grade unit on life cycles, we studied the life-cycles of bats, owls, and spiders. We then compared these life cycles. The authentic performance task was taking students to a local state park and they split into three groups. Each group worked with either owl, bat, or spider habitats directly. Each group was working to understanding how the ecosystem depended on each animal and students also worked on how to sustain the habitats of each. So, when we are looking at authentic assessment/performance tasks, we are looking to have students apply their learning in a way that truly demonstrates their knowledge and their understanding of the learning. - Alisha L.

A task that requires students to perform their skills in an authentic and relevant way is an authentic performance task. If I teach my students to analyze theme and to use a tool like Prezi and then require that they create a Prezi describing their analysis of theme in a particular story or novel then their performance task is to demonstrate their knowledge by completeing this task for their classmates and myself. When they can successfully manipulate the tool of Prezi and transfer what they know about theme to a particular text then they have been successful. Robin L.

"Authentic" seems to point to the "looks like, feels like, sounds like, acts like" sort of mentality we should have when we are assessing our students skills and abilities. In other words, if I am giving my social studies students an authentic performance task in, say, something having to do with regional geography, then it would make sense that the work they are doing be very reflective of what a geographer (or statistician, or government/NGO official, or researcher, etc.) in real life would be doing. I really like that, in the description of AP tasks found in our reading, the term "background noise" was used to describe what this sort of task looks like. That makes a lot of sense and I believe that our students will respond with a much greater, deeper, and more profound sense of understanding of how to apply learnings and skills if we allow them to truly enter in to this sort of learning engagement. -- Mark W.


To me, an authentic performance task is an opportunity for students to show what they know in a way that is most similar to situations they will encounter in their everyday life. This is a chance for students to apply their knowledge to a new context, thus demonstrating that they have the ability to apply their learning. These activities are highly engaging as there is greater room for personalizing the task than one might find on a traditional quiz or test. Students have an understanding of what the expectations are, as well as how they will be assessed. In writing, for example, students may be studying a particular genre; perhaps persuasive writing. The performance task would be to produce an authentic writing sample for a determined audience (not just the teacher preferrably) which includes the essential learnings from the unit that were supported through mentor text, student discussions, shared writings, independent practice, demonstrated writings, and think-alouds by the teacher (just to name a few strategies). I would see the writing sample being open-ended so that students can choose their topic, for example: Influence a school decision-maker to make change to a current school policy by supporting your argument with relevant evidence. This would allow students to apply what they know about the genre and the writing process in general; demonstrate an understanding of the types of evidence that provide strong support for an opinion; and an ability to select a topic and align the proper audience and language that would be most appropriate. With students having this much flexibility in making choices that work for them in their writing, they will show what they know rather than what they don't. ~ Melanie D.

An authentic performance task is a task that is real. Students are demonstrating what they know in a situation that is like what adults face on a daily basis. They are real world applications of their learning. The students have a real audience or one that is simulated to address while they are performing their authentic task. An authentic performance task allows students to internalize what they are doing and why they are doing it. It goes beyond classroom learning and allows for students to see a purpose for whay they are learning and doing. These tasks are known by students in advance (linking to the idea of backwards design and essential questions) and provide students the opportunity to show what they know and understand about a particular topic in a situation that is "real." It may be simulated, but it is a situation that could be real. - Dan P.
Authentic assessments are those which allow students to make real world applications in order to demonstrate their undertanding of content and ideas and to personilize it for themselves. It moves the learning away from simple knowledge of ideas to greater depth of understanding. More important it allows students to apply the ideas to real world situations and attempt to get them to understand why it is that they are having to do this.-Levi B.

To assess a student authetically is to address the skill and application with the end goal in mind --- for example -- in the visual arts if the learning is wrapped around the big idea of proportion and the human figure and the students are beginning their study with knowledge of proportion and how to use this tool for creating figure drawings --- the authentic performance task to assess for knowledge and understanding of figurative proportion is gesture drawing and figure drawing --- a performance task is given over and over not in a isolated instance to move the abstract knowledge to concrete 'learning' rather a performance task is a visible ingestion of understanding by the student given out from the student in their voice in a corridor of skills that is created by the teacher. Elizabeth B.
Authentic assessments are assessments which allow students to perform a task or activity that will help me to identify their true understanding of the content. They are most definitely "real world" applications. In Bloom's Taxonomy, application is one of the higher level forms of thinking. I also feel that students respond extremely well to being ask to apply their knowledge in a hands-on, interactive format. Authentic assessments are usually a win-win situation for students and teacher alike. Students enjoy them and teachers receive the valuable information they need to assess their students' abilities. Rhoda F.

As always a final goal is reqired so students know what is expected of them. Rubric? Something similar.. What is probably more important is that it is not a written project. Presentations such as fishbowl debates, formal debates, oral presentations, all require student involvement and getting up in fromt of their peers and presenting information. Movies or powerpoints are another form of presentations, but the student can be hidden from direct view. Cartoon, and drawings can impart knowledge without words. Newspapers and magazines, web posting and other IT activities, while requiring words, do so in a maner different than paper and pencils. the hard part is to make sure the freedom of expression is available with enough direction and parameters to keep the event relavent to the subject material.
Kim P
Authentic assessment is just what it sounds like, real, true, valid. I think any real-world application or tasks that shows how students understand what has been taught can be considered authentic assessment. It is a performance assessment that is hopefully engaging for the student and is worthy of their time. Ife we are teaching students knowledge that they will need in the future then why shouldn't the performance task be real-world based?
A rubric is an important part of any assessment and is really important to share with students ahead of time so that they know what is expected of them and the teacher will get better results from the students. These rubrics should assess students understandings of the standards and some sort of measure against the standards.
Megan J



Authentic Performance Task for Unit 1 6th grade Mathematics



Goal: To create and use an algorithm to explain how to find the Greatest Common Factor and why we need to use the GCF not just any common factor. Create your own real world problem where this skill is applicable.



Role: You are a teacher and are teaching other students how to use an algorithm to find the GCF of 144 and 60 and are explaining why this skill is important in a real life situation. (ie: How does this apply to comparing two fractions to determine equivalence?)



Audience: 5th and 6th grade students



Situation: You need to convince 5th grade students and your classmates that there is a reason for knowing how to find the GCF. (Other than the fact that I told you it is important. How does this skill relate to our world? Where might it be useful in everyday life for adults?)



Product: A presentation using some form of technology to present to Mr. Moore’s 5th grade students and our own classroom.



Standards and Criteria for Success:

Standard 1, GLE 2: Formulate, represent, and use algorithms with positive rational numbers with flexibility and accuracy.



  • Demonstrate an understanding of an algorithm for finding the Greatest Common Factor
  • Explain why finding the GCF is useful beyond the classroom



I noticed many people are using GRASPS to write their APTs. Until this lesson, I had never heard of it. I also noticed we are going to be learning more about it in Session 6, so I decided to give it a try. It seems relatively simple for what I wanted to accomplish and am not sure if I am on target. I also like to leave things open to students and not get too detailed because they interpret things on their own level and come up with impressive ideas that I never thought about. I am also including our 5th grade students as part of the audience because we work as a 5/6 team and try to learn from each other. We only have one 5th and 6th grade class and a 5th/6th combination, so it is a unique situation we have at Red Rocks Elementary. I hope to learn from my students and adjust this ATP as we move through the unit. I believe our students are our best teachers. I would also like to tie this in with our science or social studies units, but don’t know what they are since they are currently changing for the upcoming year. – Dan P.


I think that an Authentic Assessment is a way for students to show me that not only do they know the material, they understand it. I want to see if students can find ways to apply their learning to the real world and find meaning in it. I don't want them to just regurgitate facts. I think that my big learning through this reflection is that I need to take more than a day to do this type of Assessment. I think that the more teachers move towards more authentic assessment then they will focus more on understanding and not just "knowing".- Nicole L.

Authentic performance taks, most importantly, get to the heart of what a student understands and is able to do as a result of a unit of study. This task is a transfer of knowledge and skill. It is a place for students to shine. Sue M