To extend your knowledge from page 1, click on the links below to learn more about Authentic Performance Assessment. Then help your classmates build an effective definition to include examples for Authentic Performance Assessments.

I believe I wrote a pretty complete definition on the "what is an authentic performance task" page according to the links here. One additional understanding that I found from these new readings, however, is that traditional paper and pencil tests are used as one piece of a more complete assessment portfolio that can include multiple forms of assessment for a unit. A complete picture might have traditional tests or quizzes used as skill "snapshots" to sort of take the temperature of individual skill acquisition, and then it also has informal assessments and performance assessments tied to standards to demonstrate understandings and knowledge. Some performance assessments make it somewhat difficult to assess individual achievement if they are group projects. Here are a few examples of performance-based authentic assessments from the websites related to my content area. In each case, students assume a role and create a product they present to the class. The presented product follows a set of criteria that requires higher order thinking skills and deep understanding of content knowledge demonstrated through analysis or explanation, justification of answers and application of historical contextual knowledge.

US History
· Colonial Stock Prospectus—Each student will create a stock prospectus— a pamphlet to convince investors back in England to invest in an American colony. The role of the student is a marketer appointed by the governor of one of the 13 colonies (assigned) who must research their colonies' offerings, the obstacles, and the potential returns to the investors (audience). They must create a pamphlet/brochure which incorporates text, graphics, and source information, a 2 minute oral presentation in which they will sell their ideas to the investors. The performance must meet criteria on the rubric (evidence of colonial benefits, liabilities, and returns; use of visuals).

Social Studies
In order to address the inquiry question: If Texas were to be divided into five separate states, as was specified in the Annexation Act of 1845, how would you draw the boundaries? students will assume the responsibility of enacting the requirements of the Annexation Act of 1845. They receive committee appointments and will draw up the boundary lines for the new states. They must follow these guidelines: Each of the new states must have approximately the same population. Each of the new states must have a fairly diverse economic base [7.7(A)], a mix of agriculture and other economic activities (manufacturing, retail, services). Each of the new states’ boundaries must be drawn to eliminate panhandles and other awkward or isolated areas; the state boundaries must also follow existing county boundaries. Each new state will have a capital that is central to the population of the new state. Each new state will have a name reflecting some cultural [7.19 (A)&(B)] or historic [7.1-7.7] aspect of the new state. Each new state must have some unifying theme, which can be physical, historic, economic, or cultural. Each group (or individual student) will be required to make an oral presentation justifying and explaining the boundaries of the five states and each state’s theme using a map and other graphics as appropriate. Each must prepare a list of the sources used to defend the divisions and the preparation of the map.
Suzanne N.

The reference in "whatisit." about golf was great. It is interesting that gym class has morphed in being more test prone what the rest of academics struggle with authentic. For too long we have focused on the skills in isolation and now we have to think about the task that the skills would be used in. This is tough! We know how to teach our content and can relate big world ideas to why students have to learn the skills, but to create an authentic activity for a unique group of kids, where do we begin. The article grant-wiggins-assessment made me think about the order of designing more clearly and from that I fell we have a good starting place for a definition of Authentic Performance Assessments. Using the goal decide what is the big idea, how is that used in life. Then along with testing, design what the authentic assessment that would align with that goal would be before even pondering the lesson plans. What will show you as the teacher that students have the skills and depth of knowledge required. Kristina M.

I liked the reference about "what big people do" from the article. Authentic assessment, or performance assessment makes it clear that students will need to be able to perform tasks that resemble situations they would encounter in the business world. Authentic assessment, while big on choice and creation as well, also needs to be done with purpose...with a set of standards/guidelines directing where the finished product ends up. Otherwise, while a student may have learned a lot in the process, the learning may not even be close to what was intended by the teacher. ~Sean S.

Authentic performance tasks and assessments require the type of demonstration that will aid in the 40 year learning. Authentic assessments require the learner to
demonstrate the skills and mastery levels through application. As Richard Stiggins confirms, " authentic assessments require demonstration of specific skills and competencies and application of the knowledge that is mastered. What made most sense to my thinking was the work I read by Mueller. He states that the best measures of a students knowledge blend both traditional assessments and authentic assessment. He describes the best use of the traditional assessments; quizzes, tests, checkpoints etc. to be those useful small interval checks along the way of the unit teaching, those that confirm learning is occurring or that reteaching is needed. Those authentic assessments are the end result, those that drive the planning of the curriculum that we are delivering. Thoughtful planning in the creation of the authentic assessment is crucial; communicating what the expectation is at the beginning of the learning allows for students to see the big picture they will be needing to master.
Authentic performance tasks require students to use skills, strategies, and knowledge learned while completing a real world task that an adult would need to perform in his personal or professional life. It requires the student to explain, apply, or synthesize their knowledge to show true understanding through a multiple step process / project. The project is a quality piece that presents justifiable information or answers that can be used for further learning, investigation or research. It is outlined with clear task objectives, and has a rubric or other document that guides the completion of work and is used for the final evaluation of the project. Some authentic assessment projects could be:
  1. Data Collection and Analysis to solve a real world problem
  2. Using historical events to present solutions in order to solve a present world problem.
  3. Pretending to be another person (maybe historical) in order to explain how one feels, thinks, or perceives life.
  4. Investigating a hypothesis by running a number of scientific experiments.
  5. Architectural building or diorama reproductions Lisa L.

These websites were very helpful. I agree it seems like we will teach to the test, but still just the opposite. We use an assessment tool that is to guide instruction. This assessment tells us what the students do not know. I then direct teach these skills they need. When I know the ultimate outcome of my instruction is to have the students read, that is my test at the end of my instruction, to read. I obviously have to direct teach this skill, and without the guilt of teaching to the test. "A rigorous measure of what students can do with the knowledge they have acquired" is the ability to read any print I put in front of them. This would be a real-world task of the skills I am teaching. Marybel

I found all the websites to reitrate a lot of what I learned during my masters program especially in my assessment classes. The problem seems to me that even though we value authentic assessment it appears that we don't since the only thing that really matters is standardized testing results. The new language arts curriculum involving genre study seems to completely not focused on CSAP or Acuity (which I admire.) I loved the line that addressed that assessments are generally only a snapshot of the big picture, hmmm, so true but do we really use them that way. I think that authentic assessment is something that must be used if we want to fit the overall goal of helping prepare students for the real world. In the Wiggins site it states that, "In the workplace you don't get a multiple choice test to see if you are doing your job well," thus a traditional test should not be the only indicator of how well a student is understanding the curriculum. I like the idea that authentic assessment supports the needs of the learner not the needs of the teacher. Thus it should be a way for students to show off what they have learned or what they have gained during the unit. Natalie K.

On the Jon Mueller website I found the answer to something I've been wondering about. We have been chastized not to teach to the test, and now with BD we are encouraged to do just that! I've always figured that teaching to the test was a good idea if the test really assessed what we want the students to learn. Thinking about CSAP(not that it is an authentic assessment), wouldn't we want students to know what is assessed on the test? So why not teach to it? CSAP aside, I think any definition should include the importance of clearly stating to the students what will be on the assessment.
An example for a World Language Unit on time would be to have students model a conversation between two students, one a new student and another helping the student read and follow a new class schedule with times and classes on it.Cynthia H.

Authentic Performance Assessments are... to validate student ability to apply, transfer, incorporate knowledge into some sort of real world task. I looked at some student created Romeo & Juliet videos and they were an attempt to interpret the story line into modern English and act out the major scenes. The use of technology was excellent but I would argue that the language was "over the top" and unnecessary to make the points. Therefore the authenticity was a bit lacking. Wiggins says that

In a conversation about public education, a neighbor of mine once vehemently stated that she disliked public education because it did not provide enough competition. In my reply, I pointed out, this is not a basketball game, and we don't want anyone to lose. I appreciated what Grant Wiggins said - "Genuine acounability does not avoid human judgement." Authentic assessment is a rigorous measure of what students can do with the knowledge they have acquired. Rather than just competing for who can remember the most right answers, students actually have to put this into practice. This is not the "touchy feely" world of "everybody wins no matter what" that my neighbor perceives, It is a world in which everyone is held accountable until the standard is achieved.. It is not a competition, it is a journey. Everyone may not arrive at the destination at the same time, but everyone will arrive. That is what authentic assessment is about. Examples of authenitic assessment may include some of the following ideas:

  • A famous author is visiting our school. Write a persuasive essay to a panel of judges to tell them why you should be one of the students chosen to have lunch with the author.
  • You are an ambassador for a Middle Eastern country who is participating in a fair designed to inform people of other nations about your country. You will prepare your booth, and be present to answer questions about your country.
  • You have been hired by a movie studio to design an authentic replica of New York City in miniature. Choose a building, and draw a scaled model 10% the size of the size of the original. Be sure to include a key that explains your scale. ~ Linda

I liked this quote from the "pareonline" link-

"The best tests always teach students and teachers alike the kind of work that most matters; they are enabling and forward-looking, not just reflective of prior teaching. In many colleges and all professional settings the essential challenges are known in advance--the upcoming report, recital, Board presentation, legal case, book to write, etc. Traditional tests, by requiring complete secrecy for their validity, make it difficult for teachers and students to rehearse and gain the confidence that comes from knowing their performance obligations. (A known challenge also makes it possible to hold all students to higher standards)."
When studetns know before hand what will be expected they can perform their best (if they want to). In real life we do often know what is expected and we prepare accordingly. In authentic performance assessments, when we give students a rubrics and defined expectations, they can rise to the occassion. If the assessment is properly designed, it will allow students time to think through and study the issues and not just regurgitate classroom information. It will allow the struggling student time to learn and the quick to remember to apply. Heather Y.

I liked this definition of authentic performance assessment: "A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills" by Mueller. But I really enjoyed the article about Fermi type mathematical problems, where kids are "given the opportunity to ask quantitative questions for which there is no practictal way to determine exact values." I immediately thought, how more "real world" can you get? One example I immediately started thinking about is this recent earthquake in Chile. How long would it take to rebuild the coastal cities? How much will it cost? I started narrowing my focus and began to wonder, how strong is an 8.8 earthquake? Do my students know that an 8.8 earthquake is not the double of a 4.4 earthquake? I started to think I could have my students create an emergency plan to help a country in crisis dealing with financial problems, land usage, resources etc. Not to belittle this tragedy, I think there are so many situations around us that lend themselves to authentic assessments, I just have to open my eyes more to tap into these real-world problem solving opportunities. Melissa B.

What does the student know?

I appreciated the Grant Wiggins article about Authentic assessment, because I think it stress an important idea that it is easy to forget when planning complicated assessment. What does the individual student know? Regardless of what the assessment looks like, teachers can not lose track that the goal of the assessment is to assess. In the end you have to be able to say, "Hey this kid really got it and this kid didn't. I wonder what I can do to help kid B." I mention this because I struggle with it as a teacher. Whenever I do wonderful authentic performance assessment, so much energy goes into the design and the production that by the end when the students turn in their work, I'm exhausted and I'm ready to say, "wow everybody learned a lot." The trouble is, I can rarely prove it. I' m going to work hard in the assessment I am planning to design it in a way that record keeping is easy, natural, and effective. Easy right? Andrea P.

Still trying to figure this wiki thing we'll see if this works. Someone above said, "a rigorous measure of what students can do with the knowledge they have acquired." I like the idea of "rigorous measure". I also like the idea of using real life situations - like the earthquake in Chile. Unfortunatly, real life events (as sad as this may sound) don't always fall at the right time of the year for specific unit study. But as Melissa said, we just have to open our eyes to real life situations that can lend themselves to our suthentic assessments. I like the idea of letting students apply creativity or use other talents they may have when developing authentic assessments. So many students would find more interest in showing their best if they could utilize talents like creativity, technology, and other methods of "showing" their understanding. Jessie W.

I found the What is Authentic Assessment section for the most helpful. It gave me a clear idea of what authentic assessment was vs. traditional assessment. Authentic assessments expect students to use their acquired knowledge to perform a task where as a tradition test primarily asks kids to recall. I find this true in language arts because writing is an authentic task in my class because we are always writing for the purpose of presenting our understanding of something. It might be to write a book review for the school library or to write an e.mail to their parents about something they want with the argument to go along with the request. Using a tradition test would not work in a writing class. The point is to use acquired knowledge for a specified purpose not to answer a question correctly on a test. To get to those 40 year understandings one needs to participate in more authentic assessments. - Lori R.

I also like the idea of a "rigerous measure." I see authentic assessment as something that assesses the higher levels of knowledge. It goes beyond recall to analysis and synthesis (or assess higher levels of the 6 facets of understanding). I think the defintion on "Authentic Assessment Toolbox" hits the nail on the head. It defines authentic assessment as something in which "students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrates meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills." The word meaningful really stands out. AA makes students show true understanding and translate knowledge into application. This is difficult and teachers must really focus on the understandings being assessed and not just creating a "cool" assessment. Mandy K.

The idea I found that basically sums up authentic assessment for me came from the pareonline article. This article states that for assessment to be authentic, especially when it comes to performance tasks, the task must "require students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge." The assessment must be designed to allow students to show what they have learned. The teacher must carefully construct the actual task in order to ensure effective assessment. Dawn D.

After going through the websites, the one I liked the best was the Jonathan Mueller one. The reason I preferred that to others was that it gave the most examples. I can appreciate the theory and philosophy, and that all makes perfect sense, but I want to be shown how other teachers have done it. I really like the real world examples. I do find it intriguing how all subjects can be made into authentic assessments. I think by doing that students would be motivated to learn as well as more interested in the topic. Kerry D.

I really enjoyed reading all of the articles listed above. I realized that prior to studying Authentic Assessment, this phrase was not part of my vocabulary and meant nothing to me. It is almost a new idea to assess authentically. Both Jon Mueller and Grant Wiggins laid out what Authentic Assessment is in a practical and straight-forward way. I appreciated how Jon Mueller stated the differences of Traditional Assessment and Authentic Assessment. Where TA tests a body of knowledge and is driven by the curriculum, AA is the other way around and drives the curriculum through planning by backward design. The students must be "capable of performing." I liked the analogy of golfing. Sure, anyone could ace a test on golfing- they have the knowledge of the game. However, true authentic assessment would come by their actual performance on the golf course after lessons. I realize now how important it is to give students authentic, real-life assessments so that we as teachers can see that they can transfer learning to real-life situations. It is kind of like having book smarts but not street smarts. You need to have the street smarts too in order to survive in the real world. I like how Wiggins brings TA and AA together when he says students must be "effective performers with acquired knowledge." Both kinds of assessment are important in their own ways, but Authentic Assessment is "enabling and forward looking" (Wiggins). Shawna C.

I enjoyed browsing through all of the websites listed above. Some were better than others, and I found some things I could actually use. I like the example given by Grant Wiggins about learning to drive. This is so true, that one can learn from reading a book, but until it is put to real use, we don't really know that we learned it. He states "Authentic assessment requires students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge." I think he means we have to teach students to be thinkers, not just memorizers of facts. Using authentic assessment will help us see a better picture of what our students have learned, than a traditional assessment. I tell my students that we have to look at a body of evidence to determine what they actually have learned, because one assessment doesn't tell all about them. It is just one small picture about them on one day, when over time the other assessments will show more of what the student is all about.
Deann D.

I've really enjoyed exploring these websites. As I think about the assessments at our school, I am saddened. We use "CSAP like" (multiple choice or short constructed response) assessments so that the students will be prepared for the test. When in fact, what we really need to be doing is preparing children for their futures. Mueller hit the nail on the head when he described authentic performance assessments as, “"A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills.” Our students need to be prepared for real-world tasks and it is our job to provide them with the skills necessary to complete these tasks.
-Katie S.

Some of the website listed at the top of this page were much better than others, some didn't lead anywhere, and some were just a rehash of ideas/concepts we've been discussing. I found the Mueller website the most useful - because not only were there examples of different types of 'authentic assessment' there were also lots of examples of rubrics and explanations of how to design one that I really appreciated. The simple fact that I was encouraged to start out simply and expand slowly really increased my comfort level with this entire concept of 'authentic assessment' more than anything else I have read or dreamt of. I also really liked the sharing of information that 'authentic assessment' was the same thing as other names that I have heard and used in the past (i.e. direct, performance, and alternative assessment.)
~ SandieS

For me the link to the Burlington K12 page was the most powerful. It really allowed me to visually see a performance task in action. It displayed how choice and assessment go hand in hand. I appreciated how the assessment was open-ended, but very much tied to the learning that had occurred through the unit of study. As I looked at these pages further, I am also realizing that this is a much more practical way to teach. This type of learning and assessing can really help teachers identify what students truly understand and what misconceptions they may possess after the learning. It is very motivating! Alisha L.

Definining Authentic Performance Tasks requires that we consider most completely what Johnathan Mueller said on his page about traditional assessments complementing authentic assessments. His example about the driver demonstrating his abilities in both the written form (showing he knows the rules) and the performance of his driving skills (showing his ability) is really the best example of what we need in our classrooms. I would like my students to be able to show me in a traditional assessment that they understand the rules that govern semi-colon use and then I would also like them to show me in their own writing how using a semi-colon correctly in their writing can enhance their purpose. Just being able to use a semi-colon correctly is okay, but knowing what the rule is and describing why they made the choice to use this punctuation would be even better. Robin L.

Authentic Tasks are just that AUTHENTIC. An authentic task is where a student can demonstrate their learning through a real-life situation, performing a task, showing direct evidence of learning, construction/application of learning, and/or student structured. As a teacher it is important to remember that assessments drive the curriculum and that you should know how and what you will be assessing prior to designing your lesson plans. Most of all I agree with Grant Wiggins comment, "testing is a small part of assessment". There are many different "assessments that can occur during a lesson where students can demonstrate understanding and a students "understanding" should not just be on "big-bang" test at the end of a unit. May F.

After a little digging, I found my way to Mrs. Q.'s AP history course and the work that she was requiring of her students. The performance task that she established is so well-rounded and engaging, that I would enjoy diving in with the kids. I've copied over the performance task (with the link) so that you can see fully which route she is having her students take as they fully display their learning and engage the skills they have developed. Here's what she's having her AP kids do:
Performance Tasks/Projects
· Colonial Stock Prospectus—Students will create a stock prospectus—you are to create a pamphlet to convince investors back in England to invest in your colony. The problem is many investors have given up because of Native American uprisings, unsafe passages across the Atlantic, and a lack of return on earlier investments. You have been appointed by the governor of one of the 13 colonies (assigned) and you must research your colonies offerings, the obstacles, and the potential returns to the investors (audience). You must create a pamphlet/brochure which incorporates text, graphics, and source information. You must also create a 2 minute oral presentation in which you will sell your ideas to the investors. Your performance must meet criteria on the rubric (evidence of colonial benefits, liabilities, and returns; use of visuals).
The preparation (in the form of defining essential questions, skills, knowledge, and understanding) and the extent to which she is attending to the many types of possible assessment is really great. And, in many ways, does just what needs to be done in the preparing of our students -- the "apprenticing" of them -- in order to give them the tools and skills necessary to the best work possible. Mark W.

I thought all the website provided useful insight, however I liked the edutopia website and the idea on assessments and goals. It states that, "It all starts with, well, what are our goals? And how does this project support those goals and how are we assessing in light of those goals?" As we have disscussed throughout this course the idea of goals as being the beginning and ending, it is so essential that goals be the focus of what we want to cover, but we must start with those in mind. Starting with goals, and then ending with them are key to completing the circular planning process and keeps us focused on what we specificaly want to cover and have students understand.-Levi B.

These websites were insightful in that they provided many examples of authentic assessment and rubrics that go with
them. Our goal in backwards planning is to focus on the goals in the beginning to guide our instruction and assessments. I really liked the example of golf in the first website. It says that a golf instructor teaching students the skills of golf would not assess these same students with a multiple choice test. They would be assessed by putting them on the golf course and asking them to perform. This illustrates the idea that authentic assessment asks the students to perform in a real world situation. This sports analogy makes me think of basketball. I was a basketball player and continue to follow basketball at all levels today. The analyst is someone who can tell you what needs to be done (the multiple choice test) while the player is the person who is demonstrating an understanding and ability to transfer and apply knowledge to new situations on a nightly basis. Our authentic assessments need to ask students to be the player. The analyst should not be able to pass an authentic assessment if it is well written. - Dan P.

Athentic assessment, or performance assessments, are best used when balanced with the use of traditional assessment. A mix of these two will best meet the needs of the students and teachers alike. When students perform real world tasks tht demonstrate an application of the essential learnings (knows, understands, and dos from CAP) they are engaged in performance assessment. These assessments are "worthy intellectual tasks" which will also include rubrics or scoring criteria and standards for success. Some examples in writing are when we ask students to write an actual piece of writing from a genre study using the planning tools (webs, timelines, etc.) that were learned and utilized along the way, as well as the crucial organizational and style traits that were practiced throughout. If we ask students to write a descriptive piece using a web that incorporates appropriate sensory details to paint a picture for the reader, we are having students participate iin performance assessment. If we are giving students multiple choice tests that ask students to identify the best word choice/sensory detail in isolation, we are not. However, each assessment has its place in the classroom. Teachers need to know their purpose to select the best option. ~ Melanie D.

I liked the quote from the Grant Wiggins article that said �Best test always teach students and teachers alike the kind of work that most matters; they are enabling and forward looking, not just reflective of prior teaching.� This sums up a lot of what I feel that authentic assessments should be. Both sides should be learning something from the assessment. This information that the test teaches to both then should guide the next steps of instruction. Having assessments that are authentic help us focus on the most important pieces and keeps us in line to meet the goal in the end. - Christi W-G

OK . I find it a little suspect when people quote huge portions of books and articles -- but this is an exception --- Grant Wiggins in his assessment Edutopia site very directly states the problem faced to visual arts teachers and possibly all teachers whom assign a project and then are faced with grading that project when he states :There's a lot of authentic work that doesn't make for good assessment because it's so messy and squishy and it involves so many different people and so many variables that you can't say with any certainty, "Well, what did that individual student know about those particular objectives in this complex project that occurred over a month?"
And then Wiggins tells us--"...So there's a place for unauthentic, non-real-world assessments. We're just making the distinction that you shouldn't leave school not knowing what big people actually do."
To follow we are directed to think about and understand our own points of contact for the lesson and "...It all starts with, well, what are our goals? And how does this project support those goals and how are we assessing in light of those goals?..."
And then there's the grading and the problem of the personalization of the assignment which is what we want in the end -- because well, this is what makes it authentic but as Wiggins states "...Sometimes we run into the problem that the project is so much a creature of the student's interest that there's no question that lovely learning occurs, but we sort of lose sight of the fact that now it's completely out of our control. We don't even know what it's really accomplishing in terms of our goals other than the kid is learning a lot and doing some critical and creative work." What do you do here ? Give the student a 4/A because gosh they worked so hard ? I'm not convince of that --- hard work is hard work and as I used to say to my High School students -- life is extra credit--- so here's the rub --- I love how Grant Wiggins puts this when he says"...What we have to do is realize that even if we give this kid free reign to do really cool projects, it's still got to fit within the context of some objectives, standards, and criteria that we bring to it, and frame the project in so that we can say by the end, "I have evidence. I can make the case that you learned something substantial and significant that relates to school objectives." YES. Very important --- holding the line and paying attention to the process is what keeps the authenticity of the learning fresh and real and deep. Elizabeth B. I loved the example Mueller gave. He said that both authentic and traditional testing formats have their specific added values. He mentioned that if he had to choose between a chauffeur that could pass only the written portion of a driver's test or a driver that passed the actual driving portion of the test, he would prefer the driver with the ability to apply his knowledge (driving) and not just test out on it (pencil and paper). Although he would prefer a driver that passed both testing formats. Through this example, we can clearly understand the importance of a driver not only knowing what is expected while on the road (traditional knowledge), but he must also be able to drive safelwe y from point "A" to point "B" (authentic knowledge). I believe we all would feel that way when that logic is applied to life or death situations, such as a surgeon who passed the traditional tests but had no "real life" experience performing surgery. It is vital that we teach our kids to apply their learning if they are to compete in the high stakes world they will soon be expected to brave on their own. Rhoda F.

Authentic assessment is that real-world proformance or project that students as asked to show their true understanding. It should be the "DO" assessments that a "productive citizen" can do. We want students to be successful in our society well how else do we test that but to ask them or put them in situations that they will encounter in the real world. I found it interesting that one of the websites talked about the importance of having traditional assessments with our authentic assessments. The example with the driver's test made sense to want someone who can drive a car correctly but that has also passed the written test. I fell like anything else in education assessment needs to be a collection of items over a period of time. Megan J

As an example of the "real world" quality we provide for students when we give them authentic assessments, here are several from a language arts perspective:
  • Write an editorial
  • Write a college admissions essay
  • Write a multimodal essay, as seen in contemporary essays

Each of these asks students to write in a way that may be called for sometime in their lives. We take witing beyond the classroom and into the world. This is authenic assessment.
Sue M

I had thought that I had a pretty good definition of Authentic Assessment but Grant Wiggins brought up something that I know but left out. Testing is just a piece of Assessment. A test is a snapshot. I think I will stop calling what I am doing testing and start talking with my students about assessment.
I especially value his comment that people have turned "Authentic Assessment" into the new "jargon". His intent was to get teachers to find things that their students could do so that their learning was reflected in a "real" capactiy. Not just fill in the blank forms that we had when we were young.
As a math teacher I often struggle with "authentic" things for students to do...especially things that kids find meaninful my pre-algebra class there is a Catch and Release problem that we have students complete to learn about the proportion model. Students count colored beans (that represent tagged fish in a lake). They also have a number of white beans (they don't know this number-the proportion model is used to approximate this). Students go "fishing" and count the tagged and untagged fish in a sample. They repeat this process several times, to model what forest rangers do in the wild and then they use the data to predict the number of white beans (or fish) that they were given in the beginning. I love this project and find it to be very authentic.- Nicole L