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. (I'm not sure if I am posting this in the right place at all so we will see...) Shawna C.