Authentic Assessment – It’s Hard to Do – but It’s the Way Assessment of Skills Should Be Done!

Authentic Assessment is hard to do – but it’s the way assessment of skills SHOULD be done!

Authentic assessment refers to assessment tasks that resemble reading and writing in the real world and in school (Hiebert, Valencia & Afflerbach, 1994; Wiggins, 1993). Its aim is to assess many different kinds of literacy abilities in contexts that closely resemble actual situations in which those abilities are used. For example, authentic assessments ask students to read real texts, to write for authentic purposes about meaningful topics, and to participate in authentic literacy tasks such as discussing books, keeping journals, writing letters, and revising a piece of writing until it works for the reader. Both the material and the assessment tasks look as natural as possible. Furthermore, authentic assessment values the thinking behind work, the process, as much as the finished product (Pearson & Valencia, 1987; Wiggins, 1989; Wolf, 1989).

One of the most succinct and accurate descriptions of the authentic assessment process has been written by Professor Jon Mueller, Professor of Psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Professor Mueller (with whom I totally agree) presents the process and discussion on his website, “Authentic Assessment Toolbox.” You can access this website by clicking HERE.

In my book, “WANTED: Eight Critical Skills You Need To Succeed,” I have a chapter on authentic assessment that covers the process – but not in so much detail as that described in Professor Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox.”

Authentic assessment is HARD TO DO – but it is essential if an accurate and meaningful description of how well as student – or any individual – can perform using the Critical Skills.

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