“Keeping it Real”: A review of the benefits, challenges and steps towards implementing authentic assessment

Vanessa Murphy, James Fox, Sinead Freeman, Nicola Hughes

Abstract


This article presents the findings of a literature review on authentic assessment and forms part of a collaborative research project by lecturers from diverse disciplines in a large higher education institute. Assessment is an integral part of the learning process and alternative methods of assessment, including authentic assessment, can have many benefits for the learner. They can encourage active student learning, improved achievement and greater retention of information, while also providing students with valuable real world experiences in a safe, supportive environment.  Greater student involvement with peers and the wider community, along with the development of essential graduate attributes may also be achieved through authentic assessment methods. Challenges may be encountered in the form of student resistance, working with large groups and resource and time constraints. However, the literature indicates that these challenges can be overcome with careful planning, preparation and student consultation. A guidance template, in the form of an infographic, which outlines a number of steps has been developed from the literature. It is hoped that this template will demystify the process and will encourage lecturers to introduce methods of authentic assessment into their teaching, by providing a straightforward and clear guide to the process and what it entails. Such a template could also potentially be used to facilitate and encourage collaboration across disciplines. 


Keywords


authentic assessment; alternative assessment; performance assessment; authentic tasks

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