It’s always valuable to take a peek at what others are doing, whether to take inspiration or affirm you are on the right track. Today we will look at examples of authentic assessments, provide additional resources for further investigation, and invite you to share some of your ideas and experiences. You may wish to choose 1 or 2 of the following to explore and discuss today and if you like, come back later and peruse the rest.
Case studies and examples
Work Integrated Learning – Pharmacy Course
Santos and Manuela (2017) review an authentic assessment for students of the Queensland University of Technology. Students were engaged in authentic learning experiences and assessments framed by particular models such as the eight critical elements outlined by Ashford-Rowe, Herrington, & Brown, (2014), which we introduced in Day 2 of this coffee course.
Students completed work integrated learning (WIL) in order to provide an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real life practical setting and develop their analytical and problem solving skills. Students took part in a small research project and submission of an abstract. They were also required to create a digital poster for a mock conference presentation.
“…these events provide a unique opportunity to disseminate knowledge involving visual and verbal communication as well as to demonstrate research skills and high order critical thinking. (Santos & Manuela, 2017, p576).
Students were supported throughout the course to gain the skill and knowledge to perform tasks relevant to the Pharmacy field and were provided with feedback from peers and industry professionals who had also been invited to the ‘conference’, all making a solid recipe for authentic assessment.
Digital Narrative Production – Japanese Language Project (ANU)
Carol Hayes at ANU has written an article about her Digital Story Project, designed for students to to “develop the ability to express themselves in Japanese by writing and performing creative/imaginative texts”. Students are scaffolded in stages to produce a digital narrative production. Here is the YouTube video of an appealing mashup that was created of the student work!
This type of authentic assessment is perfect for languages providing an opportunity for students to develop their communication skills culminating in a product.
Nursing students using augmented reality
It’s amazing what you can do with some great technology! Nursing students at University of Canberra use a Hololens in an augmented reality exercise in which they “examine” their “client.”
The authentic assessment allows transfer of learning and application of skill and knowledge in an environment that simulates the actual professional or work environment, and helps students develop their observation and communication skills.
Hands-on, real-world approach – Clinical Skills assessments
A standardised authentic assessment technique known as the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) has been adopted across medical schools to assess student ability to conduct clinical examinations, using work stations with authentic work tasks and simulated patients. The authentic tasks represent real-life clinical situations assessing students ability to apply clinical knowledge and skills and perform under circumstances relevant to the profession.
Using Wikis and Blogs for students to collaborate on authentic tasks
Using online tools such as wikis and blogs, it is possible for students to collaborate in teams to undertake research and outline solutions – this is very useful for research or problem solving projects. Pages can be allocated to students, groups or topics and students contribute their research and thinking. Here is an article outlining how wikis can be used for authentic assessment (although please note that most of the linked examples they provide are no longer available.)
Schools and universities will often use Wikipedia for their students to contribute to or create topics on which they collaborate to publish information. Here is a page which lists such examples. Here is an example of a university academic’s effort to have students participate in the the Wikipedia space used by University of British Columbia, in a topic in gender studies. Wikipedia is an online platform where anyone can create an account and start a topic, or edit and contribute to an existing topic, and as such, it can be a valuable educational resource.
Unfortunately many educational institutions relied on a site called Wikispaces to create wikis for their students but Wikispaces closed their platform a year or so ago and these are no longer available (one of the risks of using external platforms). Moodle has a plug-in for OU Wiki which is a useful tool in Moodle for student collaborative assignments within an institutional e-learning environment.
Blog sites like Blogger.com and WordPress are still available for free for individuals and groups, and it is possible to set up a blog in a very similar way to wikis, with pages for topics, groups, or individuals to collaborate on sharing and publishing information. For an interesting article with examples, of blogs in higher education, go to this collection of archived examples of “collaborative writing” by Chronicle of Higher Education.
ePortfolios for showcasing reflection and other skills
Portfolios have a long history of allowing students to show their skills and knowledge in a different format to the traditional essay or exam. The advent of ePortfolio has expanded this idea to that of collecting examples of skills, achievements and reflections throughout a student’s learning journey. It is particularly relevant to authentic assessment, as it can be an authentic showcase of the student’s transferable work-related skills, knowledge and attributes. There are a number of examples, as well as a discussion of ePortfolio, on the University of Waterloo website.
Please share your ideas about any or all of the following :
- Do any of these examples provide you with ideas or inspiration? Have you used a similar approach to assessment, perhaps involving Work Integrated Learning, online collaboration, or a presentation of some type? If so, how did it go?
- Considering the diverse backgrounds of students, what did you implement to support students to develop the types of skills, understandings and attitudes needed to perform well? Do time pressures and an ever increasing workload impact your capacity to factor in time and space to foster dispositions for learning in your course and assessment design? Share some of the challenges have you faced when designing and implementing authentic tasks and assessments?
Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., Brown, C., 2014 “Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment,” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(2), 205-222, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2013.819566
Serrano S., Jose M., 2017, “Design, implementation and evaluation of an authentic assessment experience in a pharmacy course: are students getting it?”, 3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances, HEAd’17, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/HEAd17.2017.5294 p574-583