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Overview of Authentic Assessment Practices GIFTS presentation – Weber State University – March 3, 2015 Gail Niklason, Heather Chapman – Center for Instructional.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of Authentic Assessment Practices GIFTS presentation – Weber State University – March 3, 2015 Gail Niklason, Heather Chapman – Center for Instructional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of Authentic Assessment Practices GIFTS presentation – Weber State University – March 3, 2015 Gail Niklason, Heather Chapman – Center for Instructional and Institutional Effectiveness

2 What is Authentic Assessment? “…Engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field.” – Grant Wiggins – (Wiggins, 1993, p. 229)

3 An Authentic Task Generally a task we ask students to perform is authentic when 1) students are asked to construct their own responses rather than select from ones presented and 2) the task replicates challenges faced in the real world and is typically multi-dimensional. – Examples: Golfing First-aid

4 Characteristics of authentic tasks Jon Mueller, Authentic Assessment Toolkit Traditional Authentic Selecting a Response Performing a Task Contrived Real-life Recall/Recognition Construction/application Student-structured Teacher-structured Direct Evidence Indirect Evidence Not either/or, but a continuum

5 Illustrating the continuum Selected Response Multiple-choice tests True-False Matching Fill-in-the-blank Label a diagram Multiple-choice tests True-False Matching Fill-in-the-blank Label a diagram Constructed Response Product-like: Short-answer essay Concept maps Identifying a theme Predict Summarize Product-like: Short-answer essay Concept maps Identifying a theme Predict Summarize Performance-like: Read fluently Typing test Solve a problem Construct a dance Performance-like: Read fluently Typing test Solve a problem Construct a dance Performances Projects

6 Basic elements of authentic assessment Students are asked to develop responses rather than choose from a list of possibly correct answers Fosters higher order thinking Aligns with classroom instruction May use student work that is collected over time Based on clear criteria given to students Allows for multiple interpretations Students learn to evaluate own work

7 Bottom line? Bottom line – authentic assessments make sense to students. Students are able to make the connection between course objectives and learning tasks.

8 Are we implying that traditional assessment is wrong? Or bad? No! Traditional assessment allows us to monitor performance. – They are an efficient form of assessment, valid when well constructed. – Easy to use both formatively and summatively. Authentic assessment supports improved performance. – Tasks are sometimes ill-structured challenges and roles that help students rehearse for the complex ambiguities of ‘real life’. – Meant to focus on the impact of one’s work in real or realistic contexts, allowing students to deal with the messiness of real or simulated settings.

9 So what’s the catch? Developing good authentic assessments is labor-intensive. Tasks and assessments are time-consuming to develop and to complete. There’s the question of reliability of judgment- based scores. – This can be addressed with a detailed rubric.

10 Why do it? Authentic assessments are direct measures – allowing students to use acquired knowledge and skills. Authentic assessments capture the constructive nature of learning. Better integrates assessment with teaching and learning. Authentic assessment provides multiple paths to demonstration of mastery.

11 CLA Performance Task The CLA (collegiate learning assessment) is a standardized assessment given to a selection of freshmen each fall and seniors each spring. The primary assessment instrument used is called a ‘performance task’. This is one example of an authentic assessment. We will walk through a sample assessment, outlining the needed components, and talk through how to develop your own. You can download the summary worksheet here.summary worksheet

12 Each performance task assesses analysis and problem-solving, writing effectiveness and writing mechanics by asking students to answer several open-ended questions about a hypothetical, but real situation. There are four basic components of a performance task: – A scenario – A role – A task – A document library

13 The scenario First, Dr. Eager said that Mayor Stone’s proposal for reducing crime by increasing the number of police officers is a bad idea. Dr. Eager said “it will only lead to more crime.” Dr. Eager supported this argument with a chart that shows that counties with a relatively large number of police officers per resident tend to have more crime than those with fewer officers per resident. Second, Dr. Eager said “we should take the money that would have gone to hiring more police officers and spend it on the Strive drug treatment program.” Dr. Eager supported this argument by referring to a news release by the Washington Institute for Social Research that describes the effectiveness of the Strive drug treatment program. Dr. Eager also said there were other scientific studies that showed the Strive program was effective. Third, Dr. Eager said that because of the strong correlation between drug use and crime in Jefferson, reducing the number of addicts would lower the city’s crime rate. To support this argument, Dr. Eager presented a chart that compared the percentage of drug addicts in a Jefferson ZIP Code area to the number of crimes committed in that area. Dr. Eager based this chart on crime and community data tables that were provided by the Jefferson Police Department.

14 The role You are a staff member who works for an organization that provides analysis of policy claims made by political candidates and makes recommendations to endorse specific candidates. Pat Stone is running for reelection as the mayor of Jefferson, a city in the state of Columbia. Mayor Stone’s opponent in this contest is Dr. Jamie Eager. Dr. Eager is a member of the Jefferson City Council. Dr. Eager made three arguments during a recent TV interview.

15 The task In advance of debate scheduled for later this week, your office must release a report evaluating the claims made by Dr. Eager and make a recommendation endorsing either Mayor Stone or Dr. Eager.

16 The document library May include the following: A memorandum outlining the Mayor’s proposal Various data compilation presentations: – Report of crime and drug use in Jefferson – Chart showing correlation between crime rate and number of officers by county – Study of Strive drug treatment effectiveness Article from the local paper about the rise in drug- related crime

17 The output The student’s task is to read through the scenario from the perspective of the assigned role. Use the documentation provided to develop a sound argument for or against the mayor’s proposal. Student writes up their recommendation in the form of a memo.

18 Characteristics of a high-quality performance task response: Evaluates whether evidence is credible or unreliable Provides analysis and synthesis of the evidence Draws conclusions that follow from the provided evidence Is well-organized and logically developed, with each idea building upon the last Shows strong command of writing mechanics and vocabulary

19 Sources Wiggins, G., (1989). A True Test: Toward More Authentic and Equitable Assessment. The Phi Delta Kappan, 70(9), Iowa Department of Education. (2007). Authentic Instruction and Assessment. Newmann, M., King, M.B., Carmichael, D. https://grantwiggins.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/authentic-instruction-assessment- bluebook.pdf https://grantwiggins.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/authentic-instruction-assessment- bluebook.pdf Mueller, J. (2008). Authentic Assessment Toolkit. Retrieved from Wiggins, G. (2014, January 26). Authenticity in assessment (re-) defined and explained. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment- re-defined-and-explained/https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment- re-defined-and-explained/ Wiggins, Grant (1990). The case for authentic assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2(2). Retrieved March 2, 2015 from


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