If you want to incorporate authentic assessments into your classroom, you have to create authentic tasks for students to complete. Authentic tasks are assignments designed to assess a student's ability to apply a standards-based skill to a real-world situation. For a task to be authentic, it has to have the four characteristics listed below.
Four Characteristics of Authentic Tasks
- Authentic tasks are performance based.
- Authentic tasks have a real-life application.
- Authentic tasks are constructive in nature (students are doing something).
- Authentic tasks are student structured (students are given a choice).
Tips on Using Authentic Tasks to Assess Students' Knowledge
- Tip #1: Student interest surveys and multiple intelligence surveys should be used early in the school year to collect data and the learning preferences of students.
- Tip #2: Choices should be presented to students in ways to perform the task. For example, if you ask students to demonstrate their understanding of a plant cell, students should be able to choose between creating a model, writing an essay, creating a play, etc.
- Tip #3: Clear rubrics and expectations should be designed yet remain open. If you're asking students to demonstrate their understanding of a plant cell, the required knowledge students are asked to display (parts of a plant cell, description of the functions of the parts of a plant cell, etc.) should be made clear. The authenticity comes in the way students choose to express their understanding.
- Tip #4: Create/choose an audience to bring authenticity to the task. Instead of having students just create a model, frame the task where they are making a model to be displayed in the school library for younger students to study. If students choose to create a play based on the plant cell, that play should be performed for an audience with a clear purpose. Authentic tasks are no longer authentic if students are not asked to apply their understanding in a real-world scenario.
Be sure to browse our Elementary section for a variety of tools, materials, and resources you can use to teach and assess students.