Blog Post #5: What is “authentic” about “authentic assessment”? Why are authentic assessments a more valid measure of student learning? Describe any authentic assessments employed or discussed by your host teacher or another teacher at your school.
I’m glad I started to write these blogs after creating my UbD because authentic assessment has a different meaning to me now. At first I thought that authentic assessment was more like the thought of having an original assessment and that it was something I created instead of just copying an already used or book-made test. But now I believe an authentic assessment is a varied way of making sure the students really understood the big ideas and objectives. Yes, by not using pre-made tests can be a way of being authentic but there is also a world of assessments outside of tests. I have never been a fan of test-taking to being with, so this makes assessment much easier for everyone. By authentic assessment, I will make sure there are varied and challenging ways of making sure the students are grasping the concepts and big ideas. For example, in the unit I created there is time and space for a written test but my focus is on the progress they are making in their journal reflections and project-based learning. There is something so valuable about having them work in groups for an extended amount of time on one idea/challenge. These authentic assessments are a valid tool for measuring their understandings because it is varied and the grade doesn’t ride all on one assessment. They have time and valid proof that they are learning new things and working towards a goal with journal reflecting and project-based learning. Some of my students would much rather have a written test to demonstrate what they have learned but I know, as a student and teacher, this is not fair to everyone.
There is a teacher within the Stikine house that is also very project and place-based heavy and she created a project where the students had to pick a theme and create a periodic table based on how the periodic table is arranged using whatever theme they picked. A lot of the students picked their favorite book series or show on TV and were able to understand the periodic table after applying some basic understandings to their themed periodic table. The emphasis was on the big idea/concept and not on if they could memorize and write about how it was organized in a test format.