If I were teaching you how to play golf, Difference between persuasive essay and research paper would not determine whether you had met my standards by giving you a multiple-choice test. I would put you out on the golf course to “construct your own responses” in the face of real-world challenges.
Similarly, in school we are ultimately less interested in how much information students can acquire than how well they can use it. Thus, our most meaningful assessments ask students to perform authentic tasks. However, these tasks are not just assessments. Authentic assessment, in contrast to more traditional assessment, encourages the integration of teaching, learning and assessing. In the “traditional assessment” model, teaching and learning are often separated from assessment, i. Another way that authentic assessment is commonly distinguished from traditional assessment is in terms of their defining attributes.
Of course, traditional assessments as well as authentic assessments vary considerably in the forms they take. But, typically, along the continuums of attributes listed below, traditional assessments fall more towards the left end of each continuum and authentic assessments fall more towards the right end. In contrast, authentic assessments ask students to demonstrate understanding by performing a more complex task usually representative of more meaningful application. Contrived to Real-life: It is not very often in life outside of school that we are asked to select from four alternatives to indicate our proficiency at something. Tests offer these contrived means of assessment to increase the number of times you can be asked to demonstrate proficiency in a short period of time. More commonly in life, as in authentic assessments, we are asked to demonstrate proficiency by doing something. Thus, as mentioned above, tests can serve as a nice complement to authentic assessments in a teacher’s assessment portfolio.
A student’s attention will understandably be focused on and limited to what is on the test. In contrast, authentic assessments allow more student choice and construction in determining what is presented as evidence of proficiency. Indirect Evidence to Direct Evidence: Even if a multiple-choice question asks a student to analyze or apply facts to a new situation rather than just recall the facts, and the student selects the correct answer, what do you now know about that student? Did that student get lucky and pick the right answer? What thinking led the student to pick that answer?