Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy.
Indirect Evidence Direct Evidence Let me clarify the attributes by elaborating on each in the context of traditional and authentic assessments: Selecting a Response to Performing a Task: On traditional assessments, students are typically given several choices e.
In contrast, authentic assessments ask students to demonstrate understanding by performing a more complex task usually representative of more meaningful application.
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 assessement assessments, we are asked to demonstrate proficiency by doing something.
Well-designed traditional assessments i. Thus, as mentioned above, tests can serve as a nice complement to authentic assessments in a teacher's assessment portfolio. Furthermore, we are often asked to recall or recognize facts and ideas and propositions in life, so tests are somewhat authentic in that sense.
However, the demonstration of recall and recognition on tests is typically much less revealing about what we really know and can do than when we are asked to construct a product or performance out of facts, ideas and propositions.
Authentic assessments often ask students to analyze, synthesize and apply what they have learned in a substantial manner, and students create new meaning in the Authentic assessement as well.
When completing a Authentic assessement assessment, what a student can and will demonstrate has been carefully structured by the person s who developed the test. 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.
Even when students cannot choose their own topics or formats, there are usually multiple acceptable routes towards constructing a product or performance. Obviously, assessments more carefully controlled by the teachers offer advantages and disadvantages.
Similarly, more student-structured tasks have strengths and weaknesses that must be considered when choosing and designing an assessment. 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? We really do not know. At best, we can make some inferences about what that student might know and might be able to do with that knowledge.
The evidence is very indirect, particularly for claims of meaningful application in complex, real-world situations. Authentic assessments, on the other hand, offer more direct evidence of application and construction of knowledge.
As in the golf example above, putting a golf student on the golf course to play provides much more direct evidence of proficiency than giving the student a written test. Can a student effectively critique the arguments someone else has presented an important skill often required in the real world?
Asking a student to write a critique should provide more direct evidence of that skill than asking the student a series of multiple-choice, analytical questions about a passage, although both assessments may be useful.
Teaching to the Test These two different approaches to assessment also offer different advice about teaching to the test.
Under the TA model, teachers have been discouraged from teaching to the test. That is because a test usually assesses a sample of students' knowledge and understanding and assumes that students' performance on the sample is representative of their knowledge of all the relevant material.
If teachers focus primarily on the sample to be tested during instruction, then good performance on that sample does not necessarily reflect knowledge of all the material. So, teachers hide the test so that the sample is not known beforehand, and teachers are admonished not to teach to the test.
With AA, teachers are encouraged to teach to the test. Students need to learn how to perform well on meaningful tasks. To aid students in that process, it is helpful to show them models of good and not so good performance. Furthermore, the student benefits from seeing the task rubric ahead of time as well.
Will students then just be able to mimic the work of others without truly understanding what they are doing? Authentic assessments typically do not lend themselves to mimicry. There is not one correct answer to copy. So, by knowing what good performance looks like, and by knowing what specific characteristics make up good performance, students can better develop the skills and understanding necessary to perform well on these tasks.
For further discussion of teaching to the test, see Bushweller. Alternative Names for Authentic Assessment You can also learn something about what AA is by looking at the other common names for this form of assessment.Member Login Programmes That DevelopTalented Senior Women into Their Company’s Best Leaders Be More Noticed.
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What is Level 5 Leadership? Description.
Level Five Leadership is based on the idea that respect towards people, selflessness by the leader, and a strong powerful commitment to achieve results, bring out the best in subordinates. Context for NCTE’s 21st Century Literacies Framework.
The NCTE definition of 21st century literacies makes it clear that the continued evolution of curriculum, assessment, and teaching practice itself is necessary: Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups.
Grant Wiggins is a nationally recognized assessment expert who has been working in assessment reform for more than twenty-five years. He is president of the educational consulting firm Authentic Education, and with Jay McTighe, co-author of Understanding by Design, an .