Assessment Blues How Authentic Assessments Saved My Teaching Soul

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Jason Openo


I was either going to quit teaching or I was going to make assessment mean something to me. My interest in creating engaging and meaningful assessments did not start with students, it arose from my desire to stop the stultifying process of inviting meaningless student work (that I had assigned!). I was, after all, ultimately responsible for doing this to them and to me.  Authentic assessments are the answer.  Authentic assessments are ill-defined and open-ended tasks that provide opportunities for students to apply their learning on real-world problems relevant to their discipline (Conrad & Openo, 2018). Students work collaboratively and practice communication, problem solving, self-management and teamwork in mastering course content. I didn’t know about authentic assessments when I first started instructing, but that’s the direction I headed in instinctually.

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