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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Authentic Assessment

Raise your hand if you like standardize testing! Ok, just kidding. One of the things I can't hardly stand giving are traditional summative test to my students. I try to give as little tests as possible. Students get bored getting test after test and I can't stand grading stack after stack of them. So then I just heard about Authentic Assessments and it sounds like a possible solution to my problem. Check out the video to introduce yourself to this type of assessment. 

Authentic assessments remind me a lot of "performance tasks". This was a big point of emphasis last year when I taught at NAFCS. Both involve personal, real world experiences. The difference I feel is that performance tasks rely on students taking what they have already learned and mastered and apply in a new way; while authentic assessments can still be used as an assessment to measure mastery of a topic. 
One way I try to incorporate authentic assessment in to my classroom is by bringing real life situations into the classroom. One piece of technology that helps me to do this is my smartphone. I don't have the facts, but I'm pretty sure the majority of you that will read this has one. If so, they are a wonderful tool that can help in education and not just for social media.
No matter if it is math, science, social studies, or reading, I try to be observant of the things around me when I'm out and about that my students can connect to with our topic of study. Whenever I see something useful, I capture it with my phone, either by pictures or video, and through technology share it with the students. I then normally pose some questions to see if they can relate what they have learned with a real world example.

For example when studying weathering, erosion, and deposition, I was traveling when I saw a great example of this.
I showed the photo and shared some minor details of it to the class for clarification and simply asked to write an explanation of what was happening. In their explanation they were to use the terms of weathering, erosion and deposition.

After doing this and further study of the topic, we came back to the photo a couple days later,and had a quick discussion so everyone had a clear understanding of the photo. Next, students were to search and discover an example of weathering, erosion, and deposition of their own, take a photo or draw a picture of it and describe how it is an example of weathering, erosion, and deposition.

What made this assessment authentic was the fact students had to go out in the real world and apply their knowledge. Students had fun sharing and it was great to see all the different examples they discovered and how applied their knowledge.

I encourage all teachers out there to see how they can start adding in more authentic assessments into your classes.

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