Authentic learning and assessment

3 January 2007

The term authentic learning has been around some time, apparently, although I had not come across it before today. This paper cites Archbald and Newman (1998) as the first to apply authentic to learning and assessment, although I’m not sure that this is truly the first use of the term.

It does seem to encapsulate what I am trying to investigate though as this list of points from Maureen O’Rourke (2001) suggests:

Use of ICT to provide students with greater opportunities for communication, collaboration, thinking and creativity also provides us with challenges in terms of authentic assessment. The Australian National Schools Network has recently launched a national Authentic Learning and Digital Portfolios project. Beginning with a focus on the whole person, school communities are clarifying what young people should know, understand and be able to do at particular stages of their education.

[..] The project aims to bring learning and assessment together with:

• students having significant control in the construction of their portfolios
• the portfolio structure providing opportunities for feedback, questioning and reflection
• assessment moving to a more central part of the learning process, conducted with students rather than on them
• rich, authentic tasks providing evidence of learning in multiple domains

Guess I need to follow up the Authentic Learning and Digital Portfolios project, although my experience of DIDA suggests that simply using e-portfolios is no guarantee of authentic assessment or learning.

Some texts on the subject: Tombari and Borich, Guba & Lincoln