Authentic Assessment: an overview

3 mins read

Authentic assessment is an approach to evaluating a learner’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in a real-world or meaningful context. It focuses on assessing a learner’s ability to apply what they have learned in practical, relevant situations rather than just regurgitating memorized information. Authentic assessments are designed to reflect the complexity and diversity of real-world tasks and challenges and often require learners to engage in higher-order thinking skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Authentic assessments can take various forms, depending on the field or subject being assessed.

Examples of an authentic assessment

Performance-based assessments

These assessments require learners to demonstrate their skills or abilities in a hands-on or practical manner. For example, a medical student may be assessed on their ability to perform a surgical procedure or an engineering student may be assessed on their ability to design and build a working prototype.

Project-based assessments

These assessments involve learners working on a complex, real-world project that requires them to apply their knowledge and skills to solve a problem or complete a task. For example, a business student may be assessed on their ability to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for a real company, or a history student may be assessed on their ability to research and present an argument on a historical event.

Authentic simulations

These assessments replicate real-world scenarios or situations that learners may encounter in their professional or personal lives. For example, a nursing student may be assessed on their ability to respond to a simulated medical emergency or a computer science student may be assessed on their ability to develop a software application based on a real-world problem.


Authentic assessments involve learners compiling a collection of their work, such as written assignments, research projects, or creative pieces, to demonstrate their progress and achievement over time. Portfolios allow learners to showcase their skills and abilities in a holistic manner and provide evidence of their learning journey.

Authentic assessment is often considered to be more meaningful and relevant to learners because they require them to apply their knowledge and skills in context, which can enhance their understanding and retention of the material. Additionally, authentic assessments can help learners develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, which are essential for success in the real world.

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