Authentic assessment strategies bring us closer to what we really want to know about our learners progress and achievements. More importantly, they help our learners become aware of their acquired skills and gain confidence in their ability to apply these competencies after graduation. In this module, we illustrated the steps involved in authentic assessment designimplementation and evaluation. We saw that an authentic assessment strategy could include a variety of assessment methods with varying degrees of “authenticity”. As you begin to plan your own authentic assessments, we encourage you to explore the sample assignments submitted by your colleagues in the companion resource to this course. Start with a simple authentic task and build upon it gradually as you gain experience and familiarity with these assessment methods. Connect with your institution’s Teaching and Learning staff for additional support and guidance. Remember that your learners’ will appreciate the time, effort, and care you put in to developing your assessments. 

Key Takeaways

  • Authentic assessments measure the application of knowledge, higher-order thinking and transferable career-related skills.
  • Incorporate authentic assessment and principles of authenticity as part of a balanced assessment strategy.
  • Authentic assessment design involves four main steps: identifying learning goals, selecting an authentic task, defining criteria, and developing a rubric.
  • Use scaffolding and peer review / feedback strategies to support student success.

Explore Icon

Explore Further

eCampusOntario. (n.d.) Authentic Assessment. Supporting Teaching and Learning into the Future.

Lombardi, M. M. & Oblinger, D. (2008, January). Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning. EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

Rousseau, P. (2018). Best practices in Alternative Assessments. Ryerson University, Learning & Teaching Office. [PDF]

References Icon


Anderman, E. M., & Midgley, C. (2004). Changes in self-reported academic cheating across the transition from middle school to high school. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29(4), 499–517.

Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Indiana University Bloomington. (n.d.). Authentic Assessment.

Chaktsiris, M., McCallum, K., Luke, R., Cukier, W., Patterson, L., Garreffa, N. & Gooch, E. (2021, March) Is the Future Micro? Unbundling learning for flexibility & access. Is the Future Micro? [PDF]

Lombardi, M. M. & Oblinger, D. (2008, January). Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning. EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

McCabe, D. & Pavela, G. (2004). Ten (Updated) Principles of Academic Integrity: How Faculty Can Foster Student Honesty. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 36:3, 10-15, DOI: 10.1080/00091380409605574

Mueller, J. (2018). Authentic Assessment Toolbox.

Sardo, C. & Sindelar, A. (2019). Scaffolding Online Student Success. Faculty Focus.;s=FF190327;utm_term=FF190327

Simkin, M. G., & McLeod, A. (2010). Why Do College Students Cheat? Journal of Business Ethics, 94(3), 441–453.

University of Northern Iowa. (n.d.). Student Learning Outcomes Assessment.

Villarroel, V., Boud, D., Bloxham, S., Bruna, D., & Bruna, C. (2019). Using principles of authentic assessment to redesign written examinations and tests. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 1-12. doi:10.1080/14703297.2018.1564882

Walvoord, B. & Anderson, V. (1998). Appendix B: Types of assignments and tests. In Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. (pp. 193 – 195). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Wiggins, G. (2020). 27 Characteristics Of Authentic Assessment.


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Rethinking Assessment Strategies for Online Learning Copyright © 2022 by Seneca College; Durham College; Algonquin College; and University of Ottawa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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