Apart from over assessment, one of the biggest problems in education is lack of authentic assessment - relevant to real world outcomes and engaging for students. But when you scratch the surface, defining what authentic assessment is - let alone designing and implementing it - is not simple. That's why I was interested in the following paper:
Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education (2013): 1-18. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2013.819566
In this paper, the authors list eight elements they regard as critical to authentic assessment:
Authentic assessment should be challenging - tasks which establish connections between real-world experiences and school-based ideas.
The outcome of an authentic assessment should be in the form of a performance or product - does that mean that MCQs can never be authentic assessment? If so, farewell to most of e-learning.
Authentic assessment design should ensure transfer of knowledge - the extent to which the skill, knowledge and attitude being assessed may have meaning beyond the confines of a single content area.
Metacognition as a component of authentic assessment - reflection is required by the learner.
A requirement to ensure accuracy in assessment performance - authentic assessment should simulate and measure a real-world test of ability rather than just match items to curriculum content.
The role of the assessment environment and the tools used to deliver the assessment task - a ‘real world’ environment rather than a hushed exam room.
The importance of formally designing in an opportunity to discuss and provide
feedback - critical to workplace performance.
The value of collaboration - indispensable in most work environments.
So my question to you is this: how authentic an assessment of students is writing an essay?