The authenticity of ‘authentic’ assessment some faculty perceptions
McDermott, R., Zarb, M., Daniels, M., Nylen, A., Pears, A., Isomöttönen, V., & Caspersen, M. (2017). The authenticity of ‘authentic’ assessment some faculty perceptions. In FIE 2017 : IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference 2017 (pp. 1-9). IEEE. doi:10.1109/FIE.2017.8190604
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The attempt to embed Authenticity within the learning process in higher education has been a driving principle within many pedagogical approaches to Higher Education developed over the past three decades. The desire to allow students to learn in a manner that closely resembles the way in which expertise is developed outside the academic environment is a central element of problem-based, inquiry-based and projectbased learning. Exploring the implications of authenticity for student achievement and the ways in which this should be assessed has led to innovative teaching methods and ways of evaluating student performance. Unfortunately, authenticity, and authentic assessment in particular, are concepts which are open to a range of interpretations, not least in an educational context where they may be used by both teachers and students with a variety of meanings. This paper investigates the working definitions of authentic assessment used by teaching staff within a Computing department in one U.K. university. We begin by giving an overview of some relevant aspects of authentic learning, which, historically, draws on pedagogies such as situated learning and social learning theory. We then focus on authenticity in the assessment process and describe a number of models which have been used to identify elements that contribute to this range of meaning. We analyse the descriptions of authentic assessment given by academic staff in terms of these concepts and suggest a framework which can be used to integrate the responses and characterise staff understanding of the authenticity. We then briefly compare these findings with other work investigating student responses to the same question and draw conclusions concerning the relevance of these factors on curriculum development, the use of assessment to drive learning and the role of staff development in promoting positive change in these areas. Finally, we make suggestions for further work. ...