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Why Authentic Assessment Matters

How do you know if a student is learning? It’s an important question for instructors and institutions to address, but the answer is more complex than it seems. Many educators shy away from more authentic means of assessment at the higher ed level because it takes more time, requires additional resources, and it’s difficult to implement within traditional classrooms. But authentic assessment is important if we want students to develop into successful professionals. Here are four reasons why it matters.

Learning Outcomes

Most colleges and universities use traditional forms of assessment to gauge what students know, but these methods — which typically involve the memorization and regurgitation of facts — aren’t always indicative of what students truly understand. Because multiple choice tests and other standardized forms of evaluation often stymie creativity, limit critical thinking, and lack feedback capabilities, some students struggle to show their actual comprehension level. This has led many within the field of education to push for more authentic forms of assessment.

Instructor Feedback

Countless studies have demonstrated how authentic assessment benefits students, yet these more personalized forms of evaluation actually help educators too. Instructors rely on feedback from assessments to adjust what they teach and how to better reach students, but standardized tests don’t allow for much reflection on the part of instructors. It’s impossible to understand what students were thinking when instructors only see what answers were missed and the overall results of an electronically-graded assignment or test. Oral presentations, video-based activities, constructed-response items, and other forms of authentic assessment give educators more opportunities to provide students with feedback and improve their own teaching style.

Engagement and Interactivity

As more and more higher ed institutions expand their online class offerings, it becomes even harder for instructors to create meaningful relationships with students. And so it came as no surprise that a recent survey from The Learning House Inc. revealed that students in online courses crave more interaction with their peers and instructors. The disconnect among students and their educators stresses the importance of implementing different forms of authentic assessment into online classes. Not only do these exercises facilitate student engagement, but they also encourage more interactivity among students and instructors.

Soft Skill Development

The benefits of authentic assessment extend beyond just academic purposes as well. As students participate in exercises like oral presentations and video-based activities in their classes, they’re also gaining valuable soft skills. The ability to communicate effectively, demonstrate critical thinking, and collaborate with others are all attributes that employers value. Landing a job takes more than technical expertise, so students stand to gain more from authentic assessment than standardized testing and other forms of traditional assessment.

Bongo enables authentic assessment by having students apply their knowledge, demonstrate critical thinking, and collaborate with peers through video. Higher ed institutions can utilize Bongo’s Video Assignments and Virtual Classroom to increase student engagement in online courses, help them develop soft skills, and make classes more interactive. Visit Bongo’s website to learn more about how our software can impact your students.

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