Explore UAB

By Zhetao Guo, Ph.D.

Authentic assessment is a type of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of knowledge and skills. Below are some examples of authentic assessments.


Authentic Assessment Ideas

Social Work

Create an intervention plan given a client’s scenario.


Develop a lesson plan for a specific subject.


Role play a counseling session.

Public Health

Create educational material for a current public health issue such as vaccinations.

Criminal Justice

Develop police training regarding police and community relations.


Take vital signs of mock patients.


Plan and build a device.

Foreign Language

Role play conversation.


Develop a business plan for a mock or real company in a student's area of interest.

Benefits of Using Authentic Assessments

Authentic assessments promote student engagement since the assessment is meaningful to students, their lives, or their career. They reflect what students will do in their future career or their personal life. Instructors can assess competence in a skill students will use in their career. In authentic assessments, students apply their knowledge and a variety of skills rather than just answering questions about the content. Students may need to use problem-solving skills to determine which concepts to apply and integrate various concepts through the assessment.

Using authentic assessments also allows instructors to measure students’ ability to apply concepts, create products, and other higher levels of learning that would be difficult to measure on a traditional quiz or test. Paring authentic assessments with traditional assessments provides multiple ways to measure students’ mastery of the learning objectives.

Things to Consider for Using Authentic Assessments

The first step in developing your authentic assessment is to identify your goals or learning objectives. You need to think about the purpose of the assessment, what you want students to be able to do, and what you want to measure.

Second, determine the requirements for the assessment. Do students need to provide a written response, create a product, etc.? Will they complete the work on their own or teams? You also want to think about timing. How long will it take students to complete the project? For larger projects, you may consider breaking the project into parts that are completed throughout the semester and build milestones to keep students on track. Additionally, look at your course schedule to see at what point in the course students will have learned the appropriate content to begin the project.

Lastly, use a rubric or checklist to communicate expectations and grading criteria to students. If it is a group project, state if the work will be graded as group or individually. If there is a peer evaluation, indicate how or if that evaluation will affect students’ grades.

If you need help developing authentic assessments for your course, please contact eLearning Instructional Design Team by submitting an instructional design service request.


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