By: Randi Kirkland

Authentic assessments are those that require students to use skills and knowledge acquired in class to projects and scenarios they would encounter in their professional lives. Authentic assessments can be used in conjunction with traditional methods such as quizzes to assess or scaffold learning in multiple ways.

Since the assessments are directly connected to the students’ future careers, they find deeper meaning and become more engaged with the content. Students may use a variety of skills, integrate multiple concepts, and think critically to determine how to address the project or solve a problem.

Some examples include psychology students developing research surveys, education students developing and delivering a lesson to the class, counseling students conducting mock counseling sessions, communications students creating news pieces, etc.

When developing authentic assessments, keep the following in mind:

  1. Align the assessment to your learning objective(s). Make sure the assessment measures what your objectives says you want to measure.
  2. Decide what the students will produce (paper, project, product, etc.). Make a list of tools, technologies, and other resources students will need in order to be successful.
  3. Determine the logistics of the project which include the requirements, how they will submit the assessment, deadlines, and if they are working individually or in teams.
  4. Develop a timeline. Breakdown larger projects into chunks or provide checkpoints. Determine when the project needs to be introduced and when students need to submit items for review or grading. Having milestones or checkpoints along the way can help students to stay on track and give you the opportunity to redirect as needed.
  5. Outline your grading policy. If it is a team project, tell students if they will be graded individually or in groups. If there is a peer evaluation component, share how that factors into the grade. Provide a rubric or checklist of the requirements so that students can assess their own work before submitting it for a grade.

For more information, view these resources and examples of authentic assessments:

If interested in assistance with instructional design assistance in designing authentic assessments for your online, blended, or face to face course, please contact Samira Laouzai at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..