Assessing Authentically


Authentic assessment focuses on students using and applying knowledge and skills in real-life settings. For example, you might have students take part in:

  • simulation or role play of a scenario
  • completion of a real-world task
  • assessment in a workplace setting.

More traditional forms of assessment, such as essays and examinations, have no specific application in most real-world settings. Authentic assessment helps students contextualise their learning and to see how real-life conditions or situations, in all their unpredictability, ambiguity and complexity, affect their theoretical knowledge. As they draw together their knowledge and skills to engage productively and solve problems, their behaviour clearly shows, both to staff and themselves, the level of capacity or competency they have gained. Authenticity is a fundamental characteristic of good assessment practice and students usually value it highly.


Case studies

The following video series includes:

  • discussion with Dr Kerry Thomas (from COFA) and her students on how she prepares future art teachers through the assessment of performance tasks.
  • mini documentary on the use of authentic assessment by the Engineering Faculty's Dr Sami Kara.
  • discussion on various aspects of authentic assessment with Dr Patsie Polly from the School of Medical Sciences and Gwyn Jones, Learning Advisor from the UNSW Learning Centre.
  • interview with Chris Walker from the School of Social Sciences and International Studies on his use of role play to bring policy theory to life in an extended case study course.

Videos - Further Aspects of Assessing Authentically

Additional information