Assessment is a critical part of the learning process for both educators and students. Through well-planned and delivered assessments teachers can get a complete picture of what a student can and cannot do. With technological advances in online testing platforms and assessment, teachers have access to large data sets that can pinpoint growth and achievement quickly and accurately.
Assessment is not only about collecting data, it should can be used as a learning experience on its own. By developing creative assessments that push students to utilize concepts learned throughout a lesson or unit in a new way, educators can leverage assessment to provide a new and unique learning experience. This type of learning is rooted in the real world with students finding ways to solve problems that may not have straightforward answers. In developing high-quality assessments educators expose students to more learning in a realistic manner, all of which leads to a more authentic learning experience.
What is Authentic Learning & Why Is It Important?
Authentic learning and assessment is an educational approach that centers on real-world, relevant, and meaningful experiences to facilitate a deeper understanding of concepts and skills. It aims to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge taught in the classroom and its application in practical situations. The core idea behind authentic learning is to engage students in activities that closely resemble the challenges and complexities they might encounter in professional or real-life settings.
Key characteristics of authentic learning include:
Real-world context: Authentic learning tasks and assessments are designed to mimic or reflect the types of problems, scenarios, and challenges that professionals face in the real world. This context makes the learning experience more relatable and applicable to students’ lives.
- Relevance: Assessments are connected to students’ interests, experiences, and aspirations, making the content more engaging and meaningful to them.
- Active engagement: Students take an active role in the assessment process, which often involves hands-on activities, investigations, projects, and problem-solving tasks.
- Collaboration: Authentic learning and assessment often encourage collaborative work, simulating real-world teamwork and communication.
- Interdisciplinary approach: It integrates knowledge and skills from multiple subject areas, reflecting the interconnectedness of real-world challenges.
- Reflection: Authentic learning typically involves opportunities for students to reflect on their experiences, which deepens their understanding and facilitates metacognition.
- Student-centered: Students have some degree of autonomy in the learning process, allowing them to explore their interests and make choices that drive their learning journey.
- Application of knowledge: Authentic learning and assessment emphasize applying knowledge to solve real problems and create tangible products.
Examples of authentic learning activities can include:
- Designing and building a functioning model or prototype.
- Conducting scientific experiments and investigations.
- Participating in community service projects.
- Simulating a business venture and making decisions based on real-world constraints.
- Creating multimedia presentations or videos to address specific issues.
- Organizing debates or mock trials to explore legal concepts.
- Writing and publishing articles or blog posts on relevant topics.
An authentic learning experience is considered effective because it helps students connect academic content to practical situations, fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and other essential skills. By engaging in authentic learning experiences, students can better understand the purpose and relevance of their education, preparing them for success in their future careers and endeavors.
5 Creative Ways Educators Can Use Online Testing Tools To Assess Learning
Traditional paper and pencil assessments made it difficult for educators to be creative in how they assessed students. There simply was not enough time to develop and process highly creative and interactive assessments. As such, many teachers opted for standard assessment options such as bubble sheets or essays. However, with advancements in technology, there are so many new and creative ways that teachers can assess learning in the classroom. Here are 5 creative ways to assess student learning.
Portable Custom Interactions Interactions
Within platforms such as TAO through Open Assessment Technologies, educators can develop custom interactions, like math simulators, chatbot interactions , etc. within an assessment to allow students to engage in human-like conversation that changes in real time. When embedded in test items, chatbots enable educators to assess student creativity as there is no single pathway to success.
Many students love to play video games, leveraging this natural love of virtual challenges into learning and assessment is called gamification. Gamification has many benefits including increasing engagement, providing students with multiple chances to continue learning, and increasing accessibility. Online platforms can embed gamification across different content areas to enhance student learning and provide an accurate assessment of student abilities.
Through online learning platforms, teachers can design scenario-based assessments that can guide students through different learning experiences and allow students to make decisions based on information. Scenarios may be unique and provide students with a chance to apply knowledge from a lesson to an unknown situation. This allows educators to assess whether a student has simply memorized content or if they know how to utilize what they have learned.
Interactive multimedia quizzes
Create quizzes that incorporate various multimedia elements such as images, videos, audio clips, and interactive simulations. This approach can be particularly useful for subjects like science, geography, or history, where visual and auditory aids can enhance understanding and retention. Students can interact with the content, making the assessment more immersive and enjoyable.
Leveraging digital collaboration
Foster teamwork and problem-solving skills by designing collaborative assessments on the online test platform. Divide students into groups and assign them a shared quiz or a project that requires a joint effort. For instance, they can work together to solve a complex problem, analyze case studies, or even create a presentation collaboratively. This approach not only assesses their knowledge but also their ability to work in a team.
The Bottom Line
Developing creative ways to assess student learning is a critical part of effectively educating students. Using online testing platforms such as TAO gives educators and school districts tremendous flexibility when it comes to designing and implementing digital assessments. These assessments also allow educators to look at large datasets and make informed choices based on empirical information.
Although finding creative ways to assess student learning may seem challenging, there are five ways that you may creatively assess students using online testing, including:
- Integrating chatbots
- Gamifying assessment
- Using scenarios
- Developing interactive multimedia assessments
- Leveraging collaboration
To learn more about how Open Assessment Technologies and TAO can improve your exam integrity and provide valuable learning for your students, click here.