Assessment Main Page

This page is an ongoing effort to provide assessment ideas related to teacher practice as part of the teaching, assessment and classroom management resource site. Much of the theory discussed here is covered in EDCI 402 at Cal State Los Angeles . Also, visit our growing teacher developed assessment projects site that contains some great ideas how to make authentic assessment theory practical and useful to your class. 

Here are some ideas that will help you be effective with the following topics, including a full exploration of authentic assessment (later on this page):
The term "authentic assessment" is used to describe a variety of things today. For some it means using portfolios, for some it means changing their instruction to include more integrated tasks that involve more real world "authentic application" (go to assessment plans). This examination of authentic assessment will focus on finding ways to assess the most important, relevant essential learning we want our students to show us when we need to put a grade on them.


"If we do not assess it, can we say it is really important?"


Here are the steps I would go through in planning my authentic assessment.

Step 1: Operationalize your outcome(s)
What is it that you want your students to show you (go to writing behavioral objectives). What are the skills, knowledge, abilities, orientations, behaviors, products, and performances that would show you that they have achieved an authentic bit of learning? Break the task down and decide exactly what you are looking for and how you could operationalize a "good" end result.

Step 2: Construct a sound instrument
Like in Olympic events such as gymnastics or figure skating, to assess a complex task it takes a complex scale that is sound and reliable. If you do not have a reliable scale you better not try to put a grade on what you are assessing. How would you feel if you put your best into a project and received a mediocre grade with no criteria or standards- for most of us we take it personally and it does not help our learning, or future performance, or our relationship with our teacher.

You have essentially 3 scale types to choose from

1. A checklist: Here you have a list of the parts of the task stated in the most concrete behavioral language possible. This scale is good for did or didn't /can or can't type behaviors.

YES/did NO/didn't

_____ _____ task 1

_____ _____ task 2

_____ _____ task 3

_____ _____ etc...

Checklists are best for performances that are defined by did or didn't - there or not there characteristics. These tasks need to be observably evident and can not require interpretation.

2. A Primary trait scale/analytic scale: These are best for performances and products that have a complex series of traits. If the definition of a "good . . ." can not be reduced to one holistic scale, separate traits must be determined, and this scale type is necessary. (go to primary trait examples).

Conceptual Outline of a primary trait scale (actual scales need to contain very concrete observable characteristics)
Trait #1 (i.e.,Content) Trait #2 (i.e., Mechanics) Trait #3 (i.e., Organization)
Excellent level
Very Good level
Good level
O.K. Level

3. A Holistic Rubric Scale: This scale is best for performances, products and skills that can be reduced to a series of qualities that define the "good/or ideal outcome." (go to rubric page).

Conceptual Model of a Holistic Rubric

Each level shown is inclusive of the last and illustrates ever increasing qualities of achievement acending to the top level that includes all that is asked for a student outcome that "hits the target."

3. Things to consider when using "authentic" types of assessment.