What would you do: Take a first-year nursing student to treat a critically ill patient in a real-life hospital emergency room? Ask them to write an essay to explain, theoretically, how they’d go about treating said patient? Or, have them demonstrate, on a simulation manikin in the UTS nursing labs, how they’d go about taking a patient’s vitals upon arrival at hospital?
If you selected option three, then you selected the best option for an authentic assessment.
An authentic assessment is a task that builds and gives feedback on the skills and knowledge students need once they get a job, in a form that’s similar to some work they might do. It doesn’t need to include every aspect of a full-scale problem they might face in their profession, but it should enable the student to show what they can ‘do’ with what they’ve learned, rather than which facts they’ve memorised.
Authentic assessments are also a great way for academics to see how students use higher-level thinking skills to solve complex problems and how far students have developed their faculty’s – those broad capabilities (like communication skills, Indigenous professional capability and critical thinking) which students should have acquired before graduation.
It’s all part of UTS’s strategy, which aims to produce job-ready graduates who are prepared for the realities of the workforce today and into the future.
Exactly what authentic assessments look like, however, depends on the faculty, school and subject. For example, law students might be required to respond to a brief from a client, journalism students to write articles that cover live events or architecture students to design an outdoor kitchen for a community group, just to name a few.
But, as the precinct around us develops and we roll out newer technologies, there’s even more opportunity to develop real, interactive and engaging assessments for classes.
Here are three creative ways academics are using authentic assessments in their classes today: