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Peer Review

Authentic Assessment Toolbox

by Jon Mueller


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 22, 2004 by Teacher Education
Overview: The Authentic Assessment Toolbox is a how-to hypertext on creating authentic
tasks, rubrics and standards for measuring and improving student learning. Major
sections of the tutorial include an introduction, in which
authentic assessment is defined and contrasted with traditional assessments, a
section delineating the benefits of authentic assessment, and a section that
describes a four-step process for developing authentic assessments. These steps
are 1) Identify the Standards, 2) Select an Authentic Task, 3) Identify the
Criteria for the Task, & 4) Create the Rubric.There are also several clear
examples and a glossary. The site is well-maintained and constantly updated.
Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: Education courses that want to provide a thorough and "hands-on" investigation
into educational assessment can use this site for a series of related
assignments. Different sections of this assessment site can be assigned for
reading and students or student teachers can then be asked to develop their own
assessment examples following the clear and specific steps that are outlined in
this site. Furthermore, the glossary provides many starting points for online
investigations in several assessment areas.
Technical Requirements: Basic browsers
Identify Major Learning Goals: Educators will understand what authentic assessment is, how it is used, and how
to create a variety of ways to assess tasks they developed for their students,
Why has authentic assessment become more popular and when is the best time to
use it.
Specific objectives include the following
1)compare & contrast authentic and traditional assessments.
2)identify appropriate standards for an educational goal
3)select an authentic task for an educational goal based on developed standards
4)identify the criteria for recognizing good performance on an authentic task
5)create the rubrics to distinguish between inadequate & adequate performance

Target Student Population: College, Graduate School, and especially Student Teachers and Educators
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some background in understanding why assessment is necessary will make this site
very meaningful, but it is not required.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The tutorial is excellent coverage of an important topic for teachers given the
current emphasis of competency assessment of students and the renewed call for
teacher accountability for pupil achievement. Given this climate it is important
that teachers examine their assessments for relevance to ?real world tasks.?
Authentic assessment and traditional assessment are not presented as an
either/or proposition but both are shown to have different uses in a systematic
assessment of student achievement.
This site is extremely strong in that it brings together many different issues
about assessment and explains them in a thoughtful and sequential manner.Develop
of the
different types of assessment tools is progressive. For example, construction
of the holistic rubric comes before the analytic rubric and the way to determine
the features and levels in a rubric comes before how to include weighted
scoring. The site presents assessment information in a logical, sensible, and
practical manner.

Concerns: No references to other resources for further study. This is particularly
important for graduate students using this site.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Good explanations of the components of authentic assessments ? standards, task,
criteria, rubrics ? and how they are related. Excellent delineated of the
development process in constructing authentic assessments. Also good examples of
authentic assessments that have been developed by the many of the author?s
students.The Workshop sessions, still a work in progress, offer you a chance to
look over the author's shoulder as he helps an imaginary teacher in the
development of standards, authentic tasks and rubrics. Diagrams and
illustrations, such as the one that clarifies Mission Statement, Goals,
Standards, and Objectives--and which are measurable and which are not, can
easily and quite effectively supplement an instructor's lesson or presentation.

Concerns: More student interactivity should be incorporated into the tutorial.
Examination of the site lead to the discovery of only one exercise in which the
student is asked to construct a product. That was in the section on identifying
the criteria for a task It appeared to be a worthwhile exercise and there should
be more of them.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is visually appealing and easy to navigate. There is much depth to the
site, but the organization of the information is clear and logical so use is
very efficient. The site employs a typical hierarchical layout with two
navigational bars clearly signaling structure. Nice design with a good
color scheme for the website leading to clear legibility of type. The site is
well-maintained and constantly updated which means
there is current information available.

Concerns: Individual pages that comprise the site are too long. Even when major sections
of the site are broken into multiple pages these pages are typically too long.
This results in scrolling that hides the navigation bars. Not having the
navigation bars in sight at all times lessened perception of the site?s
structure (and it really is a well-organized site) resulting in more of a
perception of being lost in the site.

Other Issues and Comments: