Using Authentic Assignments to Assess Student Learning

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As an administrator, I often ask myself whether learning has taken place—although my language may be a little more colorful. I want to avoid wasting my student’s time and effort, and even more so, I really do want to make sure that my students have learned something. In addition to my professor role, I serve as an administrator and have served as a graduate program director in the past; in that role I often encouraged other faculty to use authentic assignments to assess student learning. As administrators, if you have never heard of authentic assignments, this article will be a helpful overview as you think about how to encourage your faculty to develop strategies for authentic assessment. It begins by framing authentic assignments within the context of student learning and assessment before offering practical advice and suggestions.

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