Modeling Authentic Assessment

Below is the “Grading” section from my in-progress syllabus for a course I am teaching this Fall called Learning and Assessment.  I would love suggestions and comments.  My goal is to model authentic assessment for these future teachers so that they might begin to rethink how they will assess their own students someday.  Let me know what you think:


This course is designed to help you gain useful knowledge of how people learn and how to assess whether your students learn what you intend for them to learn.  Throughout the course we will discuss how to best encourage meaningful learning based on contemporary learning theory and how to authentically gauge, track, and report student learning.  The assessment/grading for this course will reflect an attempt to authentically and meaningfully assess what you know about the topics covered.

To help you practice assessment you will be asked to assess your own understanding of course content.  Assessing yourself requires deep reflection, high levels of thinking, as well as deep understanding of content. You will not simply assign your own grade.  You must be able to provide evidence and rationale to support your level of understanding.

To help you generate evidence of your understanding you will create an online portfolio for this class.  The portfolio may include reflective writings, video journals, course assignments, etc.  I will provide feedback on assignments throughout the course so to guide your continued self-assessment.  At the end of the course you will use your portfolio, my feedback and course expectations to defend a final grade.

Take this self-assessment seriously.  Research shows that individuals who do not understand something have difficulty assessing their own understanding.  My suggestion is to regularly spend time reflecting and self-assessing and coming to see me when you are unsure or have questions.

My goal for you is to accurately self-assess your own understanding.  Both over and under assessing are equally problematic.  Soon you will be assessing your students.  Being able to accurately assess yourself will be an important step in being able to accurately assess those whom you teach.

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7 Responses to Modeling Authentic Assessment

  1. Jason Buell says:

    I love this. I was talking about you with Frank Noschese the other day and the thing that we love about you is that you’re a “money where your mouth is” guy. You don’t just talk. You do.

    Now two suggestions:

    I think if I were your student I would want clarification on one thing and reassurance on another. There’s something about the italicized wording that seems a little strange to me. I think it’s the inclusion of the word “feedback.” I don’t know that those should be used to defend a grade for myself. Those are my teachers words, rather than my own self. “you said I did well at this” vs. “I can do this because…” I can see it used properly in the cases like, “I was told to improve on X, and I did that by Y. Z shows my current understanding.” Perhaps something like ‘use the portfolio to defend a final grade against course expectations.’

    The reassurance I’d want as a student is that we’d get a chance to have a defense modeled for us and practice doing it. I know I’d freak out if it was my first time doing it and this was for my final grade. There’s an extra skill there that needs to be practiced and I think it would calm my nerves having that in the expectations.

    Great post and I look forward to following your class.


    • jerridkruse says:

      I am more seeing that students use my feedback as an indicator strip for how they are doing. Also, that is in there for me as the instructor. If I am consistently writing, “Why did you not address ____?” on their papers, I want them to know that the feedback means something related to their understanding at that point. So the feedback is not meant as “evidence” but perhaps a source of measuring the evidence.

      They will have chances to practice. I intend to do mini grade defenses in class about every 3-4 weeks. This will help me gauge how students are handling the self-assessment and help them practice thinking about and defending their own understanding.

      What do you think?


  2. Les says:

    ” authentically gauge track, and report student learning”
    This phrase will be critical for your students–will they be devloping a unique rubric for their own learning in the course, or applying values discussed in their theory classes? I would love this class, but would want to discuss some exemplary portfolio designs at the outset. This kind of reflection was absent from my program; in fact, when I asked to do an independent study on this topic, I was turned down.


    • jerridkruse says:

      My only concern with the “exemplary portfolio” is that students would attempt to simply reproduce the examples. Since these are college students, they ought be able to handle more ambiguity. They will however have some expected assignments with some more structure that could be used for portfolio artifacts. Also, they have list of course objectives for use in self reflection/self assessment.


  3. Your portfolio is a great idea, Jerrid. Based on your previous posts and tweets, I’m guessing you’ll touch on standards-based grading and the subjectivity of grades throughout the course. I’m fairly confident there are a number of folks who would be happy to Skype into your class, myself included, to challenge traditional thinking on assessment, grading and how they fit together in a classroom focused on learning rather than points.


  4. Love this. Am going to borrow some of this language for a similar exercise I’m going to try with my kids.


  5. Pingback: Inspiration from Wisdom begins with Wonder and Ungrading « Quantum Progress

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