35 Authentic assessments

Nursing students Regan Hulsing and Michaela Inman in a simulated hospital room in the Clinical Education Center.

Authentic assessments are activities where students show their knowledge and apply necessary skills through real-life formats and situations relevant to the discipline. This meaningful experience supports students’ engagement, increases intrinsic motivation, and helps to develop employer-valued skills. These activities demonstrate to students the practical uses of what they are studying. Instructors can evaluate students’ work from the perspective of the readers/viewers/clients.

To develop an authentic assessment, think of the real-world audience who needs such assistance and expertise or a meaningful experience that might be helpful for your students’ futures.  Some examples of authentic summative assessments include Pressbooks, podcasts, learning portfolios, disciplinary writing (submitting a book review to a peer-reviewed journal), service-learning projects, a TED Talk–style presentation, and inquiry-driven research projects. Please review a list of UI-support instructional technologies.


💡 To design an authentic learning experience for your students, please answer the following questions:

Modified from Paul Anderson and Deandra Little (2014).


Handbook for Teaching Excellence Copyright © 2022 by University of Iowa - Center for Teaching. All Rights Reserved.

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