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Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications 


Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications: We live in an assessment world, day by day individuals are being checked in terms of performance of a skill on a job or how well some certain activities are being carried out in academic setting, industrial sector and so on. In this regard, Nworgu (2019) define assessment as a systematic process of gathering data from variety of sources in order to understand, describe and improve teaching and learning.

Operationally, assessment is a tool for checking how teaching and learning is progressing. And with the high demand and premium place on students to perform excellently in school and equally in the society, one will agree that there is always a need for students at all levels of learning to perform excellently in their academics in order to ensure outstanding outcomes that will be of benefit to them and the society. However students seem to fall short of these expectations as a result of teachers’ assessment practices that only limit students’ knowledge and skills to just the four walls of the classroom.

As a result, a need arise to assess and project students knowledge and skills’ applications beyond the classroom in order to solve real life problems. Consequently, these necessitate a modern kind of assessment known as authentic assessment.

Concept of Authentic Assessment


Authentic assessment is the concept of putting students’ skills and knowledge to the test in real-life settings by utilizing innovative learning experiences. This assessment measures students’ success in a way that’s relevant to the skills required of them once they have finished the course or degree programme. Different authors have different definitions of authentic assessment over the years.

Frey et, al. (2012) define authentic assessment as an assessment that usually have something to do with the real world. The authors maintained that a commonly advocated best practice for classroom assessment is to make the assessments authentic. Frey et, al. further observed that authentic assessment encourages pupils to apply what they have learned in a new, challenging context or circumstance.

Mueller (2015) define authentic assessment as a form of assessment in which student are asked to perform real world task that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Muller pointed out that real-world assessment; which compel students to interact in actual circumstances in their profession and realistic assessments; which are relevant in nature but require students to engage in settings that mirror the real world are the two forms of which authentic assessment can take.

Samar (2019)  define authentic assessment as an assessment that reflects the achievements of the learner and measures them in real situations, which makes students engage in meaningful and useful tasks. Consequently, when teachers employ authentic assessment methodologies, they are able to assess their students’ learning process in a more accurate and realistic manner, and they are able to provide different learning opportunities to their students.

Authentic assessment’s goal or objective is to determine if student knowledge can be applied outside of the learning environment (classroom). It tends to engage the students and it is based in contentment in which the students actually have genuine interest. An assessment is authentic when it measures products or performances that ‘‘have meaning or value beyond success in school’’ (Newman, Brandt & Wiggins, 2013, p.19).

Authentic assessment tends to ask students to synthesize information and used critical-thinking skill thereby measuring not just what the students remember but also how they think. The authentic assessment concept goes beyond the traditional understanding of the process of assessing students’ learning, which is based on showing individual differences or skills, measured by arbitrary methods that do not often reflect the students’ high thinking levels.

Consequently, research studies show that authentic assessment is the actual assessment of students’ performance to decide whether the students can apply what they have learned in real-life situations (Moon, Brighton, Callahan & Robinson, 2015).

This was also supported by the findings of Ceyhun (2019), who conducted a study and found out that that traditional assessments that rely on the written or oral  examination of knowledge can be effective in  assessing  the student’s ability  to  memorize and  redefine  the  knowledge-based  components  of the  task, but is insufficient to measure learning and skills unless it is integrated with performance-based assessment, such as authentic assessment which greatly improves students’ academic performance and take them beyond the classroom level.

Characteristics of Authentic Assessment

  • It’s realistic; in the sense that it tends to apply learned knowledge and skills to real world problem solving.
  • It requires judgment and innovation; through this assessment students can evaluate their performance which brings room for change and improvement.
  • It asks the student to do the task or subject; students carry out real life task through application of knowledge and skills learnt.
  • It replicates or simulates the contexts in which adults are tested in the workplace, in civic life, and in personal life.
  • It assesses the student’s ability to efficiently and effectively use a range of knowledge and skill to settle or solve a complex task.
  • It allows suitable opportunities to rehearse, practice, consult resources, and get feedback on and refine performances and products.

Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications

Difference between Traditional and Authentic Assessment

S/n Traditional




1 Students are typically provided with options of different categories and asked to select the key Students are asked to perform more complex task usually representative of more meaningful application
2 Students lean on selecting from alternatives to indicate their proficiency Students demonstrate proficiency by performing a real life task
3 It terms to determine whether or not students have acquired or learnt a body of knowledge Authentic assessment often ask students to analyze, synthesize and apply what they have learned in practical situations
4 Students depend and recall old knowledge or meaning Students create new knowledge or meaning through real life task
5 The test or assessment is structured by the teacher of which the students are compelled to choose a key Authentic assessment allow the students to choose and construct what they feel present an evidence of proficiency
6 Traditional assessment is focused on classroom level Authentic assessment looked beyond the classroom level
7 The curriculum drives or determine the kind of assessment The assessment drives or determine the curriculum


How to carryout Authentic Assessment                                                                                   

This can be achieved by;

  1. Identifying the standards for the students; the goal or aim of the assessment. For example, students will be able to dissect a life fowl without hesitation.
  2. Selecting an authentic task; for a particular standard or set of standards, develop a task the students could perform that would indicate that they have met these standards. For example students are required dissect the fowl with surgical tool
  3. Identifying criteria for the task; Identify the characteristics of good performance on that task, the criteria, that, if present in your students’ work, will indicate that they have performed well on the task, i.e., they have met the standards. For example ability to dissect the fowl, the accuracy of having proportional parts.
  4. Create the rubric; for each criterion, identify two or more levels of performance along which students can perform which will sufficiently discriminate among student performance or ability level for that criterion. For example teacher check the dexterity in dissecting the fowl, the accuracy of students to have proportional parts, ability to further carry out dissection into other parts like the lungs, gizzard etc. The combination of the criteria and the levels of performance for each criterion will be your rubric for that task (assessment).                                                                       

Benefits of Authentic Assessment

  • Authentic assessment uses tasks that reflect real world activities (real life learning)
  • Authentic assessment focuses on higher order thinking skills
  • It requires active performance to demonstrate understanding
  • Promotes a wide range of assessment strategies (interesting and engaging assessment tasks)
  • It involves the teacher and student collaboratively in determining assessment (student-structured tasks)
  • Authentic focuses on progress, rather than identifying weaknesses.

Issues and Implications of Authentic Assessment                                                            

Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications: Authentic assessment is a relevant modern form of assessment because it brings concreteness to abstract concepts thereby advancing learning and applying the knowledge and skills learned in solving practical or real life problems. Be it as it may, authentic assessment is not without its issues or challenges.

  • Parental and school administration’s lack of support:

Authentic assessment needs support for proper implementation unlike the traditional assessment that can be carried out with little or no support. Lack of support from parent and the school administration is of one of the principal issues affecting the effective utilization of authentic assessment practices by teachers in the classroom. What parents want to see is ‘good grades’ and show little or no concern if the students can actually apply what they have been taught or not. Also most of the school administrators are ignorant in the new trend in education when it boils down to current assessment practices in the classroom. So they see it as a waste of funds divulging resources towards the actualization of what they don’t understand. They prefer to continue using the old form with no innovative ideas and teachers cannot question their decision due to factors like job security (avoiding being sacked) and so on. The implications of this; is that students are molded theoretically with no skill or initiative of applying what they have learnt to solve practical problems. Consequently, they are graduates of mechanical engineering that cannot even change a plug of a car.

  • Planning:

For an authentic assessment to be effective, it requires adequate planning on the part of the teacher in collaboration with the students because authentic assessment tends to shift assessment from teachers’ structured to students’ structured task. Authentic assessment requires special planning for it to be efficient and effective. Often, teachers lack proper planning or fail to plan authentic assessment appropriately which result in failure of the entire process. A saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ Authentic assessment involves various stages and procedures as such if not properly thought out; its goal or aim will not be actualized. By implication, teachers will settle for the tradition assessment practice which implies no creativity or innovation.

  • Time consuming:

Unlike the traditional or conventional form of assessment that requires less time to conduct, authentic assessment is time consuming because it requires more time to design and execute. It is hard for teachers to adopt it in the classroom due to the time constraint. In Nigeria, where the education system is rigid, where one is being taught what he/she didn’t bargain for will always eat up the time necessary to create something new and innovative. Consequently, authentic assessment is difficult to practice because it requires a lot of time to design and execute. This implies that the Nigerian educational system will continue to be at ‘developing’ stage until a reform is carried out.

  • Backward and Subjective:

Unlike the traditional assessment that follows from lesson plan to assessment; authentic assessment is a ‘backward design’ this implies that the assessment is written before the lesson plan. The authentic task to be carried out determines how the lesson will be planned and followed. The criteria or performance or what the teacher expects to see from the authentic task being carried out by the students form the rubric (an attempt to make subjective measurements as objective, clear, consistent, and as defensible as possible by explicitly defining the criteria on which performance or achievement should be judged) of which they will assessed.

  • Funds:

Since authentic assessment deals with applying knowledge and skills learned to real life situation or mirroring a real life situation through simulations, resources will be needed. In the case of mirroring or simulations of real life event requires some technologies to be put in place and in the situation where the funds needed to secure such technologies or materials is not available; the whole process of authentic assessment is defeated.

  • Training

Authentic assessment cannot be carried out effectively without adequate training. Teachers’ lack of training in the various forms of modern assessment strategies is of detriment to effective practices of authentic assessment. Teachers sometime read books and articles to update their knowledge on some of the current developments in education which is not enough. Noor (2020) cried out that the ministry of education should design courses pertaining to authentic assessment for teachers in order for them to be grounded in the various processes and procedures involved in carrying out the assessment.

  • Teachers’ Fails to Update their Knowledge:

Most of the teachers believe, trust and still hold on to what they learnt as far back as 1965. They are not aware or purposely choose not to care about the developing trends in education especially in the four walls of assessment. They see innovative assessment practice like the authentic assessment as stress because it involves some activities that might be demanding. They prefer to do the normal or traditional assessment they are used to. And these same teachers are equally parents that hoped to see their children solve world problems or want their students to have a breakthrough or learn new way of solving problems, but still this teachers won’t do the needful. Some of the teachers use phrase like “abeg joor, I can’t come and kill myself, no be only me be teacher.” The implication of this is that, students can’t be better than the teachers because their knowledge is dependent on what the teachers offer. Consequently, no advancement in teaching nor learning because one cannot be using the same method or doing the same thing over and over again, and expect different results.


  • The Ministry of Education should conduct seminars and hands-on courses on authentic assessment for teachers to equip them with content knowledge on planning, designing and implementing authentic assessment in the classroom.
  • Researchers should investigate learners’ perspectives to examine how authentic assessment helps them in their learning.
  • The Nigeria rigid curriculum should be reformed and made flexible to welcome or accommodate innovative ideas
  • There is a need for teachers to move forward in implementing more authentic teaching and learning which leads to authentic assessment.
  • The teachers should creatively use multiple ways of giving and getting feedback from their teaching and learning activities.
  • The parent, school administration and government should support and encourage teachers by giving them resources to implement authentic assessment with their creativity and making it a success in assisting and moving students’ learning to another level.


In summary, authentic assessment is an essential modern form of assessment that tries to project learning beyond the classroom environment by mirroring or engaging students in real world situations. The characteristics, benefits, how to put it in practice, as well as the difference between the traditional assessment and this new form of assessment have also been discussed. Authors over the years echoed that this form of assessment is a paradigm shift from teachers’ structured tasks to student structured task which tends to improve students’ academic performance as they will be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in solving real life problems.

The issues and its implications of authentic assessment in education was equally discussed and recommendations made in order to fully integrate this form of assessment into the educational system and finally be able to practice or test the knowledge and skills students’ learned in the classroom in real life situation.


Ceyhun, O. (2019). The effect of authentic assessment on academic achievement and attitude towards educational measurement and opinions of prospective teachers. International journal of evaluation and research in education(IJERE). 8(2): 229-312.

Emaikwu, S.O.(2011). Fundamental of test, measurement and evaluation with psychometric theories. Makurdi: Selflers Academic Press.

Frey, B. B.; Schmitt, V. L.; & Allen, J. P. (2012) “Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment,” Practical Assessment, Research,and Evaluation: 17(2):64-69 DOI:

Mueller, J. (2015). The authentic assessment toolbox: Enhancing student learning through online faculty development. J. Online Learn. Teach.1(3):1-7. _001.pdf

Moon, T., Brighton, C., Callahan, C. & Robinson, A. (2015) Development of authentic assessments for the middle school classroom. XVI,2(3): 119-133.

Newmann, F., Brandt, R., & Wiggins, G. (2013). An exchange of views on semantics, psychometrics, and assessment reform: a close look at ‘authentic’ assessments. Educational Researcher, 27(6): 19-22.

Noor, M.A. (2020). Challenges in using authentic assessment in 21st century ESL classrooms. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education (IJERE). 9(3): 759-768

Nworgu, B.G. (2019). Measurement and Evaluation: Theory and practice (Revised and    enlarge edition). Nsukka: Universal Trust Publishers.

Samar, M. (2019) Classroom Authentic Assessment Strategies and Tools used by English Language Teachers in Jordan. International Journal of Language and Linguistics. 6(4): 123-157

Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications

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