Authentic Assessment as a Tool to Enhance Student Learning in a Higher Education Institution: Implication for Student Competency

Authentic Assessment as a Tool to Enhance Student Learning in a Higher Education Institution: Implication for Student Competency

Abatihun Alehegn Sewagegn (University of Johannesburg, South Africa) and Boitumelo Molebogeng Diale (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2314-8.ch013

Abstract

Authentic assessment plays a great role in enhancing students' learning and makes them competent in their study area. Studies indicate that assessment is authentic when the tasks have real-life value and students perform real-world tasks. Therefore, this chapter shows how lecturers practice authentic assessment to enhance students' learning in a higher education institution. To achieve this, the authors used a phenomenological qualitative research design. An interview was used to collect data. The result indicated that lecturers are highly dependent upon traditional assessment methods, which have no significant contribution to the competency of students. The practice of authentic assessment methods as a tool to enhance students' learning is limited. Therefore, the authors can conclude that enhancing students' learning using authentic assessment in their study areas is untenable if the lecturers continue to utilize their current assessment practices.
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Background

Education is a valuable instrument in the eradication of poverty in developing countries like Ethiopia. The main goal of the Ethiopian Education and Training Policy, which was articulated by the Ministry of Education in 1994, was producing creative, proficient, and competent graduates (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Education, MoE, 2002). To attain this goal, the instructional strategies necessitate the use of appropriate pedagogical methods to realize the demands of the students. In particular, properly assessing students using appropriate assessment methods concerning the learning outcomes being measured is one means for the achievement of this goal. Literature notes that assessment is a crucial component in the learning process and consequently, it has the power to drive student learning (Kearney, 2013). One of the most recommended assessment methods to benefit students and enhance their learning is authentic assessment (Fox, Hughes, & Murphy, 2017; Frey, Schmitt, & Allen, 2012). O’Farrell (n.d.) also indicates that enhancing students’ learning is the most important principle of assessment. Mueller (2005, p. 2) defines authentic assessment as “a form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills”. Such assessment practices have the potential to change the way higher education institutions (HEIs) function (Kearney, 2013). The focus of higher institutions is determining students’ capabilities and hence authentic assessments give evidence about what the students can achieve (Whitlock & Nanavati, 2013). Therefore, in the teaching and learning process, enhancing students’ learning using authentic assessment has a positive impact on their current and future performance.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assessment: The process of gathering information using different methods to check the understanding of students in a certain lesson or course.

Lecturer: It is a teacher in a higher education institution.

Real Life Skill: It is the ability and behavior that helps students to effectively deal with events and challenges of everyday life in the real world.

Competency: It is the capability or proficiency of students in a certain task.

Higher Education Institution: Universities that admit and train students based on their results in different disciplines and award them an academic degree or professional certification.

Technique: It is a method or strategy to do an activity (in this manuscript context, an assessment).

Authentic Assessment: A type of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills.

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