Authentic assessment, academic integrity and communication skills

There has been considerable research on the connections between assessment design and academic integrity. One consistent theme has focused on the benefits of authentic assessment in reducing the opportunities and incentives for students engaging in inappropriate behaviour, i.e., cheating. Authentic assessment has also been advocated as having significant benefits in developing employability and generic skills and considerable attention has been given to developing authentic assessment in WIL experiences. But authentic assessment can be used in more ‘traditional’ learning and teaching environments as well.

A recent article (Sotiriadou et al., 2019) from colleagues at Griffiths University, explores the use of interactive oral assessments as a form of authentic assessment in two business subjects and proposes a framework for authentic assessment design. They note that authentic assessment requires students to construct unique responses and this of itself reduces the chances for contract cheating in particular. Their research explored the use of interactive oral assessments as the final stage in a carefully sequenced interconnected series of assessment tasks. With one cohort in Sports Management (90 students) the oral was conducted face-to-face as a mock employment interview: with the other international management cohort (22 students) the oral was a technologically mediated briefing for a client. Student responses to the sequenced assessment design, and the oral interview specifically, were gathered through a questionnaire.

The interactive orals rated the highest for all questions related to employability for both cohorts. The oral interviews also rated as extremely difficult to purchase. Students noted that the staged/combined assessment tasks required them to engage in all stages to know the content.

From the research, the authors propose 6 essential features for successful design of authentic assessment:

  • Scaffolding and support to prepare students for the task
  • Scenario-based linked to tasks expected in the workplace
  • Aligned to program
  • Clear alignment to learning outcomes
  • Accessible and equitable, i.e., able to be modified to differing student circumstances without compromising the integrity of the assessment
  • Professionally focused to enhance relevance

By incorporating these characteristics authentic assessment can enhance student engagement, contribute to developing employability and reduce the opportunity and incentives to compromise academic integrity.

The main take away is that good assessment design – which is what authentic assessment encapsulates – has many benefits for all involved.

Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., & Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skill development and employability. Studies in Higher Education, 1-17.

Posted in

Leave a Reply