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authentic learning

Don’t Test Me…From the Forefront of Evidence-Based Teaching

At Areté, we don’t teach to the test or quiz. In fact, you won’t see many tests at Areté, not just because we love our students, but — equally important — because research shows that tests are poor teaching tools.

Deeper learning and authentic assessment go hand in hand. An authentic assessment is one that requires students to apply what they’ve learned in a new, complex circumstance or situation. 

Wiggins (1998) identifies some characteristics of an authentic assessment of student work:

  1. It’s realistic.
  2. It requires judgement and innovation.
  3. It asks the student to “do” the subject.
  4. It replicates or simulates the contexts in which adults are “tested” in the workplace, in civic life, and in personal life.
  5. It assesses the student’s ability to efficiently and effectively use a repertoire of knowledge and skill to negotiate a complex task.
  6. It allows appropriate opportunities to rehearse, practice, consult resources, and get feedback on and refine performances and products.

When teachers encourage students to engage with the material in a deeper, more memorable way, the possibilities are endless, and learning becomes natural, automatically, and permanent. When students develop an emotional connection to their learning — an easy task when learning is infused with creativity and personal initiative — they remember, fully process, and apply what they have learned. 

For more information about authentic assessment and the deeper learning model, check out this clip from Areté’s own podcast, Overthrowing Education.

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