Assessing and evaluating student knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be a difficult task in a traditional classroom. It has added challenges in a system in which the teacher is physically separated from the student. In a digital learning environment, the process requires more authentic approaches to assessment. These also provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning in a more personal way to their teacher. Authentic assessment strategies can help build deeper relationships and deeper knowledge of learner abilities from a distance.
Student assessment and evaluation is a cycle, from setting goals through designing and implementing assessment strategies, to collecting data and evaluating learner success.
From the data collected from digital learning tools, the teacher can determine which areas of instruction may need to be revamped and which have worked well for most, if not all students.
Premade digital learning courses are often static. Evaluating and changing a course can be time consuming and difficult. Whenever possible, include other elements that invite student participation and discussion, that can be tweaked as the needs of students evolve.
Authentic assessment is a learner-centered approach. The assessment tasks have real-world application and usually have criteria attached. Performance assessment and direct assessment are terms also used to describe authentic assessment.
Authentic assessment describes an approach in which:
These include regular reviews of student performance, digital and/or telephone conversations, and observations that rely more on how a student’s work or participation has changed over time. Teachers can use traditional classroom approaches, modified for the digital environment. Digital portfolios replace accumulations of work done on paper, oral presentations are replaced by written submissions, displays of student work become compilations of file uploads, and self-evaluations occur during digital or telephone conversations with the teacher.
The authentic assessment approach creates greater opportunities for students to show what they know in a variety of ways. Access via the Internet increases the number and types of these opportunities.
Some considerations in a digital learning environment that every teacher must take into account include:
The framework for authentic assessment begins with the same question that should be used when designing curriculum, “What should students be able to do?” For teachers assessing work in a digital learning environment, the question remains the same, but the tools used to determine how each student has progressed toward mastery must include frequent check-ins and attention to individual progress on an ongoing basis.