The term authentic assessment describes the multiple forms of assessment that reflect student learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes on instructionally relevant classroom activities. Often, traditional types of assessments (i.e., essays, multiple choice, fill-in- the-blank, etc.) are heavily language dependent. These content assessments quickly become English proficiency tests rather than a measure of what students know. Limited English Proficient (LEP) students frequently have difficulty expressing their mastery of content unless they have a certain level of English proficiency.
Teachers often fail to note cultural and linguistic differences that can affect how LEP children learn. This lack of knowledge may result in teachers having difficulty accepting differences and appropriately accommodating LEP students’ needs.
Assessment is fair when it is personalized, natural, and flexible, when it can be modified to pinpoint specific abilities and function at the relevant level of difficulty, and when it promotes a rapport between teachers and students. There are several challenges to using authentic assessment methods. They include managing its time-intensive nature, ensuring curricular validity, and minimizing evaluator bias.
The concept of portfolio development was adopted from the field of fine arts where portfolios are used to display illustrative samples of an artist's work. The purpose of the artist's portfolio is to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the work as well as the artist's interests and abilities. Many educators perceive the intent of educational portfolios to be similar to that of portfolios used in fine arts, to demonstrate the depth and breadth of students' capabilities through biographies of students', descriptions of students' reading and writing experiences, literacy folders, collections of pieces of writing, comparison reports, and student work exhibitions.
Although portfolios using the model developed...