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An authentic exam: Paradox or partnership?

Herrington, J., Parker, J. and Boase-Jelinek, D. (2012) An authentic exam: Paradox or partnership? In: 27th Annual Research Forum (Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc) Transforming practice: The value of educational research, 11 August 2012, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia


Can an authentic learning environment include a separate final examination - a method associated more with standardised assessment - and still be considered authentic? Authentic learning is not normally associated with an examination, and indeed, it appears to be almost a contradiction in terms. Authentic learning is normally aligned with authentic and integrated assessment of genuine products. However, in this presentation, we describe a study of a compulsory first year university educational technology unit that used a 'reflective examination', thereby enabling students to reflect on action on an entire semester unit in an authentic and valid manner. By presenting challenges to students to reflect at several levels (individual, community, lesson, and project) and think about how they might apply technology in specific situations, the examination encouraged students to move beyond simple recollection to a deeper and more encompassing level of reflection of a whole unit. In this sense, and combined with other product-related assessment, the reflective examination was in our view authentic.

Keywords: authentic learning, reflection, assessment

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
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