Authentic Assessment vs. Standardized Testing Educators are increasingly of the view that students’ learning experience will become more meaningful if the lessons are presented using practical simulations that mimic real life. This view is largely based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) which recognized the invariable presence of several types of intelligence such as verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic in each person (Gardner, 2006)…
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Such simulations can aid the students to process new information by connecting it to prior knowledge of the subject. When instruction is adapted to conform to the theory of multiple intelligences, it naturally follows that assessment should be similarly adapted. However, in most schools, the assessment practices to gauge student progress rely mainly on standardized testing methods that are often inauthentic, and which only reveal whether the student can recognize and recall what has been told to him/her by way of the lesson. Thus, high scores on standardized tests are a measure of how well a student can take the test and not his/her actual working knowledge. Besides, the standardized tests which comprise of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and true/false questions do not actually promote learning as they only evaluate what the student knows at that particular point in time. The standardized tests cannot identify students in need of intervention or help formulate appropriate instructional strategies. This form of assessment of student performance, in fact, controls learning. The test scores lead the students to believe that right answers are more important than analysis and approach. About standardized testing methods, Meier (2002) states clearly that, “……….standardized tests are utterly counterproductive for the educational purpose of seeing what kids have learned in school so as to improve education for all” (p.105). Also, according to Meir, standardized tests do not represent the sole evidence of a student’s intellectual growth. Standardized tests follow pre-set criteria that stipulate how, where and by whom the test is to be administered and scored, who else besides the teacher and the student can be present, the way questions are asked, and what responses are acceptable. That is, such a testing controls all the elements involved in the assessment process except the child's responses. Standardized test results are reported using standard scores. Gardner (1993) is of the opinion that the most widely used standardized tests of intelligence (e.g., The Wechsler scales and the Stanford-Binet) measure only linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences whereas the purpose of assessment should be to obtain information about the skills and potentials of individuals. A multidimensional assessment of students based on a broader concept of intelligence, ability, and learning would be more in line with the theory of multiple intelligences. Authentic assessment, also called performance assessment, portfolio assessment, curriculum-embedded instruction, or integrated education is, according to Miesels et al. (2003), “......an instructional-driven measurement in which students’ actual classroom performance is evaluated in terms of standards-infused criteria”. In this method of assessment, a student is evaluated on a broader concept of intelligence, ability, and learning based on all intelligences identified by MI including visual, musical, kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic abilities in addition to verbal and logical potential. Such an assessment will be formative, providing immediate feedback for learning and teaching,
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