A holistic review of authentic assessment in mathematics education

Qiaoping ZHANG, Xiaolei ZHANG, Jiabo LIU

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

Since the 1990s, when authentic assessment first originated, a key aim has been to overcome the challenges caused by traditional standardised tests. Authentic assessment focuses upon students’ real-life performances and promoting their learning. Teachers, however, have been facing considerable challenges when implementing and integrating authentic assessments in classroom teaching and daily evaluations. This study provides an extensive review of the nature of authentic assessment in mathematics education. It discusses its integration into mathematics teaching and learning, and the current context of development in mathematics education. Using relevant keywords such as “authentic assessment” and “authentic task” in a search on the EBSCO host Library, we identified and analysed approximately 70 articles from 1988 to 2020 relating to mathematics education. The findings revealed that, firstly, authentic assessment tools, including cases, portfolios, exhibitions of performance, and problem-based inquiries, facilitate teachers to improve students’ learning. Secondly, the complexity of test items in some authentic assessment tasks (such as in PISA) is usually lower than the real-life tasks due to the limitations of time and the contents of assessment questions. Thirdly, three approaches for STEM education, the silo approach, the embedded approach, and the integrated approach, emphasise active learning which echoes the principles of authenticity assessment. Besides, in the e-learning environment, mathematics teachers need to re-design teaching tasks and set some examples for authentic context. The review concludes with a discussion about the role of authentic assessment in promoting students’ mathematical competencies, as a basis for further research. Copyright © 2021 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthentic assessment and evaluation approaches and practices in a digital era: A kaleidoscope of perspectives
EditorsTasos BARKATSAS, Patricia MCLAUGHLIN
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherBrill
Pages95–115
ISBN (Electronic)9789004501577
ISBN (Print)9789004501560, 9789004501553
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021

Citation

Zhang, Q., Zhang, X., & Liu, J. (2021). A holistic review of authentic assessment in mathematics education. In T. Barkatsas & P. McLaughlin (Eds.), Authentic assessment and evaluation approaches and practices in a digital era: A kaleidoscope of perspectives (pp. 95–115). Netherlands: Brill.

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