Kathryn Truant CDA MEd – a CDA's Role in Education and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

The Principles of Authentic Evaluation

PIDP 3230 – Evaluation of Learning
Vancouver Community College
Kathryn Truant
May 11, 2017


“Authentic evaluation, like the best of any kind of instruction, is thoughtful, reflective, and considered” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009, p.6).

I am learning the difference between assessment and evaluation. They both provide feedback that is critical to measured learning. From what I’ve surmised, assessment is the ongoing gathering of information throughout a course to measure how much the students know, and how well they are learning in relation to the course objectives. Whereas, evaluation focuses on accountability in relation to how well the students learn the course material, and are competent in completing the objectives; evaluation is a final measurement. So, what is authentic evaluation? In The Art of Evaluation, Fenwick and Parsons state that authentic evaluation’s “goal is to create authentic learning experiences for adults, where people are honest, learning is relevant, and evaluative feedback is helpful” (2009, p. 6).


As a student in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program without any formal teaching experience, I chose to reflect on authentic evaluation because it outlines principles that teachers can use when creating student evaluations, and I love outlines and guidelines (I need all the help that I can get). These principles include:

  1. Authentic evaluation is ongoing – The feedback that students receive while being evaluated throughout a course enables the learner to become involved when evaluation is continuous.
  2. Authentic evaluation is valid and reliable – Evaluation is valid only when the instructor asks questions taught in the course, and evaluation is reliable only if the evaluation is consistent with the subject taught while reflecting learning outcomes.
  3. Authentic evaluation is comprehensive – Evaluation should measure all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required in each vocation.
  4. Authentic evaluation is communicated – All methods used to evaluate learners must be clearly explained.
  5. Authentic evaluation uses a variety of methods – Capturing learner performance requires multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative information for the instructor to use throughout a course.

(Fenwick & Parsons, 2009, pp. 6-8)

Lists are invaluable to me as a fledgling instructor. Even adult educator Malcolm Knowles suggests in his four principles of andragogy that students need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. In addition, they prefer relevant information, they want to learn through experience and error, and want to problem-solve rather than receive a content-based curriculum (1984).


The idea of authentic evaluation means that an instructor has the responsibility to ensure that the education that students receive correlates with necessary outcomes. In addition to the required readings and textbooks in the PID program, psychologist and educator Carl Rogers’ Freedom to Learn (1969) has been beneficial to me because I agree with his educational philosophies and his contemporary views, even though it was written almost fifty years ago! When referring to teaching at the college level Rogers argues that “evaluation will be in terms of the quality and quantity of what has been produced during the course in pursuit of self-defined goals” (1969, p.43). Further, “evaluations are continually going on during the course, thus providing feedback to the student” (Rogers, 1969, p.44). I interpret Rogers forward-thinking views as instruments that will measure the student’s and instructor’s success.


Students need to be evaluated authentically. Educators are obliged to provide learners with the tools to succeed as students, and to prepare them for real-life situations. I am a Certified Dental Assistant; a profession that requires precise knowledge, skills, and attitude. The Principles of Authentic Evaluation outlined in The Art of Evaluation (2009) aligns with my goals as an instructor: I want to be able to provide my students with the necessary tools to succeed in their chosen profession, and to foster lifelong learning in the process.

@ Please refer to my Resources page for works cited

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