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Authenticity

1 min read

Authenticity is about the closeness of your assessment task to a real-world task. This seems quite straightforward, until you consider that in the real world, few tasks demand only language proficiency, and not also non-language related knowledge and competencies.

So how authentic can a language test get? Brown and Abeyrickrama (2010) list a few qualities:

  • language that is as natural as possible
  • contextualised items
  • meaningful, relevant, interesting topics (although it's worth considering that meaningful, relevant, interesting to us may not be meaningful, relevant, interesting to students)
  • some thematic organisation to items, e.g. through a storyline
  • 'real-world' tasks (which could also be questionable -- do language teachers necessarily have an accurate sense of the authenticity of tasks?) 


It's possible that what we need for optimal authenticity are 'integrated' assessment tasks that combine different subjects in the curriculum, instead of language on its own.

What do you think? What sort of authentic assessment tasks do you use? Let me know with on Twitter.