Date of Award

Summer 1996

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Morris Beers

Second Advisor

Linda Schloner

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker

Abstract

Authentic assessment allows students to comprehend what they have learned and connect it to real-world issues and challenges. Unlike testing designed to measure recall, this form of assessment requires students apply the knowledge they have acquired and create their own thoughts and ideas from this knowledge base. Exhibitions, including essays, artwork, oral presentations, and some traditional tests, are the means for authentic assessment as they allow students to demonstrate their knowledge. Given that many parents went through educational instruction without this form of assessment, it is unclear whether they understand its value. This paper sought to determine what information parents need to understand authentic assessment. Surveys completed by the parents of eighth-grade humanities students as well as by teachers were analyzed. The teacher survey determined what information about authentic assessment parents most seek out, while the parent survey determined what information lowered the parents’ level of concern. The results show that parents overwhelmingly support the eighth-grade humanities program, even if they do not fully understand authentic assessment and exhibitions. Overall, lack of knowledge and miscommunication cause most of the concerns about educational reform. Teachers can lower the parents’ level of concern by communicating the purpose behind assignments and how their child will be prepared and assessed for them. Sending home letters, face-to-face meetings, and open houses are the best methods of achieving this communication.

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