Master Class: Geraldine O’Neil

Authentic Assessment: Concept, Continuum and Contested

Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neil, Educational Developer UCD Teaching & Learning, University College Dublin Ireland

Geraldine_Oneill2Authentic assessment is a form of assessment which involves students conducting ‘real world’ tasks in meaningful contexts. With competing demands on students’ time, the relevance of the assessment process is one solution to student engagement. However, authentic assessment can be a contested term: What is ‘real’ for students?  Can life outside of the higher education context be genuinely replicated?

Authentic assessment can be presented as a continuum, at one end is work-based, or similar ‘real world’, assessments and at the other end is an applied question in a traditional exam (National Forum, 2017).

This workshop facilitates participants to:

  • explore the concept and disciplinary examples of authentic assessment,
  • debate the continuum of authentic assessment,
  • discuss the challenges and enablers to developing their own authentic assessments.


National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (2017) Authentic Assessment in Irish Higher Education in


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