Authentic assessment allows faculty to scaffold student learning in a course by tapping into a student’s prior knowledge of a subject and building upon that knowledge through real-world applications of the concepts and theories presented in a course. Beginning in January 2021, we worked with faculty in the Robinson College of Business (RCB) to develop Marketing 4200 – Marketing Research. This undergraduate course primarily enrolled senior business students that already have some background in marketing and business research. As such, we needed to create a course that allowed students to demonstrate their advanced knowledge in the field while remaining an undergraduate course. To accomplish this, we developed a term project that was threaded throughout the content and provided students with a real-world application of the course content.
In this assignment, we took a slightly different approach to the traditional term project. In this group project, teams of 3-4 students worked together throughout the course to complete four deliverables distributed throughout the semester. Each deliverable focused on one-third of the course content and allowed students to receive instructor feedback that was then used to enhance all future deliverables. For the final deliverable, students were asked to create a marketing advertisement in either audio or video format. This advertisement incorporated aspects of all three previous deliverables and allowed students to develop a single, cohesive, comprehensive deliverable that encompassed everything they learned in the course plus the feedback they received along the way. All feedback was accompanied by a rubric that was provided to the students in advance (figure 1).
Figure 1: Selected Rubric Criteria from Term Project Deliverable #3
Transparency, as outlined in Standard 10 of the CETLOE Design Suggestions Checklist, was a cornerstone of the course design. Because the project ran throughout the semester, we built the project into its own module that was available to students throughout the semester. We included a Term Project Checklist (Figure 2) and made sure to build all deliverable due dates into the course calendar. Reminders were also built into each topic checklist and pre-scheduled weekly announcements served as additional reminders to students to engage with the project. Finally, we set up group-specific discussion topics, so group members had a collaborative space within the LMS for the project.
Figure 2: Term Project Checklist Reminder
Constructing a detailed rubric paid off in the implementation semester. Although grading authentic assessments still takes more time than the traditional multiple-choice exam, the instructor found that the rubrics accelerated grading and provided students with valuable feedback. Next semester, we plan to embed rubric elements directly into the assignment description in addition to the linked rubric. Easy access to assessment criteria can help students evaluate their own work and determine if they have completed the assignment successfully. For a valuable student learning experience, we encourage you to look for opportunities to incorporate authentic assessments into your course.
Walt is a lead learning experience designer at CETLOE. When he isn’t working, he wonders why.