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Authentic and Equitable Assessments: Home


Authentic and Equitable Assessments

What is it?

Authentic Assessment: It’s very common to use multiple choice questions and open-ended response questions as assessments, particularly in pre-clinical courses or those earlier on in a training program. However, these often fail to predict whether students will be able to perform tasks in their discipline such as treatment planning, communicating with patients, etc. Therefore, there is a big push to implement authentic assessments which stresses the importance of choosing or developing an opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a situation that mimics real life. 


There are a few ways these assessments differ from traditional ones:

  • The focus isn’t just on getting the right answer - It’s about students being able to justify the solution and integrating knowledge to solve complex tasks.
  • Students know what they will be tested on, how they will be evaluated, and they are provided with opportunities to practice skills. 
  • Students are provided with ample opportunities for feedback to help them identify opportunities for improvement in their future performance and careers.


Equitable Assessment: It is very important to design assessments that are equitable and accessible for all learners and to be sure we are testing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes listed in the learning objectives and not elements of a “hidden curriculum” like reading speed, overall vocabulary, or culturally specific knowledge and references. Relatedly, we want to be sure we are setting our students up for success not designing exams that are needlessly challenging or are designed to “weed out” certain learners. It can also be critical to provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate their skills. Therefore, we want to be intentional with the assessment choices we are making and modify assessments to promote equity.


To get started, ask yourself:

  • Why did I choose this assessment?
  • What is it truly assessing?
  • Who is/isn’t set up for success with it?
  • Where can check my assessment?
  • How can students show their learning in multiple ways?

Examples and Implementation

Ideas of authentic assessments: 

  • Simulated patients 
  • Role-playing
  • Research projects
  • Observation of patient interactions


Ideas for promoting equity in assessment: