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Designing authentic assessments to assure student success, employability, and academic integrity

Tuesday 2 July: Pre-conference parallel workshop, 1:30pm – 4:30pm



Room 206-210



Carol A. Miles
University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW

Keith A. Foggett
University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW


Presentation type

Pre-conference workshop



As we include more authentic and active learning objects, it becomes apparent that traditional assessment methods are not constructively aligned with course outcomes.  There appears be a disconnect between the activities that our students complete to achieve course outcomes, and the traditional assessment formats that have been utilised.

Targeted toward anyone designing summative assessment tasks, this workshop addresses considerations necessary for the redesign of traditional assessments so they are constructively aligned with learning outcomes.  Authentic assessment is key for preparing our students to succeed in current and future workplaces, and to assure their confidence in their chosen programs and careers.

Much has been written about academic dishonesty surrounding contract cheating and identity verification in the face-to-face and online spaces.  Specifically, the referenced academic essay, and formal examinations pose some of the most salient academic integrity risks (Taylor, 2014).  This workshop will facilitate a discussion of the myriad assessment tools that present students with authentic tasks and discourage both contract cheating and falsification of identity.  Emphasis will be placed on the importance of designing authentic, career-focused assessments that measure the achievement of learning outcomes for the more than 90 percent of students who are completing assignments with integrity.

Participants will complete the workshop with concrete strategies for redesigning assessments that address a variety of modes of course delivery, assuring the authentic measurement of student achievement and discouragement of academic dishonesty.  Workshop activities will include:

  • the scaffolding of assessments based on Krathwohl’s (2002) modification of Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • identify concerns relating to validity and reliability of essay assignments on measurement of student learning outcomes
  • identify authentic assessment tasks that could replace traditional essays and formal online examinations
  • consider assessment tools that could validly and reliably replace formal examinations while maintaining constructive alignment with course learning outcomes.
  • explore a variety of possible alternative assignments


Addressing the sub-theme of Students/Learning

 Essential to student academic success is their ability to validly demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes for their courses.  Successful completion of assessment tasks is central to all university students’ formal progression through their programs, and ultimately, completion of their degrees. 

Universities are aware of the need to offer courses relevant to students’ employment aspirations and to ensure they are providing students with realistic experiences relating to their field of study. This is at the core of the value that students place on the education they receive.  As the primary measure of student success, summative assessment items must be designed to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning in realistic ways.

Traditional academic essays are the primary focus of most contract cheating providers.  Rather than continue to struggle with these issues of combatting academic dishonesty, which relate to a relatively small percentage of students (Rundle & Clare, 2018), we now have an opportunity to redesign assessment to not only discourage academic dishonesty, but to present our students with valid, reliable, and most importantly, authentic and engaging ways to demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes.  Accomplishing this requires a substantial transformation to the ways that we measure student achievement.



Bretag, T., Harper, R., Burton, M., Ellis, C., Newton, P., Rozenberg, P., Saddiqui, S., & van Haeringen, K. (2018) Contract cheating: a survey of Australian university students, Studies in Higher Education,  DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1462788

Krathwohl, D. R.  (2002) A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview, Theory Into Practice, 41(4), 212-218, DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4104_2

Rundle, K, & Clare, R. (2018).  Why Students Don’t Engage in Contract Cheating.  Paper presented at HERDSA 2018 Conference, Adelaide, SA.

Taylor, S.M. (2014). Term Papers for Hire: How to Deter Academic Dishonesty.  The Education Digest, 80 (2),  52-57.


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