Authentic Assessment and Accountability

The most effective and meaningful assessments for students and teachers are those that allow students to demonstrate knowledge and skills through projects, essays, problem-solving, presentations and other performance-based tasks.  These are the hallmarks of the craft of good teaching and deeper student thinking and learning.  When developed into systems that evaluate student mastery, they can be powerful tools for driving real education and accountability, rather than the blunt instruments of external standardized examination.  Explore the many examples of such practices nationally and the policy supports required to drive meaningful assessment reform.

Authentic Assessment and Accountability


Determining how, what and how well a student is learning is an essential part of teaching. While assessment too often is reduced to standardized testing, teachers and researchers have created a wide range of powerful assessment tools and practices that are being used in schools across the nation. FairTest has produced numerous publications about authentic performance assessment, including:

Links to other sources’ materials

We have many articles on performance assessment in the FairTest Examiner.; and we have strong relations with manyother organizations


Accountability means informing parents and the public about how well a school is educating its students and about the quality of the social and learning environment. Too often, accountability has been reduced to standardized tests that measure a limited range of academic skills, thereby narrowing curriculum and teaching. This approach has been used to attack rather than help educators, parents and students.

FairTest supports authentic accountability systems that provide a rich array of information on academic and social aspects of education to parents and the public, and use that information to improve schools.

Examples in addition to those discussed in Assessment Matters include: