Authentic Conversations for Authentic Assessments

Showcase Presenter: Smita Singh

Smita’s journey to designing authentic assessments was born out of a restlessness that she experienced both in and out of the classroom environment. “Every day I walked past the growing number of fellow citizens living on the streets within less than a 5 km radius of my classroom. Every day I saw two kinds of Auckland – one that mostly thrives in places where we work and live and the other that struggles to survive on cold, wet cement. I wondered why our willingness to ‘act’ and ‘serve’ our communities remains mostly trapped underneath intellectual discussions, PowerPoint presentations, journals, textbooks, and YouTube videos? I became increasingly restless with not having an answer to this question and started to see my classroom as a burial ground because it was mostly unresponsive to what was happening out in the real world. The assessment submission box seemed like a morgue – here, essays, lifeless in their response to real-life, community challenges were collected, stored, identified, and processed. I had to do something to change this.”  By voicing her concerns and engaging in authentic conversations with colleagues, Smita was able to acknowledge her own involvement in the problem she wanted to solve and generate change. Smita’s emotive response caused her to shift both the delivery of her content and design of assessments.

Attendees at this showcase will be exposed to examples of new authentic assessments and voiced perspectives and feedback from academic colleagues, students, industry and local community members (co-presenters). The presenters will indicate ‘tangible’ social impact through their experiences with assessments, lessons and dilemmas on this shared journey.

Dr Smita Singh is paper coordinator and Lecturer for Entrepreneurship courses across different levels and degrees at AUT. She also enjoys supervising Masters and PhD students and has examined and supervised several dissertations and thesis to successful completion.