Rethink Assessment: Creating Innovative Approaches to Authentic Learning

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Harness the power of authentic assessment through innovative strategies for online, blended, or face-to-face learning environments. Educators from all levels will be introduced to the attributes of authentic assessment, and engage with multiple student-centered approaches for implementation in any content area.


Sponsored By


Dr. Bethany Schultz serves as the Director of the Center for Instructional Design and Technology at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. She is an experienced grant administrator and educator in blended and online learning in Higher Education and K-12 settings. She has helped build an online general education experience for students at NNU through the development of NNU Online. Previously at NNU, she served as a project manager for a grant-funded center for innovation called the Doceō Center. Overall, Bethany has secured and been a post-award grant administrator of $15 million of projects and initiatives to spur innovation in higher ed and K-12 education through the effective use of technology.
Amy Ackley has been a professional educator since 2001 with a background in Elementary Education. She has her Ed.S. in Educational Leadership & Administration, a M.Ed in Curriculum, Instruction, & Innovation, and is currently completing her last year as a Ph.D. candidate. Using technology as a catalyst, Amy successfully transformed her classroom to an innovative 1:1 environment, integrating effective instruction with blended and personalized learning. As faculty at Northwest Nazarene University, Amy co-authored and co-created the H.A.C.K. Model of Innovative Instruction. She has served at the Doceō Center where she consulted with school districts and provided professional development on implementing innovative instructional changes. Most recently at the University, she works as a full-time professor in the Graduate Education Department where she is an educator and mentor to both pre-service and graduate level teachers. Amy specializes in Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovation.

Extended Abstract

The intent of this session is to demonstrate the power of multiple assessment strategies in an online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments. We will discuss how to create engaging, rigorous, and student-centered plans of assessment that help students exhibit application of content.  To have an authentic learning experience, the presenters designed innovative key assessments aligned with course competencies that allowed for real-life application, and voice and choice from students. This approach to assessment benefits students and educators, providing an outlet that visually displays the learners constructed knowledge.

Authentic assessments enable students to draw connections between course content and the world around them. This session will introduce attributes of authentic assessment along with multiple student-centered approaches for implementation in any content area. Participants will be exposed to innovative effective assessment practices for online, blended, or face-to-face environments. This session will introduce non-traditional tools and methods for assessing student knowledge in multiple learning environments. Attendees will explore and evaluate real student work using characteristics of authentic assessment.


  • This session with begin with a brief overview of authentic assessment and its place in the learning environment (presenter-led);

  • Participants will engage in ‘lightning rounds’ were they evaluate assessment examples to determine are they “Authentic or Not?” (interactive game);

  • Explore multiple real course examples of authentic assessment (presenter-led);

  • Participant Application - Educators will be provided with a dropbox link to various student or instructor created products of authentic learning. Presenters will facilitate ‘table talk’ regarding the application and assessment of authentic learning (interactive collaborative groups);

  • Participant Plan of Action - Participants will create and report out their significant take-a-way and plan of action in implementing authentic assessment in their content area (individual, small-group application).

  • Q & A