Alternative Assessment

In the education industry, alternative assessment or portfolio assessment is in direct contrast to what is known as performance evaluation, traditional assessment, standardized assessment or summative assessment.

Alternative assessment is also known under various other terms, including:

authentic assessment

integrative assessment

holistic assessment

assessment for learning

formative assessment

In the model, students, teachers, and sometimes parents select pieces from a student's combined work over the (usually four) years of school to demonstrate that learning and improvement has taken place over those years. Some of the characteristics of a portfolio assessment is that it emphasizes and evidences the learning process as an active demonstration of knowledge. It is used for evaluating learning processes and learning outcomes. Alternative assessments are used to encourage student involvement in their assessment, their interaction with other students, teachers, parents and the larger community.

Formats vary: demonstrations and journals can be used as alternative assessments, portfolio presentations are considered the most wholly representative of a student's learning.

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