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Authenticity is the assurance that evidence of achievement produced by a learner is their own. There are three broad categories of authenticity challenges that need to be managed during the assessment process.
Education organisations and assessors must be aware of the potential for learners to:
- copy from another person or source (plagiarism)
- have too much guidance from the teacher or assessor
- get specific answers for the assessment activity because it is publicly available (such as Ministry of Education/Te Kete Ipurangi activities on the internet).
Assessors must verify that the work submitted for assessment has been produced by the learner. Assessors must consider (and manage) the potential for work to have been copied, borrowed from another learner, photocopied from a book or downloaded from the internet.
Assessment activities are publicly available to be downloaded from websites such as TKI and materials purchased from commercial suppliers and subject associations may have been quality assured by NZQA's Quality Assured Assessment Materials process. The QAAM does not assure authenticity. Managing authenticity for public source materials includes changing specific figures, measurements or data sources, setting a different context/topic to be investigated or a different text to read or perform. Assessors must manage authenticity issues for all assessments regardless of source.
It is appropriate for learners to learn from others and to gather information from a variety of sources. However, assessors must be clear that the work to be assessed has been processed and produced by the learner.
Care must be taken to ensure that teachers or assessors do not assist learners to complete work for assessment. The assessed work must be the work of the learner including when performance is in a group context or conditions allow for open book assessment. For example, whole-class brainstorming cannot include the answers to specific questions in an assessment, but could include topics that learners then go on to research individually.
Strategies used to ensure authenticity include:
- modifying assessments available from publicly available sources
- changing the context of the assessment from year to year
- supervising the research process by including regular checkpoints
- requiring plans, resource material and draft work to be submitted with the final product
- keeping on-going work on site
- oral questioning to confirm a student's understanding or requiring a repeat performance where there is doubt
- being familiar with or controlling the resources available
- controlling group work by breaking the task into group and individual components
- requiring a signature on an authenticity statement to highlight the issue for both parents and students.