Authentic assessment is a “form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks to demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills” (Mueller 2016, para. 1).


Traditionally business professionals would graduate in a discipline with some skills then undertake on-the-job training to develop more specific skills (Bentley 2018). Although this still occurs, especially in large organisations many employers come from small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). These businesses do not have the time or resources to train graduates (Bentley 2018). Likewise, with increased automation of rudimentary tasks, many larger businesses prefer graduates to already have basic experience (Bentley 2018).

So what does this mean for universities? Specific discipline knowledge is important but graduates also need to experience authentic learning where they can acquire the skills to be work-ready in their chosen field. Adopting authentic assessments as part of the curriculum in university courses is a step in this direction.

Authentic assessment tasks may vary in their level of authenticity. Deakin University developed a framework (see Figure 1) comprising quadrants where assessment tasks were placed in accordance to their level of authenticity (real-world practice) and their level of proximity to the workplace (Kaider & Hains-Wesson 2015).   

Figure 1: Authenticity-Proximity Framework

(Kaider & Hains-Wesson 2015, p.7)

The Authenticity-Proximity framework can be a useful tool for educators. When reviewing courses or programs, educators can assess the current level of assessments to highlight if there is congestion in any quadrants. When updating courses or programs, educators can identify alternative assessments that will increase the level of authenticity and proximity and provide more variety.


Bentley, D 2018, How universities can make graduates employable with connections to industry, The Conversation, viewed 1 March 2018,

Kaider, F & Hains-Wesson R 2015, Enhancing courses for employability, ACEN Inc, viewed 2 March 2018,

Mueller, J 2016, What is authentic assessment? Authentic Assessment Toolbox, viewed 1 March 2018,