Authentic Assessment in Social Studies
A Guide to Keeping it Real
This engaging book will show you how to move beyond tests and essay writing to implement authentic assessments in your middle or high school social studies classroom. Award-winning teacher David Sherrin explains the value of authentic assessments and offers practical ways to get started and dive deeper in your own practice. You’ll be encouraged and inspired by the real-life stories of classroom successes and failures that illustrate the points throughout the book. The chapters cover a range of categories, including different types of written, creative, and civic action assessments. The book includes:
- planning charts and rubrics showing how to use, grade, and give feedback on assessments so they truly aid student learning and progress
- specific examples, useful tips, and ready-to-go instructions that you can use immediately with your class
- open-ended assessments encourage scaffolding or adaptation for individual or group work to fit your classroom needs
You will learn how to personalize instruction and provide students with avenues for creativity and the types of learning experiences they need to be prepared for a complex world.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Authentic Assessment 1. Authentic Assessment Q&A Part 2: Written Assessments 2. Formal Essay 3. Research Papers 4. Creative Writing Part 3: Creative and Artistic Assessments 5. Oral Communication 6. Art 7. Digital History Part 4: Civic Action Assessments 8. Civic Action Conclusion
David Sherrin is a Social Studies teacher at Scarsdale High School. Previously, he was a department chair and a New York City Master Teacher at Harvest Collegiate in New York City. He is the author of The Classes They Remember: Using Role-Plays to Bring Social Studies and English to Life and Judging for Themselves: Using Mock Trials to Bring Social Studies and English to Life. In 2014, David was the recipient of the 2014 Robert H Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice.
"As our national obsession with high-stakes tests subsides, and with it the growing acknowledgement of the failure of drill-and-kill practices, David Sherrin shows us what authentic assessment looks like. His passion for teaching students is palpable and contagious. Sherrin makes clear why we fight for teachers to have the freedom to teach, and the latitude to adopt best-practices.
Whether you are a first-year social studies teacher curious about how to move beyond multiple choice tests to assess learning, or you have long used authentic assessments and are looking to take your practice to the next level, this book has thoughtful insight on steps you can take to deepen and enrich teaching and learning in your classroom by incorporating authentic assessments." — Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
"David Sherrin's exuberant book reminds us of the brilliance every student can show when given the chance. It offers every teacher, from novice to expert, a foothold in the world of authentic assessments. I can't wait to road-test his assignments with my students!"—Sarah Cooper, Eighth-Grade U.S. History Teacher and Dean of Studies at Flintridge Preparatory School, and Author of Creating Citizens: Teaching Civics and Current Events in the History Classroom, Grades 6-9
"A real page-turner, this engaging book illustrates the wonderfully varied ways students can express themselves in social studies class. David Sherrin presents a wide range of projects to embed in the curriculum, drawing from his own content knowledge of history and other social sciences as well as his deep pedagogical knowledge honed by teaching in a uniquely diverse set of schools. Teachers will find a text that is thought provoking and practical thanks to ample assignment descriptions, rubrics, and discussions of classroom practice." — Shira Eve Epstein, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The City College of New York (CUNY)
"In the hands of the education machine, assessment has become a by-word for tedious, standardized mechanisms for measuring student fitness to satisfy abstract criteria designed by legislatures and committees. In this book, David Sherrin calls for – no, demands – authentic assessment in social studies education. Authentic, that is, not only to what students might do with this kind of learning in their ‘real life’ futures, but also the modes of thinking and communication that are most relevant to them right now. The result is a book as reflective as it is incisive, as joyful as it is intellectual, as down-to-earth as it is visionary."— Trevor Getz, Professor of History, San Francisco State University
"For too long, multiple choice and essays tests have narrowly been how we measure what social studies students know. David Sherrin's book "Authentic Assessment in Social Studies" helps gives teachers a roadmap for re-envisioning assessment as real world tasks that prepare them as citizens in a complex and global society. David Sherrin gives us an important view from inside the classroom, revealing how he has redesigned the assessment of his social studies students and offering models for how teachers can use creative and authentic assessments to give their students a much better understanding of their learning."—Christopher Martell, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, University of Massachusetts Boston