Authentic Assessment Toolbox
created by Jon Mueller

What is Authentic Assessment? Why Do It? How Do You Do It?











Types of Standards

I distinguish between three types of standards:

  • content standards
  • process standards
  • value standards

Note:  As with many of the authentic assessment terms, there is not a consistent set of labels for the different types of standards.  These are labels I find useful.


Content Standards

I define content standards as statements that describe what students should know or be able to do within the content of a specific discipline or at the intersection of two or more disciplines.  Examples would include

Students will classify objects along two dimensions.

Describe effects of physical activity on the body.

Present employment-related information in the target language.


Process Standards

I define process standards as statements that describe skills students should develop to enhance the process of learning.  Process standards are not specific to a particular discipline, but are generic skills that are applicable to any discipline.  Examples would include

Students will set realistic goals for their performance.

Seriously consider the ideas of others.

Find and evaluate relevant information.


Value Standardstop

I define value standards as statements that describe attitudes teachers would like students to develop towards learning.  Examples would include

Students will value diversity of opinions or perspectives.

Take responsible risks. (Costa & Kallick)

Persist on challenging tasks.

See more examples of value standards in these rubrics for habits of mind from Marzano, Pickering, and McTighe's excellent text, Assessing Student Outcomes: Performance Assessment Using the Dimensions of Learning Model (beginning on p. 100).


Is it a Content or a Process Standard?

Given the definitions listed above, the same standard could be either a content or a process standard.  For example, the standard students will write a coherent essay would be a process standard in a history course because it is not describing content within the discipline of history.  Rather, it describes a useful skill that historians should have along with those working in other disciplines.  However, if the same standard were part of an English composition course, I would label it a content standard because students would be learning the content of that discipline.  Yes, writing skills are useful in any discipline, but in the composition course it is being taught as content for the course.



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Copyright 2018, Jon Mueller. Professor of Psychology, North Central College, Naperville, IL. Comments, questions or suggestions about this website should be sent to the author, Jon Mueller, at