EDST 498T: Designing Authentic Assessments of the Development of Competencies

July 25 – August 11 (MONDAY TO THURSDAY*)   |   9:00 A.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Format: Hybrid – In-person (two weeks) and online synchoronously

*During the week of August 1, the course will run from Tuesday, August 2 to Friday, August 5 to accommodate BC Day


This course has been designed to support you in building your assessment literacy in designing assessments that align with BC’s “concept-based, competency-driven curriculum” (BC Ministry of Education) and that place student learning at the heart of your assessment decisions. This course will build both your theoretical understanding and your practical capability to design plans for assessment and instruction that build and capture the development of competencies. We will read, discuss, and apply key literature related to authentic assessment, competency, and situated learning. We will work together to illuminate and confront challenges associated with assessing, evaluating, and reporting on the development of student competencies rather than falling back on assessing for compliance or solely on knowledge-based outcomes. The course will model authentic assessment practices in situating the building of your assessment literacy in the context of assessment, evaluation, and reporting in BC schools in 2021, as well as in having a multi-pronged, strength-based approach to course assessment.

Through this course, participants will

  • deepen their understanding of the nature of authentic assessment, competency, situated learning, and the effective alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • engage in professional reflection on the development of your own assessment literacy
  • use authentic assessment practices to design a plan for assessment and learning that situates the building of competency in a real-world problem or process and aligns your learning intentions with the curriculum and the authentic needs of your students.

Dr. Paula Waatainen

Dr. Waatainen is a teacher-educator in the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University. She currently teaches elementary and secondary Social Studies Methods and has taught Instructional Design (Evaluation and Reporting) and Principles of Teaching and Learning. In January she successfully defended her doctoral dissertation for her EdD in the Learning Sciences (University of Calgary). She also holds a MEd and a BEd in Social Studies Education and a BA in History & Political Science, all from UBC.
Before moving to VIU in 2016, she taught secondary social studies in West Vancouver schools for 21 years, wrote learning resources, and served on several Ministry of Education curriculum and assessment committees.
Her EdD design-based research study had her collaborate with grade 6 and 7 teachers to design an authentic assessment of the competencies that their students developed when they participated in a real-world public consultation process about city planning in Nanaimo. In 2022 she is building on what they learned by teaming up with a secondary teacher, who is navigating developing assessments of competency in the context of a simulation-heavy grade 12 course that requires reporting of letter grades and percentages.

She lives in Nanaimo with her family and Stella, her yellow lab puppy. In addition to her work in assessment, her other research and teaching interests include place-based education on the island and Fraser Canyon, democratic deliberation, historical thinking, and human-centered educational design.

how to register

To register for courses, please visit the Student Information Service Centre (SISC).

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the Student Information Service Centre (SISC).

If you are looking to transfer a course into UBC Vancouver, or another institution, please confirm transfer credit will be approved prior to registering for a UBC Okanagan course.

*It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the course is accepted towards the completion of a program.

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the Student Information Service Centre (SISC). You must have current Summer registration eligibility. If not, please email sie.education@ubc.ca

If you are looking to transfer a course into UBC Vancouver, or another institution, please confirm approval of transfer credit prior to registration.

*It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the course is accepted towards the completion of a program.

Apply to take select coursework as a non-degree student at through the Non-Degree Access Studies Application.

If you require assistance, please email sie.education@ubc.ca

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the  Student Information Service Centre (SISC). You must have current Summer registration eligibility. If not, please email sie.education@ubc.ca.