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Student’s assessments in boarding schools and classrooms have always been a topic of speculation. Educators are continually working towards building an excellent assessment method that considers all the skills of a student and also recognizes their capabilities and potential. The traditional or conventional approach to assessments may not benefit the students in the best way, so a new method has emerged known as alternative or authentic assessments. This method is more inclusive and practical in its approach and has yielded some excellent results.

What are Traditional and Alternative Assessments?

Traditional Assessment

A conventional method of assessment that has been followed for a long time is the traditional assessment. It is a simple approach that generally utilizes a pen and paper or computer-based examination method which constitutes a similar pattern of questions such as Multiple Choice, true and false, or matching items.

Alternative Assessment

Authentic assessments, as the name suggests, is a more practical and experimental approach to evaluation. It requires the students to be involved in several tasks that utilize their analytical, reasoning, and logical thinking capabilities. This includes project work, research and experimentation. The things that are learned are connected to their real-world applications. Hence this approach is more comprehensive and beneficial.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Assessments


  • Traditional assessment evaluates the learning and retaining capacity of a child. It analyses how much of the provided material or syllabus has been acquired by the student. It also helps educators or teachers to compare the performances of different students.
  • The teacher gets a preview of a student’s knowledge conveniently.
  • It assesses a student’s learning through a set of questions curated as per the specified syllabus. Exams and tests conducted are pen and paper-based. The answers to every question pertain to a particular subject and do not fluctuate as per the opinions of the people, hence the evaluation by the teachers is also elementary and straightforward.
  • Students develop their retaining and understanding capabilities. They also learn to recognize and reconstruct their intellect and build their cognitive abilities.
  • This approach is overall more simple, straightforward and time-saving. The teachers are efficiently able to manage more children in a lesser amount of time. It is quiet, reliable and fixed.
  • Traditional assessments do not require extra tools and hence is very economical. A simple pen and paper can be used in the procedure.


  • It limits a student’s potential and does allow out of the box thinking. Hence, this method cannot be deemed to be a very creative one.
  • It just provides a surface preview of a student’s capabilities as per the norms set by the regular curriculum. Not every individual may be suited to a particular format, and traditional assessments are very restrictive.
  • Students get limited options.
  • Students do not develop extensive comprehensive skills.
  • It is a more theory-based approach which may sometimes not promote a healthy learning and inclusive atmosphere. Students feel pressured, and competence can cause anxiety. This method is not very diversified, and hence it fails in catering to the unique needs of every individual.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Assessment


  • Alternative Assessment aids in measuring the proficiency of the student based on their analytical, reasoning and logical thinking skills. By application of their theoretical knowledge, students gain better experience and also learn to tackle the problems.
  • It helps in recognizing a student’s unique set of abilities. A teacher can understand better as to which field a student is more drawn to and where his/ her success rate is more.
  • It evaluates a student’s problem-solving skills and helps in real-life application of the knowledge.
  • It helps in student’s engagement and provides them with opportunities to construct a new meaning of the things that are being taught.
  • It develops extensive levels of cognitive skills in the students.
  • A better rapport between the students, teachers and classmates get established as the whole process of instruction bases. Greater involvement and engagement in the activities also enhance the communicative and interactive skills of the students.
  • Provides the students with a vast set of resources to learn. Assessment drives the curriculum in this scenario.
  • It gives the teachers an in-depth analysis of a student’s capabilities and gives more information about their weaknesses and strengths.
  • Students have the liberty to work as per their capabilities and do not feel contained or pressured to perform as per the specified mark. The comparison also becomes more suitable.


  • The process becomes rigorous for the teachers as it is harder to evaluate. Teachers have to put in more efforts in understanding a student’s work.
  • More efforts demand more time. Hence this method is highly time-consuming.
  • Sometimes it may lead to misunderstanding and unfairness.
  • It is far less economical, as practical applications and project work demand a lot of resources and investments.
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