An Authentic Assessment and Rubric for 10th grade Biology Aligned with Pennsylvania Standards

Authentic Assessment for 10th grade Biology class covering standards 4.1.10 A-E

  • 4.10.1A states that students should be able to examine the effects of limiting factors on population dynamics.
  • 4.1.10B requires that students be able to explain the consequences of interrupting natural cycles.
  • 4.10.10 C requires students to be able to explain how energy converts from one form to another throughout a food web.
  • 4.10.10 D requires that students be able to research the practices that impact the biodiversity of specific ecosystems.
  • 4.10.1E states that students must be able to analyze how humans influence the pattern of natural changes in ecosystems over time.


The authentic assessment I created is for a 10th grade Biology class. Each student will choose a country and research four environmental characteristics: environmental threats, ecosystems, biodiversity and endangered species, and population. The student will create a presentation with visual and oral elements and deliver it to the class. This is an authentic assessment for several reasons.

First, this assessment requires a variety of tasks in order to complete. Students will have available class time prior to the final presentations for library book and internet research on their chosen countries. The presentation requires written note cards, and these will be created and revised prior to the final presentation.

Second, student presentations require a visual element in addition to an oral presentation. This visual element must address one of the four required elements: environmental threats, ecosystems, biodiversity and endangered species, or population. Students may choose any performance or product they prefer for the visual element. It must visually display facts and concepts of their chosen country’s environment.

Third, this authentic assessment is reliable because environmental issues around the world do not have one correct answer. Students will investigate environmental and biodiversity issues in other parts of the world and will present on how those impact population and other elements. These issues are complex and feature many different viewpoints.

Fourth, researching and presenting on the current status of environments in countries around the world allows students to replicate real-world scenarios and allows them to apply the skills and knowledge they learned over the course of the unit to real examples around the world. This authentic assessment demonstrates to students that the scientific concepts addressed in class do apply in all types of environments in our current global community.

Fifth, the nature of this authentic assessment features both strict requirements and elements that allow students to choose their own features. When students present they’ll meet certain requirements but each presentation will be unique and have different structures that represent the individual skills and interests of each student. This replicates professional and adult life because many workplaces require presentations or projects that convey information visually as well as require employees to speak and share ideas to a group.


  • Create a rubric that identifies the criteria for success.

Environmental Health Across the Globe Research Presentations

Individual Rubric

Possible points 40, Passing score 30/40


Exemplary Approaching Developing
Content/Critical Thinking Score


20 10 0
The presentation fully addresses the four key elements: environmental threats, ecosystems, biodiversity and endangered species, and population.
The presentation includes both oral and visual elements that convey specific and accurate information about the chosen country.
The presentation is original and demonstrates effort and creativity.
The presentation addresses some of the four key elements but needs more research to fully develop each element.
The presentation includes either an artistic or oral requirement but not both. Or each are included but in the presentation both were not fully represented.
The presentation attempted creativity and originality but needed more effort and original ideas to be represented.
The presentation does not address the four key elements and very little research was used to convey specific information about the country’s environment.
The presentation does not include a visual or oral element and does not attempt to convey information.
The presentation was not engaging or creative and did not demonstrate a unique perspective on the assessment’s requirements.
Documentation Score


10 5 0
The presentation meets all of the criteria listed.
The student demonstrated a full grasp of the environmental status of their chosen country and conveyed information clearly to the class using note cards.
The presentation met some of the listed criteria but not all.
The student demonstrated some knowledge of the environmental status of their chosen country but missed some crucial elements. The student did not fully convey information to the class clearly with note cards.
The presentation did not meet the listed criteria.
The student demonstrated no specific knowledge of the the environmental status of their chosen country. The student did not convey information to the class with note cards.
Mechanics Score


10 5 0
The presentation of given to the class in an organized manner with both visual and oral elements being clear and distinct representations of research. The presentation was not fully organized and there was little distinction between visual and oral elements. Research was not fully represented. The presentation was unorganized and had no visual or oral elements to convey research.
Thoughts and information were not clearly presented.
Total __/40

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