There are definitely alternative assessments. Performance-based assessments, presentations, and portfolios are a few examples. However, their use is relatively rare compared to traditional testing, and when they are too heavily structured they become inauthentic--just ask anyone who has ever put together a collegiate portfolio. If we switched to these types of assessments on a large scale… would it be worth it?
Why do we feel the need to test learning beyond the evaluation of regular learning activities? What is this obsession with testing learning? What are we trying to prove? Some kids remember more things? What we should be assessing is can you learn? Can you teach yourself when you need to? Its hard to measure these things when we tell them what to learn. So, what should 21st Century assessment look like?