McKeachie (2002, p. 91) touches briefly on authentic assessment (performance assessment):
"Faculty members construct learning situations in which they can observe student performance and judge the performance on the basis of specified criteria. The faculty has defined developmental levels in each of several abilities that students are expected to achieve. Since no one situation is sufficient for assessing a complex ability, the assessment plan stresses multiple modes of assessment related to real-life contexts."
This sounds good in theory, but too complicated to be of much practical use with the typical large class sizes and lack of faculty in most schools of nursing. Also, since the majority of the NCLEX is still in multiple-choice form, I don't see us abandoning the multiple choice test item in the forseeable future. Still, this is a valuable topic to pursue, as our practice environments (and methods of teaching) are rapidly changing. Many of our graduates face the daunting task of taking the PBDS at the beginning of their nursing careers, as an assessment tool in some facilities. The PBDS, though very controversial, is modeled somewhat after authentic assessment.
These excellent resources may be of assistance to you: