This study reports a rich localised cultural narrative of what it is like to be an art and design teacher and conduct assessment in the provincial setting of a visual arts classroom. The rhetoric of traditional assessment, literature and readiness of teachers to take up the language and acts of convention, conceal a strata of other agendas in the practice of art and design assessment. Examples of case study research and interviews with art and design teachers inform a critique of authenticity in the assessment of students. This research is now well configured, using naturalistic methodologies, participant observation and interviews. The projects significance lies in the promise of practical examples to model an emergent theory of assessment articulated by visual arts and design teachers. The work exists within an emergent framework of case studies which anticipate a spectacle, as articulated by Guy Debord (1983). My emergent theory aims to test the proposition that assessment is a spectacle and seeks to disconfirm the spectacle of authenticity in visual art and design. By exposing gaps in authenticity, between appearance and reality some of the motives behind the public face of assessment are revealed.