Glossary

Accountability ::
Use of results for program continuance/discontinuance; the public reporting of student, program, or institutional data to justify decisions or policies.
Assessment ::
The systematic process of determining educational objectives, gathering, analyzing and using information about student learning outcomes to make decisions about programs, individual student progress, and/or accountability.
Benchmark ::
A criterion-referenced objective performance datum that is used for comparative purposes. A program can use its own data as a baseline benchmark against which to compare future performance. It can also use data from another program as a benchmark. In the latter case, the other program often is chosen because it is exemplary and its data are used as a target to strive for, rather than as a baseline.
Cohort ::
A group of study subjects, selected based on predetermined criteria, who are followed over a period of time.
Culture of Assessment ::
An environment in which continuous improvement through assessment is expected and valued.
Direct Assessment ::
Direct measures of student leaning require students to display their knowledge and skills as they respond to the instrument itself.
Effectiveness ::
The evaluation of department, office, or institutional performance.
Embedded Assessment ::
An assessment measure that is done as a normal part of another activity.
Evaluation ::
This term broadly covers all potential investigations, with formative or summative conclusions, about institutional functioning. It may include assessment of learning, but it might also include non-learning centered investigations (e.g., satisfaction with recreational facilities).
Feedback ::
The return of information about the result of a process or activity. Feedback is an evaluative response.
Goals for Learning ::
Goals are used to express intended results in general terms. The term goals are used to describe broad learning concepts, for example: clear communication, problem solving, and ethical awareness.
Indirect Assessment ::
Indirect methods such as surveys and interviews ask students to reflect on their learning rather than to demonstrate it.
Instrument ::
A tool, such as a survey or rubric, used to systematically assign a value to a variable.
Learning Outcome ::
Observable behaviors or actions on the part of students that demonstrate that the intended learning objective has occurred.
Mean ::
The average of all the elements (individual's test answers) in a sample. To compute a sample mean, add up all the sample values and divide by the size of the sample.
Measurement ::
The systematic investigation of people's attributes.
Median ::
The value on a measure or test for which roughly half the data in a sample are smaller and roughly half the data are larger.
Objectives for Learning ::
Objectives are used to express intended results in precise terms. Further, objectives are more specific as to what needs to be assessed and thus are a more accurate guide in selecting appropriate assessment tools. Example: Students who participate in the leadership training will know their leadership style.
Performance-Based ::
Assessment technique involving the gathering of data though systematic observation of a behavior or process and evaluating that data based on a clearly articulated set of performance criteria to serve as the basis for evaluative judgments.
Rating Scale ::
A series of items or statements that describe the degree or extent of an aspect of a skill or a personal trait.
Reliability ::
The degree to which a test consistently measures what it is intended to measure.
Rubric ::
A scoring guide used in subjective assessments. A scoring rubric makes explicit expected qualities of performance on a rating scale or the definition of a single scoring point on a scale.
Sample ::
A selected subset of entities called sampling units (e.g., test takers, items, etc.) from a larger specified set of such entities, called the population.
Scale ::
A classification tool or counting system designed to indicate and measure the degree to which an event or behavior has occurred.
Score ::
A rating of performance based on a scale or classification.
Survey ::
An assessment measure which asks the respondent to record responses to a series of questions.
Triangulation ::
The building of multiple sources of information or ideas to support a central finding or theme.
Validity ::
The degree to which an instrument measures what it is designed to measure.

 

The Assessment terms come from variety of glossaries:

James Madison University. Dictionary of Student Outcome Assessment.
Retrieved from http://people.jmu.edu/yangsx/.

Minnesota State University Moorehead. Glossary of Assessment Terms.
Retrieved from http://www.mnstate.edu/assess/poa/glossary.aspx

NOCTI. Assessment Glossary.
Retrieved from http://careertechpa.org/Portals/0/docs/StudentTesting/NOCTI%20Resources/Assessment_Glossary_12-13.pdf

Potsdam. Glossary of Assessment Terms.
Retrieved from http://www.potsdam.edu/offices/ie/assessment/upload/Assessment_Glossary_of_Terms.pdf