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

Minnesota State University Moorehead. Glossary of Assessment Terms.
Retrieved from

NOCTI. Assessment Glossary.
Retrieved from

Potsdam. Glossary of Assessment Terms.
Retrieved from