Glossary of Assessment Terms
|Assessment||A systematic, ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.|
|Curriculum Map||A curriculum map is a visual representation of what you do in your program to foster desired knowledge, skills, and values. It shows the alignment between a program’s curriculum and the learning outcomes of the program.|
|Direct Measures||Direct measures evaluate student work products in light of learning outcomes for the program. Examples of direct measures include exams and rubrics for capstone projects, portfolios, papers, and performances.|
|Formative Assessment||Formative assessment is aimed at understanding and improving learning along the progression of students’ studies. It involves gathering and interpreting evidence of student learning from at least one point prior to the end of the program.|
|Indirect Measures||Indirect measures evaluate student perceptions of their learning and the educational environment that supports learning. Examples of indirect measures include surveys, focus groups, and interviews.|
|Institution Level Assessment||Institution level assessment is aimed at understanding and improving student learning across the institution.|
|Learning Goals||Goals are general statements about knowledge, skills, attitudes and values expected in graduates of the program. Goals are written to align with the holistic vision of the mission. Typically, multiple goals are drawn from the mission statement.|
|Learning Outcomes||Learning outcomes are clear, concise statements that describe how students can demonstrate their mastery of program goals. There are usually multiple learning outcomes for each goal.|
|Mission Statement||A mission statement explains why your organization exists and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It articulates the organization’s essential nature, its values and its work.|
|Pedagogical Inventory||A pedagogical inventory is of the specific educational practices in your program that address a single learning outcome. It can help you determine how and where the student learning outcome is being addressed in the curriculum.|
|Program Level Assessment||Program level assessment is aimed at understanding and improving student learning within a program.|
|Reliability||Reliability describes how well a particular assessment method provides consistent results, regardless of who uses the method or when it is used.|
|Rubric||A rubric is a guide for evaluating student work along certain dimensions. Within the context of program assessment the dimensions can be specific skills or aspects of a learning outcome. For each dimension there are concrete descriptors for different levels of performance.|
|Summative Assessment||Summative assessment is aimed at understanding and improving learning at the completion of students’ studies. It involves gathering and interpreting evidence of student learning at the end of a program.|
|Validity||Validity describes how well a particular assessment method actually measures the learning outcome it is intended to measure.|
- Leskes, A. (2002). Beyond confusion: An assessment glossary. Peer Review. Retrieved January 7, 2009, from http://www.aacu.org/peerreview/pr-sp02/pr-sp02reality.cfm
- Maki, P. L. (2004). Assessing for learning: Building a sustainable commitment across the institution. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
- Palomba, C. A. & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
- Walvoord, B. E. (2004). Assessment clear and simple: A practical guide for institutions, departments, and general education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.