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Glossary of Terms & Concepts
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- The process of gathering and analyzing data as evidence of student learning. Used to improve and determine the effectiveness of a process, an event, a course, a program, or an institutional effort.
- Assesment Plan
- Used to serve as a foundation of the assessment, to lead to improvement when continuously implemented. The plan should include clear goals, program objectives, and how faculty will evaluate learning outcomes.
- Bloom's Taxonomy
- A classification of objectives, representing levels of learning and processing. Includes six levels, each requiring understanding and skill, prior to moving on to the more complex level. Provides instructors with a realistic measurement of thinking and learning for students.
- Criterion-based Assessment
- Evaluated or scored using a set of criteria to appraise or evaluate work. Criterion-referenced evaluation is based on proficiency, not subjective measures such as improvement.
- Direct Data
- Measures the exact value. For instance, a math test directly measures a student's learning in math by defining a criteria and standard, then having the student analyze a problem.
- Embedded Assessment
- Occurs within the regular class or curricular activity. Class assignments linked to student learning outcomes through primary trait analysis, serve as grading and assessment instruments. Individual questions on exams can be embedded in numerous classes to provide departmental, program, or institutional assessment information. An additional benefit to embedded assessment is immediate feedback on the pedagogy and student needs.
- External Assessment
- Assessments designed and controlled by an outside person or group (e.g. commercial publishers, state policymakers). Typically standardized or commercial and have greater authority and importance. Used to indicate quality of instruction and educational achievement.
- Formative Assessment
- Generates useful feedback for development and improvement. The purpose is to provide an opportunity to perform and receive guidance (such as in class assignments, quizzes, discussion, lab activities, etc.) that will improve or shape a final performance. This stands in contrast to summative assessment where the final result is a verdict and the participant may never receive feedback for improvement such as on a standardized test or licensing exam or a final exam.
- Indirect Data
- Data that measures a variable related to the intended value. For instance a person's math skills may be indirectly measured through an employer's questionnaire asking about the computational skills of graduating students.
- Local Assessment
- This type of assessment is developed and validated for a specific purpose, course, or function and is usually criterion-referenced to promote validity.
- Norm-referenced Assessment
- Assessment of an individual is compared to that of another individual or to the same individual's improvement over time. Individuals are commonly ranked to determine a median or average. This technique addresses overall mastery, but provides little detail about specific skills.
- (See also Student Learning Outcome)
Results of assessment, based on skills and knowledge students develop through courses.
- Program Level Outcomes
- Outcomes designed by departments based on what they feel are necessary in their discipline. Used to develop learning outcomes that students should be able to demonstrate by completing the program.
- Qualitative Data
- Data collected as descriptive information, such as a narrative or portfolio. These types of data, often collected in open-ended questions, feedback surveys, or summary reports, are more difficult to compare, reproduce, and generalize. It is bulky to store and to report; however, it is often the most valuable and insightful data generated, often providing potential solutions or modifications in the form of feedback.
- Quantitative Data
- Data collected as numerical or statistical values. These data use actual numbers (scores, rates, etc.) to express quantities of a variable. Qualitative data, such as opinions, can be displayed as numerical data by using Likert scaled responses which assigns a numerical value to each response (e.g. 5 = strongly agree to 1 = strongly disagree). This data is easy to store and manage; it can be generalized and reproduced, but has limited value due to the rigidity of the responses and must be carefully constructed to be valid.
- Scoring tool containing tasks/standards used to evaluate student work. Written to give students an understanding of their performance and requirements for the course.
- SMART Outcomes
- Emphasizes the end result and criteria for being effective.
Specific – clear and well defined
Measurable – known how to achieve and when completed
Achievable – able to be attained
Realistic – practical based on skill
Timed – set within a specific time frame to give a clear target
- Standardized Assessment
- Assessments created, tested, and usually sold by an educational testing company (e.g. GRE's, SAT, ACT) for broad public usage and data comparison, usually scored normatively.
- Student Learning Outcome (SLO)
- Specific description of what is expected of a student, such as skills, knowledge and understanding, that will be able to be demonstrated when the program is completed.
- Summative Assessment
- A final measurement of achievement. Used to measure growth at the end of a course, program or degree.