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Flipping thru the pages of a Glossary

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

1. Action Plan

An agreed upon improvement strategy among faculty to address the results gathered from an ongoing assessment plan. 

2. Assessment

A systematic, ongoing process of gathering and analyzing evidence of student learning for continuous improvement of programs and courses. 

3. Assessment Methods

Assessment methods are strategies, techniques, tools, and instruments used to determine the extent to which students are meeting the desired learning outcomes.

4. Benchmark

Benchmarks is a collection of relevant internal or external data, which can be used to compare and monitor progress toward meeting performance goals. 

5. Data-driven Evidence

The use of evidence-based data to make informed decisions about student achievement, assess progress towards goals, and improve outcomes. 

6. Closing the Loop

Analyzing the results from assessment outcomes and using the results to make changes to improve student learning or enhance programs. Closing the loop is a process of continuous assessment improvement. 

7. Institutional Effectiveness 

The extent to which an institution achieves its mission and goals. 

8. Institutional Goals

Institutional-level action statements that implement, support, and are derived from the Mission and Strategic Plan. 

9. Institutional Mission

A broad statement of institutional philosophy, role, scope, etc.

10. Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes statements are specific, narrow, and measurable in nature. They demonstrate the knowledge, skills or values the student have achieved upon completion of a program or course. 

11. Portfolio

A compilation of student-generated evidence which might contain work samples, lesson plans, case studies, research papers, photographs, videotapes, newsletters, resumes, and observations for the purpose of assessing student progress, effort, and achievement over time. 

12. Direct Assessment of Learning

Direct assessment of learning assesses student performance based on student's actual work. Examples of direct assessment of learning are pre/posttest, course-embedded assignments (i.e., essays, research papers, portfolio evaluation, case studies, etc.) standardized exams, or capstone course evaluation. 

13. Course-Embedded Assessment

Course-embedded assessment refers to class assignments, activities, or exercises used to assess student performance or aggregated to provide data about a particular course or learning outcome. Examples of course-embedded assessment are exam questions, pre/posttest, work samples, field observations, and presentations. 

14. Formative Assessment

Formative assessment refers to the ongoing process of gathering information or data about student learning during a course or program to guide further improvements in teaching and learning process. The primary goal for formative assessment is to identify areas that need improvement. Examples of formative assessment are reflection journals, homework exercises, class discussions, questions and answer sessions, and observations. 

15. Indirect Assessment of Learning

Indirect assessment of learning uses opinions, thoughts, reflections, or perceptions to make inferences about student learning. Some examples of indirect assessment of learning are student surveys, student self-assessment reports, employer surveys, focus groups, interviews, alumni surveys, course grades, completion rates, and job placement data. 

16. Inter-rater reliability

Inter-rater reliability is the degree to which raters will reach a consensus on the same score for the same sample of work. If the inter-rater reliability is high, there is a high degree of agreement between raters. Low inter-rater reliability indicates that the raters will not reach a consensus on the evaluation of the assignment using the same rubric. Thus, the rubric has low inter-rater reliability. 

17. Program Level Assessment

Program assessment is a systematic, ongoing process of gathering and analyzing evidence of student learning to determine if the program is meeting its learning outcomes and then, using the information to improve learning. The evidence gathered and used for improvement or accreditation purposes can be quantitative, qualitative, formative, and summative. 

18. Reliability

Reliability is the extent to which an instrument (i.e., rubric) measures the same way each time it is used and under the same condition with the same subjects. 

19. Rubric

Rubric is a scoring tool developed around established criteria and performance standards that can be used for summative and program level assessments. Components of a rubric include clear descriptors of the work associated with each component, at varying levels of mastery. 

20. Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is evidence gathered at the conclusion of a course, or program to improve learning or determine if a program goals are met. Some common examples include standardized tests, chapter tests, final exams, capstone projects, and portfolio presentations.

21. Validity

Validity refers to how well a test measures what it claims to measure when repeated a second time.  

22. Value Added

The increase in contribution a course, program, or institution makes to student learning from when students first enroll to the time they graduate.