Glossary of Key Terms

  • Establishes clear, measurable outcomes of student learning;
  • Ensures that students have opportunities to achieve those outcomes;
  • Systematically gathers, analyzes and interprets evidence to determine how well students have achieved that learning
  • Uses the results of the assessment to understand and improve student learning.                   
Suskie, L (2003) Assessing student learning: A common sense guide.  Bolton, MA: Anker.
Learning Goals/Outcomes
  • Explicit statements of what students will know, do, and value at the conclusion of a learning experience (course, program, etc.);
  • Should be expressed using clear, specific terminology
Curriculum Mapping
  • A matrix that notes where learning goals are addressed in a program's curriculum.
  • Many programs will also indicate where a goal is Introduced (I), Reinforced (R), Emphasized (E), and Assessed (A).
Feedback Loop
  • When assessments have been completed and analyzed, programs and their faculty make curricular changes and adjustments to address areas of concern; this is known as "Closing the Loop."
Indirect Evidence of Learning
  • Provides signs that students are probably learning, but the evidence of what they are learning is less clear.
Direct Evidence of Learning
  • Tangible, visible, self-explanatory evidence of what students have and have not learned
Qualitative Assessment
  • Use flexible, naturalistic methods and are usually analyzed by looking for recurring patterns and themes.
Quantitative Assessment
  • Use structured, predetermined response options that can be summarized into meaningful numbers and analyzed statistically.
Test Blueprint
  • A test blueprint is a plan for linking specific parts of a test to specific learning goals being assessed.
  • A good online resource for test blueprints.
 Scoring Rubric
  • An assessment tool used to evaluate (or quantify) data that is qualitative in nature.
  • Often set on a 4-point scale, with each number representing a specified level of quality of a given aspect of the work being assessed.
Embedded Assessment
  • A means of gathering information about student learning that is built into and a natural part of the teaching-learning process.  The grading of a course assignment is separate from its use for assessment
Learning Taxonomies
Portfolio Assessment
  • Systematic collections of students' work that are evaluated by a common set of standards for evidence of learning and development over time.
Learning Objectives
  • The means by which students will achieve the state Learning Goals/Outcomes.