Alignment – A logical connection between the curriculum and the expected outcomes

Assessment – "Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development." (Palomba & Banta, 1999)

Assessment Plan - A document that outlines the

  • program mission/goals
  • desired student learning outcomes
  • benchmarks for attainment of outcomes
  • learning processes (e.g., courses, activities, assignments) that contribute to students' abilities reach the program's outcomes (this may be shown in the form of a curriculum map)
  • timeline

Benchmark - A point of reference for measurement; a standard of achievement against which to evaluate or judge performance.

Closing the loop - Using assessment results for improvement

Curriculum Map - A matrix showing the relation of each course in a program to each program student learning outcome.

Direct measures – assessment measures that provide evidence in the form of student products or performances that demonstrate actual learning. For example, course assignments, exams and quizzes, standardized tests, pass rates on licensure or subject area tests, and research or capstone projects.

Formative assessment – assessment that occurs over the progression of a course or program, intended to adjust curriculum or pedagogy to improve student learning outcomes; formative and summative (see below) assessment should be used together to understand and improve student learning.

Goal– a broad, desired aim or purpose.

Indirect measures – assessment measures that imply that learning has occurred by capturing perceptions of or revealing characteristics associated with learning; used to supplement direct evidence. For example, course evaluations, surveys, focus groups, or exit interviews, as well as statistics on graduate school attendance, job placement, and graduation rates.

Learning outcomes - Statements that identify the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students will be able to demonstrate, represent, or produce as a result of a given educational experience. There are different levels of learning outcomes: course, program, college, and institution.

Norming - Also called "rater training." The process of educating raters to evaluate student performance and produce dependable scores. Typically, this process uses criterion-referenced standards and analytic or holistic rubrics. Raters need to participate in norming sessions before scoring student performance. (Adopted from University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Objective – a purposeful and specific action that operationalizes a goal. An objective is a measurable, tangible, and attainable description of the performance to be demonstrated.

Outcome – the extent to which a student learning goal or objective is achieved, based on identified evidence.

Portfolio – a collection of a student’s work over a period of time that displays his or her progress and growth in a specific area of study. The portfolio is evaluated using established scoring criteria. Common materials included in a portfolio are papers, tests, rating scales, projects, resume, reflections, etc.

Program Assessment - on-going process designed to monitor and improve student learning. Faculty: a) develop explicit statements of what students should learn (i.e., student learning outcomes); b) verify that the program is designed to foster this learning (alignment); c) collect data/evidence that indicate student attainment (assessment results); d) use these data to improve student learning (close the loop). (Allen, M., 2008).  (Adopted from University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Program Review -  the act of using information in order to make a judgment about the effectiveness, performance or value of a specific program, project, department, etc.

Rubric – an objective scoring tool that clearly states expectations for an assignment. Rubrics are used to evaluate a student’s performance on a task through criteria determined by the instructor.

Summative assessment – assessment that occurs at the end of a course or program to determine overall achievement of learning goals; formative (see above) and summative assessment should be used together to understand and improve student learning.