• Assessment – a continuous process of developing learning goals, identifying appropriate measures and gathering evidence to evaluate the goals, and determining areas of improvement through analysis of the evidence, which cycles back to the beginning step of developing new goals. The main focus of assessment is to improve student learning. 
  • 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 (i.e. Develop habits of critical analysis).
  • 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.
  • 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 Review: the act of using information from assessment or other sources 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.