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Accountability Formative Assessment Portfolio Assessment
Affective Domain Higher Order Thinking Reflective Practice
Analytic Scoring Ipsative Assessment Reliability
Authentic Assessment Learning Outcomes Rubric
Benchmark Metacognition Self-assessment
Classroom Assessment Measurement Standards
Cognitive Complexity Norm-referenced Assessment Summative Assessment
Criterion-reference Assessment Peer-assessment Validity
Evaluation Performance-based Assessment  

Accountability Use of results for program continuance / discontinuance; the public reporting of student, program, or institutional data to justify decisions or policies; using results to determining funding. (2)

Affective Domain Any category of feeling, as distinct from cognition or behavior. The display of affect is a set of physical changes, which indicates an emotional state. (2)

Analytic Scoring Evaluating student work across multiple dimensions of performance rather than from an overall impression (holistic scoring). In analytic scoring, individual scores for each dimension are scored and reported.

Authentic Assessment An assessment that measures a student's performance on tasks and situations that occur in real life. This type of assessment is closely aligned with, and models, what students do in the classroom. (7)

Benchmark A detailed description of a specific level of student performance expected of students at particular ages, grades, or development levels. Benchmarks are often represented by samples of student work. A set of benchmarks can be used as "checkpoints" to monitor progress toward meeting performance goals within and across grade levels. (3, 5)

Classroom Assessment An assessment developed, administered, and scored by a teacher or set of teachers with the purpose of evaluation individual or classroom student performance on a topic. Classroom assessments may be aligned into an assessment system that includes alternative assessments and either a norm-referenced or criterion-referenced assessment. Ideally, the results of a classroom assessment are used to inform and influence instruction that helps students reach high standards. (3)

Cognitive Complexity The ability to differentiate, abstract, and conceptualize (2).

Criterion-reference Assessment An assessment where an individual's performance is compared to a specific learning ojbective or performance standard and not to the performance of other students. Criterion-referenced assessment tells us how well students are performing on specific goals or standards rather that just telling how their performance compares to a norm group of students nationally or locally. In criterion-referenced assessments, it is possible that none, or all, of the examinees will reach a particular goal or performance standard. (3, 4, 5)

Evaluation When used for most educational settings, evaluation means to measure, compare, and judge the quality of student work, schools, or a specific educational program. (3)

Formative Assessment The gathering of information about student learning-during the progression of a course or program and usually repeatedly-to improve the learning of those students. Example: reading the first lab reports of a class to assess whether some or all students in the group need a lesson on how to make them succinct and informative. (1, 4, 6)

Higher Order Thinking Defined as the development of understanding one's own and others' knowing and serves as the supporting structure for sustained intellectual inquiry and analysis. (2)

Ipsative Assessment Assessed or measured by comparison with self; involve the individual using his or her values or behaviors as the yardstick by which comparisons are made. (2)

Learning Outcomes Operational statements describing specific student behaviors that evidence the acquisition of desired knowledge, skills, abilities, capacities, attitudes or dispositions. Learning outcomes can be usefully thought of as behavioral criteria for determining whether students are achieving the educational objectives of a program, and, ultimately, whether overall program goals are being successfully met. Outcomes are sometimes treated as synonymous with objectives, though objectives are usually more general statements of what students are expected to achieve in an academic program. (Allen, Noel, Rienzi & McMillin, 2002) (4)

Measurement Process of quantifying any human attribute pertinent to education without necessarily making judgments or interpretations. (5)

Metacognition Refers to an individual's ability to think about his/her own thinking and to monitor his/her own learning. Metacognition is integral to a learner's ability to actively partner in his or her own learning and facilitates transfer of learning to other contexts. (5)

Norm-referenced Assessment An assessment where student performance or performances are compared to a larger group. Usually the larger group or "norm group" is a national sample representing a wide and diverse cross-section of students. Students, schools, districts, and even states are compared or rank-ordered in relation to the norm group. The purpose of a norm-referenced assessment is usually to sort students and not to measure achievement towards some criterion of performance. (3, 4, 5)

Peer-assessment Evaluation of learning by one's peers. (2)

Performance-based Assessment Assessment technique involving the gathering of data though systematic observation of a behavior or process and evaluating that data based on a clearly articulated set of performance criteria to serve as the basis for evaluative judgments (2)

Portfolio Assessment A portfolio is collection of work, usually drawn from students' classroom work. A portfolio becomes a portfolio assessment when (1) the assessment purpose is defined; (2) criteria are made clear for determining what is contained in the portfolio, by whom, and when; and (3) criteria for assessing either the collection or individual pieces of work are identified and used to make judgments about performance. Portfolios can be designed to assess student progress, effort, and/or achievement, and encourage students to reflect on their learning. (2, 3, 4, 5)

Reflective Practice Reflective practice is a mode that integrates or links thought and action with reflection. It involves thinking about and critically analyzing one's actions with the goal of improving one's professional practice. Engaging in reflective practice requires individuals to assume the perspective of an external observer in order to identify the assumptions and feelings underlying their practice and then to speculate about how these assumptions and feelings affect practice (2)

Reliability The degree to which the results of an assessment are dependable and consistently measure particular student knowledge and/or skills. Reliability is an indication of the consistency of scores across raters, over time, or across different tasks or items that measure the same thing. Thus, reliability may be expressed as (a) the relationship between test items intended to measure the same skill or knowledge (item reliability), (b) the relationship between two administrations of the same test to the same student or students (test/retest reliability), or (c) the degree of agreement between two or more raters (rater reliability). An unreliable assessment cannot be valid. (3, 5)

Rubric Specific sets of criteria that clearly define for both student and teacher what a range of acceptable and unacceptable performance looks like. Criteria define descriptors of ability at each level of performance and assign values to each level. Levels referred to are proficiency levels which describe a continuum from excellent to unacceptable product.(System for Adult Basic Education Support) (4, 5)

Self-assessment The process of evaluating one's own learning. The process often includes the ability to judge one's own achievements and performances, understanding how the product or performance was achieved, understanding why one followed the process he or she did, and understanding what might be done to improve the process, product or performance. (2)

Standards sets a level of accomplishment all students are expected to meet or exceed. Standards do not necessarily imply high quality learning; sometimes the level is a lowest common denominator. Nor do they imply complete standardization in a program; a common minimum level could be achieved by multiple pathways and demonstrated in various ways. (1, 4)

Summative Assessment the gathering of information at the conclusion of a course, program, or undergraduate career to improve learning or to meet accountability demands. When used for improvement, impacts the next cohort of students taking the course or program. Examples: examining student final exams in a course to see if certain specific areas of the curriculum were understood less well than others; analyzing senior projects for the ability to integrate across disciplines. (1, 4)

Validity The extent to which an assessment measures what it is supposed to measure and the extent to which inferences and actions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and accurate. For example, if a student performs well on a reading test, how confident are we that that student is a good reader? A valid standards-based assessment is aligned with the standards intended to be measured, provides an accurate and reliable estimate of students' performance relative to the standard, and is fair. An assessment cannot be valid if it is not reliable. (3, 4, 5)

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University The University of Hong Kong

This project, funded by UGC, is an inter-institutional collaborative project involving
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Hong Kong.

  Copyright & Acknowledgement | Content by the ARC Editorial Team | Updated June 30, 2007 Copyright © 2005 ARC. All rights reserved.