About Assessment

Common Assessment Terminology




  •   Refers to any effort to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, departmental, divisional, or agency effectiveness (Upcraft, M. L. & Schuh, J. H., 1996)
  •  The gathering of information concerning the functioning of students, staff, and institutions of higher education (Astin, 1991).
  •  Collecting evidence of (1) student performance on specified measures of development, (2) program strengths and weaknesses, and (3) institutional effectiveness (Banta, 1988).
  •   Any effort to use assessment evidence to improve institutional, departmental, divisional or agency effectiveness (Upcraft, M. L. & Schuh, J. H., 1996).
  •   The utilization of information for institutional and individual improvement (Astin, 1991).
  •   Research differs from assessment in a couple of ways.  The first being that assessment guides good practice, while research guides theory and conceptual foundations.  Second, assessment typically has implications for a single institution, while research typically has broader implications for student affairs and higher education (Upcraft, M. L. & Schuh, J. H., 1996).
     Quantitative Methodology
  •   The assignment of numbers to objects, events, or observations according to some rule (Rossman and El-Khawas, 1987).
  Qualitative Methodology
  •   The detailed description of situations, events, people, interactions, and observed behaviors; the use of direct quotations from people about their experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts; and the analysis of excerpts or entire passages from documents, correspondence, records, and case histories (Patton, 1990).
     Learning Outcomes 
  •   Cognitive and affective abilities which provide an indication of how one's college experiences have supported their individual development (Frye, 1999).
  •   The actual learning, including thinking skills, that occur as a result of a program (Bresciani, 2001).
         Direct Measures
  •   Processes employed to assess student learning directly by requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and skills (e.g. an essay graded by a rubric to demonstrate writing skills)
       Indirect Measures
  •   Processes that focus on students' opinions or perceptions (e.g. an exit interview in which students are asked about their confidence in writing skills).
  •   An authentic assessment tool used to measure students' work.  It is a scoring guide that seeks to evaluate a student's performance based on the sum of a full range of criteria, rather than a single numberical score.

The Iterative Systematic Assessment Cycle

Assessment Cycle