Action Verb: A verb that reflects physical or mental action

Analysis: Process of summarizing information to make inferences about student learning and program effectiveness

Assessment: A systematic process of gathering and analyzing information to see if your division, unit, or program is meeting its goals, objectives, or outcomes and then using that information to make improvements.

Assessment Report: The comprehensive discussion of assessment activity submitted at the end of each assessment cycle. The Assessment Report consists of three components:

  • Executive Summary:  List of student learning outcomes; connection to university mission, strategic plan, and school plan; discussion of assessment process; description of implemented improvements; and response to the University Assessment Committee’s recommendations
  • Outcome Report: Individual report on the results for assessment for each learning outcome
  • Appendix of Supporting Materials: Measures, rubrics, and other material used in the assessment process.

Categorical Data:  Data that can be divided into groups (gender, age, sex, race, etc.)

Closing the Assessment Loop: Implementing changes based on assessment findings

Data:  Quantitative or qualitative facts about something that can be used for calculation, evaluation, and planning

Database: Electronic collection of data relating to student performance or responses

Descriptive Statistics:  Standard formulas that generate numeric indicators of data allowing easier interpretation and comparison of data

Direct Measures:  Assessments that examine actual results, evaluating actual samples of student work or allowing for direct observation of whether or not an outcome has been achieved.

Goal: A broad, general statement of what an institution intends to accomplish.

Graph:  A pictorial display used to help analyze and interpret data.

Indirect Measures:  Assessments that analyze supportive evidence, information, and student perspectives or perceptions of learning

Initiative: A general term for a strategy, program, product, service, or project.

Learning Outcome: Statements that specify what students will know or be able to do as a result of earning their degrees

Mapping:  Identifying where learning outcomes are supported in the curriculum

Measurable Outcomes: Outcomes which can be assessed through direct obervation, using direct measures of assessment.

Metric: A measurement that tracks, monitors, and assesses the effectiveness of an objective, intiative, or plan. These include performance indicators, targets, or benchmarks.

Numerical:  Data that are measured on scales that reflect student performance

Objective: A specific, measurable outcome an institution intends to accomplish. Objectives should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). Each goal many have multiple objectives.

Observable Outcomes: Outcomes that can be evidenced by student work or other data

Outcome: A result from an implementation of a plan or any of its components.

  • Operational Outcome: These outcomes are the end result for (or impact on) a customer/client/stakeholder or the institution that is a consequence of the work of your unit. Operational outcomes are directly related to the mission and key functional responsibilities of the department.
  • Learning Outcomes: These outcomes are statements that describe the key values, abilities, knowledge, and skill sets that students have attained as a result of a learning experience.
  • Strategic Outcome: These outcomes reflect future expected results of a unit, based on a planned activity. Strategic outcomes are generally assessed as part of the planning process to ensure strategic initiatives have the intended or positive results. Strategic outcomes typically are written in the future tense and are consistent with university and division mission and goals.

Outcome Measures:  Methods for assessing achievement of outcomes. Measures may by direct or indirect.

Outliers:  Extreme values outside the expected range that should be reviewed for data entry or other errors

Performance Standard:  Pre-specified level of acceptable performance (direct measures) or response (indirect measures)

Rater: A person who is responsible for evaluating individual work using rubrics and other standardized forms

Rubrics: Guides which identify criteria to be measured and levels of success for each criterion. Rubrics are standardized evaluation forms used to assess work toward meeting  outcomes.

SMART: An acronym that describes the characteristics of a good objective. It stands for:

  • Specific: Clearly defines what an institution intends to accomplish
  • Measurable: Can be measured against targets or benchmarks that represent success for achievement of the objective
  • Assignable: Responsibility for achieving the objective can be assigned to an individual, committee, or unit.
  • Realistic: Can be achieved with the resources that have been allocated to the objective and within the objective’s time frame
  • Time-Bound: The objective includes an indication of when it is intended to be completed.

Strategic Issues: Problems and/or opportunities that must be addressed for an institution to achieve its mission and/or remain viable.

Strategic Plan: A product of the strategic planning process that serves to document and communicate the decisions made during the planning placess.

Strategic Planning: A systematic process of envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into a set of fundamental decisions and actions needed to achieve that vision.

Strategy: A plan of action created to achieve a goal or to address a strategic issue.

Structural Bias: A flaw in an assessment measure that results in inaccurate data and information based on how the measure operates.

Success Rate: Percentage of students meeting the program standard

Table: A listing of data in a systemic format to facilitate comparison and analysis.

Tactic: A specific action an institution takes to carry out a strategy

Targets: Specific values for assessment measures that represent the desired end result.