Definitions of Assessment
The process of gathering information to make decisions. In an
education context, assessment is the process of observing learning:
describing, collecting, recording, scoring, and interpreting
information about a student’s or one’s own learning.
A culminating educational experience that assesses the range of a
student’s learning over perhaps the entirety of his or her
involvement in a program or department.
The particular standards that will be considered when a task is
judged. Criteria are often defined in a rubric or scoring
Mission: An educational unit’s general goals related to
to student success.
Objectives: Specific activities a department will engage
in to reach its mission.
Systematic observation and rating of student performance of an
educational objective. Such assessment is often an ongoing
observation over a period of time and typically requires the
student to finish products. The assessment should be a
real-world performance generally assessed with a scoring guide or
A collection of student work that tells the story of the student’s
growth as a learner over a period of time such as a quarter or
semester. Portfolios may be assessed in a variety of ways.
Each piece might be individually scored, the portfolio might be
assessed merely for the presence of required pieces, or the
portfolio might be assessed holistically with an evaluation made on
the basis of an overall impression of the student’s collected work.
It is common for assessors to work together to establish consensus
about standards in order to insure greater uniformity of
An established set of criteria for scoring or rating student
Learning Outcomes: Descriptions (in
action terms) of what a student should know or be able to do after
completing an assignment, a unit, or even an entire course.