Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


Assessment - a process that asks important questions about student learning and program effectiveness: gathers meaningful information about these questions; and uses the information for program and course improvement in the achievement of University program goals.


Assessment Liaison a department representative, who manages, organizes and oversees the assessment process in the department.


Action Plan – an agreed upon strategy among the faculty to address the results of an ongoing assessment plan.


Benchmark - a detailed description of a specific level of student performance expected of students at a particular point in academic development or program completion.  Benchmarks are often represented by samples of student work, which can be used as "checkpoints" to monitor progress toward meeting performance goals within a program of study.


Culture of Assessment – the attitudes and mindset of individuals within the university toward assessment and all of its components that are seeking to serve the student body to the fullest extent.


Closing the Loop – the demonstrated use of assessment results to improve an educational or service program through drafting of and implementation of an action plan intended to apply assessment results in specified ways to bring about clearly stated program improvements.  Once the "loop" is completed, the process is repeated to assess the impact of this plan.


Institutional Effectiveness – the extent to which an institution achieves its mission and goals.


Institutional Goals – institutional- level action statements that implement, support, and are derived from the Institutional Mission and Strategic Plan.


Institutional Mission – a broad statement of institutional philosophy, role, scope, etc.


Strategic Plan - a broadly written outline of actions to be taken within the University community as a whole to achieve Institutional Goals in support of the Institutional Mission. 


Learning Standards standards that define the skills and abilities to be mastered by students at a certain point in their learning progression.


Portfolio - a collection of student-generated or student-focused evidence (e.g., student work samples, photographs, videotapes and observations), designed to assess a student’s progress, effort, and/or achievement. Portfolios encourage students to reflect on their learning and provide the basis for demonstrating the student’s mastery of a range of skills, performance level, or improvement in these skills over time.