aerial photo of the Graduate School building

Glossary of Assessment Terms

A process that asks important questions about student learning and program effectiveness: gathers meaningful information about these questions; 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.
A detailed description of a specific level of student performance expected of students at particular ages, grades, or developmental levels. Benchmarks are often represented by samples of student work, which can be used as “checkpoints” to monitor progress toward meeting performance goals within and across grade levels.
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 demonstration of the use of assessment results to improve the educational or service program through drafting of and implementation of an action plan. Once the “loop” is completed, the process is repeated to assess the impact of the 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 Mission and Strategic Plan.
Institutional Mission
A broad statement of institutional philosophy, role, scope, etc.
Learning Standards
Standards that define the skills and abilities to be mastered by students at a certain point in their learning progression.
A collection of student-generated or student-focused evidence (for ex., student work samples, photographs, videotapes and observations), designed to assess 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.