Assessment Vocabulary

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We are continuously building and expanding this glossary and are open to recommendations for improvement, accuracy, and additions.

TERM DEFINITION
ACCOUNTABILITY Oversight strategies that ensure the accuracy, effectiveness, and consistency of assessment methods and instruments.
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Assessment other than traditional pencil and paper tests: Includes projects, exhibitions, demonstrations, products, and performances. Requires students to apply relevant skills and knowledge to meaningful and relevant tasks in complex demonstrations of learning.
ASSESSMENTvocab2 The measurement of the outcomes of teaching and learning. Activities of teachers, students, districts, and states that involve gathering and analyzing information about performance that is used for the improvement of teaching and learning. A process of obtaining information that is useful in making educational decisions about students, identifying strengths/weaknesses, providing feedback about progress, and judging instructional effectiveness.
BALANCED ASSESSMENT A constellation of measures that together document progress and achievement.
ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS “The combination of multiple assessments into a comprehensive reporting format that produces comprehensive, credible, dependable information upon which important decisions can be made about students, schools, districts, or states” (CRESST 2001, p.1).
AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT Demonstration of mastery of a real-life task that incorporates instructional standards. Replicates the challenges and standards of selected competencies in a context that individuals could face on a daily basis.
BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT Tests that are given periodically to provide feedback on student’s progress towards the benchmarks
CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT Assessments developed, administered, and scored by teachers for the purpose of evaluating individual or classroom performance on a topic.
COMMON FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Measures of learning designed by collaborative teams of grade level or content area teachers. They are administered periodically and consistently throughout instruction and align with large-scale assessment. Results are used formatively to improve teaching and learning.
CRITERION REFERENCED “An assessment where an individual’s performance is compared to a specific learning objective, performance standard, or established criteria” (CRESST, 2001, p. 1). Criterion-referenced tests determine how well a student does “relative to a predetermined performance level on a specified set of educational goals or outcomes included in the school, district, or state curriculum” (Rudner & Schafer, 2002, p. 21).
CURRICULUM Guiding protocol that identifies desired outcomes along with planned strategies, resources, and assessments.
EVALUATION A measure of the strengths or weakness of a student’s or program’s outcome, performance or product. It is a judgment about the quality of student work that involves conferring value or worth to it.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT A process of gathering information about student’s progress that informs teaching and learning. “The use of the evidence from assessment to inform and adapt teaching to meet student needs” (Black & William, 1998, p. 1)
MEASUREMENT Assigning numbers to indicate achievement of specific knowledge and skills. It is a process of quantifying the degree to which someone or something possesses a given ability, quality, or characteristic.
NORM REFERENCED
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“A test designed to provide information about a student’s knowledge or skills relative to other members of a class or norming group.” (Linn & Gronlund, 1995, p.16). Generally used to classify and rank students in relation to a larger group.
PERFORMANCES Students perform meaningful tasks toward selected standards based on their skills and knowledge.
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS Objective and explicit descriptions of criteria used to measure a student’s performance against a specific set of standards.
PEER ASSESSMENT The use of standards-based assessment measure by similar learners (group, class, grade, or subject) to provide feedback and determine strategies for improvement.
PORTFOLIOS A selective collection of an individual student’s work over a specific period of time. It can be written, audio, or video; and teacher or collaboratively collected. It can be used as an assessment technique to measure student progress over time.
PREASSESSMENT An assessment or measure of baseline knowledge and skills used prior to the start of instruction that guides instruction.
PROJECTS Students complete complex pieces of work that demonstrate learning. They are evaluated based on predetermined standards and learning outcomes.
RELIABILITY A measure of consistency. “The degree to which test scores for a group of test takers are consistent over repeated applications of a measurement procedure” (Rudner &Shafer. 2002, p. 16).
RUBRIC A scoring guide with evaluative criteria on a spectrum of achievement levels that includes a scaled set of dimensions that define for the student and the teacher a range of pre-established standards and performance indicators.
SELF ASSESSMENT The use of standards-based assessment measures by the learner to measure learning, provide feedback, and identify strategies for improvement
STANDARDS
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A big-picture statement of what a student should know and be able to do:
CONTENT STANDARDS: knowledge and skills that students should attain in a domain
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS: indicates level of proficiency
DEVELOPMENTAL STANDARDS: Describe sequences of growth over time
STANDARDIZED TEST
A form of measurement that has been normed against a particular population or criteria. All students in a population are given the same test under specified conditions. Scores are statistically produced and analyzed to allow comparison between students or groups. Standardized means that it uses “uniform procedures for administration and scoring in order to assure that the results from different people are comparable” (Rudner & Schafer, 2002, p. 21).
Aptitude: Predicts a student’s general learning potential and ability to learn or perform particular types of tasks. (SAT, ACT, IQ)
Achievement: Predicts a student’s future performance in a specific area of study (CMT, CAPT, AP, Iowa, TOEFL, NAEP, TIMMS)
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT Formal evaluation conducted at the culmination of study to measure students’ mastery of content and skills. Generally more quantitative and frequently used for grading purposes
TESTS
Selected Response: Test questions where the correct answer is part of the question. Examples include true-false, multiple choice, and matching.
Open Ended: Fill-in, short essay, or long essay measures that have more than one exact response.
VALIDITY
Test validity refers to the degree with which the inferences based on test scores are justified, meaningful, useful, and appropriate. It describes how well an instrument measures its intended purposes.
Criterion Validity: Criterion-related validity refers to the extent “that test scores are systematically related to scores from another measure or one or more outcome criteria” (Rudner & Schafer, 2000)
Content Validity: Content-related validity “refers to the extent to which the test questions represent the skills in the specified subject area” (Rudner & Schafer, 2002, p. 12). It asks whether the test is measuring what it is supposed to measure.


References

  • Black, P., & William, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.
  • Linn, R. L. & Gronlund, N. E. (1995). Measurement and assessment in teaching (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Prentice Hall.
  • CRESST. (2001). Assessment Glossary from the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. Los Angeles: University of California. Retrieved June 6, 2003 from http://www.cse.ucla.edu/resources/glossary.htm
  • Rudner, L. M. & Schafer, W. D. (Eds.) (2002). What teachers need to know about assessment. Washington, DC: National Education Association.

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VOCABULARY FUN: LINGO BUILDER

When in doubt about creating educational assessment vocabulary, you can use this convenient jargon generator to create hackneyed expressions of educational processes and outcomes. Just tweak the word form and verb tense to create an original outcome such as: globally integrated heuristics, conceptually designed criteria, or visualized shared data.

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Accountable
Advanced
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