Educational Effectiveness and Institutional Research


Assessment Glossary

preparation and ability to account to the public for the performance of the educational system

Affective Domain
a major area within the taxonomy of educational objectives pertaining to the hierarchical pattern of classification characteristics of attitudes, interests, and appreciation and valuing

Anecdotal Records
refer to written descriptions of student progress that a teacher keeps on a day-to-day basis

information collected about the progress of student learning gathered using various strategies

the treatment of students unequally by virtue of their gender, race, culture, socioeconomic status, or any other stereotyped bases

Cognitive Domain
a major area within the taxonomy of educational objectives pertaining to the hierarchical pattern of classification characteristics of knowledge outcomes and intellectual abilities and skills

agreement between a student or a group of students and a teacher regarding what will be done, who will do it, how it will be done, when it will be completed, and how it will be evaluated

standard against which something is compared

comparing students' results to the standard of what was taught

translation of educational goals into an organized set of intended learning outcomes and instructional plans

Diagnostic Evaluation
designated to identify the level of students' skills and knowledge so that appropriate instruction can be provided

Direct Instruction
an instructional strategy; highly teacher directed; includes methods such as lecture, didactic questioning, explicit teaching, practice and drill, and demonstrations

comparing assessment information against some standard such as curriculum learning objectives to make a judgment or a decision

Experiential Learning
an instructional strategy; inductive, learner-centered and activity-oriented

Extended Open-Response
a testing exercise that requires a student to respond comprehensively to an assigned topic

Formal Assessment
structured assessment procedures with specific guidelines for administration, scoring and interpretation of results

Formative Evaluation
designed for use during instruction to stimulate, guide, and evaluate learning in specific units of instruction

smart goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely. Generally considered as the overarching statement from which objectives are written from which goals are accomplished.

Group Assessments
assessments that focus on or account for the progress of a group

Halo Effect
the tendency to rate students with pleasing personalities and good 'back records in class more highly than other students regardless of their actual performance on the tasks being rated

Holistic Rating Scale
a type of rating scale that combines global and analytic scoring methodologies

Independent Study
an instructional strategy; instructional methods that purposefully foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance, and self-improvement

Indirect Instruction
an instructional strategy; mainly student-centered; associated with methods such as inquiry, induction, problem solving, and discovery

Individual Assessments
assessments that focus on individual student progress; constructed by the teacher; completed individually by the students

an indicator of the extent to which the teacher is the instrument that evaluates whether a student attains a desired objective

Informal Assessment
a variety of procedures used to determine performance, student progress and/or direct instructional changes; less structured than or structured differently from standardized tests; results are relevant to instruction

Instructional Strategies
approaches teachers may take to achieve learning objectives. Examples include Direct Instruction, Indirect Instruction, Experiential Learning, Interactive Instruction, and Independent Study

Interactive Instruction
an instructional strategy; relies on discussion and sharing among participants

having to do with the sensation of position, movement, tension, etc. of the parts of the body

Learning Objectives
see Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes
sometimes referred to as Learning Objectives. Learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do as a result of a learning experience. The action must be observable, measurable, and done by the learners. For example: By the end of this course, students will be able to list three instructional strategies. The format is to identify an action verb and follow it with the required Facts and Information; Concepts; Learning Generalizations; Step-by-Step Psychomotor Skills; Step-by-Step Cognitive Skills; Thinking Skills; Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision-Making Processes; Creative Thinking and Performance; Interpersonal and Social Skills; Attitudes, Appreciations, and Values. Action verbs are found in Bloom’s cognitive domain taxonomy.

comparing students' results to results obtained from the group on which the test was normed

see Learning Outcomes

Observation Checklists
an assessment instrument or data recording device that records the presence or absence of attainment of desired concepts, skills, processes, or attitudes

Performance Assessments
assessment techniques that provide information on student learning in tasks that require students to actively engage in their learning through activities such as manipulating materials, demonstrating skills, solving multi- stage problems, or participating in debates

Performance Tests
assessment instruments that test how well a student performs a practiced behavior, the attainment of which is the primary goal of the teaching

Note: This is a limited definition of performance. If your use of the term is broader, (e.g., you think of performance in terms of process skills such as working cooperatively), then there are techniques in Ongoing Student Activities that will provide more information.

method of organizing and storing of student- produced materials assembled over an extended period of time that allow the teacher to evaluate student growth and overall learning progress during that period of time. A key component of a portfolio is the reflective writing where students examine how their learning takes place and prompts them to think deeply on their growth and development.

Program Evaluation
a formal process of gathering and analyzing information about some aspect of a program in order to make a decision or to communicate the merits of the aspect to other decision makers or appropriate groups

Psychomotor Domain
a major area within the taxonomy of educational objectives pertaining to the hierarchical pattern of classification characteristics of motor skills, abilities, and dexterity

Rating Scales
data recording devices that allow the teacher to represent the extent to which specific concepts, skills, processes, or attitudes are attained by students

comparing students" assessment results to her/his development over time

Summative Evaluation
designed to be used at the end of instruction; measures the extent of student learning progress relative to the learning outcomes of the course of instruction

a factor of consideration for the timing and scheduling of assessment and evaluation processes through a given course of study

assigning the relative importance or value to a single item or elements within a list of related items


Saskatchewan Education (1991). Student evaluation: A teacher handbook. Retrieved July 3, 2003, from

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