Local Lexicon of Assessment Terms

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Affective Domain

Willingness to receive, respond to, value or attend to particular phenomena or stimuli. (Bloom’s Taxonomy: Affective Domain)

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Receiving: Willingness to receive or to attend to particular phenomena or stimuli. Receiving is broken into three subcategories: awareness, willingness to receive, and controlled or selected attention. Receiving is concerned with getting, holding, and directing the student’s attention.

Illustrative verbs: Acknowledge, ask, attend, be aware, choose, describe, follow, give, hold, identify, listen, locate, name, reply, select, show alertness, tolerate, use, view, watch.

Responding: Active participation on the part of the student. The student is sufficiently motivated not just to be willing to attend to, but is actively attending to a subject. Responding indicates the desire that a student has become sufficiently involved in or committed to a subject, activity, etc., so as to seek it out and gain satisfaction from working with it or engaging in it.

Illustrative verbs: Agree to, answer, ask, assist, communicate, comply, consent, conform, contribute, cooperate, discuss, follow-up, greet, help, indicate, inquire, label, obey, participate, pursue, question, react, read, reply, report, request, respond, seek, select, visit, volunteer, write.

Valuing: The student sees worth or value in the subject, activity, assignment, etc. An important element of behavior characterized by valuing is that it is motivated, not by the desire to comply or obey, but by the individual’s commitment to the underlying value guiding the behavior. Learning outcomes in this area are concerned with behavior that is consistent and stable enough to make the value clearly identifiable.

Illustrative verbs: Accept, adopt, approve, complete, choose, commit, describe, desire, differentiate, display, endorse, exhibit, explain, express, form, initiate, invite, join, justify, prefer, propose, read, report, sanction, select, share, study, work.

Organizing: Bringing together a complex of values, possible disparate values, resolving conflicts between them, and beginning to build an internally consistent value system. The individual sees how the value relates to those already held or to new ones that are coming to be held. The integration of values is less than harmonious; it is a kind of dynamic equilibrium that is dependent upon salient events at a specific point in time.

Illustrative verbs: Adapt, adhere, alter, arrange, categorize, classify, combine, compare, complete, defend, explain, establish, formulate, generalize, group, identify, integrate, modify, order, organize, prepare, rank, rate, relate, synthesize, systemize.

Characterizing by a value: Internalization of values have a place in the individual’s value hierarchy. The values have controlled one’s behavior for a sufficiently long period of time to have developed a characteristic “life style.” The behavior is pervasive, consistent, and predictable.

Illustrative verbs: Act, advocate, behave, characterize, conform, continue, defend, devote, disclose, discriminate, display, encourage, endure, exemplify, function, incorporate, influence, justify, listen, maintain, modify, pattern, practice, preserve, perform, question, revise, retain, support, uphold, use.

Assessment Technique

The method used to assess identified objectives.

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Assessment techniques can be applied to gather information on student learning objectives, in which case we can use direct measures of student learning or indirect measures of student learning. Assessment techniques can also be focused to capture program-level outcomes, including student retention rates, student graduation rates, student ethnicity, community interactions, to name a few.

Cognitive Domain

The ability to know, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. (Bloom's Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain)

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Knowledge: Remembering previously learned material. The skill may involve recall of a wide range of material, from specific facts to complete theories, but all that is required is the bringing to mind of the appropriate information. Knowledge represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain.

Illustrative verbs: Enumerate, define, describe, identify, label, list, match, name, outline, recall, recite, recollect, relate, reproduce, select, state.

Comprehension: The ability to grasp meaning of material. This skill may be shown by translating material from one form to another, by interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), and by estimate future trends (predicting consequences or effects).

Illustrative verbs: Change, construct, convert, decode, defend, define, describe, distinguish, discriminate, estimate, explain, extend, generalize, give example, illustrate, infer, paraphrase, predict, restate, rewrite, solve, summarize.

Application: The ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations. This may include the application of such things as rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories.

Illustrative verbs: Apply, change, compute, demonstrate, develop, discover, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, modify, operate, organize, predict, prepare, produce, relate, solve, transfer, use.

Analysis: The ability to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. This skill may include the identification of the parts, analysis of the relationship between parts, and recognition of the organizational principles involved.

Illustrative verbs: Analyze, breakdown, classify, compare, contrast, determine, deduce, diagram, differentiate, distinguish, identify, illustrate, infer, outline, point out, relate, select, separate, subdivide.

Synthesis: The ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve the production of a unique communication, a plan for operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information).

Illustrative verbs: Categorize, combine, compile, compose, conceive, construct, create, design, devise, establish, explain, formulate, generate, invent, make, manage, modify, organize, originate, plan, propose, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganize, revise, rewrite, set up, summarize, tell, write.

Evaluation: The ability to judge the value of material for a given purpose. The judgments are to be based on definite criteria. These may be internal criteria (organization) or external criteria (relevance to the purpose) and te student may determine the criteria or be given them.

Illustrative verbs: Appraise, ascertain, choose, compare, conclude, contrast, criticize, decide, defend, describe, discriminate, explain, interpret, justify, relate, resolve, summarize, support, validate, write a review.

Course Assessment

Assessment techniques are brought to bear on the stated learning objectives of a given course. Assessment evidence may be collected during the semester within the course or at some time after the conclusion of the course. Assessment data gathered during the course reflects student progress in achieving stated course objectives, while data gathered after the conclusion of the course provides evidence of the persistence of stated learning outcomes over the time elapsed.

Curriculum Map

Presented in a matrix, a curriculum map relates program-level student learning objectives (usually enumerated in individual rows) to the courses and/or experiences that students take in progress to graduation (usually captured in columns).

Direct Measures of Student Learning

In contrast to opinion surveys and instruments that gather self-reports of student knowledge and/or ability, direct measures of student learning are generated when students are evaluated in their performance of a stated objective. Assessment techniques implemented can range from scoring rubrics to locally generated or nationally normed examinations of student performance. Third-party reports of what students know and can do represent direct measures of student learning when the reports are student-specific rather than summarized across a cohort of students.

Embedded Assessment

Also referred to as course-embedded assessment, these techniques generate assessments of course-specific student learning objectives entirely within the duration of the specific course. There are many assessment techniques that can be applied to routine assignments made within a course that can be summarized across multiple sections and/or multiple semesters to provide evidence of student learning at the program level.

Formative Assessment

Utilizes assessment techniques that emphasize the role of feedback in assessing how students are learning and then using the information to make beneficial changes in instruction and/or the learning environment. Formative assessment usually focuses on a limited set of specific objectives, often a subset of the complete roster of objectives identified by a program, and is focused primarily on the improvement of program delivery.

Indirect Measures of Student Learning

Usually found in opinion surveys and instruments that gather self-reports of student knowledge, indirect measures of student learning are generated when students report on their own progress of learning, what experiences they attribute their learning to, how they feel about what they know, and what students value as a result of their educational experiences. Third-party reports of what students know and can do represent indirect measures of student learning when the reports are summarized across a cohort of students rather than student-specific.

Performance/Skill Domain

The ability to imitate, manipulate, perform with precision, and articulate. (Bloom’s Taxonomy: Psychomotor Domain)

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Imitation: Early stages in learning a complex skill, overtly, after the individual has indicated a readiness to take a particular type of action. Imitation includes repeating an act that has been demonstrated or explained, and it includes trial and error until an appropriate response is achieved.

Illustrative verbs: Begin, assemble, attempt, carry out, copy, calibrate, construct, dissect, duplicate, follow, mimic, move, practice, proceed, repeat, reproduce, respond, organize, sketch, start, try, volunteer.

Manipulation: The individual continues to practice a particular skill or sequence until it becomes habitual and the action can be performed with some confidence and proficiency. The response is more complex than at the level of imitation, but the learner isn’t fully sure of him/herself.

Illustrative verbs: Acquire, assemble, complete, conduct, do, execute, improve, maintain, make, manipulate, operate, pace, perform, produce, progress, use.

Precision: The skill has been attained. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, smooth, accurate performance, requiring a minimum of energy. The overt response is complex and performed without hesitation.

Illustrative verbs: Achieve, accomplish, advance, automatize, exceed, excel, master, reach, refine, succeed, surpass, transcend.

Articulation: The student has involved an even higher level of precision. The skills are so well developed that the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements or to meet a problem situation.

Illustrative verbs: Adapt, alter, change, excel, rearrange, reorganize, revise, surpass, transcend.

Naturalization: The response is automatic. The individual begins to experiment, creating new motor acts or ways of manipulating materials out of understandings, abilities, and skills developed. The students acts appropriately “without thinking.”

Illustrative verbs: Arrange, combine, compose, construct, create, design, refine, originate, transcend.

Pipeline Analysis

Employs analysis of student flows into, through, and out of an academic program. Pipeline analyses can highlight:

  • Sources of student matriculations,
  • Time durations and unit achievements while students are enrolled,
  • Typical paths of student course enrollments,
  • Illustrative trends in student flows over time and
  • Potential targets for improved student flows.

Program Assessment

Assessments of student learning and development of program goals and objectives provide program faculty opportunities to evaluate the effectiveness and status of their academic program at the same time they reflect vital information to use in improving curriculum and instruction. Program assessment is comprehensive across a set of prioritized program objectives in contrast to course assessment that is limited to course-specific objectives.

Summative Assessment

Utilizes assessment techniques that emphasize the comprehensive achievement of program objectives across comparatively large student cohorts. While summative and formative assessment need not be mutually exclusive, the tenor of summative assessment is to provide evidence of accountability and achievement of comprehensive program outcomes compared to formative assessment, which focuses feedback to improve program delivery.