Glossary of Terms

Assessment -  Assessment is the process institutions use to determine the degree to which they are meeting their goals and outcomes.

Howard Annual Assessment Process / HAAP - Howard’s university-wide assessment process, completed by all units that contribute to student learning outcomes.

Student Learning Outcome(s) / SLOs – A description of what a student should be able to do, perform, or know following their completion of a set curriculum. Measuring the effectiveness of SLOs is the aim of an assessment plan. Other similar terms include: objectives, competencies, aims.

Measures – targeted items in a curriculum that assess whether students are meeting specific student learning outcomes. Measures should focus on core assignments, exams, quizzes, projects, presentations, and capstone experiences as these capture a more granular understanding of the unit curriculum.

Targets – Benchmarks that faculty/staff would like to see students meet regarding measures. These are often, but not exclusively, informed by external criteria, such as criteria outlined by an accreditating body.

Results / Findings – The data garnered from measures implemented.

Action – The ‘next step’ of an assessment plan that puts into practice the lessons learned about curriculum effectiveness.

Formative Assessment – An assessment tool used during the learning process to assess and offer feedback to students based on their achievement of specific SLOs. Formative assessments are lower-stakes assessments, like quizzes or other in-class assignments.

Summative Assessment – An assessment tool used at the end of the learning process to evaluate and grade student learning. Summative assessments are often higher-stake assessments, like essays or final exams.

Direct Assessment of Learning - Direct assessment refers to measures of learning that are based on student performance, like exams, essays, or quizzes.

Indirect Assessment of Learning – Indirect assessment refers to measures of learning that are based on reflection, self-assessment, or other indirect markers of success, like student feedback or post-graduate placement rates.



Adapted in part from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment glossary.