Alignment: a clear and direct relationship among learning opportunities, outcomes, and the evidence used for assessment purposes.
Benchmarks: the overall level of student performance that will signify successful learning.
Closing the loop: using the results of assessment to improve student learning and facilitate student success.
Course map: a table showing the relationship (alignment) between learning opportunities in a class or course and the learning outcomes for that class or course.
Curriculum map: a table showing the relationship (alignment) between learning opportunities in a program of study (the courses in the curriculum) and the learning outcomes for a program of study.
Direct evidence: evidence of student learning that is created by students - such as answers to exam questions or term papers - that show what they have learned.
Indirect evidence: evidence of learning that comes from student self-reporting, for example surveys of students or graduation rates.
Interrater reliability: the degree of agreement when multiple raters assess the same evidence of student learning. Interrater reliability is low when raters give more different responses and higher when they give more similar responses; high interrater reliability is desirable.
Learning outcomes: broad statements about what students should know and understand; goals are typically difficult to assess because they are so broad.
Reliability: how consistently a measurement gives the same (or similar) results. Measurements that yield more similar results are said to have higher reliability than those that yield different results. High reliability is desirable.
Rubrics: Tools for assessment that break down complex evidence into several dimensions and specific levels of performance for each dimension. Rubrics are generally set up as a table and can be used to assess evidence such as writing and oral presentations among others.
Sampling: selecting a smaller subset of student learning to examine for assessment purposes. Samples should be random, in the statistical sense, or designed to be representative.
Student learning outcome: specific statement about the knowledge, skills, or attitudes students should have at the end of a learning experience; the learning experience can be a class meeting, a quarter-long course, the curriculum, or a degree-granting program.
Triangulation: using more than one line of evidence to assess student learning.
Validity: how well a procedure measures the outcome it claims to measure. Procedures that have high validity often have a simple, logical link between assessment and outcome; procedures that have low validity often rely on proxies for student learning.