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Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Assessment > A Short Glossary of Assessment Terms
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A Short Glossary of Assessment Terms

Affective Domain
Outcomes of education involving feelings more than understanding; likes, pleasures ideals and/or values.
Assessment
The Latin root assidere means to sit beside. In an educational context, the process of observing learning; describing, collecting, recording, scoring, and interpreting information about a student's or one's own learning. At its most useful, assessment is an episode in the learning process; part of reflection and autobiographical understanding of progress. Traditionally, student assessments are used to determine achievement of learning objectives and grades.
Authentic Assessment
Assessment strategies that require students to directly reveal their ability to think critically and to apply and synthesize their knowledge.
Cognitive Domain
Outcomes of education involving thinking and content knowledge, logic, classification and problem solving.
Evaluation
Both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of student behavior, plus value judgments concerning the desirability of that behavior. Using collected information (assessments) to make informed decisions about continued instruction, programs, and activities.
Formative Assessment
Observations which allow one to determine the degree to which students know or are able to do a given learning task, and which identifies the part of the task that the student does not know or is unable to do. Outcomes suggest future steps for teaching and learning.
Learning Goal
See Learning Objective
Learning Objective
What you want students to know and understand after they complete a learning experience, usually a culminating activity, product, or performance that can be measured.
Mean
One of several ways of representing a group with a single, typical score. It is figured by adding up all the individual scores in a group and dividing them by the number of people in the group. Can be affected by extremely low or high scores.
Median
The point on a scale that divides a group into two equal subgroups. Another way to represent a group's scores with a single, typical score. The median is not affected by low or high scores, as is the mean.
Metacognition
The knowledge of one's own thinking processes and strategies, and the ability to consciously reflect and act on the knowledge of cognition to modify those processes and strategies.
Mode
The most frequently occurring score in a group {1233345}. Not all sets have a mode {1234567}, and some sets may have more than one mode {1123445}.
Performance Assessment
See Authentic Assessment.
Portfolio
A systematic and organized collection of a student's work that exhibits to others the direct evidence of a student's efforts, achievements, and progress over a period of time. The collection may involve the student in the selection of its contents, and should include information about the performance criteria, the rubric or criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection or evaluation. It should include representative work, providing a documentation of the students' performance and a basis for evaluation of the student's progress. Portfolios may include a variety of demonstrations of learning and have been gathered in the form of a physical collection of materials, videos, CD-ROMs, reflective journals, etc.
Rubric
In general a rubric is a scoring guide used in subjective assessments. A rubric implies that a rule defining the criteria of an assessment system is followed in evaluation. A rubric can be an explicit description of performance characteristics corresponding to a point on a rating scale. A scoring rubric makes explicit expected qualities of performance on a rating scale or the definition of a single scoring point on a scale.
Summative Assessment
Evaluation at the conclusion of a unit or units of instruction, or an activity or plan to determine or judge student skills and knowledge. Also an evaluation of the effectiveness of a plan or activity.

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