Glossary of Assessment Terms

Term                                                                     Definition

ABCD Model of a Complete Outcome

Audience: Who will be performing the learning, process?

Behavior: What do we expect the audience to be able to do?

Criteria: What will we use to measure our success or failure?

Degree: We know this outcome is successful when…

Achievement Target

Overall level for satisfactory performance on a Measure

Action Plan

A plan which identifies responsibility, process, timing and steps to ensure that concrete actions are taken to achieve program goals, objectives, requirements and performance standards. The statement that indicates the specific changes that a given area plans to implement in the next assessment cycle based on analysis of findings

Administrative Outcomes/Program Outcomes

Outcomes that are specific to the effectiveness of an administrative or support area and are detailed, measurable statements describing what is to be done, accomplished or achieved, following the ABCD model of a complete outcome"


The extent to which assessments, curriculum, instruction, materials, preparation, professional development, and systems of accountability all reflect and reinforce the college's mission.


Narrative in support of the action plan describing the completed assessment record. It identifies both strengths and weaknesses of the program overall. It should be in depth and shared with superior levels, advisory boards, committees and /or other individuals and groups as necessary


An ongoing process that helps us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of education.

Assessment Cycle

A span of time for a single assessment sequence which generally occurs annually and fits within the academic year. Outcomes, targets and assessment measures are established, data is collected and results are analyzed at the end of the cycle.

Assessment Plan

Step one in a two step process of completing an assessment record. The assessment plan contains the mission statement/purpose, outcomes and measures. The purpose of an assessment plan is to state what will be done in the future.

Assessment Record

A documentation of procedures and practices that incorporate relevant qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis to regularly assess a program or process outcomes and evaluate the extent to which they are being met. An assessment record is comprised of two parts: The assessment plan and the assessment report. The findings from the analyses are used to effect continuous improvement of the program or process through a documented plan.

Assessment Report

Step two in the process of completing an assessment record. The assessment report contains findings, analysis and action plans. The purpose of the assessment report is to summarize what has been done and provide a detailed plan to address the weaknesses.

College Wide General Education Outcomes

The knowledge, skills, values and abilities that an institution identifies as important qualities for all students to achieve/demonstrate prior to graduation. These outcomes are embedded across the curriculum in all associate degree programs and, as appropriate, in diplomas and certificates.

Direct Measure

Observable, tangible evidence that clearly demonstrates what has been learned or accomplished. Examples include:

Objective tests, essays, presentations, classroom assignments, exams, papers, projects, computer programs, musical performances, written/oral exams, standardized tests, case studies, portfolios, rubrics, documented analysis (meeting minutes, policies, handbooks)


The results of every measure in an assessment plan. These results provide the evidence for decision making and indicate when action needs to be taken for improvements.


The purpose towards which an endeavor is directed.

Indirect Measure

A method that gathers perceptions of work or performance. Sources include:

Questionnaires/surveys, focus groups, Employer Satisfaction, Job placement data, grades, advisory boards, Interviews, customer service satisfaction surveys, enrollment trends, diversity of the student body, exit surveys and alumni surveys

Institutional Assessment

A continual process that involves setting measurable goals based on the college's Vision Statement, measuring those goals in a systematic and logical way, making planning and fiscal decisions based on the measurements, and implementing change deemed appropriate to improve the college's ability to meet and/or revise goals


A method to gauge achievement of expected results. In academic areas, the design of strategies, techniques and instruments for collecting feedback data that evidence the extent to which students demonstrate the desired outcomes.

Mission Statement

A formal statement that focuses on the major objectives and values an institution or program holds and what they are aiming to achieve.

Program Process Outcomes

They are specific to the processes of programs and are detailed, measureable statements identifying what a program or unit is to do, accomplish or achieve.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

They are specific to student learning at the program level and are detailed, measureable statements identifying what a student is to know, think or do upon completion of a program or learning experience. The purpose is to communicate to three separate audiences:

Ourselves- what we intend for students to learn, whether students have gained appropriate skills and knowledge, and how successful an activity has been:

Students-what we intend for students to learn and how we intend to measure what they have learned

Other Interested Parties- the purpose and degree of success of our programs and learning experiences