Glossary

Assessment: The process of measuring student learning. This process is based on specific performance standards and criteria and documents growth and achievement. Good assessment provides directives to improve future performance. 

Assessment Strategy: The technique or strategy used to measure a student's performance. Examples are: essay, exam, skill demonstration, portfolio, written product. 

Assessment Criteria: Expectations (specifications) by which an artifact is evaluated. They describe satisfactory performance and provide the basis for judging whether or not the student performance is acceptable. Students are assessed against these pre-set standards, not against other students. Criteria may be developed to assess a process, a product, or both. May specify accuracy, speed, frequency, percentage or number to be achieved, degree of excellence, qualities/elements of performance, and reference to published standards. [Note: criteria statements are also written for program outcomes.]

Assessment Tools: Instruments used to gather data about student learning. Tools can be both quantitative and qualitative. Examples: pretests, group problem solving, performances and demonstrations, portfolios, peer observations.

Authentic Assessment: Students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Examples: Automotive-complete engine maintenance, Dental Hygiene-perform teeth cleaning, Psychology class-participate in case study analysis.

CATs- Classroom Assessment Techniques: CATs are used to capture information during instruction time. Information gathered is used by the instructor to adjust and improve instruction and provide feedback to both instructor and student.

Competency/Course Outcome: A major skill a student will learn and demonstrate in a course. A competency must be measurable and observable. It answers for the student, "What will I be able to do a result of this course?" 

Continuous Improvement: An on-going, data-supported, research-driven process carried out for the purpose of improving the effectiveness of work systems and their results.

Core Abilities: Core workforce skills that employers deem critical to tomorrow's workforce. Transferable skills that go beyond the context of a specific course and are essential, regardless of an individual’s occupational or life role. 

Curriculum: For Madison College purposes, the Outline of Instruction and supporting information represents "official" curriculum.  However, this term is meant to encompass any teaching and learning materials or content connected to a specific course.  

Evaluation: A process of measuring the quality of a work performance, work product, or use of a process against a set of standards and criteria to make a judgment or determination if, or to what level, the standards have been met and students are achieving the instructional objectives.

External Standards:  The credentialing requirements established by an external organization. Standards may specify inputs (e.g., faculty credentials, laboratory or equipment specifications, class size, and admission prerequisites) and/or outputs (e.g., performance standards, assessment results, documentation of learner achievement). Examples of programs with external standards would include Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Automotive, Law Enforcement, and Veterinary Technician.

Formative Assessment: Informal feedback processes used by instructors to guide students in improving their performance prior to summative assessment. Examples are: quizzes, self-assessment, informal verbal or written feedback, games, and practice problems with feedback.

Learning Activities:  Designed to help students master specific learning objectives and competencies. Examples are: participate in small group discussion, complete a pretest, write a minute paper, and participate in a virtual field trip.

Learning Objectives: Represent “chunks” of the larger competency/course outcome. They are supporting skills, knowledge, or attitudes that contribute to mastery of the competency, often defined as sub-skills, or smaller skills that contribute to mastery of the big skill or competency.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students take with them from a learning experience. 

Outlines of Instruction: The official course documentation at Madison College. The Outline provides specific information on the learning outcomes of each course and ensures consistency in courses taught by many instructors.

Portfolio: An organized collection of student work that documents efforts, achievements, and progress over a period of time. Portfolios may include papers, projects, videos, websites, journals, and other artifacts.

Program Outcomes: What a graduate will be able to do upon completion of a Madison College program. Developed with input from stakeholders such as advisory committee members, faculty, employers, college administrators, graduates, and students.

Rubric: An assessment tool that objectively displays grading criteria for a specific assignment, project or activity.

Self-Assessment: A process in which a person engages in systematic review of his or her own performance or learning.  This assessment is based on established criteria and is used for future improvement.

Summative Assessment: The process of gathering of data on student learning, based on specific assessment criteria, at the conclusion of a course, unit, field experience, or program.  This data is the basis for judging the quality of student knowledge and skills and can be used for evaluative purposes (grades) and for feedback for continuous improvement. Examples: registry or licensure exams, portfolios, clinicals, internships, major final projects.

WIDS (Worldwide Instructional Design System): A curriculum design database used to organize course and program information. Builds course outlines, syllabi, learning modules, rubrics, and program documents. Enter the Madison College WIDS Site