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Assessment Terminology and Definitions

Note: Some of the terms here have been defined for use in this report by the authors of the report. Where appropriate, external sources of definitions are cited.

• Achievement test: a standardized test designed to efficiently measure the amount of knowledge and/or skill a person has acquired, usually as a result of classroom instruction. Such testing produces a statistical profile used as a measurement to evaluate student learning in comparison with a standard or norm (HIDOE, 2008).

• Alternative Assessment: alternatives to traditional, standardized, norm- or criterion-referenced traditional paper and pencil testing. An alternative assessment might require students to answer an open-ended question, work out a solution to a problem, perform a demonstration of a skill, or in some way produce work rather than select an answer from choices on a sheet of paper (HIDOE, 2008).

• Assessment: Educational assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. (Retrieved January 9, 2009, from web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment).

• Criterion referenced tests (CRTs) measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills.

• Culture-based assessment: assessment utilizing a student’s native language and/or measures specifically developed for a particular cultural context.

• Culture-based education (CBE) incorporates native language and/or important elements of native culture. Culture-based interventions are deemed to be planned activities and materials designed to improve education and introduced within the education systems. They include broad programs that engage participants for long periods with a high degree of involvement (e.g., all-day immersion programs) and more specific interventions that entail less time and involvement (e.g., a specific language text) (IES 2004; Demmert & Towner, 2003).

• Formative assessment is typically conducted during the development or improvement of a program or product (or person, and so on) and it is conducted with the intent to improve (Scriven, 1991). In an educational setting, formative assessment might be a teacher (or peer) or the learner, providing feedback on a student's work, and would not necessarily be used for grading purposes (Retrieved January 9, 2009, from web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment).

• Indigenous: originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native (often followed by to): the plants indigenous to Canada; the indigenous peoples of southern Africa. (Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved January 9, 2009, from web site: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indigenous).

• Large-scale assessment: Large-scale assessments are defined as assessments, tests, or examinations that are administered to a large number of students, such as those in a district, state, or nation.
• Native language assessments: assessments written and/or administered in a student’s native language.

• Norm referenced tests (NRTs) compare a person's score against the scores of a group of people who have already taken the same exam, called the "norming group."

• Performance-based assessment: a form of testing which requires students to create and answer or product or demonstrate a skill that displays his or her knowledge or abilities (e.g., recitals, dramatic performances, oral presentations, science experiments, computer simulations).

• Portfolio: a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas of the curriculum.

• Portfolio-based assessments: use samples of student work (portfolios) for assessing their knowledge and skills.

• Reliability relates to the consistency of an assessment. A reliable assessment is one which consistently achieves the same results with the same (or similar) cohort of students. (Retrieved January 9, 2009, from web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment).

• Standardized assessment: tests administered to large groups of students for the purpose of measuring academic achievement and/or comparing members of a cohort.

• Standards-based or referenced assessments: assessment of student progress using outcomes as key reference points for measuring achievement. Standards represent a country or state’s articulation of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a particular age or grade level.

• Summative assessment: Summative evaluation provides information on a product's efficacy. It is an assessment of the products’ ability to do what it was designed to do. In an educational setting, summative assessments are typically used to assign students a course grade (Retrieved January 9, 2009, from web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment).

• Validity: the best available approximation to the truth or falsity of a given inference, proposition or conclusion (Cook and Campbell, 1979).

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