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Assessment Vocabulary Terms


Authentic - Refers to task that represent real-life situations, problems or questions. For example, an authentic assessment would be writing an editorial article for a newspaper is an authentic assessment of writing an opinion; writing and performing a libretto for an opera is an authentic assessment.


Assessment - A broad term referring to the process of looking at and providing feedback about student work, and evaluating, scoring and/or grading student work.


Analytic Rubrics - A type of rubric in which 3-4 learning targets are assessed on one scale. For example, an analytic writing rubric could have separate scores for topic development, organization and grammar.


Benchmarks - The process of matching student work to different levels of performance for specific standards. The resulting benchmarks are used as a guide to communicate what achievement means, and to assess and score student work.


Checklist - A useful format of assessment in which a specific set of behaviors or learning targets are listed and evaluated with a simple "yes/no" or a "check" mark. This format of assessment is good for a quick review of accomplishment, but is not well-suited for detailed feedback.


Criteria - A specific learning target or standard used for assessment of student work.


Criterion-referenced assessment - Tests are measures of aptitude, achievement, dispositions, or interests. Some tests (like the AP assessments, NAEP, and those used for No Child Left Behind) report results in terms of how people perform against a criterion, benchmark, or standard. These are called criterion-referenced.


Formative assessment - assessment of the process or as learning is occurring. Assessment for learning happens while learning is still underway. These are the informal or formal assessments that we conduct throughout teaching and learning to diagnose student needs, plan our next steps in instruction, provide students with feedback they can use to improve the quality of their work, and help students to see and feel in control of their journey to success. It is not the instrument that is formative; it is the use of the information gathered.


Holistic Rubrics - A type of rubric in which all learning targets are scored on the same scale. For example, a holistic writing rubric would have a single score for topic development, organization and grammar.


Integration – Students and teachers making connections between and among content.


Leadership - Teachers who are interested in and act to promote the intellectual growth of their students, colleagues, and/or community.


Learning Targets - A learning target clearly states (in student accessible language) what students are expected to know and be able to do as a result of the daily lesson. Learning targets may be organized and interpreted in a taxonomy or conceptual framework like the Anderson and Krathwohl (New Bloom’s) Taxonomy or Marzano’s taxonomy.


Level of Quality - A term similar to performance level(s). Quality is a general term used to describe the score or grade (assessed value) of student work.


Measurement topic – specific learning targets to be assessed. Student progress is reported by measurement topics.


Norm-referenced assessment - Commerically-developed tests (like the SAT, ACT) report results in terms of how people perform in comparison to a sample of test takers. These are called norm-referenced.


Outcomes - A term closely related to standards and learning targets.


Performance assessment - A method of assessment used to judge a skill or a product. For example, a performance could be playing the guitar, or delivering the lines in a theater production of a play.


Performance Criteria - A term used to describe learning targets for skills or performances. For example, the performance criteria for a vocal solo could be tone, pitch and interpretation.


Performance Indicator - The most level of description of a learning target or standard, which are found within each separate Content and Performance Standard.


Performance Level - A term used to describe range of student achievement, from low to high. A widely-used definition of four performance levels is "does not meet standards, partially meets standards, meets standards, and exceeds standards."

Portfolio - a collection of assessments. Students benefit most when each assessment is scored individually with a separate rubric.


Proficiency Level - A term similar to performance level. Proficiency level may refer to the acceptable level of performance, that which "meets the standard."


Reflection - A type of assessment conducted after teaching and learning takes place in which students or participants look back at and think about what they have learned or been taught. Reflections may be communicated orally or in written form. The questions used for reflection may be about content, a performance or a teaching lesson, or dispositions, attitudes.

Rubrics - A type of scoring guide which consists of learning targets, descriptors of performance levels, and a scale (e.g., 4-point).


Standard - Describes what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.  Standards are designed to provide clear guidance to teachers about what is to be taught and learned.  Standards have different names in our state. The foundation of our standards are the Maine Learning Results (MLRs).


Summative assessment - formal assessment of the final product with a rubric score or grade. Provides a final measure for determining if learning goals have been met.  Is usually formal and typically includes many standards. Reflective of targets included in the formative assessments that lead up to the summative assessment. Summative assessment is typically seen as a “chapter or unit test”; completed art project; orchestra concert; Show Band performance; power lifting final.   Summative assessment typically leads to a student grade.


Technology - A variety of digital, multi-media tools used to support and promote learning, everything from chalk, pencils and bulletin boards to computers, Web 2.0 tools and digital cameras.


Taxonomy of Learning Targets - Learning targets may be organized and interpreted in a taxonomy or conceptual framework like the Anderson and Krathwohl (New Bloom’s) Taxonomy or Marzano’s taxonomy. The New Bloom’s taxonomy has two dimensions: cognitive (remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, creating) and knowledge (factual, conceptual, procedural, and meta-cognitive). Marzano’s taxonomy is a progression - retrieval, comprehension, analysis, knowledge utilization, metacognition, and self-system thinking.

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