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EMSA Assessment Team
Assessment Definitions

The public reporting of student, program, or institutional data for the purpose of program improvement.  A policy of holding institutions and/or individuals responsible for students’ academic and personal progress by linking such progress to funding, resources, etc.  


The process of certifying a college as meeting all formal official requirements of academic excellence, curriculum, facilities etc.


“Conceptualizing, planning, implementing, and evaluating the impact, or outcomes, of a purposeful, intentional learning event on an identified set of learners” (Assessment Reconsidered, 2008).

“Assessment is any effort to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, departmental, divisional or agency effectiveness” (Upcraft & Schuh, 1996).

Assessment Plan

"A document which outlines when the evaluation will take place and how it will be conducted. An assessment plan includes program mission or course/activity purpose, goals as appropriate, intended outcomes, methods for gathering, analyzing data, and interpreting data for providing evidence to inform decision making” (Bresciani & Fackler, 2005). 

Authentic/Performance Assessment

Assessment technique that involves the gathering of data through systematic observation of a behavior, process, or product and the evaluation of those based on a clearly articulated set of performance criteria, which serves as the basis for evaluative judgments. 


Performance data that are used to set a level for comparison, either between different programs or over time for the same program.  If data from another exemplary program are chosen as benchmarks, it becomes a target to strive for, rather than a baseline to improve upon.  The setting of a standard of excellence, achievement, etc, against which similar things must be judged.

Best Practice

Methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for.

Civic Engagement (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)

Dimension outcomes include; sense of civic responsibility, commitment to public life through communities of practice, engage in principle dissent, effective in leadership

Close-ended Questions

A question which can be answered with a simple yes or no or other very simple answer.

Cognitive Complexity (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)

Dimension outcomes include; critical thinking, reflective thinking, effective reasoning, intellectual flexibility, emotion/cognition integration, identity/cognition integration

Individual facts, statistics, or terms of information.

Characteristics of a population (age, race, etc.)

Divisional Priorities
An area the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs is concentrating on to effectively advance the mission of The College.  The 7 Divisional priorities are Civic Engagement and Student Leadership; Diversity and Inclusiveness, Learning Outcomes and Assessment; Recruitment Strategies; Healthy Campus; Community Building; and the Retention of College at Brockport Students. 

Educational Benchmarking, Inc. (EBI)
EBI assessments provide student affairs professionals the information they need to evaluate performance, identify their contribution to professional standards and the greater institutional mission, and drive continuous improvement.  EBI assessments are available for functional areas that include housing, campus activities, student unions, fraternities and sororities, and the first-year experience. 

The process of collecting information from multiple sources to make judgments (assign a grade, for example) about how well students have learned and abo0ut program effectiveness.

Exit Surveys
Information obtained from students on completion of their studies, a program, or as they leave a position.  May include information about student growth and change, satisfaction with program or experience, and their immediate and future plans. 

The return of information about the result of a process or activity.  Feedback is an evaluative response.

Focus Group
A form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, or idea.

Formative Assessment
Purposeful, ongoing collection of information regarding how students are learning while there is still opportunity to make improvements.  Both faculty/staff and students use the information to guide continuous improvement toward intended learning.

A goal is an end result written in broad terms.

Humanitarianism (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)
Dimension outcomes include; understanding and appreciation of human differences, cultural competency, social responsibility

Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competence (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)
Dimension outcomes include; realistic self appraisal and self understanding, personal attributes (identity, self esteem, confidence, ethics and integrity), spiritual awareness, personal goal setting, meaningful relationships, interdependence, collaboration, ability work with diverse individuals

Key Performance Indicators
A measure of performance that is used to help an organization define and evaluate how successful it is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term organizational goals.

Knowledge Acquisition, Integration, & Application (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)
Dimension outcomes include; understanding knowledge in a range of disciplines, connecting knowledge to other knowledge, ideas, and experiences, pursuit of lifelong learning, career decidedness, technological competence

“A complex, holistic, multi-centric activity that occurs throughout and across the college experience” (Learning Reconsidered 2, 2006).

Learning Outcome
“a concrete action that a student demonstrates as a result of learning. A learning outcome can be a demonstration of knowledge, a skill, or a value (Reed, 2005). 

Learning Reconsidered Dimensions

Groups of competencies and skills that are the result of the College at Brockport educational, co-curricular and integrated experiences.  The dimensions selected by EMSA that contribute significantly to the learning and development of our students are Cognitive Complexity; Knowledge Acquisition, Integration, and Application; Humanitarianism; Civic Engagement; Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competence; Practical Competence; and Persistence and Academic Achievement (Learning Reconsidered, 2004).

Likert Scale
The scale used in items that allow respondents to indicate their level of agreement with a statement by marking their response over a five point scale, usually ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Longitudinal Study

A study done over the passage of time.  Unlike a cross-sectional study, longitudinal studies track the same people, and therefore the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations.

 “A concise statement outlining the purpose of the unit, program, course, or activity.” Mission statements are written so stakeholders will understand the unit, program, course, or activity” (Bresciani & Fackler, 2005; Reed, 2005).

Objective Measures
Tests or measures that can be scores without reliance upon subjective judgments (e.g., tests comprised of multiple choice items). 

Open-ended Questions
A question which requires an answer greater than a single word or two.

Persistence and Academic Achievement (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)
Dimension outcomes include; manage college experience to achieve academic and personal success including degree obtainment

All possible individuals making up a group of interest in a study or assessment. 

A collection of student’s work, including products developed and services delivered; can be hard copy or electronic

An assessment measurement administered after program completion, usually for the purposes of documenting attainment of program-related learning outcomes or comparing the score to an earlier pre-test measure on the same or similar content. 

Practical Competence (Learning Reconsidered Dimension)
Dimension outcomes include; effective communication, capacity to manage one’s affairs, economic self sufficiency and vocational competence, maintain health and wellness, prioritize leisure pursuits, living a purposeful and satisfying life.

An assessment measurement administered prior to course or program initiation, usually for the purpose of identifying existing skills and/or knowledge of for comparing to a post-test measurement of the same or similar content. 

Achieving competency on a predetermined standard.

Qualitative Research
Explores attitudes, behavior and experiences through such methods as interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participants.

Quantitative Research
Generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. This type of research reaches many more people, but the contact with those people is much quicker than it is in qualitative research.

Random Sample
An arbitrary sub-group of persons/items/observations drawn from and meant to represent a larger population.

An approach/method for acquiring knowledge and identifying the causes of behavior. 

A set of scoring guidelines that can be used by raters to evaluate student’s work or performance.

A selected subset of entities from a larger specified set of entities, called the population. 

A student’s attitude toward an educational environment, program, or experience.

Observable behaviors that document levels of competence (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). 

“An action or activity leading to the completion of an objective. A means to achieving an outcome or goal.”

Summative Assessment
An assessment measure of achievement at the end of an instructional unit, course of study, or program. 

Subjective Measures
Tests or measurements that are scores or rated using some degree of subjective judgment (e.g., performance).

Total Quality Management (TQM)
TQM is a management system taken from business, which is now being applied to education.  TQM applies concepts of control, quality, process and customer services to management.  The quality movement brings with it a sense of collective responsibility for learning, a habit of listening to the students we serve, reliance upon data, an ethic of continuous improvement, a determination to develop fully the talent of every learner, and an acknowledgement that we are professionally accountable to one another and to those we serve. 

Transformative Learning
Transformative learning “requires consideration of what students know, who they are, what their values and behavior patterns are, and how they see themselves contributing to and participating in the world in which they live.”  Transformative learning is not simply about information transfer, but providing educational experiences that contribute to identity development (Learning Reconsidered, 2004).  

Vision Statement
“a compelling and futuristic statement of a desirable state of reality made possible by accomplishing the mission in a way that is consistent with values” (Haines, 2010).