Institutional Effectiveness & Assessment

Terms

Assessment
“…a means for focusing our collective attention… examining assumptions and creating a shared academic culture dedicated to continuously improving the quality of higher education learning. Assessment requires making expectations and standards for quality explicit and public…Systematically gathering evidence on how well performance matches those expectations and standards… Analyzing and interpreting the evidence, and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance…” (Thomas Angelo, AAHE, 2002)

Common Data Set (CDS)
A standard set of questions and data definitions supported by four major college surveys (College Board, Wintergreen/Orchard House, Peterson’s, and U.S. News & World Report) for use in leading guidebooks and resources. The Common Data Set includes standardized questions about a college’s academic offerings, enrollment, admission requirements, expenses, and freshman class profile.

Credit Hour
Usually 15 contact hours of instruction, but more hours for studios and labs

Data
Material gathered during the course of an evaluation (assessment) which serves as the basis for information, discussion, and inference.

Degree Seeking Student
A student with a declared degree or certificate, and a major emphasis area

Evaluation
Systematic investigation of the worth or merit of an object; e.g., a program, project, or instructional material

FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

First-time full-time student
Students enrolled in college for the first time on a full-time basis.

Formative Assessment
Assessment that measures learning at various points during the learning sequence. This type of assessment is designed to measure learning as a process that occurs during a course or a program. Instructors and managers may modify the ongoing process as a result of formative assessment.

FTE, FTE30
Credit hours divided by 30 equals the number of annual full time equivalent students.

FTE15
Credit hours divided by 15 gives the number of semester full time equivalent students.

Full Time Student
A student enrolled for 12 or more credit hours during one term.

Graduation Rate (CCHE definition)
Percentage of first time full time degree seeking students who complete a program of study within 3 years.

Mean (Average)
Sum of the value of all items divided by the number of items

Median
The point on a scale of numbers above which half fall below and half fall above.

Mode
The number/score/response that occurs with the greatest frequency

Outcomes Assessment
A method for documenting student achievement and improving teaching and learning. Focuses on group data and not individual performance.

Part Time Student
A student enrolled for less than 12 credit hours during one term.

Reliability
The degree to which test scores/measurements are consistent, dependable, or repeatable, that is, the degree to which they are free of errors of measurement.

Retention Rate (CCHE definition) Percentage of first time full time degree seeking students registered for classes 1 year after their initial entry.

Summative Assessment
Assessment that measures learning at the end of a learning sequence. This type of assessment is designed to measure total learning at the end of a course or a program. Summative Assessment provides data on final learning outcomes.

Validity
The degree to which a certain inference from a test/measurement is appropriate or meaningful, that is, the degree to which the test/measurement informs us about the intended topic.