The Maddening Lingo of Assessment

“Best practices.” “Stakeholders.” Enrollment management “levers.”  Higher education is filled with a lingo all its own.  (For many legal educators, “assessment” may very well be added to the list of “higher ed speak,” terms crafted by bureaucrats to ensure job security.  As I’ve explained elsewhere, I see assessment as valuable and connected with our role as scholars.)

One of the best pieces of advice I heard about developing an assessment culture was to avoid getting caught up in terminology.  And the land of assessment certainly has plenty of terminology to throw around.  Is something a “goal,” “objective,” or “outcome”?  In our curriculum map, do we ask whether intermediate level of learning is measured by “competence” or “reinforcement”?   Is a particular tool a “direct assessment” or “indirect assessment”?

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