Assessment Related Terms


Institutional accreditation is provided by regional and national associations of schools and colleges. There are six regional associations: Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, and Western. The associations are independent of one another, but they cooperate and acknowledge one another's accreditation. An accrediting agency evaluates an entire educational organization in terms of its mission, and the agency's criteria. The organization is accredited as a whole. The accrediting agency evaluates such things as governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies (Institutional Accreditation: An Overview, The Higher Learning Commission, 2003).


The Academic Quality Improvement Program provides an alternative evaluation process for organizations already accredited by the Commission. The process is structured around quality improvement principles and processes and involves a structured set of goal-setting, networking, and accountability activities (Institutional Accreditation: An Overview, The Higher Learning Commission, 2003).


The term assessment refers to the systematic gathering of information about component parts of the thing to be evaluated. The evaluation process is broader than assessment and involves examining information about many components of the thing being evaluated and making judgments about its worth or effectiveness.


Classroom Assessment Techniques: Classroom Assessment, as defined by Angelo and Cross, is "learner-centered, teacher-directed, mutually beneficial, formative, context-specific, ongoing, and firmly rooted in good practice" (p. 4). Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are "almost never graded and are almost always anonymous." They provide teachers and students information about "what, how much, and how well students are learning (Angelo & Cross, 1993).


The primary focus of evaluation is to determine the effectiveness of a program in light of the attainment of pre-set priorities and goals. Evaluation helps document whether a program is accomplishing its goals or not. It identifies program weaknesses and strengths and the areas of the program that need revision. The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (The Program Evaluation Standards, 2nd Edition, 1994) defines evaluation as "The systematic investigation of the worth or merit of an object."

Focused Visit

The Higher Learning Commission Focused Evaluation Visit is conducted to review the progress of an institution after an official accreditation visit. The focus visit provides an opportunity to assess the responses of the institution to the challenges identified by the Commission's Evaluation Team.


The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools was founded in 1895 to establish close relations between the colleges and secondary schools of the region. The Association is committed to the improvement of education at all levels through evaluation and accreditation. The Association is a membership organization of colleges and schools in 19 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Department of Defense schools, and the schools and colleges in sovereign U.S. tribal nations within the nineteen states (Institutional Accreditation: An Overview, The Higher Learning Commission, 2003).


The Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality employs a five step comprehensive evaluation process to determine continued accredited status. Southeastern utilizes this approach to the accreditation process. The process involves:

  • Self-Study Report
  • Comprehensive visit from evaluation team of consultant-evaluators
  • Review of documents by a Readers Panel or Review Committee
  • Institutional Actions Council takes action on the Readers Panel's recommendation
  • The Board of Trustees validates the work of the Institutional Actions Council or a Review Committee

(Institutional Accreditation: An Overview, The Higher Learning Commission, 2003).


A rubric is a scoring guide used in subjective assessments. A Rubric shows how learners will be assessed and/or graded. In other words, a rubric provides a clear guide as to how ‘what learners do’ in a course will be assessed.

Student-Centered Teaching

Teaching that actively involves students in some or all aspects of the class, and is more concerned with learning than teaching "performance" (Fleming, 2005).