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Useful Vocabulary

Active Verbs (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2013)

The following active verbs may be useful to construct performance outcome statements.

  • Administer
  • Address
  • Advise
  • Allocate
  • Assess
  • Balance
  • Budget
  • Calculate
  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Conduct
  • Coordinate
  • Counsel
  • Coach
  • Demonstrate
  • Develop
  • Diagnose
  • Direct
  • Ensure
  • Establish
  • Evaluate
  • Explain
  • Expedite
  • Facilitate
  • Forecast
  • Generate
  • Guide
  • Increase
  • Institute
  • Instruct
  • Interview
  • Introduce
  • Investigate
  • Implement
  • Improve
  • Illustrate
  • Interpret
  • Manage
  • Market
  • Monitor
  • Organize
  • Perform
  • Plan
  • Prepare
  • Process
  • Produce
  • Promote
  • Provide
  • Research
  • Strengthen
  • Support
  • Systematize

“Closing the Loop”
“Closing the loop” is used to describe the most important step in the continuous cycle of assessment. It is the step in which improvement actions, informed by the assessment data, are planned and implemented. It is an evidence-driven, reflective and collaborative process involving all stakeholders.

Direct vs. Indirect Assessment
Direct assessment uses measures that directly capture demand, quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of functions or services. Examples of direct assessment include program attendance, number of users receiving a service, revenue, indicators such as admission yields, etc. Indirect assessment uses measures that capture perceptions or reflections about services, but do not measure the service itself. Examples of indirect assessment include student ratings of their experiences with unit services, programs or activities; exit interview; employer survey, etc.

Norm-referenced vs. Criterion-referenced Assessment
Norm-referenced assessment measures and compares unit performance in relation to the performance of an appropriate peer group. Units with the best performance receive the highest score. Criterion-reference assessment measures and compares unit performance in relation to pre-established standards or objectives. All units may receive the highest score if they meet the established standards.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Assessment
Quantitative assessment collects data that are numerical in nature, and can be analyzed using quantitative and statistical techniques. Qualitative assessment, on the other hand, does not collect data that lend itself to quantitative methods, but rather to interpretive means.

Rubric is a tool for scoring unit work. It is typically in the form of a table or matrix, describing the dimensions or components of the work (along the vertical axis) at varying levels of performance (along the horizontal axis). Each dimension or component can be scored individually (analytic scoring), or can be used to generate an overall score (holistic scoring). Rubrics can also be used to communicate expectations to employees, and to provide formative feedback to guide units' efforts.

Standards, Benchmarks, or Criteria for Success
In the context of performance assessment, standards, benchmarks and criteria for success all refer to the established level of proficiency that units are expected to demonstrate. Such expectations are determined by faculty, staff, institutional goals, strategic plans, and policies.

The process of using multiple methods of assessment to see whether results converge or diverge is called triangulation.

Value-added Assessment
Value-added refers to the contribution that units make to stakeholders, through services or programs. To capture the “value added,” a baseline measurement is needed (e.g. pre/post, historical comparison, cross-sectional, etc.).

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Last Published 4/13/22

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