Language of Assessment

Program Assessment Concepts and Terms

  • Goal - a general skill or knowledge category/what students will "be" or "have"
  • Outcome - specific accomplishments to be achieved/observable actions students will do
  • Components/Primary Traits - key elements of an outcome
  • Objects/Artifacts - the objects of analysis
  • Performance Levels - the relative degree of achievement of the component
  • Performance Characteristics/Criteria - what gives information about students' level of performance
  • Curriculum Map - a visual way to track which courses in the program develop which learning outcomes

Effective speaking components are non-verbal components, content components, and delivery components. An object or artifact to analyze to assess effective speaking could include a speech, a statement, or an argument. Criteria include behaviors to include that enhance delivery or behaviors to avoid that distract during delivery. The combination of the performance characteristics of minimal eye contact, little gesturing, and rattling keys in the speaker's pocket indicate a low performance level in the non-verbal component of speaking.


  • Dr. Susan Hatfield, "Designing Rich, Coherent, and Practical Departmental Level Assessment Plans" presentation at IU Kokomo, January 2004.
  • Dr. Doug Eder, "Assessment Made Easier (and Useful): Holding higher standards and getting better student learning," workshop at IU Kokomo, April 2015.