Accreditation:  A process by which an institution or disciplinary unit within an institution periodically evaluates its work and seeks an independent judgment that it achieves substantially its own educational and other objectives.  Maintaining fully accredited status ensures that the university remains in compliance with federal expectations and continues to receive federal funding.

Administrative Measure: A method that gauges entity effectiveness in non-learning areas.

Assessment:  A systematic, ongoing process to identify, collect, analyze, and report on data that is used for improvement purposes.  A process to answer the question, are our efforts bringing forth the desired results?

Assessment method:  A measurement tool used to measure and evaluate outcomes.

Close the loop:  Modifying strategies or implementing other changes as needed to better achieve measurable objectives.  

Culture of assessment:  An institutional characteristic that shows evidence for valuing and engaging in assessment for ongoing improvement.

Cycle:  Span of time for a single assessment sequence.

Direct measure:  Assessment method that directly examines student work or performance.

Goal:  Broad statement about desired ends.

Indirect measure:  Assessment method that indirectly examines student work or performance.

Institutional effectiveness (IE):  The systematic and ongoing process of collecting, analyzing and acting on data.  Results should be used for improvement and decision-making purposes.

Institutional effectiveness plan:  A plan that documents a unit’s expected outcomes, assessment methods and targeted criteria.

Measure:  Method to gauge achievement of expected results.

Mission statement:  Broad statement of purpose that describes the mission and function of a given unit.

Rubric:  Tool specifying criteria for evaluation.  Criteria include descriptions of performance ability for which value levels are assigned.  Levels range from an excellent to unsatisfactory product.

Target criteria:  Description setting level of achievement.