Educational Renovations: Nailing Down Terminology in Assessment

  • Michelle McKean
  • E. Nola AitkenEmail author
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 3)


There is currently a great deal of variation in the assessment terminology used by researchers and educators alike. Consistency of vocabulary is necessary for productive dialogue to occur between professionals. Well-defined assessment terminology contributes significantly to how educators and researchers conceptualise, and subsequently implement assessment processes. A brief history of assessment terminology is explored to provide a clearer comprehension of how our current understanding of assessment has been influenced. Using a cyclical model of assessment modified from previous work by Wiliam and Black, Harlen, and the Alberta Assessment Consortium, the authors define both assessment and evaluation and then proceed to further explore the various purposes and functions of assessment. Bidirectionality of feedback between external organisational-driven assessment and internal student-driven assessment is discussed as being essential to maintaining the formative intent of assessment while simultaneously meeting accountability needs. Other assessment terms are finally explored in the framework of these discussions.


Assessment Evaluation Nature of assessment Nature of evaluation Educational terminology Purpose of assessment Purpose of evaluation Function of assessment Function of evaluation Formative assessment Summative assessment Assessment for learning Assessment of learning Assessment as learning Defining assessment and evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

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