Department of Defense Education Activity


The DoDEA Comprehensive Assessment System Glossary includes definitions for 'technical assessment terms' frequently used in educational testing.


Adjustments that do not alter the assessed construct that are applied to test presentation, environment, content, format (including response format), or administration conditions for particular test takers.

Computer-based Test

A test administered via a computer in which students respond by using a keyboard, mouse, or microphone.

Interim Assessment

An assessment designed to evaluate what students have learned in relation to mid-term goals and is delivered at regular and specified intervals. These assessments for learning are used for formative purposes.

Summative Assessment

An assessment of learning conducted at the end of a unit, course and/or school year to assess the level of understanding/ mastery of course or grade-level standards.

Alternate Assessment

An assessment used to measure the academic performance of students with the most cognitive disabilities who are unable to participate in the general assessment with or without accommodations.

Diagnostic Assessment

An assessment used to assess the current level of student achievement and determine how prepared students are to learn key content and skills tied to content standards.

Norm-Referenced Test

A standardized test designed, validated, and implemented to rank a student’s performance by comparing that performance to the performance of the student’s peers.

Baseline Data

The initial performance results, against which future results will be compared.

Formative Assessment

An assessment for student learning conducted in the process of teaching to inform teaching.

Standards-based Assessment

An assessment developed to measure how well students have mastered specific knowledge and skills described in content standards. Standardized tests may or may not be based on specific learning standards.