Last Updated 06/22/2024

The process of evaluating or measuring an individual's skills, knowledge, or performance against predetermined criteria or standards. Assessment gathers information about what someone knows, understands, or can do to make informed decisions about their progress, abilities, or areas for improvement. Common methods:

  • Written exams/tests that assess knowledge and understanding via questions or prompts presented in written form.
  • Oral exams/presentations that assess verbal communication skills, comprehension, and ability to articulate ideas effectively, commonly taking the form of individual presentations, group discussions, or oral exams.
  • Projects/assignments that require individuals to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world tasks or scenarios.
  • Practical assessments that assess hands-on skills and abilities such as laboratory experiments, artistic performances, or technical demonstrations. They are common in science, art, engineering, and career and technical education.
  • Portfolios compile samples of an individual's work to demonstrate achievement and competency in specific areas. They often include written essays, artwork, and design projects.
  • Observations assess an individual's performance or behavior in real-life situations, such as classroom activities, clinical settings, or workplace tasks.
  • Standardized tests assess knowledge, critical thinking, or other formal assessments with uniform administration and scoring procedures.

Assessments often vary within K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and the workplace.

  • Elementary and secondary schools focus on foundational knowledge and skills across various subjects. They may include standardized tests mandated by state or national education authorities, as well as teacher-created assessments tailored to specific curriculum standards.
  • Colleges and universities focus on more specialized, deeper understanding, critical thinking, and application of knowledge within specific disciplines or majors. Assessment methods include exams, research papers, presentations, and practical demonstrations.
  • Employers focus on practical skills, problem-solving abilities, and job-specific competencies relevant to the position. Employers use a variety of methods such as job simulations, interviews, skills assessments, and performance evaluations to assess candidates during the hiring process and evaluate employees' ongoing performance and development including assessment to guide upskilling/reskilling needs.

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