NACADA Assessment Institute Glossary

Advisor Outcomes - (see Process/Delivery Outcomes)

Affective - focus on personal/social awareness and adjustment that includes the identification and study of values, attitudes, and self-reflection that may be influenced by or resulting from emotions.

Assessment - an ongoing systematic collection and review of evidence used to shape and support program and individual development.

Benchmarking - an inter- or intra-institutional norm usually based on best practices that serves as a point of comparison for expected performance change.

Cognition - the processes of acquiring, creating, and disseminating knowledge.

Direct Measures - methods of gathering information that require students/advisors to demonstrate their knowledge and skills (e.g. portfolio, presentation, test result). Direct measures are more observable than indirect measures.

Evaluation - a process of examining or reviewing individuals or programs to measure performance.

Evidence - outcomes that make it easy to see (clear) or establish proof of behavior, attitude, or external attribute.

External Motivation - outside factors that influence individual or programmatic actions.

Formative - the process of assessment that occurs between advisors and students at regular intervals to foster and enhance the students' learning experience. It is more focused on process.

Goals - what individuals and programs strive to achieve.

Indirect Measures - methods of gathering information that ask students/advisors to reflect on what has been learned rather than to demonstrate it (e.g. questionnaires, interviews, focus groups). Indirect measures are more inferential than direct measures.

Internal Motivation - incentive and rewards build from within an individual and may be based on inherent or intrinsic wants or needs without any influence from external reinforcement.

Interpretation  - making meaning of gathered data; reviewing evidence as a base for making decisions to improve programs, enhance student learning and development, and/or to inform institutional decision-making.

Mapping - the process of determining when, where, and through what experiences the outcomes for advising will be accomplished over the student's academic career.

Metacognition - an awareness of personal knowledge and ability to understand, control, and manipulate the 'thinking' process itself.

Mission - the statement that reflects the purpose of academic advising on campus or in an advising unit, serves as the institutional roadmap toward vision inspired goals, and affirms values of academic advising.

Multiple Measures - several measures of the same construct.

Observation - assessment by which the advisor watches students but does not interact with them as a way of gathering information.

Outcomes - the examination of impacts, benefits, and changes of what students and advisors will know, do, and value during or after being a participant in the advising experience.

Process/Delivery Outcomes - expectations about the process of delivery of academic advising across the institution; focus is on advising services rather than the advisor.

Programmatic Objective - statements of what the program wants students and/or advisors to be able to do and to know or what the program will do to ensure what students and/or advisors will be able to do and to know. Objectives tend to be more specific than goals.

Psychomotor - the acquisition of skills involving both mental and motor activities.

Purpose - the intention of the program or act of academic advising.

Qualitative - assessment methods that provide a narration or description of learning (e.g. logs, journals, participant observations, open-ended questions on interviews and surveys).

Quantitative - assessment methods that rely on numerical scores or ratings (e.g. standardized tests, surveys).

Rubric - a scoring scale used to evaluate student work.

Stakeholders  - individuals or department/s who have a shared interest in academic advising.

Student Learning Outcomes - an articulation of the learning (knowledge, skills and/or values) that students are expected to have gained from the advising process.

Summative - a method of establishing the quality or effectiveness of a program/ intervention/service after its delivery. The focus is on outcome of what students have learned and how well they were taught the information needed. May serve as some indication whether or not students have met the intended goals and objectives.

Values - what is considered important in regards to academic advising.

Vision  - the aspiration for the future of academic advising on campus and in higher education.


Bresciani, M.J, Zelna, C.L., Anderson, J.A. (2004). Techniques for Assessing Student Learning and Development in Academic and Student Support Services. NASPA

Campbell, Susan, Nutt, Charlie. (2007). NACADA Assessment of Academic Advising Institute.

Gordon , Virginia N., Habley, Wesley R., Associates. (2000).  Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook. Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers.

Maki, Peggy. (2004). Assessing for Learning. Stylus Publications.

Vogt, W. P. (1999). Dictionary of Statistics and Methodology: A Nontechnical Guide for the Social Sciences. Sage Publication: New Delhi.


_____. Adapted from on November 2007.

_____. Adapted from on November 2007.

_____. Adapted from on November 2007.

_____. Taken from on November 2007.

_____. Adapted from on November 2007.

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