Assessment Terms

Learn the Lingo -Common Assessment Terms  

AIMSweb is a progress monitoring system based on direct, frequent and continuous student assessment. The results are reported to students, parents, teachers and administrators via a web-based data management and reporting system to determine response to intervention.

AYP stands for Annual Yearly Progress.  It is the measure by which schools, districts, and states are held accountable for student performance under Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Benchmark assessments are common assessments given periodically throughout the school year, at specified times during a curriculum sequence. The assessments evaluate students’ knowledge and skills relative to an explicit set of longer-term learning goals.

CBM stands for curriculum-based measurement and involves assessing students' fluency in reading passages, computing, spelling words, and in writing sentences.


ELL stands for English Language Learner and indicates a person who is in the process of acquiring English and has a first language other than English.

ESL stands for English as a Second Language and is a traditional term for the use or study of the English language by non-native speakers in an English-speaking environment.

Formative assessments are observations or assessments that occur during instruction and allow for the evaluation of student performance on a learning task and that identify portions of that task that the student may or may not be able to do.

Lexile is a score that helps identify reading material that is at an appropriate difficulty level for an individual student. When a student reads material within his or her Lexile range, that student should read with 75% comprehension.

MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress (computer-administered tests that result in a RIT score).

Norm-referenced tests compare student performance to that of other students nationwide. They show where students stand in relation to their peers, not to a defined standard of achievement.

Percentage and percentile: "Percentage" is about the number of questions answered correctly; "percentile" is about ranking a student in comparison to other students in the same grade or age group. For example, if a student answered 8 out of 10 ten questions correctly, then the student's percentage would be 80%. If that same student's percentile score is at the 70% percentile, that student scored higher than 70% of the students who took the test.

RIT stands for Rasch Unit scale and is named after the developer of the scale, George Rasch. The RIT Scale is a curriculum scale that uses individual item difficulty values to estimate student achievement.

RtI stands for Response to Intervention.  It is both a strategy for intervening early within the general education and one part in the process by which students may be identified to receive special education and related services.

Screener is a general type of assessment that helps determine whether or not a student might need more in depth assessment of some sort.

Summative assessment is a comprehensive assessment that is used to determine the level of student learning at the end of a course, program, or grade.

Complete Glossary of Assessment Terms - An alphabetical listing of all terms related to testing and assessment.