Action research

Systematic, reflective and participative enquiry, applicable in situations in which participants wish to improve their own practice (Kember, 1998)

Assessment tasks

Tasks that are graded and count towards a final grade - summative assessment

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a quality assured national framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors in Australia; see

Authentic assessment

Authentic assessment presents students with real world challenges that require them to apply their relevant skills and knowledge. For mathematics we interpret this as assessment that models the role of a mathematician


Ability to apply knowledge and/or skills with appropriate degrees of independence for the level of the qualification



Basic knowledge and skills include those that form a starting point or basis for development of learning or work


Broad knowledge and skills include those that cover a general, wide-ranging area of learning or work


Cognitive skills

Include the mental skills that are used in the process of acquiring knowledge; these skills include reasoning, perception and intuition; they are defined by the skill dimension (e.g. interpret, analyse, transform)


Knowledge and/or skills including those that are logically ordered, sound and/or integrated

Community of practice

Group of people who practice in the same domain and who then learn how to do it better because they interact regularly


Activities and/or contexts refer to competing ideas or perspectives and/or information that is voluminous, ambiguous and/or incomplete


Knowledge and/or skills covering a complete area or field of work or learning

Constructive alignment

Alignment of assessment tasks and learning activities with the intended learning outcomes; the term and concept was first developed by Biggs


Specified study program of core and/or elective units, upon successful completion of which a degree/diploma is awarded (see the Australian Qualifications Framework)

Creative skills

Skills that lead to innovative, imaginative and/or artistic outputs



Arguing that a particular instance follows logically from a general principle


Activities and/or contexts referring to definite or clear activities or contexts within distinct boundaries

Diagnostic assessment

Assessment designed to identify gaps in students’ prior knowledge; generally done at the beginning of a program



Information that one receives about one’s performance on a task, in order to improve it


Refers to the main focus of work activities and/or a learning program

Formative assessment

Assessment that give students feedback on their learning but which is not usually graded, or makes low-stakes contribution to the final grade


Generic skills

Skills not specific to work in a particular occupation or industry but which are important for work, education and life in general. Known also as employability skills, general or graduate capabilities or transferable skills, these skills have application in study, work and life contexts.


Overall outcomes of a degree or program; for a class it is more likely to have learning objectives and keep the overall unit/degree goal in mind



(Knowledge) structured in layers that must be built in order, for example algebra builds in the knowledge of number



An activity designed to encourage discussion and help people get to know one another in a relaxed, structured and enjoyable way, with the aim of relieving collective anxieties about participating in a group


Arriving at a general statement from consideration of particular instances


Combines two or more kinds of knowledge and concepts (e.g. technical and theoretical)


Learning objectives

The set of knowledge, skills and/or competencies a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate after completion of a learning process; in the AQF these are expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and application

Learning outcome

A statement of what students will be able to do, know, understand or value at the completion of a lesson, unit or course; also called intended learning outcome

Learning styles

The preferred way in which a learner engages with new concepts

Learning tasks

Tasks to aid learning, formative assessment; these are not graded


An indication of the relative complexity and/or depth of achievement and the autonomy required to demonstrate that achievement

Likert scale

A numerical scale used on surveys to indicate level of agreement with a statement; generally a five point scale, with 1=never/strongly disagree … 5=always/strongly agree


Learning management system


Marking guide

A guide for markers, and often students, as to how the assessment task will be graded. For markers it is used to assist with consistent marking of papers; for students, it lets them know where they have achieved their marks


Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the field of work or learning


Mathematical sciences, including statistics


Moderation is a quality review and assurance process which supports the examination setting and marking activities. It involves using other academics and qualified staff to confirm that the examination tasks and marking are valid and reliable. Essentially, it is a checking process.



Here used as a synonym for course


The practice and theory of teaching


Reflective practice

Regular and systematic reflection upon one’s teaching and its effectiveness, using evidence gathered from a variety of sources with a view to improvement


In assessment, refers to consistency in the grading, when similar performances are graded by the same assessor or when different markers grade the same performance with similar results


Refers to the degree of accountability in applying knowledge and/or skills in work and/or learning contexts for the level of qualification


A straightforward or regular course of procedure with distinct boundaries that can be applied to a task or interactions


A matrix of outcomes of an assessment task (unit or program) that clearly shows the standards required; it may be used as a marking guide


Service teaching

Teaching (mathematics) to students who are enrolled in a course managed by another discipline or department


Refer to what a graduate can do. They can be described in terms of kinds and complexity. Skills include cognitive skills, technical skills, creative skills and generic skills


This kind of knowledge and/or skills refers to the depth and specificity

Standards (qualifications)

Benchmarks or expectations of learning that have been established with stakeholders and include all factors that influence the consistency and relevance of qualifications

Standard (assessment)

The level of achievement of a student on the task; it may be signified by a numerical mark or a grade for example High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass.


See unit, here used as synonyms

Summative assessment

Assessment that gives students a judgment on their learning, for grading purposes


This kind of knowledge and/or skills refers to those that are coherent and well ordered



A request or instruction designed to elicit a response or to “create performances that can be and are judged or assessed, formally or otherwise.”(Knight, 2006)


A categorisation of qualitatively different types of learning; used to design learning and assessment tasks

Technical skills

Operational skills necessary to perform certain work and learning activities


Minimum standard of achievement or attainment

Threshold concept

Is "akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress." (Meyer & Land, 2003, p. 1)



A sequence of learning activities based around a unifying theme, over a period of (usually) 12-14 weeks, which is assessed as an individual element within a course



In assessment, refers to whether an assessment task measures what it is claimed to measure

Updated: 03 Sep 2011