Examining assessment terms via Nathan Hall

I use these words frequently in my work but I haven’t ever found out the roots of all of them. Here are some definitions pulled together by Nathan Hall¬†(I borrowed the title pun from him too), for commonly used terms in assessment, from the Online Etymology Dictionary

  • Test: The origin of the word comes from the melting pot that was used to determine the quality of metals. In this way, tests put us in a high-pressure situations to determine our knowledge of a subject. We can say we know something, but when push comes to shove, can we actually use this information.
  • Examination: It is a word based on the verb to examine which has its origin from exact. We are weighing out the facts to see if they are accurate or not.
  • Assessment: Comes from the verb to assess which comes from the ability to figure out the value of something. It actually was first used for tax purposes ie. setting property value to calculate tax amounts, but has since been used as a judgement on anything of value.
  • Formative: This is based on the noun form which means the shape of something. Formative refers to the instructions or productions in the creation of something.
  • Summative: It has the origin in the word summation which means to total or add up. It started as a reference to finances, but switched to the total of anything later on.

via Testing, assessment, examinations, and the value of marks – Nathan Hall.

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