First, Some Definitions

Generally the two kinds of data that are used in educational assessment or evaluation fall into these categories, or methods of data collection: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative Assessment Method:

Quantitative Assessment Collects data that can be analyzed using quantitative methods. Includes methods that rely on numerical scores or ratings. A quantitative measurement uses values from an instrument based on a standardized system that intentionally limits data collection to a selected or predetermined set of possible responses. Quantitative assessment approaches work by the numbers, collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and charting results, trends, and norms.

Qualitative Assessment Method:

Qualitative Assessment Collects data that does not lend itself to quantitative methods but rather to interpretive criteria. Includes methods that rely on descriptions rather than numbers. Qualitative measurement is more concerned with detailed descriptions of situations or performance; therefore it can be much more subjective but can also be much more valuable in the hands of an experienced teacher.

Neither approach to assessment is likely to yield a full picture of the effects of the curriculum and teaching on students.  Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative, are necessary, including, where feasible, actual student performance data.

Throughout the lesson, click the terms quantitative and qualitative to review the definitions.