Assessment Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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If you’ve grown up in an English speaking school, or maybe depending on what job you have, you have probably heard the word assessment before. It’s a very helpful word in the English language that has a lot of practical potential.

This word does have a couple of different definitions, and both of them have utility in your writing and your everyday life. So it’s a great idea to understand both so you can successfully communicate with the people you need to.

So today’s word of the day is assessment. By the end of this short guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of the word assessment, its definitions, its etymology, and how to use it. Let’s get started. 

What Is the Meaning of the Word Assessment?

The definitions of the word assessment, pronounced əˈsesmənt or əˈsɛsmənt, are relatively simple. And although the two definitions are similar, there are some distinctions that make them different. Here are the definitions of the word assessment. 

  • The act of considering or judging the information, quality, and quantity of something to determine its value or make a decision; the decision that is made from a consideration process
  • A test that is designed to judge someone’s skill or knowledge in a subject or variety of subjects

The first definition centers around decision-making and assigning value to something. Assessment can be the act of judging someone or something, but the word can also refer to the final decision that the valuation, analysis, or assessment process leads to. 

The second definition refers to a test. In this context, an assessment is a testing process wherein an assessor can judge the skill or aptitude of the assessed person.  

How Is the Word Assessment Used? 

The word assessment is used in a variety of different contexts. One of the most common is in schools and educational programs. In the United States, student assessments are given every year to test student performance and student learning. 

Each student takes the same assessment, and the school district uses this information to determine curriculum changes, new learning outcomes, and even funding for schools. The students go through a reassessment process every year.

It’s also used in the wonderful world of taxes. An assessment for the purposes of taxation is the process of calculating the value of a piece of property or assets for tax purposes to find out how much it should be taxed.  

What Are Some Collocations for the Word Assessment?

A collocation is a series of words that are often found together that occur more often than simply by chance. Essentially, collocation is a habitual part of speech that many people utilize. 

Assessment is a very useful and fairly popular word, so it has some collocations associated with it. Here’s a list of some of the collocations for the word assessment. 

  • Tax assessment
  • Assessment tools
  • Act of assessing
  • Risk assessment
  • Self-assessment
  • Formative assessment

Where Did the Word Assessment Come From?

To help bring more clarity to the definition of assessment, let’s look at the history of how it came to be or its etymology.

Let’s start with the root word of assessment: the word assess. The word assesses like many English words in that it finds its roots in Latin. The oldest ancestor of this word is a combination of two important pieces of the Latin language. The Latin sedere, which means “to sit,” was combined with the Latin prefix ad-, which means “to.” 

These two parts were combined to make the Latin word assidere, which means “to sit by, or sit beside.” The past participle of assidere is the word assessus. This word was used to refer to the act of sitting by and supporting the office of a judge. 

One of this person’s jobs was to determine the exact amount of a fine or tax that the judge decided was necessary. 

The word evolved from Latin and took hold in France with the Old French assesser, which has the same definition. From Old French, the word found its way into Middle English in the form of the word assess. 

By the 1800s, the word started being used in regard to taxes, and in the 1930s, people started using the word to mean “to judge the value of something.” 

The suffix “-ment” is a common suffix when it comes to English words with a Latin root. It comes from the Latin mentum. It means “the result of.” So the word assessment literally means “the result of assessing.”  

What Are Some Examples of the Word Assessment in a Sentence?

Seeing a word in context can help bring more clarity to its definition and how you can use it in your own life. Here are some example sentences that use the word assessment.

  • Make sure your students are well-prepared for their assessments in two weeks.
  • Hey Jimmy, it’s time for your quarterly assessment and report, so can you come into my office?
  • After the guy came out and did a tax assessment on my house, he determined the market value of my house was way higher than I thought, and it’s going to cost me a lot in taxes. 
  • My assessment of him is that he’s a little sneaky, and I don’t think he’s right for her. 
  • After the assessment of my grandmother’s old antiques, let’s just say I knew I was going to be a rich man! 

What Are the Synonyms of the Word Assessment?

Here are some synonyms of the word assessment that you might find in a thesaurus:

  • Appraisal 
  • Judgment
  • Estimate
  • Determination
  • Valuation
  • Levy
  • Test
  • Inspection

The Word Assessment

Now you know everything you need to know about the word assessment, its definition, its history, and how to use it. Use it confidently in your writing and your conversation. And if you need a refresher on this word, come back to this article for the information you need. 


ASSESSMENT | Cambridge English Dictionary

ASSESS | Meaning & Definition for UK English | Lexico

Why Is Assessment Important? | Edutopia