Assessment, Evidence, Analysis, Constitutional, Aspect. These are the top five choices voted for the 2011 Academic Word of Year as of November 1, 2011. More than 500 votes have been cast so far, and surprisingly, “Assessment” is the top voted choice so far.
For today’s ESL educators, assessment is strongly associated with NCLB and the state standardized tests. But in reality, the word only entered education jargon after 1956.
The birth of the word Assessment actually has strong ties with today’s Occupy Wall Street or Tea Party movements. Yes, you guessed it: assessment originated as a tax word. It was used by the British government in the 1540s as a “determination or adjustment of tax rate.” The word assess is actually an old French word, assessus – meaning “sit beside.” In the 14th century, the assidere was the person who sat beside the judge and levied a fine or tax on people. After 1956, the word assessment crept into the education lexicon, referring to an evaluation of students’ academic progress.
Today, it is still a word that evokes strong emotions among teachers and students (albeit for very different reasons!).
Cast your vote or submit an entry for Academic Vocabulary of the Year 2011 here!
**Image credit goes to bogieharmond
“Assessment.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper.