ISTQB Certification Foundation Level Terms 1

acceptance criteria: The exit criteria that a component or system must satisfy in order to be
accepted by a user, customer, or other authorized entity.

acceptance testing: Formal testing with respect to user needs, requirements, and business
processes conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies the acceptance criteria
and to enable the user, customers or other authorized entity to determine whether or not to
accept the system.

accessibility testing: Testing to determine the ease by which users with disabilities can use a
component or system.

accuracy: The capability of the software product to provide the right or agreed results or effects
with the needed degree of precision.
actual result: The behavior produced/observed when a component or system is tested.

ad hoc testing: Testing carried out informally; no formal test preparation takes place, no
recognized test design technique is used, there are no expectations for results and
arbitrariness guides the test execution activity.

adaptability: The capability of the software product to be adapted for different specified
environments without applying actions or means other than those provided for this purpose
for the software considered.

agile testing: Testing practice for a project using agile methodologies, such as extreme
programming (XP), treating development as the customer of testing and emphasizing the
test-first design paradigm.
alpha testing: Simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an
independent test team at the developers’ site, but outside the development organization.
Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance

analyzability: The capability of the software product to be diagnosed for deficiencies or causes
of failures in the software, or for the parts to be modified to be identified.

anomaly: Any condition that deviates from expectation based on requirements specifications,
design documents, user documents, standards, etc. or from someone’s perception or
experience. Anomalies may be found during, but not limited to, reviewing, testing,
analysis, compilation, or use of software products or applicable documentation.

attack: Directed and focused attempt to evaluate the quality, especially reliability, of a test
object by attempting to force specific failures to occur.

attractiveness: The capability of the software product to be attractive to the user.

audit: An independent evaluation of software products or processes to ascertain compliance
to standards, guidelines, specifications, and/or procedures based on objective criteria,
including documents that specify:
(1) the form or content of the products to be produced
(2) the process by which the products shall be produced
(3) how compliance to standards or guidelines shall be measured.

audit trail: A path by which the original input to a process (e.g. data) can be traced back
through the process, taking the process output as a starting point. This facilitates defect
analysis and allows a process audit to be carried out.

automated testware: Testware used in automated testing, such as tool scripts.

availability: The degree to which a component or system is operational and accessible when
required for use. Often expressed as a percentage.

back-to-back testing: Testing in which two or more variants of a component or system are
executed with the same inputs, the outputs compared, and analyzed in cases of

baseline: A specification or software product that has been formally reviewed or agreed upon,
that thereafter serves as the basis for further development, and that can be changed only
through a formal change control process.

basic block: A sequence of one or more consecutive executable statements containing no
branches. Note: A node in a control flow graph represents a basic block.

basis test set: A set of test cases derived from the internal structure of a component or
specification to ensure that 100% of a specified coverage criterion will be achieved.

behavior: The response of a component or system to a set of input values and preconditions.

benchmark test: (1) A standard against which measurements or comparisons can be made.
(2) A test that is be used to compare components or systems to each other or to a standard
as in (1).

bespoke software: Software developed specifically for a set of users or customers. The
opposite is off-the-shelf software.

best practice: A superior method or innovative practice that contributes to the improved
performance of an organization under given context, usually recognized as ‘best’ by other
peer organizations.

beta testing: Operational testing by potential and/or existing users/customers at an external
site not otherwise involved with the developers, to determine whether or not a component
or system satisfies the user/customer needs and fits within the business processes. Beta
testing is often employed as a form of external acceptance testing for off-the-shelf software
in order to acquire feedback from the market.

big-bang testing: A type of integration testing in which software elements, hardware
elements, or both are combined all at once into a component or an overall system, rather
than in stages.

black-box testing: Testing, either functional or non-functional, without reference to the
internal structure of the component or system.

black-box test design technique: Procedure to derive and/or select test cases based on an
analysis of the specification, either functional or non-functional, of a component or system
without reference to its internal structure.

blocked test case: A test case that cannot be executed because the preconditions for its
execution are not fulfilled.

bottom-up testing: An incremental approach to integration testing where the lowest level
components are tested first, and then used to facilitate the testing of higher level
components. This process is repeated until the component at the top of the hierarchy is
boundary value: An input value or output value which is on the edge of an equivalence
partition or at the smallest incremental distance on either side of an edge, for example the
minimum or maximum value of a range.

boundary value analysis: A black box test design technique in which test cases are designed
based on boundary values.

boundary value coverage: The percentage of boundary values that have been exercised by a
test suite.

branch: A basic block that can be selected for execution based on a program construct in
which one of two or more alternative program paths is available, e.g. case, jump, go to, ifthen-

branch coverage: The percentage of branches that have been exercised by a test suite. 100%
branch coverage implies both 100% decision coverage and 100% statement coverage.

branch testing: A white box test design technique in which test cases are designed to execute

buffer: A device or storage area used to store data temporarily for differences in rates of data
flow, time or occurrence of events, or amounts of data that can be handeld by the devices
or processes involved in the transfer or use of the data.

buffer overflow: A memory access defect due to the attempt by a process to store data
beyond the boundaries of a fixed length buffer, resulting in overwriting of adjacent
memory areas or the raising of an overflow exception.
business process-based testing: An approach to testing in which test cases are designed
based on descriptions and/or knowledge of business processes.

Capability Maturity Model (CMM): A five level staged framework that describes the key
elements of an effective software process. The Capability Maturity Model covers bestpractices
for planning, engineering and managing software development and maintenance.
[CMM] See also Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI): A framework that describes the key
elements of an effective product development and maintenance process. The Capability
Maturity Model Integration covers best-practices for planning, engineering and managing
product development and maintenance. CMMI is the designated successor of the CMM.

capture/playback tool: A type of test execution tool where inputs are recorded during
manual testing in order to generate automated test scripts that can be executed later (i.e.
replayed). These tools are often used to support automated regression testing.

CASE: Acronym for Computer Aided Software Engineering.

CAST: Acronym for Computer Aided Software Testing.

cause-effect graph: A graphical representation of inputs and/or stimuli (causes) with their
associated outputs (effects), which can be used to design test cases.

cause-effect graphing: A black box test design technique in which test cases are designed
from cause-effect graphs.

certification: The process of confirming that a component, system or person complies with
its specified requirements, e.g. by passing an exam.

changeability: The capability of the software product to enable specified modifications to be

classification tree: A tree showing equivalence parititions hierarchically ordered, which is
used to design test cases in the classification tree method. See also classification tree

classification tree method: A black box test design technique in which test cases, described
by means of a classification tree, are designed to execute combinations of representatives
of input and/or output domains.

code: Computer instructions and data definitions expressed in a programming language or in
a form output by an assembler, compiler or other translator.

code coverage: An analysis method that determines which parts of the software have been
executed (covered) by the test suite and which parts have not been executed, e.g. statement
coverage, decision coverage or condition coverage.


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