Glossary of Common Education Terms
Below are common acronyms for education.
The notion that people (e.g., students or teachers) or an organization (e.g., a school, school district, or state department of education) should be held responsible for improving student achievement and should be rewarded or sanctioned for their success or lack of.
A test to measure a student's knowledge and skills.
A set of college admissions tests; most colleges accept either the SAT or the ACT for admissions.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
An individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards. Adequate yearly progress is the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year, according to federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. This progress is determined by a collection of performance measures that a state, its school districts, and subpopulations of students within its schools are supposed to meet if the state receives Title I federal funding. In California, the measures include (1) specified percentages of students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" on California Standards Tests in English/language arts and math; (2) participation of a least 95 percent of students on those tests; (3) specified API scores or gains; and (4) for high schools, a specified graduation rate or improvement in the rate.
Advanced Placement (AP)
A series of voluntary exams based on college-level courses taken in high school. High school students who do well on one or more of these exams have the opportunity to earn credit, advanced placement, or both for college.
The degree to which assessments, curriculum, instruction, textbooks and other instructional materials, teacher preparation and professional development, and systems of accountability all reflect and reinforce the educational program's objectives and standards.
Ways other than standardized tests to get information about what students know and where they need help, such as oral reports, projects, performances, experiments, and class participation.
Students may be labeled at risk if they are not succeeding in school based on information gathered from test scores, attendance, or discipline problems.
A detailed description of a specific level of student achievement expected of students at particular ages, grades, or developmental levels; academic goals set for each grade level.
An in-school program for students whose first language isn't English or who have limited English skills. Bilingual education provides English language development plus subject area instruction in the student's native language. The goal is for the child to gain knowledge and be literate in two languages.
Instead of traditional 40- to 50-minute periods, block scheduling allows for periods of an hour or more so that teachers can accomplish more during a class session. It also allows for teamwork across subject areas in some schools. For example, a math and science teacher may teach a physics lesson that includes both math and physics concepts.
A method of borrowing used by school districts to pay for construction or renovation projects. A bond measure requires a 55 percent majority to pass. The principal and interest are repaid by local property owners through an increase in property taxes.
Funds from the state or federal government granted to qualifying schools or districts for specific children with special needs, certain programs such as class size reduction, or special purposes such as transportation. In general, schools or districts must spend the money for the specific purpose. All districts receive categorical aid in varying amounts. This aid is in addition to the funding schools received for their general education program.
School employees who are required by the state to hold teaching credentials, including full-time, part- time, substitute, or temporary teachers and most administrators.
A state-issued license certifying that the teacher has completed the necessary basic training courses and passed the teacher exam.
Publicly funded schools that are exempt from many state laws and regulations for school districts. They are run by groups of teachers, parents, and/or foundations.
School employees who are not required to hold teaching credentials, such as bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, instructional aides, and some management personnel.
Standards that describe what students should know and be able to do in core academic subjects at each grade level.
A teaching method in which students of differing abilities work together on an assignment. Each student has a specific responsibility within the group. Students complete assignments together and receive a common grade.
This is also referred to as "individualized" or "customized" instruction. The curriculum offers several different learning experiences within one lesson to meet students' varied needs or learning styles. For example, different teaching methods for students with learning disabilities.
The presentation of data broken into segments of the student population instead of the entire enrollment. Typical segments include students who are economically disadvantaged, from racial or ethnic minority groups, have disabilities, or have limited English fluency. Disaggregated data allows parents and teachers to see how each student group is performing in a school.
English as a Second Language Classes or support programs for students whose native language is not English.
Additional courses outside those required for graduation.
A federal program that provides food for students from low-income families.
Accounting term used by the state and school districts to differentiate general revenues and expenditures from funds for specific uses, such as a Cafeteria Fund.
Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)
A program that offers supplemental, differentiated, challenging curriculum and instruction for students identified as being intellectually gifted or talented.
Highly qualified teacher
According to NCLB, a teacher who has obtained full state teacher certification or has passed the state teacher licensing examination and holds a license to teach in the state; holds a minimum of a bachelor's degree; and has demonstrated subject area competence in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches.
A program that teaches children to speak, read, and write in a second language by surrounding them with conversation and instruction in that language. Note that English immersion may differ from other immersion programs.