Glossary of Educational Terms

Lexicon of Educational Terms and Acronyms: 2007-2008

Access and Opportunity:

  • All students have a fair and legitimate opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills represented by the grade span expectations (GSE).

  • All students have genuine access to rigorous programs that support their individual learning plans (ILP) and prepare them to meet their goals beyond high school.

  • Students have multiple pathways through their high school programs to achieve the required standards.

Annual Yearly Progress (AYP): Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) is one of the cornerstones of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. It's a measure of year-to year student achievement on the MAT test. According to NCLB, Rhode Island and other states must develop target starting goals for AYP and the state must raise the bar in gradual increments so 100 percent of the students in the state are proficient on state assessments by the 2013-14 school year. AYP applies to each district and school in the state; however, NCLB sanctions for schools that do not make AYP for two or more years in a row, only apply to those districts and schools that receive Title I funds.

Applied Learning Skills: Communication, problem solving, critical thinking, research, personal/social responsibility, and interpersonal skills across all disciplines and courses.

Best Practices: Everyday phrases used to describe solid, reputable, state-of-the-art work in a field. If a practitioner is following best practice, he/she is aware of current knowledge, technology, and procedures (Zemelman)

Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM): Academic achievement in areas such as mathematics and English language arts, the ability to apply academic learning, and the possession of important work habits, are keys to the success of young adults. This would apply to students who are planning to continue their education after high school, or who are entering the workforce directly. The Certificate of Initial Mastery provides an opportunity for young adults to demonstrate their mastery of critical thinking skills and be recognized for their performance.

Common Tasks:

  1. It connects to a standard, /GLE, or /GSE that is endorsed by the district or the state These need not be district or state standards; they may be standards developed by professional associations or other organizations that are endorsed by the district or state

  2. It includes a precise description of how it should be administered and is administered in a way that allows all students taking it the best chance of success. Tasks should also be designed and written to ensure that they are accessible to all students and trigger the best possible performance from all students

  3. It is scored using protocols that allow multiple scorers to assess the same performance as similarly as possible and assign a score that accurately reflects the knowledge and skills of the student. These protocols should include exercises that help teachers understand how scoring criteria are concretely applied to a range of performances. (RISC)

Consolidated Resource Grant (CRP): The Consolidated Resource Plan (CRP) provides the opportunity to move towards a fuller integration in the use of resources and your other state and local funds. The CRP also serves to collect information about the manner in which your district uses the state investment funds allocated to it through the Rhode Island Student Investment Initiative, commonly referred to as Article 31.

Differentiated Instruction (DI): The teacher plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness, interest, and learning needs (Tomlinson, 1995). A form of instruction that seeks to "maximize each student's growth by meeting each student where she is and helping the student to progress. In practice, it involves offering several different learning experiences in response to students' varied needs. Learning activities and materials may be varied by difficulty to challenge students at different readiness levels, by topic in response to students' interests, and by students' preferred ways of learning or expressing themselves."

District Corrective Action: The NCLB classification for a district that has been "In Need of Improvement" for three or more years. Districts are classified "In Need of Improvement" when they have 40% or more of their schools "In Need of Improvement", or when they have schools from at least two levels "In Need of Improvement", or when scores aggregated at the district level do not meet AYP. The state education agency is obligated to take at least one of the following corrective actions for a local educational agency identified for corrective action.

And fully implement a new curriculum that is based on state and local academic content and achievement standards, including providing appropriate professional development based on scientifically based research for all relevant staff, that offers substantial promise of improving educational achievement for low-achieving students;

  • Deferring programmatic funds or reducing administrative funds;

  • Replace the local educational agency personnel who are relevant to the failure to make adequate yearly progress;

  • Remove particular schools from the jurisdiction of the local educational agency and establishing alternative arrangements for public governance and supervision of such schools;

  • Appoint, through the State educational agency, a receiver or trustee to administer the affairs of the local educational agency in place of the superintendent and school board; or

  • Abolish or restructure the local educational agency.

In Rhode Island, all districts classified under corrective action plan are supported by RIDE via a District Negotiated Agreement which serves as the vehicle to provide additional resources to the district to implement agreed upon school improvement strategies.

English Language Arts (ELA): Reading, writing, speaking, listening, conventions, grammar

English Language Learners (ELL): Linguistically and culture diverse students who have been identified through reliable and valid assessments having levels of English language proficiency that preclude them from accessing, processing, and acquiring unmodified grade level continent in English, and thereby, qualifying for support services. (WIDA Consortium, 2004)

Extended Task: Requires students to use basic skills and knowledge to solve a problem and communicate the solution as well as to use reflective, research, and consulting skills (RISC)

504: Civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities by federally assisted programs or activities.

Grade Level Expectations (GLEs): (grades K-8 ELA and math) A blueprint for the development and implementation of a state level assessment that the three states will use to meet the requirements of No Child Left behind (NCLBA 2001). Grade Level Expectations have been developed as a means to identify the content knowledge and skills expected of all students for these large-scale assessments in reading, writing, and mathematics. GLEs are meant to capture the “big ideas” of content that can be assessed in an on-demand setting, without narrowing the local curriculum. They are not intended to represent the full curriculum for instruction and assessment locally at each grade.

Grade Span Expectations (GSEs): (grades 9-12 ELA and math and grades K-12 science and social studies) - These new nationally-recognized expectations represent many months of dedicated contribution by classroom teachers, curriculum experts, academicians and Rhode Island Department of Education staff and consultants. Expectations were developed for two content areas, English Language Arts and Mathematics and span grades 9-12.

Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS): Cognitive domain in Bloom’s taxonomy categorizes learning into six major divisions. Each upper division subsumes the previous lower ones – knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Higher order are analyze (give motive, cause, conclude, infer, distinguish, deduce, detect), synthesize (solve, predict, draw, construct, produce, originate, propose, plan, design, synthesize, combine, develop, create), evaluate (judge, argue, decide, appraise, evaluate).

Highly Qualified Teachers (High Objective Uniform State Standards of Evaluation)(HOUSSE): Criteria established by each state to demonstrate competency in each academic subject in which the teacher teaches.

Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.): Students with certain special needs, as specified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), have a legal right to a special plan written by a multidisciplinary team. After a series of tests and observations determine the child's need for an IEP, a team (generally including a special education teacher, a classroom teacher, a building principal, a psychologist, and the child's parents or guardians) designs a program of services to blend the best methods of teaching with the most conducive learning environment for the child.

The process of creating the IEP allows the parties to discuss and resolve any differences of opinions and needs. The document specifies the decisions and anticipated outcomes, and it includes the child's current level of educational performance, specific services to be provided, who will provide those services and when, the amount of time the child will be in regular and special classrooms, and short- and long-term goals. The IEP objectives are used to determine the child's progress toward the goals. A well-written, carefully developed IEP protects the child because schools are legally responsible for implementing it

Individual Learning Plan (ILP): A plan primarily authored by students themselves, with guidance from their school advisors, parents, and community contacts. The ILP helps students focus on goals and how to use the time in high school to accomplish personal objectives, in conjunction with completing graduation requirements.

Individual Professional Development Plans (I-PLANS): The I-Plan program was designed by Rhode Island educators and was adopted into regulation by the Board of Regents beginning January 2005. Educators are eligible to write an I-Plan when they have obtained or renewed a 5-year professional certificate and are using the certificate in the current work assignment as an employed educator. The I-Plan includes a focus on personal and professional goals, student achievement, teaching and learning, and school improvement initiatives. (RIDE)

Institute for Learning (IFL): Professional development training that focuses around of effort-based educational system that educates all children to high levels of knowledge and reasoning

Interstate School Leaders License Consortium (ISSLC): Standards for school leaders

Local Education Agency (LEA): Is a public board of education or other public authority within a State which maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state. (district)

Limited English Proficiency (LEP): Students who are reasonably fluent in another language but who have not yet achieved comparable mastery in reading, writing, listening, or speaking English. LEP students are often assigned to bilingual education or English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classes.

Metacognition: The process of consciously thinking about one’s own learning while actually being engaged.

Multiple Intelligences (MI): According to Howard Gardner (1987), there are 8 intelligences – linguistic/verbal, logical/mathematical, spatial/visual, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Gardner says it is of the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied human intelligences, and all of the combinations of intelligences. The key points in multiple intelligence theory are: each person possesses all seven intelligences; most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency; intelligences usually work together in complex ways; and there are many ways to be intelligent within each category (Armstrong 1994).

No Child Left Behind (NCLB): This federal legislation demands that over a 12 year period, all students be proficient in ELA and Mathematics. Schools will be sanctioned for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress through a progressive series or requirements such as school choice, supplemental services, state intervention, and eventual reconstitution.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): Regional accreditation that examines three broad areas (academics, civic, and social). The process of evaluation and accreditation is based on teaching and learning standards (mission, and student expectations, curriculum, instruction and assessment)) and support standards (leadership and organization, school resources for learning, community resources for learning)

NECAP: New England Common Assessment – the new state wide standardized test

NELMS: New England League of Middle Schools

NSRE: New Standards Reference Exam

On Demand Task: Requires that students use basic skills and knowledge to solve a problem and communicate the solution (RISC)

Performance-Based Task (PBT): Complex open-ended problem posed for students to solve as a means of demonstrating mastery. Performance tasks constitute the basis for the performance assessment (Glatthorn 1998). Real or simulated issues, problems, themes, and/or student interests as a basis for creating a meaningful context for eliciting student performance. Usually includes a role, goal, or challenge, product/performance, audience, and criteria for success (McTighe, 1999)

Performance-Based Assessment: The measurement of educational achievement by tasks that are similar or identical to those that are required in the instructional environment, as in performance tasks, exhibitions, or projects, or work that is assembled over time in a portfolio (NCTE, 1996). Students construct responses, create products, or perform demonstrations to provide evidence of their knowledge and skills. Examples include assessment checklists, rubrics, portfolios, and exhibitions.

Personal Literacy Plan (PLP): Refers to the specific literacy programs that are mandated in state law and by the RI Board of Regents. Although labeled personal literacy program or plan, the focus is on the improvement of student reading proficiency as required by law and regulations.

Portfolio: An alternative form of assessment in which the teacher reviews a body of student work collected throughout a course or school year to evaluate the student’s performance over time.

Principles of Learning (POL): POL are an integral part of the IFL describe instructional environments and practices that enable ALL students to achieve high academic standards through sustained and targeted effort that includes Organizing for Effort, Clear Expectations, Fair and Credible Evaluations, Recognition of Accomplishment, Academic Rigor in a Thinking Curriculum, Accountable Talk , Socializing Intelligence, Self-management of Learning, and Learning as Apprenticeship.

Problem-Based Learning: An instructional method that uses real world problems as the content for an in-depth investigation of core content. (K. Checkley)

Proficiency: Mastery of skills and knowledge for a specific grade or subject.

Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs): Ensures that students are proficient in six content areas (English language arts, science, social studies, arts and technology). Additionally each high school must have chosen at least two diploma assessments (exhibitions, portfolios, end of-course assessments, etc.) to validate student achievement in these six cote areas and the relevant applied learning standards.

Progressive Support and Intervention (PSI): Rhode Island’s system of categorizing schools is based on data from statewide assessment and learning support indicators. Schools are categorized as High Performing, Moderately performing, and Low Performing with an additional distinction of Improving or Not Improving. Schools must set and meet targets for improving student performance. With the overlay of NCLB, Low performing/Not Improving schools are subject to intervention and sanctions.

Response to Intervention (RTI): Is a process of determining appropriate support and interventions to supplement the core curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. This framework for instruction bases decisions on benchmark and progress monitoring data to improve achievement. This model ensures that student needs are identified early, appropriate instruction/interventions are implemented and student progress is monitored for program efficacy and decision making. One mechanism for this process is the Personal Literacy Plan. In some instances RTI becomes part of the special education system.

Rhode Island School Accountability for Learning and Teaching (SALT): Rhode Island’s School Accountability for Learning and Teaching is a data collection system that includes the SALT survey, school self assessments, and a cycle of school visits designed to inform and direct the school improvement planning and implementation process.

Rhode Island Statewide Curriculum (RISWC): Is a web-based resource designed to assist Local Education Agencies (LEA) in building a systemic approach to address one critical issue, how to best educate all students to high standards. The RISWC provides guidance in the application of GLEs and GSEs in reading written and oral communication, mathematics, and science. Through examples of lesson plans, video clips, and student work samples, the website offers multiple opportunities to view models and standards-based instruction.

Rubric: A written description of criteria (holistic or analytical) expected in order to meet certain level(s) of performance. Rubrics describe what work must look like to meet the standard, exceed the standard and fall below the standard.

School Improvement TEAM (SIT): A school improvement team is a group of people who represent the school community and who are interested in making the school a better place for learning and teaching. The school improvement team decides what the school should do to improve student performance. The team’s work is to gather and analyze information that can be used to make decisions that drive changes in the school.

School Improvement Plan (SIP): An effective school improvement planning process allowing Lincoln schools to develop a strategic and continuous plan that focuses on quality education and high levels of student achievement. All Lincoln public schools and those non-public schools that voluntarily seek accreditation are required to have a school improvement plan. The plan must be submitted to the department by June 30 of the school year prior to the year of implementation

Scientifically Research-Based Reading Research (SBRRR): Research that applies to rigorous, systemic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading development, reading instruction, and reading difficulties, as well as to reading assessment. (RIDE – PreK-12 Literacy Policy, 2005)

State Education Agency or SEA (RIDE): Provides leadership for statewide K-12 school-based service-learning initiatives.

Sufficiency: The method used for specifying the numbers and types of assessment evidence selected to demonstrate proficiency, how and when the pieces of evidence will be collected, and the rationale for the methodology chosen to determine sufficiency.

Teacher Support Team (TST): Primary purpose is to support the teacher as s/he identifies, brainstorms, plans, and implements strategies for students. Can also be instrumental in planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting accommodations in teaching, learning, and assessment for individual students.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A framework for ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn by designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment – from the beginning – to be accessible and equitable to the widest possible number of students.

Web’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK): Categorizes learning into four levels: Level 1, recall and reproductions; level 2, skills and concepts; level 3, strategic thinking/reasoning; and level 4, extended thinking. Similar to Bloom’s Taxonomy.