Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


ability grouping:
Referred to the formation of small, homogeneous groups within elementary school classrooms. For example, children of approximately the same level of reading proficiency may be grouped for reading instruction. Tracking referred to a practice in which high schools tested students, typically with both achievement and IQ tests, and used these scores to place their students into separate curricular tracks. The tracks cover distinctly different curricula, were binding across all academic subjects, and led to different destinations upon graduation. (See Tracking)

accelerated schools:
Began as schools for at-risk students that accelerated, rather than remedied, the curriculum. It has aspired to be the "best" education for all students. They attempt to provide"powerful" educational experiences for all students through the integration of curriculum instruction, and organization. They stress unity of purpose, site-based management, and local responsibility, high involvement of teachers, parents, and students, a vision for the school,and building on the strengths and ideas of the people at the school.

Is the practice of early school entry or of moving students more quickly than the norm through the grades or through certain school subjects. Acceleration has typically been used as a means of challenging gifted students who often become bored with the curriculum aimed at their chronological rather than their mental age.

Process of adapting to a new culture being taught from one generation to the next.

achievement cycle:
The close interactive relationships of four elements: standards-based curricula; performance tasks and assessments; assessment-driven instruction; and authentic learning.

action research:
Is concerned with gathering evidence to be used in decision-making at the local or classroom level about instructional strategies, instructional materials, or other programmatic issues.

adaptive practice:
When teachers adapt their teaching practice according to their students learning styles, their current level of knowledge and skills without lowering their expectations/standards.

additive bilingualism:
The addition of a second language and culture does not replace the first language and culture;rather, the first language/culture are promoted and developed.

Advanced Placement Test (AP):
National standardized, college-level tests (usually including multiple choice and essay questions) given to high school students completing college-level courses within the high school program.

affective domain:
Focuses on the attitudinal/emotional development of students. It distinguishes between learning that focuses on intellectual tasks, such as remembering or solving problems, and educational objectives which emphasize the affective nature of an individual such as interests, attitudes, and values. In more recent Years the affective domain has been expanded to include a host of "whole person" areas, such as self-esteem, emotional and social adjustment, and political beliefs.

A part added to a word. Affixes are either prefixes like un- and re-or suffixes like ­ly and ­ness. (Thorndike Barnhart Jr. Dictionary)

aggregated scores:
The combined scores for a population of students, such as all third graders, often expressed as an average. Aggregating scores requires that all the scores are based on the same or equivalent assessments administered in uniform ways.

Significant anxiety about, or avoidance of, places or situations from which escape might be difficult. In the most extreme situations, the child or adolescent may refuse to leave their home.

In problem solving, especially in mathematics, an algorithm is a step-by-step process for reaching a solution.

The process of assuring that State Goals for Learning, local learning outcomes, local curriculum& instruction and the system of assessment all support and match each other.

alphabetic principle:
A writing system that demonstrates awareness that written words are composed of specific letters/sound relationships.

alternative assessment:
Various types of assessment in which students are active learners and questioning thinkers. It is considered "authentic" when their context,purpose, audience, and constraints connect in some way to real-world problems and situations; for example, learning how to change a flat tire and then being assessed by actually doing it.

alternative evaluation:
Options to the evaluation process, which provide opportunities for sustained and intensive examination of professional performance and allow data, based self-examination that in turn encourages growth. Predetermined, mutually agreed upon method of staff evaluation based on evaluation criteria found in the staff evaluation booklet.

In the broad sense, an analogy is the relationship on which a comparison can be based. In the realm of learning to read, "using analogy means knowing some words very well and using them as examples, noticing parts of them and putting the parts together in flexible ways. When children understand how words work, they can use what they know about one word to construct or take apart another." (Guided Reading, Fountas and Pinnel, p. 176)

analytical phonics:
(Whole to part) language learned from word recognition skills being picked up by the child in the context of actual reading, writing, and immersion in a print-rich classroom. (Carbo, 1987)

analytic scoring:
An assessment process in which a performance (e.g., a piece of writing, oral presentation, etc.) is judged on the basis of multiple criteria in relationship to assigned standards. Unlike holistic scoring, analytical scoring identifies and judges multiple facets present in the performance rather than applying a single score representing those characteristics (rubrics). In effect, analytical scoring addresses the"trees" (i.e., the individual parts of the performance/product), where as holistic scoring addresses the "forest" (i.e., the overall impression made by the work or performance). A teacher using analytical scoring might evaluate a composition, for example, by critiquing everything from its organization, content, and coherence to its sentence structure,grammar, and usage.

At the beginning of a holistic scoring process, scoring team members are responsible for reading and identifying a collection of anchor papers from the collection of papers to be scored prior to the actual scoring process. If evaluation involves a four-point rubric or scoring guide for example, a collection of products representing the descriptor for each point would be collected and agreed upon by the members of the scoring team. All subsequent scoring for that session would be determined by how the products compare to the anchor papers.

anchor task:
A performance task that will be used in a standardized way by all teachers at a grade level or course. This task is designated an anchor task because of how successfully it engages students and how well it is connected to the content, process skills, and work habits of the curriculum.

annotated rubric:
The notes from an assessment development group, often after a field test and initial scoring, which explain the meaning of criteria or distinctions between the criteria on a rubric. Annotation is an important tool to increase scoring reliability and to train others to score consistently.

anticipation guides:
A pre-reading guide that prepares students to interact in meaningful ways with the selection they will be reading. It includes a series of written questions to which students individually respond, before interacting with the text.(Instructional Resource Unit, Curriculum & Instructional Branch,July 1997)

Example of an Anticipation Guide for the story Corduroy by Don Freeman: (Jennifer Tanner, Kid Reach Learning Center)

    1. If you save your money, you can buy toys you really want.
      Yes____ No_____
    2. You should love someone because of what they look like.
      Yes_____ No_____
    3. It is fun to explore new places.
      Yes_____ No_____
    4. Sometimes, patience is all that is needed to find the things you need
      Yes_____ No_____
    5. Home is where the people you love are.
      Yes_____ No_____

The following are questions regarding word recognition and comprehension when using anticipation guides. The questions should be asked before and after the story.

    1. What words are most difficult to pronounce in the story? List the words and look for similarities in the words. For example, list words with the "ide" spelling pattern.
    2. What do you do when you come to a difficult word to pronounce when you are reading? (share strategies and suggestions for word recognition)
    3. What strategy do you use to help you understand what you are reading?

Can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Somatic complaints,avoidance behaviors, behavior rituals, excessive worries and overt displays of non-compliance. It is a symptom typically related to either internal or external unresolved life issues.

appeal procedure:
A step in the evaluation process designed to resolve differences either in objective setting, or related to due process in the overall evaluation.

aptitude test:
Is designed to predict future performance on the ability of the test taker to succeed in some future situation.

articulation impairment:
A term used to describe difficulties with forming and stringing sounds together. The difficulties are usually characterized by substituting one sound for another (wabbit for rabbit), omitting a sound (han for hand) and distorting a sound (shlip for sip).

Objects that are generated by the learning/teaching process and as such, become useful indicators of what may or may not be going on in our classrooms. The important thing here is that artifacts can serve as one form of evidence of the kind of teaching and learning that is going on-at the classroom and/or whole school level(s).

Asperger's Disorder:
On the spectrum with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism, Asperger's is a cognitive social disorder. Language and social skills are significantly impaired.Intellectual ability is less impaired than in autism or PDD.

assertive discipline:
epresents a clear, firm, non hostile response style on the part of a teacher toward student behavior.

The process of obtaining information that is used to make educational decisions about students, to give feedback about their progress/strengths/weaknesses, and to judge instructional effectiveness/curricular adequacy. Methods include observations,interviews, videos and audiotapes, projects, experiments, tests,performances, and portfolios.

assessment-driven instruction:
Teaching and planning for teaching that are based on, derive from, and focus on performance tasks and assessments.

assessment of student learning:
The process of gathering data from multiple sources in order to make judgments about student learning.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):
A term used to describe persons who experience difficulty maintaining attention, manifest impulsivity, are deficient in problem-solving skills, and are motorically over-active.

audiolingual approach:
A behavioristic approach to language learning, which stems from the belief that the ability to make sounds or use correct grammar is an automatic, unconscious act. Learning language becomes memorizing and repeating dialogues, structures, and sounds; the focus is always on correctness. The aim is for the learner to gain an automatic, accurate control of basic sentence structures,sounds, and vocabulary.

augmentative/alternative/assistive communication (AAC):
The term refers to special methods and devices used for communication which provide alternatives for spoken and written language.

Assessment tasks that elicit demonstrations of knowledge and skills in ways that they are applied in the "real world." An authentic assessment task also engages students and reflects the best instructional activities. Thus, teaching to the task is desirable.

authentic assessment:
The monitoring of student progress through the administration and evaluation of real-world tasks; the ultimate goal of authentic assessment is to make assessment activities parallel the kinds of activities found in the "real world."

authentic learning:
Higher-order learning used in solving real life contextualized problems within each discipline.

authentic task(s):
Performance-based tasks in which students are given choice concerning the end product they generate. Authentic tasks parallel the kinds of activities individuals encounter or engage in within the world beyond the classroom. A group of students might respond to an authentic task assignment involving a book critique by generating everything from a videotaped book talk to a poster advertising the strengths and value of the work.

A developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that often includes such characteristics as engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.


Danbury Public Schools
Danbury, Connecticut