Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


Connecticut Academic Performance Test given in the spring of tenth grade including the areas of math, science, responding to literature, editing, and an integrated task.

career academies:
Typically a school-within-a-school that offers students academic programs organized around broad career themes. Often integrating classroom instruction with work-based learning, academies try to equip students with the necessary skills for both workforce entry and post secondary admission. Curricula are often planned with the assistance of business partners, who suggest program structure, provide classroom speakers, host school field trips, and provide mentors for individual students. Students may be placed in jobs related to their field of study in the summer, and may spend some part of their senior Year participating in a work experience program.

career awareness:
Generally takes place at the elementary level. Activities designed to make students aware of the broad range of careers and/or occupations in the world of work,including options that may not be traditional for their gender, race or ethnicity. Career awareness activities range from limited exposure to the world of work, through occasional field trips and classroom speakers, to comprehensive exposure. The latter may involve curriculum redesign, introduction of students to a wide span of career options, and integration with activities at the middle school level.

Carnegie Unit:
Is a one-year of study in a given subject as 120 60-minute sessions. This standard has remained pretty much intact since its inception.

Curriculum Based Assessments

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD):
A term used to describe the inability or impaired ability to attend to, discriminate (hear the subtle differences in similar sounds),recognize or understand spoken information even though one has normal intelligence and hearing sensitivity (acuity).

certified staff:
Staff members employed by Danbury Public Schools directly involved with students and holding a position requiring certification by the State Department of Education.

The oral "chanting" of songs, poems, nursery rhymes, etc. to develop phonemic awareness.

charter schools:
Schools operated under a contract between the local school board or state, and a particular group, such as a group of teachers, a cultural institution, a university, or a parent group.

choral reading:
Simultaneous oral reading by two or more students.

clarifying questions:
Questions that need to be answered in order to clearly understand what one is being asked to do.They are neither judgmental nor evaluative in nature.

classroom culture:
The bedrock upon which all teaching and learning rests. It includes the norms that are inherent and established by the teacher and students for classroom interactions, for expectations of engagement and work output, for use of time, and for specific responsibilities of teacher and students. The culture includes the assumptions (stated or implicit) about the nature of teaching and learning.

classroom learning objectives:
Specific learning outcomes derived from benchmarks, used to facilitate the classroom learning processes.

clinical experiences:
Clinical experiences are school-or-work-based placements in which students are taught academic and occupational skills from school or employee instructors who supervise and evaluate their work. School-based clinical experiences typically expose students to situations and settings they might encounter once they enter their profession.Simulations and role-playing allow students to hone their professional skills in school under the direction of a classroom teacher.

Work-based clinical experiences offer students real-life activities in a professional setting. These experiences, offered under the direction of a practicing employee, are designed to help students learn the skills and attitudes necessary to become a competent practitioner. School-based coordinators or intermediary organizations that monitor placements to ensure that appropriate instruction occurs typically supervise both students and clinical instructors. Students successfully completing a clinical experience program may qualify for industry certification or may receive credits that they may apply toward a professional degree.

A reading activity where words are omitted in order to have the reader demonstrate comprehension and use of context clues.

heterogeneous group of students,who are assigned to a core group of teachers at the middle school level.The organizational design affords teachers the time and opportunity both to plan integration and delivery of curriculum and to address individual student needs.

Connecticut Mastery Test given in the fall of grades four, six, and eight including the areas of math, writing, language mechanics, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension.

A view of teaching that is student-centered, supportive, and challenging; it models desired outcomes and allows students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do. Teachers who assume the role of coach regularly provide students with constructive feedback designed to improve learning and "push"performance towards high standards.

Coalition of Essential Schools:
etwork of schools scattered throughout the country, dedicated to transforming American high schools.The coalition subscribes to common principles, such as the preeminence of mastery of essential skills and knowledge, common goals for all students, and a personalized environment.

Give room to teachers and students to work and learn in their own appropriate ways:
Insist that students clearly exhibit mastery of their schoolwork;
Get the incentives right, for students and teachers;
Focus the students' work on the use of their minds; and
Keep the structure simple and flexible.

code switching:
The alternate use of two languages. Speaking one language and using words from another, their native language.

Is the process involved in the act of knowing which includes perception and judgment. Cognition includes every mental process that can be described as an experience of knowing as distinct from an experience of feeling or willing.

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP):
The language ability required for academic achievement in a context-reduced environment. Examples of context-reduced environments include classroom lectures and textbook reading assignments.

Cognitive Development:
The theory that individuals pass through various and predetermined stages of intellectual functioning and abilities. The teacher's role is to facilitate the child's natural capacities and desire to learn and not to teach by telling, direction instruction, etc.

cognitive domain:
eals primarily with intellectual skills such as problem-solving, memory, reasoning, comprehension, recall, and judgment.

cognitive science:
Is an orientation based on the belief that people actively construct their knowledge of the world through experience and interaction rather than through behavioral conditioning.

collaborative process:
Open communication between evaluator and evaluatee often in the form of clear, specific and constructive feedback which resulted in enhanced performance, suggestions for improvement and/or recognition of exceptional effort.

collegial communities:
Communities of educators that can be defined by mutual respect and a high degree of professionalism among equals.

Relationships among professional educators characterized by mutual respect among equals. Collegiality is evident when teachers share responsibility for improved practice and student achievement.

communicative-based English as a Second Language:
This approach (also referred to as the functional approach) is based on the theory that language is acquired through exposure to meaningful and comprehensible messages, rather than learned through the formal study of grammar and vocabulary.

Programs designed specifically to overcome student academic shortcomings owing to lack of opportunity in the home environment.

What a student should know and be able to do at the end of a particular instructional cycle.

complex-generated response:
Assessment, which asks a student to perform or produce to demonstrate knowledge and skills. Such assessments will not have one right answer, but instead will result in student work, which is across a range of quality.

comprehensible input:
Language that is understood by the learner. Focuses on meaning first and uses simplified speech.

All dimensions of a State Goal for Learning with regard to scope, content, specificity, skills, and types of thinking required are addressed.

A mental construct that frames a set of examples sharing common attributes. One- or two-word concepts are timeless, universal, abstract,and broad.

Concepts About Print:
A primary assessment tool that identifies a child's knowledge of items such as: the front of the book, that print not a picture tells the story, what is a letter? What is a word, etc.?

concept-process integration:
A curriculum design model that facilitates deeper, integrated thinking by organizing interdisciplinary content around a common topical theme,viewed through a conceptual lens.

conceptual theme:
A topic of study that includes a concept in the title. A conceptual theme frames a conceptually based study.

concurrent translation:
A bilingual teaching approach in which the teacher uses two languages interchangeably during instruction

conduct disorder:
A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate societal norms or rules are violated.

A process used by groups to initiate work sessions by providing every member time to reflect and/or share things that are on his/her mind that might get in the way of the work.

Connecticut Common Core Of Learning:
A valid set of expectations for teaching and learning outcomes. (See Appendix B)

Connecticut Common Core Of Teaching: See Appendix A

Connecticut Teaching Competencies (CTC):
Fifteen identified standards for teaching.

constructive controversy (also called issue controversy):
A process of using a critical decision-making process to examine both sides of an issue to reach an informed personal opinion. Group work is often a part of the process, which usually ends in individual persuasive writing.

A theory about knowledge and learning that asserts that learners construct their own understanding of the world around them. Constructivist teaching is thus student-centered and attempts to create learning contexts in which students actively grapple with big issues and questions instead of being passive recipients of "teacher knowledge."

Conducted in a manner that solicits input from staff, students, parents and community.(Constituents from ALL groups must be involved.)

content-based English as a Second Language:
This approach makes use of instructional materials, learning tasks, and classroom techniques from academic content areas as the vehicle for developing language, content,cognitive and study skills. English is used as the medium of instruction.

content benchmarks (usually identified as benchmarks):
Components of content standards identified for a particular level of schooling or grade.

content standard:
Statement articulating what students are expected to know, be able to do, and understand deeply as a result of participating in instructional activities extending from the implementation of the core curriculum.

context cues:
Words that provide meaning of unknown words with a text.

contextual redefinition:
A strategy that stresses the importance of the use of context in predicting and verifying word meaning. (Tierney, Readance, and Dishner, 1990)

Continuing Education Unit Equivalent:
Indicator of planning and implementation of professional development activity ­ offered in lieu of CEU.

convergent thinking:
The process of taking a large number of facts and putting them together into one answer.

cooperative education:
A structured method of instruction whereby students alternate or coordinate their high school or post secondary studies with a job in a field related to their academic or occupational objectives.

cooperative learning:
Involves students working in groups or teams to achieve certain mutually agreed upon learning goals.

coordinated, multidisciplinary unit:
Correlates topics, facts, and activities to a specific unit theme.

Copernican Plan:
An alternative scheduling plan, usually for secondary schools, that calls for longer class periods in the morning of up to 4 hours, and of shorter duration (30 days). Its intent is to allow students to deal with more complex issues and to take more credits during the year.

core thinking skills:
Thinking skills are relatively specific cognitive operations that can be considered the "building blocks" of thinking. The following (1) have a sound basis in the research and theoretical literature, (2) are important for students to be able to do, and (3) can be taught and reinforced in school.

Focusing Skills-attending to selected pieces of information and ignoring others.

1. Defining problems: clarifying needs, discrepancies, or puzzling situations.
2. Setting goals: establishing direction and purpose.

Information Gathering Skills-bringing to consciousness the relevant data needed for
cognitive processing.

3. Observing: obtaining information through one or more senses.
4. Formulating questions: seeking new information through inquiry.

Remembering Skills-storing and retrieving information.

5. Encoding: storing information in long-term memory.
6. Recalling: retrieving information from long-term memory.

Organizing Skills-arranging information so it can be used more effectively.

7. Comparing: noting similarities and differences between or among entities.
8. Classifying: grouping and labeling entities on the basis of their attributes.
9. Ordering: sequencing entities according to a given criterion.
10. Representing: changing the form but not the substance of information.

Analyzing Skills-clarifying existing information by examining parts and relationships.

11. Identifying attributes and components: determining characteristics or parts of something.
12. Identifying relationships and patterns: recognizing ways elements are related.
13. Identifying main ideas: identifying the central element; for example, the hierarchy of key ideas in a message or line of reasoning.
14. Identifying errors: recognizing logical fallacies and other mistakes and, where possible, correcting them.

Generating Skills-producing new information, meaning, or ideas.

15. Inferring: going beyond available information to identify what reasonably may be true.
16. Predicting: anticipating next events, or the outcome of a situation.
17. Elaborating: explaining by adding details, examples, or other relevant information.

Integrating Skills-connecting and combining information.

18. Summarizing: combining information efficiently into a cohesive statement.
19. Restructuring: changing existing knowledge structures to incorporate new information.

Evaluating Skills-assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas.

20. Establishing criteria: setting standards for making judgments.
21. Verifying: confirming the accuracy of claims.

creative thinking:
"The ability to form new combinations of ideas to fulfill a need (Halpern) or to get original and otherwise appropriate results by the criteria of the domain in question" (Perkins).

Guidelines, rules, or principles by which student responses, products, or performances are judged.

An approach for describing a student's performance according to established criteria; e.g., she typed55 words per minute without errors. (see Criteria, Norm-Referenced)adapted from Testing in American Schools, 1992

criterion-referenced test:
A measurement of achievement of specific criteria stated as levels of mastery. The focus is performance of an individual as measured against a standard or criteria rather than against performance of others who take the same test.

critical friends:
Teachers whose relationship is such that they can sit down with each other to discuss strengths,weaknesses and avenues for improvement. The atmosphere is one of mutual trust and freedom from fear. Critical friends also can be thought of as informed "outsiders" to a school or community who provide the school with ongoing feedback on its goals, practices, and results. They may be educators from other schools, districts, colleges or universities, as well as business or community representatives.

critical thinker:
Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. Critical thinkers try to be aware of their own biases, to be objective and logical.

critical thinking:
A term used to describe a host of mental processes that are thought to be "different" from simple remembering or explaining. Various terms are used for critical thinking, including higher order thinking skills,problem-solving skills, strategic reasoning skills, productive thinking skills, etc.

cross checking:
Self-monitoring or self-correcting by comparing one cueing strategy against another.

cueing systems:
A reader's three basic information sources:

meaning (making sense of text)
structural (making the language of text sound right)
visual (knowledge of the relationship between sounds and letters or making the text look right)

cultural literacy:
As defined by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. in his popular 1987 book of the same name, cultural literacy is "the network of information that all competent readers possess." Hirsch postulated that there is a common core of knowledge about a culture that members of that culture should learn either in or out of school in order to be able to function competently and to communicate meaningfully with one another in contemporary society.

culture shock:
Feelings of disorientation and confusion upon contact with other, previously inexperienced cultures.

The term "curriculum" derives from Latin roots, and its literal meaning is that of a running course or racetrack. Thus, its application to education and to life in schools is metaphorical, but it signifies the course of study that students follow toward the completion of a program, diploma, or degree.

curriculum integration:
Developing units of study that draw content from two or more subjects.

curriculum standards:
Content standards.

cut score:
The number of points needed which represents the criteria for successful completion of an assessment task, such as 8 out of 10, or the percent that must be attained to be determined as successful in performing an assessment task (e.g., 80%). Cut score also refers to the critical point for dividing scores into two groups in reference to some criterion. It is possible to set multiple cut scores from differing criterion (e.g., meets, does not meet & exceeds.)

blue left arrow