Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


Head Start:
Head Start is a federally funded early childhood program begun during the 1960s as part of the War on Poverty effort of the Johnson Administration. Head Start was designed to address the academic and developmental needs of 3- and 4- year-olds from low-income families, as well as to involve their parents in their education. It remains as one of the largest programs of its type, even though funding has been reduced to the point that it presently serves only about 20% of those students eligible.

hearing impairment:
Refers to the ability to hear some sounds. Hearing impairments can occur in one or both ears. Some students with mild hearing impairments function well with a hearing aid; others exhibit serious speech,language, and listening problems. Students with moderate to severe hearing impairments struggle with speaking clearly and understanding speech.

heterogeneous/homogeneous grouping:
A homogeneous group is one of the same or similar ability while heterogeneous groups are comprised of students who reflect mixed abilities.

high frequency words:
Words that occur often in oral language and thus occur often in reading and writing. (Fountas & Pennel, 1998)

high stakes:
The consequences for a certain level of performance that will have a high level of impact on the student. High stakes decisions can impact moving from grade to grade, can influence graduation, or can provide information used by college admission officers and/or employers.

higher order thinking:
Although no proof exists that one type of thinking is of a higher order than another, there is a general consensus among educators that thinking and activities that include analysis, synthesis, judgment,evaluation, reflection, etc., are more intellectually stimulating than memory work or even attempts to comprehend. Most hierarchies, including Benjamin Bloom's, assume that one cannot think and act productively at"higher levels" without basic information and knowledge.

holistic reading texts:
Assessments that measure a child's comprehension using multiple choice questions and open-ended responses.

holistic scoring:
Scoring which assesses and evaluates a performance product on the basis of how a combination of characteristics function within the product. In effect, holistic scoring evaluates the overall impression made by the product, rather than analyzing its various parts or components. Pure holistic scoring involves a process of rank ordering a set of products in relationship to one another: with a set of compositions, for example, a teacher might identify what she or he considers to be the best product, second best, and so forth. The compositions would be judged according to how they relate to one another in quality, rather than in relationship to a set of external standards. Modified holistic scoring, on the other hand, involves the application of a set of scoring criteria (sometimes referred to as a rubric:arranged according to a set of score points with related descriptors)to the evaluation of the product. A group of compositions, for example,might be evaluated using a four-point rubric with each score point representing a set of characteristics from four (highest) to one(lowest).

hot spots:
A metacognitive awareness strategy designed to increase active involvement in reading with a focus on understanding. Children identify potential problem areas "on the run" during reading, this is a concrete mode to revisit and discuss those problem areas following reading. Hot pink post-it notes are inserted directly into the margin of the text to identify potential problem areas including difficult vocabulary,confusing text, limited picture clues, omitted text information,material requiring recall and important information. Teachers facilitate discussion of identified hot spots.

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