Glossary of Terms to Promote a Common Language


Paideia, Paideia Proposal:
A program for "basic schooling"proposed by the philosopher Mortimer Adler as a means to prepare students for citizenship, to encourage lifelong learning, and to provide the skills necessary to earn a living. The program is a one-track,12-year required curriculum for all students, emphasizing core didactic instruction, maieutic learning, seminars, Socratic dialogue, the development of intellectual skills and values, and physical/health education. Adler's course of study is largely based on the ideas contained in the Great Books of the Western World Series. These 102 ideas, which Adler cites as perennial to the human condition regardless of time or circumstance, are studied through literature, the arts, history, the sciences, mathematics, etc.

panic attack:
A sudden onset of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror often associated with feelings of impending doom.

paradigm, paradigm shift:
The terms paradigm and paradigm shift were popularized by Thomas Kuhn in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,wherein Kuhn suggested that our world view, whether scientific or not,is conditioned by a prevailing paradigm or model. He suggested further that scientific knowledge advances not incrementally, as is generally supposed, but on the basis of paradigm shifts, or new fundamental insights that allow completely different ways of thinking about things.An example of a paradigm shift is that of the Copernican Revolution whereby the earth was displaced from the center of the universe to a more peripheral place in the cosmos. Such a paradigm shift is so powerful as to influence not only science, but religion, philosophy,literature, etc. The terms paradigm and paradigm shift have been used in a greatly inflated and misleading sense in educational literature in recent years. Many of the educational fads that come and go have been touted by their promoters as paradigm shifts on the basis of their leading the way to completely new ways of thinking about schools,teaching, learning, assessment, etc.

part-to-whole learning:
A learning approach in which subject matter is taught and mastered in bits or components and then synthesized into a whole entity. An example of part-to-whole learning would be the teaching of separate grammar rules and skills, and then asking a student to synthesize and employ them to write an essay ­ the inverse of whole-to-part learning.

peer coaching:
On going mentoring and or professional development offered by teachers for teachers. Those providing peer coaching are not identified as evaluators and may not be used for staff evaluation.

peer reflection:
The ability to think about strengths, weaknesses, and/or needed modifications of a lesson by conversing with another member of the teaching profession.

peer support:
Offered to a person on reappraisal.

performance assessment:
An assessment activity that requires students to construct a response, create a product, or perform a demonstration. Performance assessments generally do not yield a single correct answer or solution method; therefore evaluations of student products or performances are based on judgments guided by specific criteria (i.e. rubrics).

performance assessment ­ authentic:
The products and/or performances, which are assessed, are like products and performances that occur in the real world.

performance assessment - embedded:
A performance task which is placed into the sequence of classroom instruction where it is a powerful opportunity for students to learn by putting it all together ­ content, process skills, and work habits.

performance assessment - on demand:
A performance task administered on a specific date regardless of whether or not it fits into the curriculum at that time.

performance-based assessments:
Assessments requiring reasoning about recurring issues, problems, and concepts that apply in both academic and practical situations. Students actively engage in generating complex responses requiring integration of knowledge and strategies, not just use for isolated facts and skills.

performance-based learning and assessment:
An approach to teaching and learning that embedded performance tasks within day-to-day instruction serves both as opportunities to learn and opportunities to measure the competencies of the learner.

performance maturity:
The degree to which a learner can use discipline-based competencies,intra-personal competencies, and interpersonal competencies"independently" to do authentic work.

performance standard (see Benchmark:
An established level of achievement, quality of performance,or degree of proficiency. Performance standards specify how well students are expected to achieve or perform.

performance task:
A complex learning activity which allows for multiple responses to a challenging question or problem: all performance tasks require students to engage inexperience-based activities and to create products consistent with identified learning outcomes. The term "performance task" is broadly used to refer to any experience-based, hands-on learning activity: it becomes a part of performance assessment when evaluation criteria are identified and applied to the judging of the product or process presented by the student.

performance task and performance-assessment-based units:
Organized sequence of lessons based and focused on the performance task and its related performance assessment.

performance task assessment list:
A list of the criteria to be used to judge the quality of a product or performance from a performance assessment task. The items in the list can be highly detailed or more general. This type of assessment tool usually provides more of an analytical approach than do rubrics.

performance task assessment list­ generic:
An assessment list composed of elements related to the dimensions of a specific type of work such as non-fiction writing, but not specific to the particular content of an assignment.

performance task assessment list­ tailored:
An assessment list composed of elements related to the dimensions of a specific type of work such as non-fiction writing and worded to identify the specific content of the writing assignment.

Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD):
A term used to describe young children who display delays in acquiring skills in more or all areas such as learning basic concepts, playing with peers, balance and attention span.

Marked and persistent fear of clearly discernible, circumscribed objects or situations.

phoneme blending:
The ability to blend spoken or written units of sound(s) (syllables or phonemes) together to form words.

phoneme manipulation:
The ability to isolate a spoken or written phoneme (single sound or sound segment) and then change it to another phoneme to form a new word ­ manipulatives may or may not be used.

phoneme segmentation:
To break words into phonemes.

In oral language, the small units that combine to form syllables and words (e.g., the phonemes in the standard English words "bit" and "hit" are the same except for the first segment and the word "hint" has one more phoneme than the word"hit.").

phonemic awareness:
The term refers to the ability to understand that speech is made up of a sequence of individual sounds which is the foundation that is necessary to learn to read and write.

Instructional practices that emphasize how spellings are related to speech sounds in systematic ways,letter-sound correspondences.

phonological awareness:
The term used to describe awareness that spoken language can be broken down into words, words into syllables, and syllables into phonemes (sounds).

The aspects of language structure related to the distinctive features for the representation, production, and reception of sounds of language.

A large scale administration of an assessment, usually with several classes of students if not all students in a grade. The purpose of the pilot is to detect any flaws in the assessment before the assessment is considered "done" and is fully implemented.

planning backwards task planning:
The process educators use to envision the type of performance task students should be able to do (but presently cannot) and then plan backwards in time to provide content,process skills, and work habits that will build the "performance maturity" necessary for those students to be successful.

portfolio (Student):
collection of students' work that is used to assess the process of learning, the outcome of learning, and students' growth over time.

portfolio (Teacher):
A teaching portfolio is the structured, documentary history of a set of coached or mentored acts of teaching substantiated by samples of student work and fully realized through reflective writing,deliberation, and serious conversation.

post-traumatic stress:
The child or adolescent re-experiences an earlier traumatic episode.The symptoms include increased arousal and by avoidance of the stimuli associated with the trauma.

PQ4R (also see SQ3R):
PQ4R stands for preview,question, read, reflect, recite, and review. It is a study method, which can be used in reading any content material for recall and understanding.

Kindergarten through Grade two.

Primary Trait Scoring:
A process for evaluating a performance product on the basis of a single criterion or characteristic and the extent to which it is present within that product. A composition, for example, might be evaluated on the extent to which it reflects one of the following primary traits: clear organization, unity, coherence, absence of sentence fragments, etc. Similarly, a student's note to a principal urging a change in a school rule might have persuasiveness as the primary trait: scorers would attend only to that trait.

The term refers to the ability to use language in social situations.

Written in the form of a generalization, but is a truth that holds consistently through time. Principles are "laws"-such as the axioms of mathematics or the laws of science-and use no qualifying terms. Principles fall at the conceptual level of generalizations in the structure of knowledge.

probable passages:
A pre-reading technique that integrates prediction, summarization, vocabulary instruction, and story frames. (Woods, 1984)

EXAMPLE: The story takes place _____________. _____________ is a character who_____________. A problem occurs when _________________. After that________. The problem is solved when ___________. The story ends when_________

Problem-solving strategies are those that may be used to apply all previously acquired knowledge and experience to new situations and challenges. Education increasingly focuses on the teaching and reinforcement of individual problem-solving skills as a priority area separate from the parting of accumulated knowledge.

problem-solving for new words:
The ability to use multiple sources of information such as picture clues, predicting, language patterns, etc. to figure out unfamiliar words.

procedural knowledge:
Knowledge of process skills such as non-fiction writing, computation,oral presentation, critical decision-making, group work, self-assessment, or creative problem solving.

Complex performances drawing on a variety of skills. Process abilities develop within the individual and grow in sophistication over time.

processing skills:
These are the skills, which underlie and support the acquisition of academic skills. They can be divided among verbal comprehension, perceptual organization and attention skills.

Having or demonstrating a high degree of knowledge or skill in a particular area.

proficiency level:
The equivalent of a cut score(on a forced-choice assessment) but for a performance/complex assessment. The proficiency level for a performance assessment is set by determining the required performance criteria (such as the required level on a rubric) for a specific grade level. Such a proficiency level could be achievement of all the criteria required for a scoring level,or it could be a set number of points achieved by combining scores for each feature on the rubric.

Progressivism is an educational movement that began during the latter part of the 19th century and whose influence on American and European schools were preeminent throughout much of the first half of the 10thcentury. The movement in America had its roots in a number of concurrent events: (1) the national call for social reform (including curtailment of child-labor practices); (2) demographic changes (notably industrialization, urbanization, and school population growth); (3)growing dissatisfaction with the schools' traditional curriculum; and(4) the writings of educational reformers such as Francis W. Parker(whom John Dewey called "the father of progressive education") and John Dewey himself.

John L. Chills characterized progressive education as the work of educators "who have combined the psychological principles of child growth with the moral principles of democracy, and have developed the conception that the supreme aim of education should be the nurture of an individual who can take responsibility for his own continued growth." The movement's key elements, which this quotation captures, were: (1) attention to child growth and development; (2) teaching the ideals of democracy; (3)learner self-direction; and (4) rational problem-solving. Phrases such as "purposeful learning," "learning through doing," the "whole child," and "the power of choice" were often used to explain (or condemn) the movement.

Two major events served to strengthen and expand progressive education: (1) creation of the Progressive Education Association in 1919, and (2) the Eight-Year Study (1932-40),a research study, sponsored by the association that showed basically that youth educated in progressive high schools were as well prepared for the challenges of college as students educated in more traditional high schools. Progressivism places emphasis on the growth and development of the individual child and on personally and socially relevant learning. Progressives encourage active, spontaneous learning with a high degree of personal choice on the part of the learner. They downplay lesson plans, formal tests, graded curriculum, etc. Emphasis is placed on creativity and the arts as well as on participation in cocurricular and extracurricular activities. Progressives describe their form of teaching and learning as being directed to the whole child so as to create a balance among cognitive, affective, and physical growth and development.

In a narrow sense a prompt is a statement to which a student responds in an assessment, often a reading passage, picture, chart or other form on information. In the fullest sense a prompt is the directions which ask the student to undertake a task. Prompts should include the context of the situation, the problem to be solved, the role the student takes, and the audience for the product or performance.

psychological evaluation:
A group of tests administered by a psychologist. These tests measure intellectual, perceptual motor, social-emotional and behavioral functioning of the student.

pull-out English as a Second Language:
A type of program in which ESL students are pulled out of mainstream classrooms for special instruction in English.

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Danbury Public Schools
Danbury, Connecticut